A seemingly insurmountable fin of sandstone protrudes 300 feet in the air, challenging all humans to dare conquer its peak. As groups look on in awe of this natural wonder, a Denver Mountain Guiding guide suits up and begins the ascent, leading students of all levels on a thrilling and challenging climb.
Denver Mountain Guiding’s coterie of guides is a motley mix, encompassing passionate climbers with decades of experience, expert weekend warriors, wilderness first responders, and first-aid- and CPR-certified guides. They lead beginners through elite-level climbers on recreational trips around local rock-climbing hot spots such as Clear Creek Canyon. Outings include full-day and half-day climbs of varying levels of difficulty, as well as lessons and camps that teach basics such as rope safety, knots, belaying, rappelling, and anchors.
Accredited by the American Mountain Guides Association, Jackson Hole Mountain Guides orchestrates mountain ascents, desert adventures, and ice climbs throughout the western United States. Since its founding in Grand Teton National Park in 1968, the outfit has expanded to include branches in Montana's Beartooths; Moab, Utah; Idaho's City of Rocks; and Boulder, Colorado. At each outpost, experienced guides share an appreciation for the backcountry, a respect for the environment, and a desire to pass on their techniques to new groups of adventurers. Students can learn from their expertise during a variety of classes customized to their skills and ultimate desires, whether they want to prepare for a guided journey through the wilderness or reach a mountain summit solo to taste a variety of cloud flavors.
The Rocky Mountain Cigar Festival cultivates an elegant atmosphere full of aromatic and aesthetic attractions. Fragrant clouds encircle guests as they talk shop with representatives from world-class cigar manufacturers such as Montecristo, Romeo y Julieta, Drew Estate, and Rocky Patel, all the while quaffing samples of Colorado-crafted beers, wines, spirits from Breckenridge Distillery, Peach Street Distillers, Twisted Pine, and Bristol Brewing. The event also includes displays of fine automobiles, firearms, and smoke ring hula hoops, as well as food and live music from Funkiphino.
Visitors to Colorado Adventure Center explore much of its terrain suspended above the pine trees?specifically, hanging from eight ziplines that span almost a mile and reach heights of up to 65 feet and speeds up to 40 miles per hour. Harnessed into a secure single-pulley system, riders glide over Clear Creek as it glimmers in the sunlight or, at nighttime, in the bright beams of their headlamps?which can also be used to spot teenage woodpeckers vandalizing trees with lovers' initials.
Colorado's waters are also the setting for rafting and kayaking expeditions, during which guides lead paddlers down the rapids of the Arkansas and Colorado Rivers during outings and spring break trips. On solid ground, adventurers hit the trails of the Vail Pass and Glenwood Canyon on scenic biking trips, pedaling along paths lined with trees and rivers with options for bipeds of all skill levels. During spring months, zipliners can soar through newly blooming trees and flowers for a scenic treetop adventure.
Paddles slice through churning waters, keeping rafts on their course down Clear Creek as it cuts through the Denver Mountain Parks . At the base of the red crags of Gore Canyon, the white-capped water of the Colorado River foretells rafters’ trips through daunting class IV and V rapids. Elsewhere, guests make like protoplasmic coat hangers as they zipline over the scenery of Idaho Springs.
But rafting trips and zipline tours are just the beginning. Arkansas Valley Adventures leads all kinds of expeditions through Colorado’s mountains and valleys, tossing in ATVs, hot air balloons, helicopters, horses, and fishing rods with the paddles and ziplines. While flying down the Eagle River explorers will have plenty of chances to get in touch with their rugged side and ask ancient rock faces whether the paleo diet is an apt reflection of the habits of early humans.