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.
In 1912, a group of 25 mountain enthusiasts founded Colorado Mountain Club (CMC). The group included several prominent naturalists, such as Enos Mills, who helped found Rocky Mountain National Park; Roger Toll, who was superintendent of Yellowstone, Rocky Mountain, and Mount Rainier National Parks; and Carl Blaurock, who climbed all of Colorado’s 14,000-foot peaks. The club's first members volunteered at schools and advocated for environmental issues, aiming to raise awareness about the Colorado mountains through art, science, literature, and recreation, and seeking to preserve the alpine region.
Today, CMC continues to challenge its members and the community with a variety of events ranging from adventure travel and service projects to concerts and educational lectures. School groups participate in mountain-climbing field trips, and members network at annual dinners and outdoor excursions. The club's adventure trips explore the greatest natural sites of the world, taking participants up the slopes of Kilimanjaro, down the rapids of the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon, and through the historical cities of Russia.
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.
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.
Denver Bouldering Club supports and enhances the climbing community via instructional opportunities, top-notch facilities, and community support. Learn to scale mountains and properly high-five colored stones in an Introduction to Climbing workshop ($30) that teaches different styles of climbing. In two hours, rock mounters will learn the history and basics of climbing as they ascend to a new plateau of understanding and embrace the yeti of knowledge. Like the seating capacity of most clown cars, workshops are capped at 15 people. Students can use their guest passes during open-house hours Tuesday nights or at other prearranged times to practice what they learn on the club's more than 1,500 square feet of climbing space, featuring 15-foot bouldering and easy-, medium-, and hard-route settings designed with more than 100 problems.