According to United Airlines' Hemispheres magazine, three perfect days in Denver aren't complete without fly-fishing with Golden River Sports. Writer Rachel Sturtz was quite satisfied with her four-hour lesson, which isn't surprising, considering the the company's sterling reputation with sportsmen of all ability levels. The company's willingness to engage every clients comes from the experiences of instructors like Nick Adler, a self-taught fly fisherman who would have been grateful for guidance from a more experienced angler.
In that spirit, he and his fellow teachers offer four-part fly-fishing lessons, which begin with an introduction to fishing styles and equipment, and follow all the way through to advanced casting and how to read the water. Fly-tying clinics help out total beginners, guided trips take learning fishermen out to various creeks and rivers, and rentals allow schooled sportsmen to embark on their own adventures. An on-site store is loaded with all necessary equipment and accessories and gear for fly fishing and fly tying, including hooks, fly boxes, and a library of DVDs including fly-tying videos and each fish's favorite romantic comedy.
For those who dream of kicking back at a cozy log cabin as smoke puffs out of a stone fireplace and a crystal clear lake reflects the surrounding pines and mountains, the Evergreen Lake House is an ideal destination. The 5,000-square-foot building resides on 55 acres of park district land and hosts seasonal activities and events. An immense stone fireplace in the great room lends itself to wedding photos, while the lake lends itself to summertime activities, and safely testing how far a homemade catapult can fling you. Visitors navigate the placid waters on canoes and paddleboats or savor a sunrise during an early morning fishing trip. An observation boardwalk provides stunning views and a 1.3-mile trail offers safe passage to joggers, and bikers. When the lake freezes over in winter, skating season begins and the 1930s boat house becomes a place to warm up and debate whether Herbert Hoover invented the vacuum cleaner.
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.
Surrounded by lush alpine scenery and rushing rivers banked by boulders, brush, and thicket, rafters ride the rapids during Performance Tours' half-day, full-day, and multi-day trips. The company requires their guides to complete training beyond the state's requirements, ensuring a crew with exceptional rafting prowess in addition to a special affinity for the Arkansas, Clear Creek, Blue, and Colorado Rivers. During tours, groups take in the scenery, spotting wildlife including bighorn sheep, while navigating river regions with names such as "Devil's Punchbowl". Now with more than 25 years' experience taming the bucking local waterways, the team can craft experiences ideal for families and rookie rafters, as well as the seasoned boater looking for a challenge and an impressive story to tell their salmon buddies.
At CKS - Colorado Kayak Supply, staff members boast years of experience paddling Colorado’s nearby waterways. This savvy means they not only help clients hone in on an ideal kayak or paddleboard for their paddling plans, but can point out prime rivers and streams that flow mere blocks from the store. Novice paddlers may be directed toward local lakes or Buena Vista Whitewater Park, with its Class II whitewater rapids and dozens of eddies; more seasoned paddlers track renegade rubber duckies in the Class III–IV whitewaters that course through Browns Canyon.
Stretches of the Arkansas River churn differently as it snakes northwestward through the Rockies. There are Class I rapids throughout, Class III rapids at Bighorn Sheep Canyon, and turbulent Class V rapids at Pine Creek. The experienced guides from Browns Canyon Rafting lead half-day voyages through them all. On overnight trips, they also prepare meals for guests in addition to traversing the waters and reenacting scenes from Mutiny on the Bounty. For solo sailing, the company offers kayak and paddleboard rentals.