Lock, Load, and Linger for a While at These Eight Scenic Shooting Ranges
BY: Collin Brennan |Sep 19, 2014
While at a shooting range, most of your attention should be focused on the scope of your gun. But it’s nice to have something pretty to look at between rounds, so we’ve found eight shooting ranges that take their scenery—and their safety—seriously. Two Elk Shooting Range | Vail, CO The landscape: Green meadows in the Rocky Mountain foothills. What you’ll shoot: Self-defense and personal protection are the focus here, with a popular basic pistols class running on Mondays in the summer. Other classes teach students how to fight with knives and sticks. What you’ll do if you’re just along for the ride: Enjoy the scenery. Two Elk Shooting Range has been revitalized into one of the most beautiful in the country, and the Minturn Shooter Association hosts a monthly cleanup on the first Saturday of each month (9 a.m. to noon) to keep it that way. Family Shooting Center at Cherry Creek State Park | Aurora, CO The landscape: A sprawling prairie, framed by the distant Rockies. What you’ll shoot: If you have a penchant for American history, ask the staff about shooting a vintage machine gun that dates all the way back to World War I. What you’ll do if you’re just along for the ride: Head due north toward the Cherry Creek Reservoir. Chances are, you’ll come across one or a few of the 40 different mammal species (including mule deer, coyotes, and prairie dogs) that inhabit the park. Josephine County Sportsman Association Gun Range | Grants Pass, OR The landscape: 320 acres of coniferous parkland, nestled in the shadow of Walker Mountain. What you’ll shoot: Take your pick. The range features 10 shooting ranges (three for archery, three for rifles, and two for pistols, plus an indoor range). What you’ll do if you’re just along for the ride: The park has a picnic and pond area for families to enjoy after firing off some rounds. Bring your own food to grill on the outdoor barbecue. Los Altos Rod and Gun Club | Los Gatos, CA photo by David Sawyer via Flickr The landscape: Northern California coastal forest in the Santa Cruz mountains. What you’ll shoot: Rifles and pistols. There’s also an area to try out manual and electric traps. What you’ll do if you’re just along for the ride: Make a lunch at the scenic picnic area. Just remember to check the forecast—the weather on the range typically varies from the rest of the Santa Clara Valley. Seven Devils Lodge Shooting Range | Council, ID The landscape: Lush, verdant forests and meadows on all sides. What you’ll shoot: Shotgun, pistols, or rifles. Perfect for first-time shooters, instructors are present at all times to teach proper safety, including how to correctly hold any of the aforementioned firearms. What you’ll do if you’re just along for the ride: Depending on the time of year, popular activities include horseback riding, archery, fishing, hiking, and even snowmobiling. Casa Grande Trap Club | Casa Grande, AZ The landscape: Wide-open skies and vast desert expanses. This is Arizona, after all. What you’ll shoot: Shotguns. Lots of shotguns. What you’ll do if you’re just along for the ride: There’s an RV park located on the premises, and anyone who stays overnight can wake up early to the sun rising over Casa Grande Mountain. Stellar Adventures Shooting Experience | Scottsdale, AZ The landscape: Cactuses and tumbleweeds. If you’re looking for that Old West vibe, you’ve found the place. What you’ll shoot: After a safety debriefing, each shooter fires a full 15-round magazine from the Glock 9mm handgun. If that’s not enough to get your heart racing, firing 30 rounds from an AK-47 will probably do the trick. What you’ll do if you’re just along for the ride: Stellar Adventures also offers off-road tours of the Sonoran landscape in Hummers, ATVs, and similarly rugged vehicles. Koko Head Shooting Complex | Honolulu, HI The landscape: The island of Oahu is a tropical paradise that’s so breathtakingly gorgeous, you almost won’t want to shoot bullets at it. Almost. What you’ll shoot: Rifles and pistols, for the most part. There’s also an unmanned archery range. What you’ll do if you’re just along for the ride: Well, you’re already in Hawaii, so you must be doing something right. We’ll let you take it from here. Check Groupon for deals on shooting ranges in your area, and always follow the proper safety procedures when it comes to firearms. Photos: unless otherwise noted, photos courtesy of the ranges.