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.
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 50 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.
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.
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.
With the lapping of river tides as its soundtrack, the state-certified guides of Breckenridge Adventure Tours lead groups during private, all-inclusive expeditions into the wild. The passion they exude is helped along by the drive of owner Eric Carlson, who has spent the better part of his life exploring the outdoors. Such know-how comes in handy on rafting adventures, such as whitewater runs atop the Colorado and Arkansas Rivers, and on fishing trips, which bend around the skills of both beginner and advanced anglers. Together, Eric and his team enrich trips with their knowledge of local history, flora, and fauna that demonstrates their vast experience and direct access to Mother Nature?s journal.
The whitewater rafting wizards and zip-line zealots at Royal Gorge safely chaperone brave outdoorsmen and women along rushing rapids and adrenaline-fueled zip-line courses. With at least four years of experience buckled behind their life preservers, expert guides provide knowledge and know-how to novice and seasoned rafters. Half-day rafting trips depart daily at 9 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. for 10-mile adventures down liquid-filled crevices lined with 1,200-feet-tall cliff faces and underneath one of the world's highest suspension bridges. Paddlers discipline class-three, -four, and -five currents for tormenting their self-bailing vessels and gossiping about them to babbling brooks. Royal Gorge provides wetsuits, helmets, life jackets, splash-jackets, and river boots for safe trips downstream, as well as a safety kayaker to help rafts through intense stretches and keep an eye out for creekside tollbooths.