Varied terrain attracts bold outdoors enthusiasts, and genteel towns are tucked among the craggy cliffs for those seeking quieter pursuits. Whatever your choice, the northwest region's more remote location and mountain-dominated landscape give it a largely undiscovered feel, and many of the activities lack the crowds and frenzy attached to those in more heavily populated areas.
Adventures in these far-western and northern regions of the state might range from a bone-jarring mountain-bike ride on Kokopelli’s Trail—a 142-mile route through remote desert sandstone and shale canyon from Grand Junction to Moab—to a heart-pounding raft trip down the Green River, where Major John Wesley Powell made his epic exploration of this continent's last uncharted wilderness in 1869. Colorado National Monument and Dinosaur National Monument have endless opportunities for hiking. For the less adventurous, a visit to the wine country makes for a relaxing afternoon, or try your hand at excavating prehistoric bones from a dinosaur quarry. Rich in more recent history as well, the area is home to the Museum of Western Colorado and Escalante Canyon, named after Spanish missionary explorer Francisco Silvestre Velez de Escalante, who with Father Francisco Atanasio Dominguez led an expedition through the area in 1776.
Farther east, flanked by mountains with some of the softest snow in the world, even the cowboys don skis. Steamboat Springs is Colorado at its most authentic, where hay bales and cattle crowd pastures, McMansions are regarded with disdain, high-schoolers compete in local rodeos, deer hang from front porches during hunting season, and high fashion means clean jeans. Steamboat Ski Resort has none of the pretensions of the glitzier Colorado resorts.
Even the less visited corners of the region have plenty of cultural opportunities for those willing to seek them out. Dotting the area are art galleries, antiques shops, and many small eateries with alfresco seating. People are friendly and share plenty of tourist tips just for the asking. As for quirky festivals, you might have a hard time choosing between the Olathe Sweet Corn Festival, Country Jam, or the Mike the Headless Chicken Festival. The laid-back lifestyle here is the perfect example to follow—chill out and explore the region at your own pace.