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Plan Your Rockies Near Denver Vacation

If you ever wondered why folks living along the Front Range—as the area west of Denver and east of the Continental Divide is known—continually brag about their lifestyles, you need only look at the western horizon where the peaks of snowcapped Rocky Mountains rise just a 35-minute drive from downtown. For those drawn to the Front Range, a morning workout might mean an hour-long single-track mountain-bike ride at Winter Park, a half-hour kayak session in Golden's Clear Creek, or a 40-minute hike in Mount Falcon Park.

The allure of this area, which rises from the red-rock foothills cloaked in lodgepole pine and white-barked aspens to the steep mountainsides draped with the occasional summer snowfields, has brought increasing recreational pressures as mountain bikers, equestrians, hikers, dog lovers, hunters, and conservationists all vie for real estate that is increasingly gobbled up by McMansion sprawl. On the Front Range the days of the elitist "Native" bumper stickers are long since gone; almost everyone here is from somewhere else. Finding an outdoor paddling, climbing, or skiing partner is about as difficult as saying hello to the next person you meet on the trail.

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Top Reasons To Go

  1. Explore the Rockies This section of mountains butts up against the Denver metro area, so it's easy to explore interesting towns and enjoy the mountain lifestyle.
  2. Hit the slopes at Winter Park Resort There's a blocked-off area for beginners, an outstanding children's program, and chutes and in-bounds off piste–style terrain for experts.
  3. Ride the Georgetown Loop Railroad Peering out the window at the raw, steep mountainside and the rickety trestle bridge on the vintage train ride from Georgetown to Silverplume provides an eye-opening lesson in 1800s transportation.
  4. Tour the MillerCoors Brewery An entertaining (and free) tour ends in a sudsy stop at the end for an informal tasting. You'll see the steeping, roasting, and milling of the barley, then tour the Brew House where the "malt mash" is cooked in massive copper kettles.
  5. Explore Mount Evans The highest paved road in the United States leads to the summit of 14,264-foot-high Mount Evans, and you can drive or bike nearly to the top or hike as much or as little of it as you like, passing mountain goats, bighorn sheep, and other animals along the way.

When To Go

When to Go

Summers are hot in the city, but when you go higher up in the Front Range the days may be warm but the nights are cool. It's a time of year...

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