Public Library Card in Colorado Offers Hiking Perks

When it comes to Colorado’s great outdoors, the Mesa County Public Libraries are here to help connect you to local scenic hiking trails at no cost. Bob Kretschman, Public Information Manager of the Mesa County Public Libraries said, “With a library card you can do a lot more than just check out books. This parks pass program lets you actually get out and...

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Spruce beetle infestation crosses Continental Divide

The devastating spruce beetle infestation in the San Juan Mountains has crossed the Continental Divide, and within the next few years, will spread into the high country around Durango and Silverton, leaving in its wake an expanse of dead trees. “I tell people all the time: you need to get up there before it starts to look different,” said Kent Grant, a Durango-based...

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Hiking in Snowmass provides solitude and views that canʹt be beat

Hikers who are looking for a pleasant jaunt in the woods, a steady climb that alternates between patches of forest and open, flower-choked meadows and slogs through dark timber have it all in their backyard in Aspen’s Snowmass Village. The town has done a good job over the years of creating an extensive trail system that now boasts 26 miles of natural-surface...

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Biking, hiking contribute $1.6 billion to Colorado’s economy

Biking generates a $1.1 billion annual economic impact in Colorado, in addition to $511 million in health benefits that include the prevention of about 50 deaths every year, according to a new study done for the state. Also, walking generates an additional $497 million economic impact and saves some 285 more lives every year from people who use it to enhance their...

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Hiking in Canyons of the Ancients National Monument

Located in Canyons of the Ancients National Monument a dozen miles west of Cortez, CO the Sand Canyon Trail accesses an array of small ruins deserted by the Ancestral Puebloans centuries ago. It’s a combined-use trail with hikers, mountain bikers and horseback riders welcome. Color-coded diamonds mark the route and “You Are Here” signs display maps at trail junctions....

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Autumn Drive from New Mexico to Colorado – A Photo Essay

The final day of our recent trip to New Mexico, my brother Dave and I returned to his home in Colorado. Along the way we stopped for some sight seeing in Los Alamos, NM, Pagosa Springs, CO and near Leadville, CO. When we originally left Colorado a few days before, the weather had been summer-like, and we had enjoyed the turning of the aspen trees to their brilliant...

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Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado

Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve protects the tallest sand dunes in North America, and a whole lot more. From the San Luis Valley floor to the crest of the 13,000 foot peaks in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains — the park and preserve contains ecosystems ranging from sand sheet to dunes to tundra — each supporting specially adapted plant, animal and...

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County Road 2 from Hoosier Pass, Pike National Forest

There’s a reason they call it Summit County. An old mining road climbs from Hoosier Pass above 12,000 feet and is surrounded by several of Colorado’s famous fourteeners. The first half of the road meanders through a spruce and fir forest with occasional views of the massive mountains that envelop the region. The rest of the way is above treeline, offering...

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Shrine Ridge Trail, White River National Forest

Fog and low-lying mist is very common in the Southern Appalachians. It is a product of the rainforest effect. Fog is highly unusual in the Rocky Mountains, but that’s what greeted Dave and I as we hit the trailhead to climb Shrine Ridge. It was somewhat of a dreary, forlorn scene as we walked from mountain bog to spruce forest to high meadow on our way to the...

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Spraddle Creek Trail, White River National Forest

The U.S. Forest Service has done a nice job of building trails up the watersheds that drain into the Town of Vail. Included among these is Spraddle Creek, located across I-70 from Vail Village. The reward at the top of the ridge is a mountain meadow that overlooks Vail, Beaver Creek ski mountain, and the Holy Cross Wilderness far, far away. Hike in late September for an...

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Magical hiking trail in the Colorado High Country

In the mountains near Breckenridge, CO where the trees grow tall is a village where the houses are very, very small. It’s called the Fairy Forest. It’s on a trail that can be a really good time. There are dozens and dozens of houses, some with a pool. The trail steps lead to a more magical moment that only a fairy village brings full of happy fairy things. There is even...

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Aspen a base for changing attitude about altitude

Just sleeping at altitude will help you acclimate, as more time in the area will leave you better prepared, regardless of your fitness level. But the best way to make the most of your high-altitude adventure vacation is to plan excursions that progressively take you higher over the days of your trip. “Progression makes the altitude less shocking on your...

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Rocky Flats: A Wildlife Refuge Confronts its Radioactive Past

A barn owl bursts from the tall prairie grasses. Elk skitter among cottonwood trees near an old stagecoach halt. A shrew crosses a track and hurtles into milkweed, where monarch butterflies feed. Somewhere amid the rare xeric grasses are coyotes, moose, mule deer, a handful of endangered Preble’s meadow jumping mice, and more than 600 plant species....

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Colorado’s Mount Audubon Trail

Thanks to its position east of the Continental Divide, this gentle thirteener has incredible vistas of snow-capped peaks rising above wildflower-filled tundra. Colorado’s fourteeners get a lot of acclaim. But hikers shouldn’t overlook the state’s gorgeous (yet still strenuous) 13,000-foot peaks. Take the easily accessible, 13,223-foot Mount Audubon,...

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Best places in Summit County, Colorado to view summer wildflowers

Wildflowers are all over the Rocky Mountains right now, but some places in Summit County, COlorado are better than others if you want to get your flower fix this season. Mid- to late July is usually the best time to see blooms in all of the High Country areas. In forests, look for wild roses, yellow arnica and fairy slipper orchids, and in wet areas find tall chiming...

