Step Outside - Colorado WELCOME TO STEP OUTSIDE! Find the best outdoor fun near you! en-us 30 http://stepoutside.org/ Step Outside - Colorado 144 144 http://stepoutside.org/ https://cdnstep-americantownscom.netdna-ssl.com/img/stepoutside_logo.gif Sun, 18 Nov 2018 23:59:22 -0600 SPOTLIGHT: Things to Do in and Around Golden Gate Canyon State Park For breathtaking views a mere 30 miles from Denver, head to Golden Gate Canyon State Park for the perfect getaway. Colorado’s second largest state park, Golden Gate is characterized by rocky peaks and aspen groves. Aside from the awe-inspiring geologic structures and flora, explorers will find plentiful opportunity for hiking, horseback riding, and even skiing! You’ll quickly understand the beauty of the Centennial State after your visit to Golden Gate Canyon State Park.  

Golden Gate Canyon State Park is full of dense forests, meadows, and high alpine peaks. Here, there are 12 hiking and multi-use trails and 150 campsites ranging from RV spots to backcountry sites. The natural scenery isn’t the only thing drawing visitors to the park. In the 1800s, gold miners flocked to the area that is now Golden Gate Canyon to take advantage of the fresh creeks here. Therefore there are a number of historical sites, making this state park perfect for not only outdoorsmen but also history buffs. 

This multi-use trail in Golden Gate Canyon is arguably one of the most scenic hikes in the park. Grab a map from the visitor’s center and head to the trailhead at Reverend’s Ridge. The beginning of this trail is tranquil until the uphill starts. This trail is perfect for those wanting an uphill workout. 

For those hoping to view some historic ruins, take a walk on the Buffalo Trail. This trail does have some uphill parts, however the views and remains of an old homestead are worth the challenge. There is even a sign near the homestead explaining the history of the area. 

You don’t have to take a long walk to enjoy the views that Golden Gate Canyon State Park has to offer. Panorama Point Scenic Overlook boasts incredible views of the Continental Divide, including Mount Evans and Longs Peak.

There are many great spots to lay your head at Golden Gate Canyon. If you’re into camping but don’t want to rough it entirely, there are five cabins and two yurts to choose from. Cabins and yurts are available year-round. Make your reservations online

Don’t skip through the city of Golden, which lies 30 minutes outside of the park’s visitor’s center. Golden’s historic downtown is a great place to go for food and other attractions. Stop in at Higher Grounds Café for a hot cup of coffee. For a hearty bite to eat after time spent outdoors, stop at Bob’s Atomic Burgers. Bob’s offers a delicious variety with options ranging from fried chicken sandwiches to quinoa burgers. They even offer military, student, and senior discounts!  

There are a number of great mountain towns located approximately 15 to 30 minutes away from Golden Gate Canyon State Park. Black Hawk is one of those towns. This town has a rich gold-mining history that is now known for its hotels and casinos. If you’re looking for a four-star getaway rather than camping outdoors, check in to the Ameristar Casino Resort Spa. If you’re searching for something a little more quaint, head five minutes to Central City and stay at the charming Hooper Homestead Bed and Breakfast

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5 Prime Fishing Spots in Colorado Colorado is full of rivers and reservoirs teeming with healthy fish populations. Therefore, the state is the perfection destination for anglers. Each of the following excellent fishing spots holds the title of “Gold Medal Waters,” meaning the Colorado Wildlife Commission designated them as pristine spots to fish. Before you head out to one of these fishing spots, or any other fishing spot in Colorado, make sure you have a fishing license and know the rules of the area. Some spots are catch-and-release while others have a limit of how many fish you can catch. That said, get ready to cast your line at these five prime fishing spots in Colorado. 

There isn’t just one fishing hole in Gunnison, there are many. Gunnison is a fishing enthusiasts dream—this area even holds a record for the largest trout in the state. Great fishing can be found at the Gunnison River, Taylor River and Blue Mesa Reservoir. The Gunnison River is full of brown and rainbow trout. For those who don’t mind backcountry hiking, hit up the Gunnison River at the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. If you're seeking salmon instead of trout, drop your line at Blue Mesa Reservoir. Kokanee salmon, as well as trout, live in this pristine reservoir and are actually known to be the biggest Kokanee salmon in the entire country. Blue Mesa has many great spots to fish since it has 90 miles of shoreline. If you’re wanting to go on a Colorado fishing trip, Gunnison is the prime location.

For big trout, head to the Fryingpan River, specifically the area downstream of Ruedi Reservoir dam. Trout are known to grow up to 10 pounds here since they live off the abundance of Mysis shrimp. Now both lure and fly fishing are popular here. Since this is a popular spot to catch some big trout, do expect crowds, especially on the weekends. However, this portion of the Fryingpan isn’t the only spot to fish. Head up or downstream to get some solitude.

Slickers out of the city and into the frying pan #flyfishing #aspen #cityslickers #flyfishingjunkie

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Referred to simply as the “Fork,” Roaring Fork River offers easy and accessible fishing spots. Unlike other fishing areas in Colorado, the Roaring Fork River makes for a great fishing hole year-round. It is known to be one of the best spots to fish in the winter time. Medium to large trout are found in these waters. Anglers particularly enjoy the fishing spots of the Roaring Fork in Carbondale. There are three bridges in Carbondale that make this river accessible.

