Colorado has a landscape that is not only great to look at, it simply begs to be explored. The region offers towering mountains that need to be hiked, myriad rivers that wink at white water rafters, vast canyons and caves that that call out to the curious. Think of Colorado as an extreme adventure playground for anyone up for the challenge. So summon up your inner dare-devil and check out our list of six heart thumping activities – if you dare.
During the winter season (which generally ends in the last week of April), many Colorado rock climbers turn to ice climbing, where they use sharp picks and footwear to ascend frozen waterfalls. The sport is particularly popular in Ouray, which is home to the world’s first official ice park. This man-made ice park offers over 200 ice and mixed climbs. Be warned: you to be fit, have plenty of stamina and well trained as this will challenge your endurance levels.
Uphill skiing may sounds like hard work and that’s because it is. This involves skiers using special skins on the bottom of their skis, which allows them to hike up the mountains before descending the slopes. It is an intense workout but is popular with locals at various resorts across Colorado but especially Aspen Snowmass. You can join residents who wake up before sunrise to uphill ski before the lifts open.www.aspensnowmass.com
Fat biking refers to the size of the wheels, not the riders. The bikes come with tyres that are between 4–5 inches thick so that they are able tackle snowy trails. The width of the tyres allows the bikes to glide across the snow with ease, allowing riders to cycle in weather conditions a regular road bike cannot.
One of the state’s best fat biking spots is Leadville where multiple trails vary in length and difficult. Bear in mind though that you will need a lot of puff regardless of which trail you use. Leadville is Colorado’s second highest city at 10,150 feet tall, so the thin air makes for a challenging experience. Across the mountains, Crested Butte hosted the Borealis Fat Bike World Championships in January 2019. www.leadville.com
White Water Rafting
Colorado’s rivers and climate make for superb white water rafting conditions, particularly in spring once the snow has melted away. All ages and abilities can take part but those really seeking a challenge can head to the Arkansas River, which offers some of the most advanced rapids in the state. Visitors can also join rafting trips which finish with riverside camping beneath the stars. www.colorado.com/activities/colorado-rafting
There are seven mountain ranges, four national parks and 41 state parks in Colorado which provide ample opportunities for hiking. One hike which stands out against them all is the Via Ferrata in Telluride, where travellers are suspended 500 feet above the ground to scale a giant cliff face. The trail is two and a half miles long and its most exposed section, aptly titled the Main Event, involves hikers navigating narrow iron pegs that extend from the cliff face. The hike can be tackled alone or with a guide. www.telluride.com
A desert landscape isn’t usually something people would associate with Colorado but the Great Sand Dunes National Park provides exactly that. There are over 40,000 acres of sand dunes at the park, which are framed by contrasting, snow-capped mountains in the distance. Thrill-seekers can try their hand at sandboarding on the dunes, the highest of which reaches an impressive 750 feet. After a day sandboarding, the dunes are a great place to watch the sunset. www.nps.gov/grsa/index.htm
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