Spring brings many changes to Rocky Mountain National Park. As the snow melts, rivers start to churn faster, waterfalls spring back to life, and wildflowers blanket the hillsides. There’s also a better chance you’ll spot some local animals. Among them are the migratory birds and a peculiar four-wheeled creature: the bright green vehicle from Green Jeep Tours.
Green Jeep Tours' guides take groups on themed adventures through Rocky Mountain National Park, showcasing its wildlife and majestic panoramas. Their "Springtime in the Rockies" tour takes you past hillsides and steams just in time to see wildflowers blossom and migratory birds take flight. As the Jeep roams the park, experienced guides point out key sites. But groups don’t spend the entirety of these excursions inside the jeep; you can also exit the vehicle to take snap photos or hike to waterfalls.
Setting out from its base camp at Shadow Mountain Guest Ranch, the staff at High Country-Trails leads horseback riders through the mountain wilderness on excursions that range from trail rides of up to six hours to hunting trips of up to five days. On each trip, the crew leads riders to views of majestic peaks jutting high into the clouds and of crystal-clear streams rushing along forest paths. Trail rides depart the ranch and hoof it up to the top of the mountain for vistas of Grand Lake, Hot Sulphur Springs, and the clouds' Oreo cookie tops. On overnight pack trips, guides keep guests entertained by hauling camping gear through the Colorado backcountry and organizing activities for up to five days.
As the sun starts to melt last night's snowfall, cross-country skis gently glide over the freshly groomed trails of Grand Lake Nordic Center. The peaks of Rocky Mountain National Park and Arapahoe National Forest rise in the distance, with shifting views and perspectives as guests make their way through different trails. Newcomers can take a lesson in cross country skiing or snowshoeing while more advanced outdoorsmen tackle the snow enclaves of Randall's Romp or Spirits Haunt. The nearby lodge offers steaming bowls of soup, while children can take a tumble down the tubing hill or play rock-paper-scissors with a Yeti.
A rundown wooden wagon sits alone in the rough at Grand Elk Golf Club, a historic reminder of the forebears who once forged through the basin now home to the club’s 18-hole course. Though electric golf carts have since replaced Conestoga wagons as the predominant means of transportation, the site’s natural, rustic surroundings remain, treating golfers to a 360-degree panorama that showcases the Continental Divide and Rocky Mountain State Park. As players notch divots into lush fairways and putt on the soft greens with modified pool cues, they’ll follow a 7,144-yard layout drawn up by 13-time PGA Tour champion Craig Stadler and Tripp Davis. Taking inspiration from the inland courses of the British Isles, the design duo strung fairways through meadows and natural wetlands that form the headwaters of the Colorado River, all the while incorporating unique playing scenarios that challenge each golfer’s shot-making abilities.
Course at a Glance: