Today, Challenge Unlimited captains biking and hiking tours all over the globe, from the vineyards of Tuscany to the Incan towns of Peru. More than two decades ago, however, the business was simply known in Colorado for its signature Pikes Peak by Bike tour. During this 20-mile excursion, guides and up to 35 followers descend 20 miles from a summit of 14,110 feet, infiltrating five zones with distinct climates, plant life, animals, and altitude-based baking methods. Riders often encounter eagles, deer, elk, and even the occasional mountain lion or black bear along the way. Guides can also escort Colorado's athletes across the Gold Camp Road—a 17-mile railroad bed once rattling with railcars filled with gold—and through breathtaking Aspen groves. Pit stops are made over the course of three nights and four days at the Victorian Hotel and a nearby dude ranch. Beyond domestic borders, international trips explore Nepal's Annapurna Foothill on foot and the bustling pubs and haunts of Ireland by bike or skateboards strapped to sprinting leprechauns.
At 6,531 feet above sea level, Security Service Field is the highest professional ballpark in the United States. It was built in 1988 on the edge of Colorado Springs, and, in August 2012, it welcomed its six millionth fan through the turnstiles. This feat of fandom was but a dream in 1903, though, when the Sky Sox—then the Sacramento Solons—became a charter member of the Pacific Coast League. In 1961, the Solons became the Islanders and relocated to Honolulu, where the franchise remained until 1988, the year it finally moved to Colorado, and the year Pikes Peak began mysteriously sprouting foul poles. Upon arriving in its new city, the franchise adopted the Sky Sox moniker—a tip of the cap to the Sky Sox of the 1950s, who played in the Western League as an affiliate of the Chicago White Sox. The modern-day Sky Sox have been the Triple-A affiliate of the Colorado Rockies since 1993, and in 2011, the team earned the nod as Triple-A Organization of the Year courtesy of Baseball America.
Thanks to its impressive selection of varietals from more than 95 local wineries, The Wines of Colorado has been lauded as "one of the most unique wine shops in the country" by Wine Trail Traveler and featured in the Wall Street Journal. Inside, a mural of larger-than-life bottles lines one wall, and an adjacent room houses an expansive tasting counter that stocks a lineup of bottles filled with Colorado reds and whites, which are often compared to Californian vinos. Their food has received it?s fair share of recognition as well, earning numerous awards, including Best Creekside Dining from the Gazette in 2010 and 2011. The chefs sizzle up signature buffalo wine burgers and creamy dill mahi-mahi, which guests can enjoy on the pine-tree-lined outdoor patio as they sip wine mere steps away from the burbling Fountain Creek.
John McDonough has spent his life rising to meet outdoor challenges. Years ago he began traveling the globe as a skier and rock climber, finding adventure and challenges on faraway mountains and snowy cliffs. After more than two decades on skis and 15 years scaling rocks, the AMGA Certified Single-Pitch Instructor??who once accompanied an inspiring group of blind climbers on a trip??now operates First Ascent Mountain School. The gig comes with the daily pleasure of watching beginners submit to the powerful sense of awe and accomplishment that comes with mountaineering. As First Ascent's founding director, John has assembled a small band of professional mountain guides who shared his zeal for nature and teaching. The crew touts a penchant for making the sometimes-intimidating activities of rock-terrain climbing and snowshoeing accessible to anyone who is interested.
The guides of Adventures Out West?currently celebrating its 40th year of tours?have created scenic jaunts through Colorado and Arizona that deposit participants directly into the most beautiful parts of the local geography. Whether taking a segway tour or a jeep tour with knowledgeable guides, soaring over snowcapped mountains from the basket of a hot-air balloon or ziplining over lush forested cliffs, patrons get a chance to interact firsthand with all of nature's local sights, sounds, and whoopee-cushion gags.
A bright-yellow, 16-headed creature has been spotted roaming the Colorado landscape. Fortunately, though, all of these heads are separate. Custom-built in the Netherlands, MyHandleBar is a fully pedal-powered bar bike with ample seating for 16 passengers and one designated driver. The project was the brainchild of Colorado-born entrepreneur and philanthropist Theresa Preston, who wanted to share her love of cycling through Colorado's cities with others. MyHandleBar pushes that dream into reality with regular tours through the streets of Boulder, Colorado Springs, and Fort Collins, each of which makes several stops at local bars and landmarks.