As of today (Memorial Day) Summer has officially begun. Bring on the BBQ’s, the skirts, and most importantly the mountain adventures. This is one of my favorite times of year because there are so many adventures offered in this beautiful state of Colorado. From Mountain biking to hiking, to just hanging out at the park, there are always people outside and always a group you can tag along with to find your own adventures.
This summer Clayton and I have vowed to go on 2 major hikes a month. We want to see all that we can, take a bazillion photos (at least I do) and of course be in nature for as long and as often as possible. As I’ve been reflecting on my past few summers, thinking about what all I want to do this year I’ve realized that I’ve been lucky enough to see some pretty amazing things. In honor of this Memorial Day and the kick-off of summer, I’d like to give you my top 5 Colorado adventures in hopes of inspiring some of your own adventures this summer.
PTARMIGAN PEAK NEAR SILVERTHORN
This is not a hike for the light of heart. While the Aspen tree forest at the beginning of this hike is amazing (and probably my favorite part), the breath-taking views are another 6 miles out. That’s a 12-mile hike round trip. While 12-miles doesn’t seem too bad, you also gain 3,000 feet in elevation. So basically you are walking straight uphill for 6 miles. But when you make it to the top of this hike, every single step will have been worth it. Wide open spaces and 360-degree views will keep you there long after you should have left, you still have 6 miles to go before the sun sets. (Insider tip: Bring a headlamp in case you want to see the sunset from a higher vantage point).
THE SAND DUNES
Who doesn’t love feeling like they are in Egypt in the middle of Colorado? While this place can get packed in the summertime, going in the middle of the week is a great way to beat the crowds. And if you go earlier in the summer you might be lucky enough to see the river that runs through them and get a little beach action. I might just be going to a wedding at this very spot this week. (If you’re on Instagram, I’ll be taking over Revo Sunglasses Instagram for the day so follow me @KatieLeighHutt and @Revo to see the whole adventure as it unfolds!)
ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK
This is kind of a broad choice seeing as there are probably 100 hikes within this park but it’s honestly one our favorites (Me and the boyfriend that is.) Every hike has something different to offer from wildlife to waterfalls to secluded lakes. It’s $20 a car to get in the park if you don’t have a park pass. So if you are going to be in Colorado for awhile I really suggest getting the park pass. This is a place you will want to explore all summer long!
This place is simply amazing. You can drive around to all the vantage points and then drive to the base of the canyon and camp out, BBQ and go fishing. You really have never seen views like these and I suggest going to all the vantage points because each one is different. If you’re spending a few nights here there are some great hiking paths you can hop on and find even more views you never thought you would see.
Bierstadt, Quandary, Torreys or Greys are all great starting points for your first 14er. While no 14er is easy and every one of them should be taken seriously, these are the beginner’s mountains. I personally don’t love 14ers but I think it’s a great feeling to at least be able to say you’ve climbed one. A couple things to keep in mind – Altitude sickness is a real thing and you can die from it. With that said, drink lots and lots of water especially if you aren’t from here, take Advil before you hike and be sure to eat a really big nutritious breakfast before you start so that you have plenty of energy. If you start getting pains in your chest or really bad headaches, start going back down. Better safe than sorry! (Insider Tip: Most of the drug stores and some King Soopers will carry Boost Oxygen. It’s a mini can of oxygen that will fit in your pack in case you find yourself in need of some fresh O2.)
While there are plenty of other great Colorado hikes, mountains, and views, these are my top suggestions to add to your Summertime bucket list. The views from each place will be stuck in your memory for years to come, making you want to go back for another round. If you’re looking for more suggestions or want to share your stories from these places, leave a comment below.