Great morning float!! #roaringforkriver #flyfishing #streamers #chuckinmeat #mrguidewillyoutakemyfishoff

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Visitors and anglers located in Denver will especially enjoy the great fishing scene at the South Platte River. This river is the spot to fish in and around the Mile High City. Fly fishing is the type of fishing that happens here. The South Platte River is swarming with a variety of trout, both rainbow trout and brown trout. This is another fishing hole that gains popularity during the weekends, so make sure to start early to snag a great spot or head out to South Platte during a weekday. The most abundant part of the river is known as the “Dream Stream.” It is found below Spinney Mountain Area and joints up with Eleven Mile Reservoir.

Year-round fishing is found at the Rio Grande in the San Luis Valley. The Rio Grande is one of the most well-known rivers in the country. The upper Rio Grande has gained the attention of anglers because it is full of fish but also offers seclusion. This Southern Colorado fishing hole is the place to go to catch cutthroat trout, rainbow trout, and brown trout. Hit up this spot in June and July to experience the fullest fish population here.

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5 Cool Spots for ATV Off-Roading in Colorado There are many incredible ATV off-roading routes in Colorado, and it’s a great way to experience the state’s high country at a fast pace. Rent an ATV, or bring your own—but do keep in mind you’ll need a Colorado Off-Highway Vehicle Permit to do so. The following trails are high elevation, therefore should only be visited during the summer months. Even May and June can be snowy and cold! Explore the Centennial State at these five cool spots for ATV off-roading in Colorado.

Ride an ATV in high country at Taylor Park. This ATV spot, which is accessible by Gunnison and Crested Butte, offers miles of off-road area and is undoubtedly the most popular spot to ATV in the state. Taylor Park is a great visit for those wanting to camp along the ATV trails because there are plenty of miles of off-roading here. There is no need to commute to different trailheads. There are so many trails that you could spend a week exploring them. Since this is a popular ATV destination, rentals and guided tours are in the area.

Alpine Loop in the San Juan Mountains is a great ATVing spot because it offers 65 miles of alpine terrain trails and connects many popular ATV trails. This off-road system also connects the towns of Silverton, Lake City and Ouray. The main trails in the Alpine Loop are Cinnamon Pass and Engineer Pass, however find lots of side trails too. With such an extensive network of trails, Alpine Loop is great for a multi-day trip. This area is sure to give great views because the Alpine Loop is situated around some of Colorado’s 14,000-foot mountains, referred to as 14’ers.

Visit a glacier and explore miles of great terrain at the Central City and St. Mary’s Network. This trail system brings off-roaders up to high country, therefore you are sure to get great scenic views of the Rockies. On this trail network, St. Mary’s Glacier and Chinns Lake are two breathtaking spots that shouldn’t be missed. Do keep in mind that there are some trails in the system that are incredible climbs, such as Yankee Hill and Kingston Peak. Other notable trails in this system are Rainbow Road, Spring Creek and Cumberland Gulch to name a few. This ATV spot is accessible west of Idaho Springs.

The area between Eagle and Gypsum is referred to as Hardscrabble. There is a variety of ATV trails on BLM (Bureau of Land Management) land. Expect to climb up mountains, with a difference as big as 3,000 feet in elevation gain, on these mountainous off-roading tracks. However, anyone from beginner to advanced will find something to ride in the Hardscrabble. A popular trail in this spot is Red & White Mountain along with Shrine Pass.

Find well-marked trails from beginner to advanced at the Four Mile Trail System. One of the things that brings people to this ATV spot is the views of the Collegiate Peaks, all 14,000-foot mountains. This area is most easily accessible near Buena Vista, and there are a variety of camping spots that can be found along the trails. One of the most popular routes is Carnage Canyon.

*Note: Age restrictions, special licenses, and other requirements for off highway vehicles vary from state to state. Before heading out on your OHV, please consult your local regulations.

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5 Stunning Foliage Hikes in Colorado Colorado is a beautiful place to visit no matter what time of year. However during the fall months, the aspen trees change to a golden yellow, bringing gorgeous colors to Rocky Mountain forests. These five hikes vary in difficulty but will all reward hikers with stunning views of changing fall foliage. Visit Colorado in September and October to experience fall through these five stunning foliage hikes. 

Kebler Pass doesn’t only have the largest aspen grove in Colorado, but the entire country. Therefore it's only fitting to kick things off with a place that offers some of the best fall foliage in Colorado. Once the aspen trees turn yellow in autumn, it’s time to visit this remote part of the Centennial State. One of the most popular hikes in the area is Three Lakes Loop. This 4.7-mile hike brings you to an alpine lake with views of the area’s snowcapped mountains. On the hike, pass through a number of aspen groves and view forests teeming with fall colors. 

A visit to the Maroon Bells, North America’s most photographed mountains, is always a good idea no matter what season it is. However this area bursts with new color every autumn because golden aspen trees cover the forest here. Take a trek on the Maroon Lake Scenic Loop or West Maroon Trail. The trail leading to Maroon Lake is an easy three-mile hike. For those looking for a challenge however, try the West Maroon Trail, which is a 13-mile hike from Aspen to Crested Butte. 

