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Colorado’s Motor-Free Guide to Summer

Tips & Ideas Wednesday, July 5, 2023

If you’re a Nordork by winter, odds are you’re seeking a similar summer scene—mountains, wooded trails, human-powered adventure, and cozy after-adventure hangouts. The same mountain destinations we love in winter await us in summer. Here’s your mostly quiet, motor-free adventure bucket list. 


Grand Lake

In summer you should: Rent boards and gear from Rocky Mountain SUP. Head out before noon before the wind picks up, and you’ll paddle with an insta-worthy backdrop of the peaks of Rocky Mountain National Park looming in the distance. 

A bite: The ice cream flavors at Miyauchi’s Snack Bar (right by the marina beach) inspire—think: lemon chiffon, strawberry basil, raspberry Oreo cheesecake.  


In summer you should: Head out on Lake Dillon; rent from Stand Up Paddle Colorado near the Dillon Marina, or opt-in for a hassle-free guided tour from Frisco Bay Marina.

A bite: Kick back at Pug Ryan’s Tiki bar for a waterfront seat and post-adventure piña colada. 



In summer you should: Explore the moderately challenging hike out to Lost Lake. Pack a lunch to enjoy at the lake; take the Hessie trailhead and expect some decent climbs but stellar vistas along this 4-mile out-and-back. 

A bite: Mini-donuts and a fresh cappuccino from Train Cars Coffee & Yogurt will kick-start your morning. (Hint: head out early, this trail gets multi-user busy.)


In summer you should: Hike to a ghost town. The Douglass City and Hagerman trail takes you to the Douglass City ghost town, which in the 1880s housed the railroad workers who built the Hagerman tunnel.

A bite: Grab a post-hike stack of onion rings and some pork-belly sliders at the legendary Silver Dollar Saloon. 


Winter Park

In summer you should: Rent a downhill bike package from Trestle (trust us: don’t horse it on your XC bike) and hit the lift-served gravity-fed trails for an afternoon of wild and winding single track filled with jumps, rollers, wall-rides, bridges, drops and gaps. New to downhill? An afternoon with a coach will up your game exponentially. 

A bite: Find locals and fellow riders outside Hideaway Park Brewery in town, sipping a Recreational Therapy or Dastardly. 

Crested Butte 

In summer you should: XC bike the classic 401 Loop. This 14-mile intermediate ride boasts fast single track and ridiculously lush wildflowers in June and early July; if you’re up for a shorter loop, start your ride at the turn off for Rustlers Gulch a few miles past the Judd Fall parking area. Riding from here is about 8 miles and still gets you the best part of the 401 singletrack.

A bite: Reward yourself with a marg at Bonez tequila bar & grill in town (we’re actually partial to their Herradura Paloma). 

Love your winter stomping grounds? Most Nordic guest ranches and resorts have a summer side, renting mountain bikes and e-bikes, offering trail rides, zip lining, hiking and beyond. 


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