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Raising money with safe hiking cards

Purchasing a Colorado outdoor recreation search and rescue card could help anyone in need get rescued as quickly as possible. A CORSAR card helps fund search and rescue teams for costs they spend during a mission. Search and rescue teams are made up of volunteers and the funds from a CORSAR card helps pay for their training and equipment. Colorado residents and visitors...

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Which one of Colorado’s treasured landscapes could stage the next chapter of conservation?

Flowing from the top of the Rockies to the Mississippi River, the Arkansas River is one of America’s mighty river systems. Its headwaters make up an ecological wonderland and a recreational hotspot, cutting through rugged canyon country full of hair-raising land features like rock hoodoos and rough crags. This breathtaking Colorado landscape could be protected for future...

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Hiking with Your Dog in Northern Colorado

Hiking Horsetooth Rock is a rite of passage for northern Colorado residents, and it’s especially spectacular at sunrise. The wind was fairly calm that morning, but it can be gale force – so make sure to have layers with you. There were only four other people up there for sunrise, and no other dogs. Getting down Horsetooth with a 75-pound dog is much more difficult than...

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Colorado hiking trail closed because too many people are taking selfies with bears

Waterton Canyon, near Denver, is closed because of bear activity. The popular trail was closed Aug. 28, 2015 because two momma bears, each with twin cubs, and other bears were actively foraging in the canyon. Part of the problem is not the bears, but people trying to get the perfect picture of them. “We’ve actually seen people using selfie sticks to try and get as...

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EPA is not the root cause + 8 other things to know about the Animas River Spill

On a scorcher of an August afternoon, a crowd gathered on a bridge over the deep-green waters of the Animas River on the north end of Durango, Colorado. A passerby might have thought they were watching a sporting event, perhaps a kayak race or a flotilla of inebriated, scantily clad inner tubers. Yet the river that afternoon was eerily empty of rowers, paddlers or...

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Get Your Kids Hiking by Taking a Llama to Lunch

Any parent who hikes with young kids is bound to hear a fair share of whining. “Why do we have to hike?” or “This is hard!” And the most common, “How much faaaaarther?” But worry not, dear parents. Paragon Guides near Vail, Colo., offers a fun remedy to prevent such protests: Take a llama to lunch. This half-day, family-friendly, guided tour not only serves as a way to...

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New Vail Hiking Center guides guests on trails

The hills surrounding the Vail Valley in central Colorado really come alive in the summer months, when aspen leaves quiver in the wind and blankets of wildflowers spread across miles of meadows. Hit the trails with some help from the new Vail Hiking Center in Lionshead, located near the Eagle Bahn gondola at the base of the mountain. “The Vail Hiking Center is our new...

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Wedding Canyon and Monument Canyon Loop, Colorado National Monument

Most folks who visit Colorado National Monument view its red sandstone landmarks from Rim Rock Drive and its many overlooks. It’s convenient for peering deep into the canyons. However, like most places of interest, getting out of your car and putting your boots on the trail will give you an up-close-and-personal encounter with iconic features like Independence...

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Longtime Breckenridge, CO local works behind-the-scenes to protect Summit’s land

Leigh Girvin’s brand of local environmentalism is inseparable from her strong ties to the land. Other conservation advocates focus on wildlife or water quality from an abstract sense of right and wrong. Girvin, who moved to Breckenridge, Colorado as a kid 43 years ago, points to land protection, especially in her beloved Summit County, as the foundation that encompasses...

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New Browns Canyon National Monument Highlights Recreational, Ecological and Historical Importance

Our National Forests contain countless special areas – landscapes with awesome vistas, habitat for key wildlife species, areas with boundless recreation opportunities, and grounds that hold important historic artifacts. Last week, President Obama recognized a part of our National Forest System that has all of these attributes and more when he designated Browns Canyon...

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Air Force Academy Remains Quiet on New Rule for Hiking Trails

The Air Force Academy is keeping mum when it comes to a “buddy system” rule that bars solo hiking, running and mountain biking on academy trails and open spaces. Two days after releasing a statement attributing the new rule to on-campus attacks, the academy says it won’t provide more details. A spokesman refused to divulge where and when the attacks...

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Archaeological Heritage of Colorado’s Ute Tribe Part of National Forests’ History in Rocky Mountain Region

There are small piles of fallen wooden timbers on national forests in the Rocky Mountain Region that tell a story of the area’s past. They are part of aboriginal wooden structures known as wickiups, a conical-shaped dwelling used by native people. These relics are known to be part of the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe of southwestern Colorado and are still in use for ceremonial...

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Rocky Mountain National Park: Hiking 100 miles to mark 100 years

In celebration of 100 years of trails and recreation, Rocky Mountain National Park officials are encouraging people to get out and enjoy the vast park’s excursions in 2015. Julie Nelson, of Loveland, CO advocates going further. She and her father, Bill Perry, have made a goal to hike 100 miles next year in celebration of the park’s 100th anniversary. She is...

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Help Build the Next 32 Miles of the CDT in Colorado

The Continental Divide Trail Coalition (CDTC), the lead National Partner for management of the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail (CDT) has launched a new Fundraising campaign through Indiegogo titled “The Next 32 Miles” to raise funds to construct a 32 mile non-motorized section of the CDT on the Rio Grande National Forest near Saguache, CO. “The Next 32 Miles”...

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Arapaho Indians shared knowledge of Rocky Mountain National Park

In 1914, one of the most unusual events in Northern Colorado’s history was an invitation tendered to two Arapaho elders living on the Wind River Reservation by the Colorado Mountain Club. Gun Griswold and Sherman Sage were selected by Colorado Mountain Club during a trip to the reservation. It was believed that these individuals had lived in the Estes Park region...

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