Guanella Pass is known to have excellent fall colors. No matter if you want to drive up the pass or hike in the area, you are sure to get great views of the aspen trees. A popular hike in the area is Mt. Bierstadt, which is known as the easiest 14,000-foot mountain to hike up. This seven-mile roundtrip hike starts at the Guanella Pass Trailhead. Even if you don’t feel like hiking all the way to 14,000 feet, hike up the trail as much as you would like to embrace stunning fall foliage. 

Located in Vail with a trailhead off of I-70, this fall hike is a bit strenuous but will most definitely grant you views of yellow aspen trees. The hike to Booth Falls is an uphill challenge, but it’s worth every bit of effort. As you start climbing to the falls, embrace the yellow grove of aspen trees located after the first mile. Now it is only about a two-mile hike to the 60-foot waterfall. If you want to hike further, you have the option to hike another 2.5 miles to reach Booth Lake. 

Kenosha Pass, located between Grand and Jefferson, is home to a number of trees that change their leaves during the fall, especially aspens. For an easy yet rewarding hike of fall foliage, choose to take a walk on the Kenosha Pass Trail. This three-mile path is the most popular portion of the famous Colorado Trail, which runs from Denver to Durango. Kenosha Pass Trail is a popular destination, so don’t expect solitude but do expect to catch views boasting miles and miles of yellow aspen trees. 

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ATV Off-Roading Adventure at Wagon Wheel Trail System http://stepoutside.org/article/atv-offroading-adventure-at-wagon-wheel-trail-system http://stepoutside.org/article/atv-offroading-adventure-at-wagon-wheel-trail-system Thu, 01 Nov 2018 00:00:00 -0500 5 Awesome RV Campsites in Colorado Colorado is known for having incredible camping spots, including campsites for RV campers. No matter if you’re seeking full amenities or a more secluded spot, these five campsites are perfect for any RV’er. Find your next favorite camping spot in Colorado at these five awesome RV campsites. 

Pikes Peak RV Park not only has great amenities but also a great location. Located in Manitou Springs, guests at Pikes Peak RV Park can simply walk to the small downtown area. Popular destinations in the area, such as Garden of the Gods and Pikes Peak Cog Railway, are only short drives away. Complete with a laundry room and kitchen, along with water, sewage and electric hook-ups, camping in one of the 55 sites at Pikes Peak RV Park has everything an RV’er needs. 

This popular RV campsite, which can be booked for both nightly or extended stays, offers nice amenities for RV’ers in Buena Vista. At Arrowhead Point, enjoy electric and water hook-ups as well as a barbecue grill and fire pit at every site. Arrowhead tries to accommodate all campers, from tent-dwellers to 55-foot long RVs. Guests gain access to a number of amenities, such as Wi-Fi, a heated pool, playground and a putt putt golf course. 

For RV campers seeking solitude near Fort Collins, choose to camp at Long Draw Campground in Roosevelt National Forest. The campsites here are in heavily-wooded areas, so you’re sure to get some shade and some seclusion from other campers. At Long Draw, there are 21 sites that accommodate RVs. This first-come, first-serve campsite is near Long Draw Reservoir, a popular trout fishing spot. 

View spectacular vistas at a campground near Rocky Mountain National Park. Elk Creek Campground & RV Resort is over 60 acres and offers electric, water, and sewage hook-ups for RV campers. From the campground, campers can enjoy both hiking and biking trails. However by being in Grand Lake, Rocky Mountain National Park is a short drive away, for guests who want to experience some of the state’s best hiking trails. 

If you’re traveling through southern Colorado in Pagosa Springs, Sportsman’s Campground is the spot to camp. This campground is prepared for RV’ers by having 32 full hook-up RV spots along with Wi-Fi and a laundry facility. The San Juan Mountains are a beautiful part of Colorado to explore, and this campground puts you in great proximity to the hiking and biking trails here.

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5 Perfect Fall Camping Spots in Colorado Fall in Colorado is a beautiful time as the aspen trees turn from green to a golden yellow. The best time to view fall foliage in Colorado is from September to October. Trees in the high mountains start changing as early as September while fall foliage isn’t at its peak in lower elevations, such as Denver, until October. To really enjoy this beautiful season, choose to go camping at one of these five perfect fall camping spots in Colorado. 

Just west of Crested Butte near Paonia is Lost Lake Campground. This part of Colorado explodes with changing fall foliage once the autumn months hit. This campground is home to three double sites and 11 single sites. Situated in a grove of aspen, spruce and fir trees, Lost Lake Campground is serene and picturesque. Hike or bike the Three Lakes Trail, which is a loop trail around Lost Lake that boasts views of the Ruby Range mountains. To view even more fall foliage in the area, take a drive to Kebler Pass, home to one of the largest aspen groves in the state. 

Unlike many campgrounds in Colorado, Saddlehorn Campground stays open all year round. Therefore this campground near Fruita makes for a great camping site in fall and winter when other campsites in the state close. Located in Colorado National Monument, Saddlehorn Campground is the only campground in the monument and is surrounded by gorgeous red rock formations. With 80 campsites to choose from, you’re sure to find solitude here, since you’ll be avoiding the summer crowds by staying during autumn. Due to its lower elevation, Saddlehorn Campground will have milder weather compared to higher camping spots in the state. 

