What to Do in the Mountains
When I’m feeling down, I feel like the best prescription for me is sun and water. Luckily, Colorado is known for having 300 days of sunshine so Vitamin D is always in abundance. Here’s six of my favorite activities to do in Colorado.
Diamond Lake - Nederland, CO
Picture this: The earliest rays have just peeked out of the east. You’re at your trailhead, map and backpack in tow, and you begin your ascent. The cool breeze refreshes you as your heart pumps, your lungs expand with fresh air, and every muscle begins to work.
Stop - you hear a rustle in the thicket.
A mama deer and baby deer cross the trail as you keep your distance and wait for them to pass.
Further along the trail, you cross over rivers, skip over waterfalls, and see the Rockies in all its glory. Sometimes you’re scared that you’ll slip or you’ll fall off the edge. However, that survival instinct kicks in and you place full trust in yourself.
I haven’t fallen yet.
And it’s okay when you do. Because, by the end, every one of your senses are revitalized, and when you reach the top of your destination, you realize: There’s nothing I can’t do.
Find a trail: alltrails.com
Moser Lake - Leadville, CO
There’s no cellphone reception, but what does it matter? You’re surrounded by your closest friends, high up in the mountains, feeding a campfire, and relaxing after a long day of exploring. There’s food, there’s booze, there’s a sleeping pad and bag in the tent with your name on it. And after the sun sets and the fire sizzles, there’s nothing but you, the sky, and wind. You finally settle in your tent and lull yourself to sleep with insects chirping and trees dancing in the background. Before you know it, you’re rising with the sun, another successful camping trip in the books.
Read this Camping 101 article before you go camping.
Here’s where you can go camping in Colorado.
Iron Mountain Hot Springs - Glenwood Springs, CO
I love the city but there is something about quaint and charming small towns I am also drawn to. Two-and-a-half hours away from Denver is Glenwood Springs, which is located on the western side of Colorado, just down I-70. I recommend going to Iron Mountain Hot Springs — which you currently need to make a reservation for — for a relaxing and rejuvenating soak. It has:
- A nice, clean facility with locker rooms
- Multiple small pools with varying temperatures
- Food and drink stand
- Views of the river and mountains
Soaking in those waters, which is said to have 14 different minerals in it, always melts all my stress and anxiety away so it’s a must-do activity for me. It gives me an excuse to escape the city, plus I get to hang out in Glenwood Springs or Palisade, only an hour away.
Shadow Mountain Lake - Grand County, CO
KAYAKING + STAND-UP PADDLEBOARDING
The first time I rowed a boat was when I was 12. I lived on a lake and we had several canoes we could push into the water and go fishing on.
Although I don’t fish anymore, I do still love to get on the water and paddle.
Rocky Mountain Paddleboard offers rental kayaks and stand-up paddleboards along the Front Range if you want to chill on the water while looking at the mountains. It also comes with life jackets and oars, so all you have to bring is sunscreen and water (a waterproof backpack doesn’t hurt either.)
Learn more at Rocky Mountain Paddleboard - Water Sports Rentals.
Somewhere Outside of Ouray, CO
So, my version of four-wheeling is riding ATVs. Dusty hair, wind lashing at your face, hitting all the puddles — the works. However, in Colorado, you rent UTVs, or even a Jeep, if you want to go off-roading into the mountains.
If you’ve never gone four-wheeling before, I recommend going with someone who has. It’s really easy to lose control or flip over your vehicle.
But with that aside, off-roading is a great way to cover more ground in the mountains. I’ve seen the best views around Leadville and Ouray, where you can find old mining shafts, waterfalls, and all the nature (think cute marmots and alpine wildflowers.) You can pack a cooler and have breakfast and lunch up in the outback. It’s definitely a summer splurge I look forward to.
Keystone Resort - Keystone, CO
SNOWBOARDING + SKIING
I just picked up snowboarding this past season and I LOVE it. Snowboarding and skiing are a great way to enjoy Colorado in the winter time. I highly recommend renting clothes/gear and taking a lesson if you’ve never gone before. Most mountain resorts offer beginner lessons for any age group (I took my lesson at Keystone.) If that’s all too much for you, Echo Mountain offers tubing, where you can sled down the mountain in a big tube.
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