For skiers and snowboarders, winter is the best time of year. After all, Colorado has some of the best ski mountains on the planet. For others, however, it’s the summer season that offers the best that Colorado has to offer, especially in the high country.
The forecast for summer vacation in Colorado calls for big blue skies during the day and cool evenings at any altitude. It’s time to get outside and explore every corner of the state, where there is no end for summer things to do. Here are some great ways to enjoy Colorado during the warm summer season.
Hiking trails are one of the best ways to summer vacation in Colorado. The catalog of available hiking experiences is incredibly diverse, including paths through wildflower-strewn meadows, treks amid cliffs and canyons to petroglyphs and historic ruins left by ancient people, journeys through swaying grasslands that haven’t changed since pioneers first set foot there hundreds of years ago, and walks that lead to rushing waterfalls and so much more.
Camping in Colorado is inspirational. There is no better way to get close to the state’s abundant wilderness areas than by making one of its campgrounds home for a few nights, either in a tent under the stars or a fully equipped RV. With 41 state parks on more than 22 million acres of national forests and grasslands and in hundreds of campgrounds, it’s easy to find a tranquil spot to get back to basics and revisit the simplicity of nature.
In Colorado, mountain biking is a way of life for many people in the state that invented the sport. There are dozens of endurance and high-altitude road biking races each year, and there are an abundance of bike trails. There are also hundreds of miles of paved, flat trails for the more casual rider. Cyclists can also take their bikes up the mountain on gondolas and then wind their way down slopes reserved for skiers in the winter, and perhaps stopping midway to enjoy some cheese, crackers, and refreshing wine.
Boating is another great way to enjoy Colorado’s summer season on thousands of acres of lakes. Boaters, who may also be water skiers, find solace traveling through mountain basins and deep, blue-water venues. And if you don’t have your own boat, many lakes have marinas that offer rentals to get you on the water. Some lakes include motorized boating, while others limit boating to non-motorized craft, canoes, and kayaks.
It’s time to cowboy up by horseback riding in the mountains. You will enjoy scenic backdrops, endless trails, and a history of horseback riding that make Colorado a perfect place to ride. Guides can point out wildlife and points of interest, and you can also choose a pack trip where guides accompany you from one campsite to the next as you head father into the backcountry. These trips are perfect for seasoned riders. In addition, dude ranches offer something for every level of rider and include weeklong stays, great food, and cattle gathering for a complete Wild West experience.
Kayaking and whitewater rafting adventures are perfect for those who want to experience a challenge and exhilaration simultaneously. These adventures are also great for families when you pick the right venue and right time during the summer that’s safe for kids. The headwaters of four major rivers begin in Colorado…the Colorado, Platte, Arkansas, and Rio Grande. Every spring, whitewater lovers flock here with their kayaks strapped to the roofs of their cars. The season typically runs through May through September, with the swiftest whitewater occurring in May and June. August is the best month for a more laid-back outing for a family.
Caving is a special adventure that’s hard to beat. And while Colorado’s caves are no comparison to Carlsbad Caverns, caving is one of the best ways to cool off from all these summer activities. Colorado has two of the nation’s most popular natural caves around, including Glenwood Caverns, which is reached via gondola ride with views of the Roaring Fork Valley. This cave has wide-open, massive rooms lined with otherworldly rock formations. And Cave of the Winds in Manitou Springs grants access to more than two miles of limestone passageways.