Camp near North America’s largest sand dunes at Pinyon Flats Campground in Great Sand Dunes National Park. Pinyon Flats Campground has 88 individual campsites, all with picnic tables and fire pits. This national park has a variety of natural features that draw campers year round. However during fall, the forests full of aspen trees make for a colorful sight. Furthermore, the sand dunes provide great hiking during the fall months. During the summer, the sand on the dunes gets very hot, but due to fall’s cool weather, hiking the sand dunes becomes much more approachable and enjoyable.  

With a name like Aspenglen, this campground in Rocky Mountain National Park is sure to boast views of changing aspen leaves during the autumn months. This campsite, located in one of Colorado’s most popular parks, has 52 sites for both tents and RVs. If you’re looking for a secluded spot to pitch your tent, Aspenglen even offers walk-in tent sites. There is no way you will miss the changing fall foliage when you visit this campground during fall. The campground is near the Lawn Lake trailhead, which is a great hike to view fall color. 

Due to its proximity to Denver, Chatfield State Park is a popular destination for fall camping. Since Chatfield is at a lower elevation, view the best of fall colors in October here. Chatfield has 197 sites, so you’re sure to get a spot during a weekend in the fall. This state park is perfect for RVs year round, since 120 of the 197 sites include full hook-ups for RVs. No matter what site you end up with at Chatfield State Park, it will be within walking distance to the lake. This is a great camping spot for fall foliage if you’re located in the Front Range of Colorado. 

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5 Energizing Hikes in Colorado Colorado is home to a number of incredible hikes, from easy, flat trails to challenging and invigorating treks. If you’re looking for more of a challenge, these five hikes below are perfect for you. Expect to hike uphill, face some rocky obstacles, and feel absolutely unstoppable once you reach the end of these five energizing hikes. 

Let’s start out with a hike up to Colorado’s highest peak, Mount Elbert. At 14,440 feet, hiking up Mount Elbert comes with bragging rights. Now although this is Colorado’s highest peak to hike, it isn’t the most difficult. This moderate hike is nine miles round-trip on the standard route via the northeast ridge, which starts at North Mount Elbert Trailhead. Although it isn’t technically difficult, there is nearly 5,000 feet in elevation gain, so it’s an upward battle. Once you reach the top however, you’ll feel like you’re on top of the world. 

Rocky Mountain National Park is home to a number of incredible hikes. However the hike to Sky Pond is invigorating and scenic. If you’re hiking this during the summer time, keep in mind that parking here fills up fast, so you may have to take the shuttle to the trailhead—or arrive early to get a parking spot and enjoy a less crowded trail. Start at the Glacier Gorge Trailhead and then head up toward Loch Vale. Many people choose to stop at Loch Vale, but for a truly energizing view, head to Sky Pond. Past Loch Vale, you’ll climb up a small waterfall and come across Lake of Glass. Head higher to reach Sky Pond. This hike may be demanding but you will truly feel accomplished after reaching this gorgeous alpine lake. 

This hike is up the second 14,000-foot mountain featured on this list. Referred to as a 14er, Mount Bierstadt is located off of Guanella Pass, making it accessible for those living or traveling from Denver. This seven-mile round-trip trek is one of the easier and shorter 14ers out of Colorado’s over 50 14,000-foot mountains. Start this trek at the Mount Bierstadt Trailhead. Now even though the trail to this 14er is well-marked and easier than other 14ers, it should not be taken lightly. 

For a short yet challenging workout, head to the Manitou Incline in Colorado Springs. In one short mile, the hike brings you up 2,000 feet. There isn’t much to this extreme trail—it’s simply 2,000 stair steps. Manitou Incline used to be a route for a cable tram. Now however, it’s known as one of the most physically enduring hikes in the region. 

Hiking this mountain to the peak can be startlingly challenging, luckily you will find that you don’t have to complete the 6.4-mile 12,625-foot high summit to find yourself unfathomable views of the mountain range. This prominent mountain is a fan favorite, attracting many each year. The round-trip hike takes approximately 5-6 hours (given that you will need a good amount of breaks). Other than its jarring views, what draws people in are the meadows of wildflowers. If you are ready for a true uphill battle worth taking, treat your eyes and soul to this fantastic loop just outside Crested Butte. 

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9 Best Archery Outfitters in Colorado Whether done for hunting or recreationally, Coloradans know a thing or two about archery. From traditional style bows to the latest in technology and accessories, the great archery outfitters of the Centennial State will equip you with exactly what you need. Find great service, products, and even ranges to practice your shot at the best archery outfitters in Colorado.  

This family-owned business in Colorado Springs is run by Bill Pellegrino, a five-time world archery champion who holds more than 30 national titles. At Bill Pellegrino’s Archery Hut, you’ll find excellent archery gear along with reputable bow technicians offering services and tuning.

Bear Creek Archery is an indoor archery range that also has a full-service pro shop. Opened since 1989, the gear shop at this archery range has grown as a trustworthy one in Colorado. Head here to purchase certified brands popular among the archery industry or get a tune up by experienced technicians. Even if they don’t have something you need, they are willing to order your gear or part for you.  

