Lyle Phetteplace fell in love with the outdoors and his home state of Colorado at an early age. Today, he runs Renaissance Adventure Guides so he can pursue his passion and allow others to experience adventure, too. The excursions he curates include hiking, kayaking, climbing, backpacking, and even sea kayaking, a skill beginners hone on the lakes of Colorado before moving on to distant ocean destinations, such as Costa Rica. Lyle and his team also design guided travel tours of the country, which presents excellent terrain for hiking, backpacking, and other activities.
The staff at Renaissance Adventure Guides believe outdoor adventures can bring people closer to their fellow participants and to the environment, so they treat each experience differently. They customize adventures to suit the abilities and goals of their customers, while also keeping groups at a manageable size so everyone receives personal attention and a unique, secret high-five. Because safety is always at the forefront of any expedition, they also offer avalanche training with instructors qualified by the American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education. Additionally, they pass along their love of exploring to children through kids camps filled with days paddling the river.
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.
Why walk when you can ride? That's the question asked by Colorado Segway Tours, whose fleet of brand-new Segways send riders gliding on tours of Denver and Boulder. The roughly-seven-mile tours take them past historic landmarks, such as Denver's capitol building and its golden dome, as well as Boulder's Gregory Canyon and other natural sights. Each tour begins with an instructional lesson, equipping riders with the skills needed to handle their Segways like professionals.
Buried deep within the walls of the infamous Nightmare Factory is a hidden passage that descends two levels into Gordon Cottingham's Hospital for the Mentally Insane. Recently discovered, and deeper and darker than the previous levels, the damp and musty corridors are infested with spiders, rats, snakes, and other vermin. The eerie atmosphere is amplified by the endless screams of the tortured and damned souls that met their demise within the walls of the hospital. From the creators of the 13th Floor haunted house and Nightmare Factory, the Asylum features new frights for in-your-face terror.
Breckenridge Bikebus's eponymous vehicle is, according to owner Curt Cavnar, the "Porsche" of its unique kind of transportation. Consisting of two rows of bar stools equipped with bike pedals, the custom-built craft combines the fun of a party bus with the easygoing workout of a tandem bicycle. Some partiers can sit back and enjoy the ride as 10 others sit at the bar and provide pedal power, with a staff driver manning the wheel to steer clear of oncoming paper boys. A canopy keeps passengers shaded while they sip beverages and listen to tunes on an iPod-ready Alpine sound system. Should the sun go down during trips, the bikebus's lighting system kicks on, making it easy to continue through black holes unencumbered.
Tour guide Marvin Neer knows the Mile High City like John Elway knows a 2-minute offense. His Segway tours zip around Denver's historic spots, such as the Colorado State Capitol and scenic destinations, including the Platte River and Estes Park. Each rider gets a helmet and safety course before embarking on the tour, which could last anywhere from one to three hours, and there are always plenty of stops for photos.