It’s on: Our wanderlust is on overdrive, rebound travel is in full swing and we’re itching for somewhere to stretch our legs and play. Whether you head up for the day, stay overnight or make it a weekend, these three active itineraries will inspire you to head for the hills and beat the crowds.
Ride the Range: Grand County and beyond
Breakfast: Hit the road bright and early and roll over Berthoud pass and into Winter Park just in time for breakfast. Locals love Wake n Bacon for fresh donuts, their delish avocado toast and signature bacon.
Play: Time to saddle up and take in the wide open spaces on horseback. In summer, YMCA/Snow Mountain Ranch and Devil’s Thumb Ranch offer trail ride adventures. Note: Trail rides are for YMCA/Snow Mountain Ranch lodging guests only this summer, so stay awhile and book a room.
Lunch: Grab a bite onsite at either ranch, or swing out to Fraser for a cold beer at Camber Brewing Co. and a BBQ pulled pork cake with pickled onion or parmesan herb butter wings at their partner food truck, the Bees Knees.
Soak: Wash off the trail dust and enjoy a dip in natural hot springs at Hot Sulphur Springs resort; there are plenty of smaller pools for privacy and social distancing.
Dinner: Wander over to The Dean Public House just up the road from the hot springs, and indulge in one of their craft cocktails and New American–style comfort food menu.
Stay awhile: Book a ranch vacation to linger longer in the high country on horseback. These beloved Nordic destination guest ranches have a glorious summer side as well: Latigo Ranch, Devil’s Thumb Ranch, Vista Verde Ranch and more all offer multi-day stays.
Get Away from It All: Leadville
Breakfast: Settle in for some good eats at the Silver Llama in Leadville; try the sweet French toast, made with brioche, or the savory version, made with rosemary olive oil bread, chevre, and fig preserves.
Play: Head out for a brisk day hike on Hope Pass (part of the infamous Leadville 100 route).
Lunch: Grab a pizza at Leadville’s tiny High Mountain Pies—there are only a few tables, but the pizza is worth the wait. Expect creative specialty pizzas like the Blue Martin, a mix of jerk chicken, sweet potato, scallions and mozzarella on a garlic-olive oil base.
Chill: Paddle a board or kayak on Twin or Turquoise lakes in the late afternoon sun.
Dinner: Make a reservation for an unforgettable meal at the Tennessee Pass Cookhouse — they’ll issue you a headlamp so you can hike in and out to dinner at a cozy backcountry yurt. But only the setting is rustic—you’ll dine in style with a four-course menu including dishes like Colorado lamb or roasted pheasant.
Stay Awhile: Book one of the Tennessee Pass sleep yurts for night of glamping under the stars; the yurts are cozied up with log beds, down comforters, a kitchenette, and complimentary hot chocolate and coffee.
Roll With It: Frisco
Breakfast: Line up early for a seat at the popular Butterhorn Bakery Cafe in Frisco—locals love their Eggs Butterhorn, two poached eggs on a freshly baked croissant with Canadian bacon and fresh avocado.
Play: Rent a downhill bike and grab a one-day lift ticket at Keystone’s bike park. Their progression-focused terrain welcomes riders of all abilities, from the base-area skills park to technical rock gardens, drops, and high-speed features.
Lunch: Grab a light lunch onsite at the historic Keystone Ranch, housed in the original log homestead building.
Chill: Enjoy a mellow hike up to Lily Pad Lake (about 90 minutes. 3.2 miles out and back) ; the trail dodges in and out of shady forests and ends at the namesake lake at the top.
Dinner: Head for a bite in Frisco to the Silverheels Grill for Thai-style mussels or the blue cheese burger.
Stay Awhile: You can enjoy mountain-side hospitality and flexible booking at Keystone Resort, or head into town to The Frisco lodge is a small and welcoming circa 1880 B&B where you can dodge the crowds but still be close to the action on Main Street.