Talk to the professionals at No Limits Archery to find the best bow for you. The pro shop here has a wide variety of archery gear items, from small accessories to the best bows, targets and sights. Before you head out on the archery range at No Limits Archery, get a full service tuning at the pro shop. 

The pro shop at Rocky Mountain Archery is the place to visit for archery gear in Fort Collins. Here you’ll not only find an indoor range and a large lounge area but a complete shop selling bows, strings, and other archery accessories in a variety of brands. 

Quick Draw Archery has become a popular archery destination in Littleton. A bow purchased from the pro shop here includes a personalized setup included in the price. With friendly employees and affordable prices in the shop and the range, you’re sure to leave Quick Draw Archery feeling confident. 

Line em up, knock arrow, draw, shoot, repeat. #archery #quickdrawarchery

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Find all your favorite archery brand products for sale at Bowhunters Edge Archery. Brands like Diamond, Spot Hogg, Octane, and more are all provided at this archery gear shop.

Archery beginners and experts alike will be impressed by the selection the pro shop at Archery In the Wild has to offer. Here you’ll find plenty of archery gear made my quality brands. There are over 200 different arrows always in stock at this Longmont archery gear store, which is the largest selection of arrows in the state.  

Get the right gear for your skill set at High Altitude Archery. Since this archery pro shop also services compound bows, it has become a popular tune-up spot for Longmont archers. There is plenty of gear from arrows to scopes at the pro shop at High Altitude Archery. 

Expect quality brands in the shop at Red Rock Archery. For over 30 years, this archery shop in Grand Junction has been providing Coloradans on the western slope with great equipment and trustworthy tuning services. 

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10 Best Bait and Tackle Shops in Colorado With so many great fishing spots in the Centennial State, it’s no wonder why Colorado has plenty of top-notch bait and tackle shops too. Many of these shops have been serving Colorado fishermen for decades. No matter if you need a new reel or are searching for guided fly fishing tours, you’re sure to find what you’re looking for at these 10 best bait and tackle shops in Colorado. 

If you’re visiting Estes Park and looking for some great fly fishing gear, head to Kirks Flyshop. This bait and tackle shop not only supplies great gear but also offers fly fishing trips along the Big Thompson River and Rocky Mountain National Park, among other great Colorado fishing locations. 

For fishermen on the budget, Discount Fishing Tackle is a great option located in the Mile High City. This locally-owned tackle shop offers guided fly fishing trips as well as a fine selection of fishing products like rods, reels, lines, lures and more. 

A handful of UV leaches tonight.

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Since 1982, Front Range Anglers has been serving the Boulder fishing community. You’ll find the best brands of fly fishing gear, such as Sage, Scott, Costa and more. This Boulder shop also specializes in fishing trips not only in Colorado but guided and non-guided trips in the United States and abroad. 

Rocky Mountain Anglers is another Boulder bait and tackle shop to make this list. Novice fishermen will enjoy the expert advice from the staff and the fly fishing classes provided here. However experienced fishermen are pleased to find high-quality products at Rocky Mountain Anglers.  

This Colorado Springs bait and tackle shop has been in operation for more than 30 years. The 6,500-square-foot store will most definitely have everything you need to have a great fly fishing trip. You can even test the cast of your new rod at the two on-site casting ponds here. 

With locations in Minturn, Denver, and Vail, Minturn Anglers is a locally-owned bait and tackle shop that provides a wide variety of gear options for local fishermen. Here you’ll find popular brands like Winston, Abel, Sage and plenty more. You can even test out your fishing gear on the Eagle River, which runs right behind Minturn Anglers. 

If you’re looking for a guided fishing tour  as well as great gear in the Vail area, head to Vail Valley Anglers. This bait and tackle shop offers fly fishing expeditions on the Eagle River, Roaring Fork River and Colorado River. There is plenty of fishing gear always stocked with the best brands here too. 

Shop at Anglers All store in Littleton or even view and purchase it’s large selection of fishing gear online. Since Anglers All has been equipping Colorado anglers for 60 years, you can trust the gear, clothing and classes found at this bait and tackle shop. 

Located 30 miles west of Denver, Blue Quill Angler serves Front Range fishermen with excellent gear and knowledge. Since 1988, this bait and tackle shop in Evergreen has offered both guided fly fishing trips and gear that will last. 

This Golden bait and tackle shop is sure to have your favorite fly fishing brand on its shelves. Shop among iconic brands like Patagonia and SMITH Optics to fishermen’s favorites like Fenwick and Abel at Arbor Anglers.

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Start Your Trek: 10 Best Hiking Retailers in Colorado Colorado is a haven for hikers. When the weather is warm, just about everyone gets outdoors to hit the trails and mountains. Thus, there are numerous awesome retailers to find all of the hiking and outdoor gear you’ll need. Not only will you find hiking gear at these retailers, but also the proper equipment for climbing, biking, and more. Here are our favorites in the state.  

Jax Mercantile is a popular local chain where hikers regularly shop to find the latest gear as well as great prices on top-notch hiking brands. With stores located in the Front Range of Colorado, Jax is a go-to retailer for day hikers and backpackers alike living and visiting the area. 

Hikers will find both new and used gear at this Mile High hiking retailer. Wilderness Exchange Unlimited sells gear for any type of budget. This gear shop is also a consignment store, so you can sell your gently-used hiking gear or trade it in for something new. 

