Climbing in Ken Caryl

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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.

26267 Conifer Rd.
Conifer,
CO
US

You might be inclined to find the smallest pumpkin available at The Great Pumpkin Haul's patch. That's because you won't just be taking this pumpkin home to carve it into a ghoulish mascot; you'll also be lugging it through a 2-mile obstacle course. Racers balance their chosen gourd on their shoulders as they trundle through corn fields, orange- and red-hued woody trails, and open pasture, all while scrambling over hay bales and other autumnal obstacles. While the race is only 2 miles long, it can be challenging when balancing a 10–20 pound pumpkin. That's why the staff awards such perseverance with prizes for those carrying the heaviest pumpkin, those daring to carry two pumpkins, and those who complete the race fastest.

After competitors cross the finish line, they're rewarded with mugs of warm apple cider and glasses of pumpkin beer. They're also welcome to hang out for a few hours to tackle the corn maze, revel in the brisk autumn weather, and groove to local music. All of the day's proceeds go to The Children's Hospital Colorado.

When the festivities wind down, guests can take their once burdensome pumpkin home to carve it into a jack-o-lantern while feeling the sweet, sweet release of revenge.

8500 West Deer Creek Canyon Road
Littleton,
CO
US

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.

1500 Pennsylvania Street
Denver,
CO
US

Hosted at a variety of local venues, Bottle and Bottega's public, private, corporate, and kids’ painting parties provide painting materials and expert guidance to foster participants’ creativity. With at least one artistic instructor per 15 students, themed session revolve around recreating an original artwork, featuring subject matter such as sunset skylines, floral still lifes, and portraits of Dorian Gray's cat. Bottle and Bottega's host of painting packages include add-ons such as catering, cooking lessons, wine tasting, live models, and personalized party decorations.

1660 Champa Street
Denver,
CO
US

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.

431 Chicago Creek Road
Idaho Springs,
CO
US

Children and teens engage their imaginations during dynamic adventures set in a fantastical time filled with dashing knights questing in the name of good. Groups of four to seven young heroes must overcome challenging puzzles and duel with foam swords as they work together to complete tasks such as saving their village, solving a mystery, or developing the technique of crop rotation. While swinging a Swasher sword, children learn how to compete and act fairly according to the rules of swordplay. The interactive play teaches kids creative problem solving and conflict-resolution skills that incorporate negotiation and compromises to solve complex disputes.

1360 Gillaspie Drive
Boulder,
CO
US