The Colorado Rockies have long been considered one of nature’s playgrounds. With a multitude of winter sports and nearly countless ski resorts available for those who enjoy playing in freezing, powdery white snow, this is a place known throughout the world. However, less-known are all the terrific summer offerings to be had when the same mountains have become green and carpeted with colorful splashes of wild flowers. Here are five suggestions for the summer traveler to the Rocky Mountains:
Go on a Zip Line Adventure
There is much of high adventure to be had in these lofty mountain peaks! Near Vail, adventurers can soar across Alkili Canyon on a series of zip line runs. The course has six runs beginning with a couple of shorter, not so fast wires, ending in a 1,000 ft. run with speeds up to 40-45 mph. Alkili Creek rushes below as zippers sail through the air. The more daring adventurers can make the run upside down or in tandem with another zipper, while those who are a bit more nervous hang on with both hands. Guides with great personalities and an emphasis on safety make this a top notch activity.
White Water River Rafting
There are numerous branches of the Colorado River and other creeks and streams running through the Rockies. Yellow and blue rubber rafts can be seen floating down or fighting the rapids on many of these tributaries. Rafters interested in river floating or a few tame rapids can choose a category I or II run. Those into high adventure and who don’t mind the possibility of being bumped out of the boat can try a category III, IV, or V. Experienced guides entertain as well as coach participants, so personal level of expertise doesn’t matter.
Several of the ski lifts that take skiers to the highest mountain reaches still operate during the summer taking sightseers, hikers, and bikers to the top. Bikers pay for a special ticket that allows them to take the bike on the lift and travel one way only. When they reach the top they jump off, find the trail, and begin the descent down the gorgeous mountainside. Marmots, deer, and other wildlife can be seen during the ride down the hill. Many bikers choose to get back on the lift and do it again when they get to the bottom. Fun times!
Tour a Working Gold Mine
Put on a hard hat and go in to the bowels of the earth and see a gold mine in action. The Phoenix gold mine in Idaho Springs welcomes visitors in daily tours. History of the mine and the process of extracting the gold are explained to visitors. A creek flows outside the mine and guests are encouraged to try their hand at gold panning after they finish the tour. Gold has actually been found in the creek, so go find some flecks of the precious metal!
Spend the Day on an Alpine Slide or Coaster
Breckenridge and Glenwood Springs boast fun parks with some awesome outdoor adventures, one with an alpine slide, both with an alpine coaster. At Glenwood Springs people looking for an adrenaline pump can ride the cliffhanger roller coaster or the Giant Canyon Swing that actually swings out over the cliff edge hanging riders over 7,000 ft above the canyon floor. Breckenridge offers mini golf, rock climbing, gondola and chairlift rides in addition to its coaster and slides. What a great way to spend a day in the mountains!
There is so much to see and do in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. If you’re looking for a place to escape the summer heat, find exciting activities, and have beautiful surroundings, it will be hard to find anything better!