Experienced and friendly staff is what hikers will find at Bentgate Mountaineering. This outdoor retailer in Golden carries specialty and local brands. This family-owned business strives to equip each outdoor enthusiast that walks through the door with the right gear for their next adventure. 

Before hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park, get the right gear at Estes Park Mountain Shop. This specialty outdoor retailer, which is the largest outdoor retailer in Estes Park, has been serving hikers since 1986. If you’re only visiting the area for a short time, this shop also offers gear to rent. 

This ski and climb shop in Boulder is also a great place to go to find hiking gear. Neptune Mountaineering has everything a hiker needs to summit a 14,000-foot mountain or to complete a weeklong backpacking trip. Among the stock found here are technical apparel for men and women, backpacks in various sizes and both hiking and trail running shoes and boots. 

Operated by outdoor enthusiasts, Feral Mountain Co. is a boutique outdoor retailer found in the Mile High City. The knowledgeable staff here will listen to your needs and find you the best gear to complete your outdoor adventure. 

For those hiking in or near Aspen, Ute Mountaineer will have all the gear you need. From outdoor clothing to technical equipment like trekking poles and hiking boots, your mountain hike is sure to go right with gear from this family-owned hiking retailer. 

Hikers on a budget will enjoy shopping at Durango Outdoor Exchange. This consignment shop equips hikers hoping to have a great hike in the San Juan Mountains. Sell your used gear or find quality used gear and apparel at Durango Outdoor Exchange. 

The Gearage is another used gear store that provides hikers with a variety of top-notch brands for a fraction of the price. Hikers here typically leave happy, since purchasing used gear is both environmentally-friendly and budget-friendly. This Fort Collins gear retailer also has a variety of new gear found on the shelves here too. 

Test out the gear before you buy it by renting out a variety of gear brands at Wilderness Sports. Both high-quality hiking equipment and clothing can be found here. This locally-owned and operated store is one of the best places to stop for gear before hiking near and around Dillon. 

You never forget your first...my first rope just arrived! Thanks #mammut !

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http://stepoutside.org/article/start-your-trek-10-best-hiking-retailers-in-colorado http://stepoutside.org/article/start-your-trek-10-best-hiking-retailers-in-colorado Mon, 29 Oct 2018 00:00:00 -0500
Best Places to Fish in the Rocky Mountains This Fall Any time is a good time to be outdoors in the Rockies, but considering the fall scenery as the big visual attraction, autumn might be the best time of all for trout anglers. The biggest brown trout of the season start getting frisky and aggressive as their spawning run in regional rivers approaches.

Hot Spots To Fish: Rock Creek, which empties into the Clark Fork River southeast of Missoula, Mt., has become a prime destination for brown trout in recent years. The creek has tons of 16- or 18-inch fish and is known more for numbers than size. Contact John Herzer at Blackfoot River Outfitters (406-542-7411, blackfootriver.com), or Blue Damsel Lodge, (406-825-3077, bluedamsel.com), for information about guide services or information regarding accommodations.

Find the best fishing spots near you:

If you’re more interested in going after a behemoth of a brown trout, contact Joe Gilsnyder at Trout Stalkers on the Madison in Ennis, Mt.. Joe and his crew of guides know of some fishing holes off the beaten path that harbor bigger fish (406-682-5150).

Tackle You’ll Need: Wherever you wind up fishing, tackle Rocky Mountain browns with a 9 1/2-foot, 6-weight rod such as an Orvis Helios 3. A 5-weight will work if you’re an experienced caster, but a 6-weight handles big streamers better.

Find the best bait and tackle shops near you: 

Quick Tip: If you make a quartering cast upstream with a Wooly Bugger or similar pattern, let it dead-drift downstream until the current catches it and sweeps it up in the water column. Sometimes the darting motion, as the fly is caught in the current, will trigger a reaction strike from a following brownie.

 

Best Patterns: Fall browns will take nymphs and small dries such as the Blue-Winged Olive, but more likely the bigger fish will go after Size 2 Sparkle Minnows, Wooly Buggers, Clouser Minnows, Zonkers and Bighorn Specials fished on short leaders with no tippets.

If you’re fishing from a drift boat with a guide, regular weight-forward floating line will suffice. If you’re wading, a sinking-tip line probably is a better choice, depending on depth.

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Photograph Courtesy of Montana Office of Tourism Is it the brown trout fishing, or the scenery, that draws anglers to the Rocky Mountain states in autumn? Either answer fits. http://stepoutside.org/article/best-places-to-fish-in-the-rocky-mountains-this-fall http://stepoutside.org/article/best-places-to-fish-in-the-rocky-mountains-this-fall Thu, 11 Oct 2018 00:00:00 -0500
10 Best Outdoor Fall Activities in Colorado The rush of summer has tapered off and the blanket of snow has not yet arrived: it’s prime time in Colorado. The luster of golden Aspen groves surround you and there’s no better time to be outdoors. Enjoy the fruits of fall (both literally and figuratively) with great biking, hiking, fishing, and even some apple picking. Here are the best outdoor fall activities in the state! 

