Colorado USA: (ZZ-MS07)
An Epic Inn-to-Inn Hiking, Mountain Biking, Whitewater Rafting, and Rock Climbing Adventure
Suited to a variety of abilities and interests, mix it up with spectacular alpine hiking, off-the-beaten-path biking, world-class rock climbing and whitewater rafting or kayaking on the mighty Colorado River. In the evenings, relax in the comfort of charming inns, dine in renowned restaurants and share stories with newfound friends.
Rocky Mountain National Park and surrounding wilderness areas are the showstoppers of the West! Emerald lakes, wildflower meadows and old growth forests complement stunning 14,000’ peaks. And the wildlife here is just as amazing! Marmot to moose and elk to bighorn sheep fill our travels as we venture well above tree line through our country’s highest national park and the most spectacular region of the Rocky Mountains.
With spectacular views of the ski area, Winter Park Mountain Lodge comes complete with hot tubs and indoor pool. Black Bear Lodge is just minutes out of Grand Lake and offers mountain and lake views. The Baldpate Inn, built in 1917 and perched on Twin Sisters Mountain at 9,000 feet, is also on the National Register of Historic Places and boasts the world s largest key collection.
Day 1 and 2: Winter Park Mountain Lodge
Day 3: Black Bear Lodge
Day 4 and 5: Baldpate Inn
Day 1. Hike Flagstaff Mountain, Winter Park Mountain Lodge Our group assembles in the sitting room of the Hotel Boulderado at 8:00 a.m. After a short orientation, we hike one of Boulder's most scenic footpaths, Gregory Canyon en route to Flagstaff Summit.. Our walk takes us into the foothills of the Rockies and along the base of the spectacular, jagged rock formations known as the Flatirons. We then proceed up Flagstaff Mountain and spectacular views of Boulder below. Welcome to the Rocky Mountains!
After a scenic shuttle into the heart of the Rocky Mountains, we arrive in the ski resort town of Winter Park for a warm-up bike ride along the river in this beautiful valley.
Our home-away-from-home for the next two nights is Winter Park Lodge, complete with the best micro brewery in town, an indoor swimming pool, two 10-person hot tubs, sauna and more!
• Gregory Canyon and Flagstaff Mountain Hike [5 miles; 1400 feet of elevation gain and loss]
• Winter Park Mountain Biking [5-10 miles of relatively flat terrain]
Day 2. Mountain Bike Winter Park, Winter Park Mountain Lodge
Indulge in a fat tire fantasy as we ride the nationally acclaimed Winter Park Mountain Bike Trail System. The area offers endless miles of designated trails, eight major loop trips and access to miles of scenic logging roads. The same trails that delight skiers in the winter become a mountain biker's summer playground. These trails are some of our favorites and a few hours spent biking here is an experience not to be forgotten. This evening relax in the pool or hot tub at our lodge or venture into town to sample some high country nightlife.
• Winter Park Mountain Biking [up to 20 miles, distances and elevation changes variable]
Day 3. Whitewater Raft the Colorado River, Black Bear Lodge
Today we switch to paddle power and head to the mighty Colorado River. This section of the Colorado winds through Lower Gore Canyon, a beautiful and remote region accessible only by boat. We grab our paddles and hop in our rafts for an exciting adventure and experience the Rockies from a very different perspective. Highlights along the river include historic cabins and natural hot springs.
• Lower Gore Canyon Rafting [Class II-III rapids]
Day 4. Hike Old Ute Trail and Drive Trail Ridge Road, Baldpate Inn
Today we hike through the fragile alpine tundra with its delicate forget-me-nots and microscopic plants. More than one-fourth of the plants located here are also found in the Arctic. Our hike ascends along the western slopes of Rocky Mountain National Park from Poudre Lake to the alpine visitor center atop Trail Ridge Road, America's highest continuous paved highway at 12,100-feet.
Descending from this "rooftop of the world" we enter Estes Park, the eastern gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park. Spend the late afternoon strolling through Estes Park’s quaint streets and shops.
Our home for the next two nights is nestled along the Peak-To-Peak Highway, one of Colorado's designated Scenic Byways. Located in this high alpine setting is our charming secluded lodge for the next two nights, the Baldpate Inn.
• Old Ute Trail from Poudre Lake [4.2 miles, 1,050 feet of elevation gain, starting at 10,758 feet of altitude]
Day 5. Rock Climb at Mary’s Lake and Hike Gem Lake, Baldpate Inn
The morning begins on the rocky ridge above Mary’s Lake, just south of Estes Park. Here we strap on a climbing harness for an introduction to the exhilarating sport of rock climbing. Under the care of expert guides, begin by learning the basics: an introduction to equipment and terminology, knot tying and belaying. After learning easy maneuvers, progresses to some basic rock climbs and possibly have an opportunity to advance to more challenging climbs.
After a hearty lunch, an afternoon hike takes us to the Lumpy Ridge section of Rocky Mountain National Park. Ascending through some of the most varied and distinctive scenery in the park, our destination is beautiful Gem Lake, set in a natural rock amphitheater. The trail affords grand views of the distant Longs Peak massif and surrounding mountains.
• Rock Climbing [½ day program]
• Gem Lake Trail Hike [4.0 miles round trip, 1,090 feet of elevation gain, then loss]
Day 6. Hike to Lake Isabelle, Boulder
After breakfast, we are off for a hike in the Indian Peaks Wilderness. Walking through a lush river valley, we pass a number of cascading streams en route to Lake Isabelle. The view from the lake is incredible, and includes Isabelle Glacier and the craggy Indian Peaks: Apache, Pawnee, Paiute, and Shoshoni. We enjoy a leisurely lunch and the high country's colorful flowers that line the lake's edge: showy daisy, alpine gentian, bistort and elephant head.
Following our hike, we shuttle to Boulder for the conclusion of our trip.
• Lake Isabelle [5 miles round trip; 700' of elevation gain, then loss]
Activities: hike (3 days), bike (1-1/2 days), raft/kayak (1 day), rock climb (1/2 day)
Rates and Dates for Colorado Rockies
Rafting, rock climbing instruction and equipment, biking instruction, T-shirt, water bottle, all meals (lunch Day 1-lunch Day 6), all accommodations (double occupancy), support vehicle, national park fees and professional guides.
Transfer and Other Options:
Transfer from Boulder
Rates do not include:
Airfare, personal insurance, miscellaneous hotel expenses (phone, fax, laundry, etc.), additional optional tours, services not specified in the tour itinerary, and guide gratuities (An appropriate gratuity to each trip leader is $75-$100 per guest).
Meeting: 8:00 a.m. at Hotel Boulderado, Boulder
Transfer: Super Shuttle from Denver to Boulder (no included)
What To Bring: