Five Great Places To Hike, Bike And Raft In Colorado This Summer

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Photo: Mount Princeton
Mt. Princeton in Colorado's Collegiate Peaks in the Sawatch Range west of the Arkansas River valley.

Where, in the gorgeous rectangle of a state called Colorado, should you go this summer? For answers, Colorado Matters host Ryan Warner turned to two seasoned magazine writers, who offered advice on where to hike, bike and raft. Daliah Singer is an editor with 5280 magazine, and freelance reporter Dan Leeth recently wrote about summer fun in Colorado AAA's Encompass magazine. We rounded up a handful of their picks into a short, but by no means all-inclusive, list to help you kickstart your summer.


  • The Perimeter Trail in Ouray: Five miles of trail provide great views of Ouray and surrounding peaks and cliffs. Begins across from the Ouray Visitors' Center on the east side of U.S. Highway 550. Parking is available behind the Visitor's Center. Boots or sturdy shoes advised.
  • Collegiate Peaks near Buena Vista: Climbing a 14,000-foot peak in Colorado is on the bucket list for many people. Two peaks in the Sawatch Range -- Mounts Princeton and Yale -- are some of the more attainable because of multiple trailheads at different elevations, allowing for shorter hikes to the top. A good launching point? Try this link to the U.S. Forest Service's Salida Ranger District.


  • Yampa River Core Trail in Steamboat Springs: The trail is a 7.5 miles, paved and open to bicycles and pedestrians. It runs through Steamboat Springs and along the river there are many sights and places worth visiting, like the Yampa River Botanic Park, six acres of gardens, ponds and sculptures. It's located downtown in Steamboat Springs and there are multiple places to hop on, as this trail map shows.
  • Glenwood Canyon Trail: This 16.3-mile trail is considered easy and, Leeth says, fun for a family of moderate bicycling skills. One way there is to travel Interstate 70 to Glenwood Springs, exiting at the U.S. Highway 82 exit. The trailhead is east of the vapor caves just past the Art Center.


  • Roaring Fork: If you'd like views of Mount Sopris or to spot the occasional bald eagle, try hitting the Roaring Fork River starting in Basalt. The Class II whitewaters are mellow enough for most rafters. At the other end is a mountain city that's packed with restaurants and shops -- Aspen.