The state’s only native deciduous trees, the Aspen, turn into a mass of shimmering colors once summer is over. The forests in the San Juan Mountains morph into a yellow, orange, and red panoply of breathtaking hues that can be seen for miles driving along the San Juan Skyway. It begins in Durango and loops for 236 miles right back to where it started. See these scintillating colors from a different perspective. Fly through and past them hanging from a zip line with Soaring Tree Top Adventures, the longest and safest zip line course of its kind.

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See the Mile High city from a saddle—no, not on horse, on a bike. As one of the most bike-friendly cities in the country, Denver is not only welcoming, it’s easy to navigate too—especially with a guide. The folks at Mile High Bike Tours will take you around the city pointing out public art, gorgeous parks, remarkable architecture, and the unique features that define this vibrant city. This time of year is all about beer, so after the ride grab a pint at the nearby Blake Street Tavern.

Be a-maized at Jack Lantern’s Corn Maze just east of Fort Collins. It’s 90 acres of fear, fun and fright...at least that’s what they promise. Nighttime activities come with a haunted maze and hay ride, but during the day there’s fun for the whole family that includes a bounce house, petting zoo and scavenger hunt. Grab a pumpkin at the patch for jack-o-lanterns. It’s unlikely you’re going to eat any of it, so to satisfy that pumpkin craving don’t miss the pumpkin chocolate chip loaf at Great Harvest Bread Company in Fort Collins.

Catch, and then release, a fish in the Eagle River in the White River National Forest. Fall brings with it fewer people on the river, more robust fish in pre-spawning mode and nature’s most glorious celebration of color. Put on your waders and head out by yourself, or if you’re angling for some company, book a guided fly-fishing tour with 5280 Angler, which has access to a wide-range of public and private waters. While in town, check out Charlie’s Fly Box for classes and gear.

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This is the season for dreamin’ of Mom’s apple pie. It’s apple-pickin’ time. You’ll find a great selection at Fruit Basket Orchards near Grand Junction. Fill your bucket with 18 varieties of delicious, crisp apples. Just a few miles down the road is Talbott’s Mountain Gold, which in addition to growing delicious apples makes award-winning apple cider. Take a tour of the mill and see the cider press in action.

Raise a stein and say prost, a shout-out to the annual Oktoberfest celebration. Revel in all things beer at the Colorado Oktoberfest in Littleton. The party takes place at the Breckenridge Brewery which makes the third oldest craft beer in the state. Just north in Golden, Colorado, is the home of the largest single brewing facility in the world, operated by the Coors Brewing Company. Take a tour 30-minute tour that highlights malting, brewing and packaging.

Take your camera out for a hike at Rocky Mountain National Park located in the northwestern part of the state near Estes Park. Hook up with Yellow Wood Guiding for a photo safari. The fall tour is a day of traipsing through the Park looking through a viewfinder at golden aspens, cascading waterfalls and hoping for a photo of an elusive moose. If you miss the shot, no worries, there’s plenty of moose memorabilia at The Mad Moose, a local store that sells rustic home furnishings.

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Ride the Monarch Crest Trail in Gunnison National Forest near Salida, on a bike or a horse. This high alpine trail that descends from Monarch Pass traverses wide-open slopes, beautiful meadows and forests that look like amber waves this time of year. First-timers to the trail can hook up with a guide from Absolute Bikes in town to get the lay of the land. There are a number of outfitters for riders who prefer a four-legged steed who will take you up and down the mountain. Head out with High Country Trails for a full-on Rocky Mountain adventure.

Get high. The state is known for its 14ers, mountain peaks at 14,000 feet and higher. This time of year is a good time to try and summit any one of the 53—before the snow hits. Give Mt. Elbert, the highest peak in the state, a try. It rises out of the San Isabel National Forest as part of the Sawatch Range. Aspen Expeditions can put together a full or half-day trek up this mountain, considered one of the easier, by comparison summit climbs. A stop at Leadville Outdoors and Mountain Market in nearby Leadville for some 14er gear is worth a look.

Sing along to the music of one of the state’s most iconic residents, John Denver, at the John Denver Celebration held in Aspen. You’ll feel the rocky mountain high that Denver wrote and sang about at this celebratory tribute to him. Aspen is a spectacular place to be in fall. Catch a ride on the Silver Queen Gondola to the top of Aspen Mountain for a bird’s eye view of the glowing forest of aspen trees that turn the state gold this time of year.

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http://stepoutside.org/article/10-best-outdoor-fall-activities-in-colorado http://stepoutside.org/article/10-best-outdoor-fall-activities-in-colorado Thu, 06 Sep 2018 00:00:00 -0500
5 Amazing Dirt Motorcycle Trails in Colorado Colorado is the perfect place to ride a dirt bike. With a variety of off-roading trails, especially single track trails perfect for dirt bikes, you’re sure to have a great time in Colorado’s backcountry. No matter if you’re a novice or an expert, there is a trail in Colorado to test your skills. Get your tires dirty at these five great dirt motorcycle trails in Colorado. 

Taylor Park is an off-roading playground. There are 40 amazing trails to take your dirt bike, no matter what skill level you are. Since this area has interconnecting trails, it is a great spot to camp and ride. You could spend days or even weeks here and not travel on the same trail twice. Now do keep in mind that there are other off-riding vehicles in the area, such as Jeeps and four-wheelers. However, there are many incredible single track trails that are perfect for motorcycles. Advanced riders will love the Star Trail and Timberline Trail. For more moderate terrain that will please beginners, head to Slaughter Gulch. 

