These Rocky Mountain resort communities offer invigorating outdoor activities, plentiful shopping and gold mining history to Colorado summer tour groups
Colorado has become an international travel destination in part because of its acclaimed ski resorts. With its iconic ski lodges, Olympic athletes and diverse terrain options, the state is the premier American destination for winter sports. However, once the snow melts and aspen trees bloom, these cities offer a surfeit of outdoor activities, pioneer history and walkable main streets. Whether your group prefers mountain biking and boating or mellower activities like distillery tours and spa outings, these Rocky Mountain communities are ideal additions to a Colorado summer itinerary.
Located one hour from the Denver metro area along the Continental Divide, “Mountain Bike Capital, USA” offers accessibility to over 600 miles of trails. Group members can brave the extreme drops of Trestle Bike Park or the more leisurely beginner trails in Granby Ranch, and the hiking routes that follow the Fraser River offer prime opportunities to spot wildlife. Snap a group photo next to the famous moose sculpture in downtown Winter Park before continuing to the resort itself, which continues to thrive during the summer. Activities include Colorado’s longest alpine slide, scenic chairlift rides to the summit and shopping at the Village: an open-air town square modeled after Alpine squares.
» MORE INFO: www.PlayWinterPark.com
Long before it attracted skiers from around the world, Steamboat Springs thrived as a ranching community and wellness destination that took advantage of the Yampa Valley’s geothermal healing properties. That experience continues to thrive at Strawberry Park Hot Springs, where visitors can relax their muscles and clear their pores in tiered pools that vary in temperature.
Groups can also embark on a gondola ride to Thunderhead Peak for a sunset cocktail, enjoy tubing along the Yampa River and embark on an easy hike to Fish Creek Falls. For an authentic taste of the region’s ranching heritage, cheer on local cowboys and cowgirls at Steamboat Pro Rodeo Series or partake in a chuckwagon dinner at Saddleback Ranch.
» MORE INFO: www.SteamboatChamber.com
Aspen, once a silver mining boomtown, has emerged as one of North America’s premier winter sport destinations and host of the Winter X Games. Summer visitors can also admire the beautiful landscapes of the surrounding White River National Forest and cobble-stoned streets of downtown, which retains many of its 19th century exteriors. Hitch a ride on the Silver Queen Gondola to the Sundeck for a bluegrass concert, and from there play “18 holes” at the world’s highest disc gold course. Looking to achieve “serenity now”? Participate in a morning meditation session at the John Denver Sanctuary, relax with a St. Regis Resort massage or sample delicious drinks during the annual summer Food & Wine Classic.
» MORE INFO: www.AspenChamber.org
Famous for its celebrity residents and glamorous resorts, the Vail Valley literally blossoms in the summer with countless biking, hiking and dining opportunities.
For a low-impact hike, ride the Eagle Bahn Gondola to Eagles Nest for a mountaintop view before descending on the Berrypicker Trail. Once your group reaches the base area, spend time browsing the boutiques in the Bavarian-inspired Lionshead Square and visiting the art galleries of Vail Village. If you’re further interested in the region’s natural beauty, register for a naturalist-led wildflower hike at the Nature Discovery Center or walk through the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens—the highest botanical garden in the nation.
» MORE INFO: www.DiscoverVail.com