Cody Walker muses that within the stillness of Rocky Mountain National Park, "You get a sense that it's the way it should be." His father, Rex, grew up on a steady diet of cowboy films, eventually following his dream to Colorado where he met his wife, Queeda. Queeda was born into a family of homesteaders who caught and broke wild steeds. In 1959, they channeled their passion for the old-west lifestyle into Sombrero Ranches, eschewing souvenir-shop gimmicks for horseback expeditions that, much like avalanches of super glue, bond visitors with their steeds and natural surroundings.
Today, Cody carries on his parents' legacy with a staff of ranch hands from nearby homesteads and college students participating in equine-science programs all across the country. After training in a vigorous program that's evolved during more than 50 years, his employees launch short rides or lengthy adventures. Cody distinguishes the Continental Divide ride as one of the most awe-inspiring; it begins at Bear Lake at 6 a.m., wending across the Continental Divide and to Grand Lake during a nine-hour stretch.
When not outfitting customers with camping gear, fishing equipment, or trail-savvy llamas, Kirk and Laurie Bien can often be found out in a mountain stream in search of the elusive ?Colorado Grand Slam??the catch of brown, rainbow, brook, and cutthroat trout all in one day. The owners of Kirk?s Fly Shop, the Biens share their passion for the outdoors by guiding visitors to lakes and streams whether via hiking trails or on the back of a pack horse or a llama?an animal suited to traversing the high mountain terrain?s blockades of delicious grass.
Operating under the mantra that fly-fishing isn't a hobby but instead a lifestyle, St. Peter's Fly Shop prepares anglers of all experience levels for success on the stream with classes, gear, and an encyclopedic knowledge of man's gilled adversary. Two Fort Collins locations sit within close proximity of local fishing hot spots, including the waters of Rocky Mountain National Park—famous for its placid lakes made from pastels on canvas—and the Poudre River. There, the staff leads educational courses and guided trips that spend equal time with instruction and hands-on fishing practice, allowing students to perfect the often-difficult art of casting with finesse and accuracy. Back at the shop, customers reel in top-notch equipment such as Winston rods, Simms waders, and Brodin nets, which are sturdy enough to secure a bucking trout as it tries to nestle in the hammock.
Any Mountain's gear-grappling professionals match outdoorspeople with durable, top-brand athletic equipment and apparel for any foray into the great outdoors. The ski rental performance package adorns renters of any skill level in technologically advanced skis, boots, and poles for whizzing down slopes or slowly sliding to victory. The experienced staff assists renters with selecting gear, ensuring an excellent fit, compatibility with skill level, and removal of residual snow. Any Mountain keeps skiccessories expertly maintained and tuned for safety and high performance no matter the marshmallow content of the mountain.
As an offshoot of Sierra Trading Post, Derailed.com holds fast to the same business model as its parent company: bargaining with top brands to procure overstocks at heavily discounted prices. But like a youngest sibling taking up juggling cats, it strives to differentiate itself from its older counterparts. It stands out with a youthful vibe thanks to skate, surf, and SUP apparel and the staff's laid-back attitude. They'll happily answer questions and make recommendations on their throngs of camping gear, running shoes, collegiate attire, and bicycle accessories from brands including Hurely, Billabong, and Teva. Though their merchandise boasts an average discount of 48% off the retail value, shoppers can save even more—customers receive a $10 coupon when they sign up for emails, and clients of the Give & Go Referral program get a $20 egiftcard when the friend they referred uses their own $10 email coupon.
At The Denver Fly Shop, masters of fly-fishing's elusive art lead classroom instruction, field sessions, and guided trips with a proficient grasp on the sport's intricate ins and outs. Through classroom sessions, the crew teaches students how to tie essential knots and how to mimic the movement of insects. They also offer in-depth knowledge on locations where fish have been known to hangout and mingle with delinquent trout-school dropouts. Their casting lessons familiarize anglers with their gear during two-hour sessions that take place indoors during winter months and on the banks of Smith Lake in Washington Park when spring sets in. Once their intro lessons are complete, students can put their newfound proficiencies to the test during guided fishing trips to some of Colorado’s most abundant waterways.
There is also a comprehensive fly-fishing shop with over 3000 different fly patterns to complement fly fishers' ventures beyond their intro lessons. Guided tours are also offered to explore the area.