Find 18 miles of single track trails around the area of Bocco Mountain. Expect incredible scenery and some challenging trails. Do keep in mind that this area is closed from December to April, so plan a summer trip to gain access to this off-road area. Now there are not only single track trails but also two track trails in the area that accommodate Jeeps and other off-roading vehicles. When it comes to the single track trails, play it safe by always traveling in the specified direction indicated on trail maps. Since Bocco Mountain is just outside of Wolcott, this area is accessible for bikers staying or living in Vail or Eagle. 

If you’re located near Colorado Springs, the North Divide Trail System is a great place to take your dirt bike. With both single track and ATV trails in the area, this place is regularly frequented by off-roading junkies. This trail system is also referred to as Woodland Park or 717 and is nearby Rainbow Falls, which is also a popular riding destination. The dirt motorcycle tracks in the North Divide Trail System vary from easy to intermediate. 

The riding area at Texas Creek is not the biggest on this list but it is sure to be a great day of riding. Like many of the areas listed, Texas Creek caters to both ATV riders and dirt bike riders. Everyone in the group, no matter if they are a beginner or expert, will feel confident and comfortable on the trails at Texas Creek. Most of the trails are easy and intermediate. This area does differ from other Colorado areas because it is a high desert. So during the summer months, temperatures can reach as hot as 100 degrees Fahrenheit. If you can get past the heat, soak in the views of the Arkansas River Valley and the Sangre de Cristo mountain range. 

Bangs Canyon is home to not only off-road trails but also awesome hiking and rock climbing spots. There are three main off-roading spots, Tabeguache Trail, Billings Canyon Jeep Trail, and Third Flats ATV trail system, which are open to all OHVs. The trails here vary from mild to wild. No matter what trail you choose to ride, expect to catch great views of Grand Mesa and Grand Valley. To start your adventure here, begin at the Bangs Canyon Trailhead where all motorized trails start.

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iStock.com/Hafizov http://stepoutside.org/article/5-amazing-dirt-motorcycle-trails-in-colorado http://stepoutside.org/article/5-amazing-dirt-motorcycle-trails-in-colorado Thu, 30 Aug 2018 00:00:00 -0500
Camping Done Right: 7 Best Outdoor Stores in Colorado Colorado is known for its outdoor recreation spots and great camping opportunities. Therefore it comes as no surprise that the Centennial State is home to a number of top-notch outdoor retailers. From Fort Collins to Denver, campers will find everything they need for a great trip at these seven best outdoor stores in Colorado. 

Colorado Springs’ Mountain Chalet understands the outdoor enthusiast. Find Big Agnes tents, KAVU backpacks, and awesome Platypus water bottles. To make your camping experience even simpler, you can also find handy MSR maintenance kits, water purifying tablets, and more! 

There are only seven stores in this local chain. Jax Mercantile has two types of stores, Jax Outdoor Gear and Jax Ranch & Home. For some great camping gear, including popular and local brands, Jax Outdoor Gear is the perfect store to visit. At Jax, camping enthusiasts will find brands like MSR,the North Face and Black Diamond.

Product testing

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Gearonimo is the largest used sporting goods store in the state of Colorado. Owned by outdoor enthusiasts who will not only provide you with high-quality gear, but high-quality advice, you can expect to have a memorable experience at Gearonimo. Find all the gear you’ll find for your next camping outing. 

Reason number 387 why I like Colorado: I can take my dog to gear shops without using his leash and he gets treats.

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Wilderness Exchange Unlimited is an outdoor retail store in Denver that sells both new and used items. This independently-owned store draws backpackers, campers, and mountaineers alike due to its wide variety of items and affordable prices. Wilderness Exchange Unlimited is a consignment store, so also bring in your lightly-used gear to sell or trade in. Brands found at this store vary but expect popular brands like Therm-A-Rest, Big Agnes, and Jetboil.

“The path less traveled begins here.” That’s the motto at Mountain Outfitters in Breckenridge. This cool local store will outfit you with everything you need for camping, hiking, snow sports, and more. The owners and staff are all hardcore outdoor enthusiasts who will use their expert insight to get you what you need. Find brands like Black Diamond, Osprey, Sea to Summit, and more. 

With such a passion for outdoor recreation flourishing all across Colorado, it should come as no surprise that the state is home to a variety of consignment shops dedicated to outdoor gear. With new and gently-used gear from Deuter, MSR, Black Diamond, and many other big brand names, you can’t possibly go around with MER.  

“Feral,” is defined as “not domesticated or cultivated,” right on this outdoor store’s homepage. Feral Mountain Co. prides itself on being in a wild state. For camping, you’ll find awesome backpacks, tents and shelters, camp furniture, compression sacks, and even gear for your pet. Choose from all your favorite brands such as Black Diamond, Jetboil, and more. 

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http://stepoutside.org/article/camping-done-right-7-best-outdoor-stores-in-colorado http://stepoutside.org/article/camping-done-right-7-best-outdoor-stores-in-colorado Wed, 15 Aug 2018 00:00:00 -0500