Children run in trails marked by prehistoric footprints, and fingers run across fossils during each visit to Dinosaur Ridge, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation of ancient artifacts. Around every corner of the outdoor museum—which rests on land designated as a national natural landmark—bones and impressions protrude from their earthy abodes as evidence of the area's once larger-than-life inhabitants. Paleontologists of all ages can examine curious tracks on surrounding hiking paths, such as Triceratops Trail, or hop on a guided bus tour to examine fossil sites and valleys where brontosauruses used to question the meaning of life.
Lurking inside the visitor center is the Trek Through Time exhibit, where interactive children's games, replica fossils, and massive murals join forces to lead explorers into different prehistoric eras. In addition to its day-to-day operations, Dinosaur Ridge also plays host to various events during the year, including Boy Scout days, birthday parties, and lectures that explain how T. rex stayed humble despite his large stature.
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.
The mountain-savvy staff at Apex Ex equip people of all skill levels with the knowledge, gear, and plans necessary to explore the wilderness all year round. Seasoned guides and instructors, many of whom are trained by organizations such as the National Outdoor Leadership School and the American Mountain Guides Association, lead classes that teach students important lessons ranging from backcountry snow basics to avalanche rescue. In summer months, the experts lead guided climbing and backpacking trips and teach riders to careen down rocky paths of every sort during mountain-biking lessons.
Denver B-cycle kicks cars to the curb with an innovative bike-sharing system that allows users to reclaim the city for two-wheeled travel. Members can kiss the hassles of car traffic and regular cycle maintenance goodbye as they commute, explore, and run errands on bikes that patiently await their riders at convenient B-stations. After filling out an online profile and following the simple instructions on a station kiosk, members can unlock a one-size-fits-all steed and begin their first trip. Watch your carbon footprint shrink to the size of an infant’s pinky as you careen around town and periodically consult an online account that tracks miles logged, calories burned, and polar bears saved on each trip. When bikes have fulfilled their noble pledges, they can be left at the nearest B-station for some rest and protection before the next wearisome march to the grocery store.
Down trails covered in flat stones, across rugged dirt paths, and over rolling, pastoral hills, bikes maneuver through a variety of obstacles behind the guides of Rocky Mountain Bike Tours. The expert guides are all experienced cyclists and teachers, capable of not only finding the best trails, but instructing their charges on how best to tackle even the most technical of terrain. Rocky Mountain Bike Tours opened its doors in Park City, Utah in 2011, finding so much success that its services now encompass Colorado as well. Its guides lead half-day, full-day, and private bike tours for groups of six or fewer.
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.