Outer Edge Performance's herd of vertically inclined guides combines more than 50 years experience and multiple safety accreditations that ensure safe climbs at venues such as Boulder Canyon and Garden of the Gods. Student climbers slip on provided footwear, helmets, and harnesses before instructors spend four hours teaching small groups of five or fewer how to safely smear a slab and tame wild sediment. In addition to mastering rock faces, students build teamwork by ensuring peers' safety and double-checking their equipment. For an added challenge, ice climbers prepare to summit more slippery surfaces during the ice-climbing trip. Four hours of deft arctic instruction teach pupils to scale ice-covered terrain using specialized equipment including sharp ice axes, spiked crampons, and a pocket dictionary of yeti-speak.
Children run in trails marked by prehistoric footprints, and fingers run across fossils during each visit to Dinosaur Ridge, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation of ancient artifacts. Around every corner of the outdoor museum—which rests on land designated as a national natural landmark—bones and impressions protrude from their earthy abodes as evidence of the area's once larger-than-life inhabitants. Paleontologists of all ages can examine curious tracks on surrounding hiking paths, such as Triceratops Trail, or hop on a guided bus tour to examine fossil sites and valleys where brontosauruses used to question the meaning of life.
Lurking inside the visitor center is the Trek Through Time exhibit, where interactive children's games, replica fossils, and massive murals join forces to lead explorers into different prehistoric eras. In addition to its day-to-day operations, Dinosaur Ridge also plays host to various events during the year, including Boy Scout days, birthday parties, and lectures that explain how T. rex stayed humble despite his large stature.
Ascent Cycling is a community-focused bike shop dedicated to serving every aspect of cyclists' needs. Check up on your bi-wheeled pal after a long, rough summer with a sport tune safety overhaul. Each service session begins with a full adjustment of the drive train and brakes, ensuring chains are freed of lodged tumbleweeds and impervious to attacks from microscopic chainsaws. The skilled staff will then spot-true wheel sets so that Sunday rides and sprints across troll-guarded bridges are dependably smooth. Momentum retention and pedal-pumping efficiency will be bolstered by a safety check, while a frame wipe-down will add glistening shine to each ride.
Amid the crisp, thinning mountain air steeped in the aroma of pine trees, a single-track trail winds through a dense evergreen forest past sweeping views of the valley below. In 2005, wilderness enthusiast Stefan Van der Steen founded Denver Adventures as a means of introducing others to scenes such as this by immersing them in the great outdoors through adventures such as ziplines, hiking treks, and rafting excursions. Stefan and his team of knowledgeable guides lead groups to an elevation of 8,000 feet for zipline tours on an Association for Challenge Course Technology–certified course, where riders reach speeds up to 55 miles per hour past Colorado’s naturally blurry trees.
Denver Adventures also leads hiking, snowshoeing, and mountain-biking treks through the uneven terrain, gauging participants' skill throughout to determine whether they can traverse a steep uphill climb or do a Superman seat grab over a row of sleeping bears. Making use of all the wilderness has to offer, guides also take explorers on rafting trips through canyons and past gold mines, or train them to navigate vertical routes using top-rope techniques during five-hour rock-climbing excursions.
As the sun starts to melt last night's snowfall, cross-country skis gently glide over the freshly groomed trails of Grand Lake Nordic Center. The peaks of Rocky Mountain National Park and Arapahoe National Forest rise in the distance, with shifting views and perspectives as guests make their way through different trails. Newcomers can take a lesson in cross country skiing or snowshoeing while more advanced outdoorsmen tackle the snow enclaves of Randall's Romp or Spirits Haunt. The nearby lodge offers steaming bowls of soup, while children can take a tumble down the tubing hill or play rock-paper-scissors with a Yeti.