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 Tue, 17 Jul 2018 23:51:43 -0500 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 Thu, 05 Jul 2018 00:00:00 -0500
10 Best Outdoor Festivals in Colorado Colorado is renowned for its incredible natural beauty—from the soaring Rocky Mountains to the valleys of the mighty Colorado and Rio Grande Rivers. Hitting an outdoor festival is one of the best ways to explore and enjoy all that the state has to offer. Here are our picks for the best outdoor festivals in Colorado.

The Duranglers Fly Fishing Festival is an annual event that celebrated the art and sport of fly fishing—just in time for the season. The festival offers casting and fly tying clinics, education and gear demos for angles of all skill levels. Representatives from brands like Sage, Redington, Simms, and Patagonia are always on hand.

Every May, paddlers converge on Buena Vista for the CKS PaddleFest, a four-day festival dedicated to all things paddling. Jam packed with events based on land, whitewater and flat water, participants can look forward to live music, rock climbing, SUP yoga, stroke clinics and all all sorts of paddling and competitions. Event sponsors include Deerhammer, Kokatat, Elevation Beer, Ninkasi Brewing, Vino Salida Wine Cellars and House Rock Kitchen

For more than 30 years—and with sponsorship from Subaru—Elephant Rock Cycling Festival has drawn droves of cyclists to Castle Rock. With Front Range views, mountain rides, trail roads and road cruises, the festival now attracts thousands of riders every year. In addition to riding, participants camp, enjoy live music and fuel themselves with the help of folks like Biju’s Little Curry Shop, Park Burger, Clif Bars, and Pikes Peak Brewing Co.

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In May, birders migrate to Cortez for the annual Ute Mountain Mesa Verde Birding Festival. Each year, festival goers enjoy speakers, guided birding tours, astounding archaeology and awesome native art at the Cortez Cultural Center, which is supported in part by funds raised from the birding festival.   

The point of Colorado Mountain Club’s annual Mountain Fest—supported by Adidas, Mont-Bell, Topo Designs, and Upslope Brewing—is to help motivate folks and get them up to speed on the skills needed to enjoy mountain adventures throughout the year. Hiking, mountaineering, fly fishing and camping clinics all take place at the American Mountaineering Center during the festival. 

Adrenaline-fueled paddlers wait all year long for FIBArk—the oldest celebration of whitewater in the United States. Live music, camping, a parade, running races, mountain bike races and, of course, whitewater races will keep your blood pumping over the four days of the festival. Eddyline Brewing will help to make sure you’re never too thirsty.

Yes, Velorama is a three-day music festival, but it’s also a celebration of the cycling lifestyle that coincides with the Colorado Classic, a cycling race in four stages that takes place in Vail and Denver. The festival itself features three experiential zones, a test track and wil host a women’s criterium event. 

The Into the Wild Running Festival features events like a 5K fun run, a 5K race and a 10K race—all to support the Wild Animal Sanctuary, which cares for more than 450 large apex predators like lions, tigers, bears and wolves. Vendors will be onsite ensure that participants are properly fed and watered.

Every August for almost 40 years, Telluride has teemed with fungi fans who flock there for the annual Telluride Mushroom Festival. In addition to lectures and workshops, attendees will be able to participate in plenty of foraging expeditions. Apart from mushroom-themed vendors and sponsors, you can also partake of the wares sold by the likes of Telluride Brewing Co., Between the Covers Bookstore, and book your stay at Telluride Alpine Lodging

In October, runners dash to Castle Rock for the annual Castle Rock Trail Festival, during which participants can run any of up to five races, including a marathon and a 50K ultra marathon. There are also shorter events, as well as a family adventure race.

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http://stepoutside.org/article/10-best-outdoor-festivals-in-colorado http://stepoutside.org/article/10-best-outdoor-festivals-in-colorado Thu, 24 May 2018 00:00:00 -0500
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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http://stepoutside.org/article/spotlight-things-to-do-in-and-around-golden-gate-canyon-state-park http://stepoutside.org/article/spotlight-things-to-do-in-and-around-golden-gate-canyon-state-park Mon, 29 Jan 2018 00:00:00 -0600
7 Best Cross-Country Skiing Spots in Colorado Winter is a great time to play outside in Colorado, and cross-country skiing is an easy and fun way to explore Colorado’s snowy landscape. Unlike alpine skiing, cross-country skiing can be done on a variety of terrain. Also referred to as Nordic skiing, cross-country skiing is a popular outdoor activity in the wintertime. Perfect for both beginners and advanced skiers, get outdoors this winter at these seven spectacular cross-country skiing spots in Colorado. 

This cross-country ski spot is popular among Denverites, since it’s the closest Nordic ski area on this list to the large metropolitan area. Near Nederland, the Nordic Center at Eldora Mountain Resort offers nearly 25 miles of trails for cross-country skiers. Enjoy mountain views and ski through quiet forests here. 

This list wouldn’t be complete without mentioning Crested Butte Nordic. The town of Crested Butte is actually known as the Nordic Ski Capital of Colorado. The numerous summer mountain biking trails are coated with snow and then turned into popular cross-country ski trails during the winter. There are over 55 kilometers of trails to explore here, perfect for all skill levels. 

Ski along the frozen shores of Lake Dillon in Frisco at the Frisco Nordic Center. Expect well-maintained trails at this center that boast over 40 kilometers of routes for cross-country skiers. Ski the mild meadows or brace yourself for the steep and curvy routes for a fun challenge. 

Devil’s Thumb Ranch near Winter Park is both an upscale accommodation option and a Nordic ski destination. The 77 miles of cross-country skiing trails here are open to the public. After a long day out enjoying the trails, visit Devil’s Thumb Ranch’s on-site spa or fine dining restaurants. 

Always expect to find snow at this cross-country skiing spot in Breckenridge. Breckenridge Nordic Center is located in White River National Forest, so skiers will definitely find incredible mountain views, snowy trails, and over 30 kilometers in available trails. When you need a break from skiing, visit this Nordic Center’s lodge, which comes complete with a fireplace, bar and grill, and ski shop. 

Wes in tow #breckenridge #crosscountry

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Beginner cross-country skiers will feel comfortable skiing at Keystone Nordic Center. With guided snowshoe and ski tours, you can experience Colorado’s winter wonderland from a knowledgeable guide. After exploring the 16 kilometers of trails here, warm up with a variety of soup options from the center’s soup buffet. 

Say cheese for skinny skis! A morning Nordic adventure :)

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Travel between Aspen and Snowmass on cross-country skis at Aspen Snowmass Nordic Trail System. This trail system is one of the largest Nordic ski and snowshoe systems in the nation, boasting 80 kilometers of groomed trails. This ski spot is a great option that is sure to please skiers of all levels. 

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http://stepoutside.org/article/7-best-crosscountry-skiing-spots-in-colorado http://stepoutside.org/article/7-best-crosscountry-skiing-spots-in-colorado Wed, 24 Jan 2018 00:00:00 -0600
10 Best Winter Cabin Camping Spots in Colorado Winter in Colorado is a wonderful time to visit the state. Snow covers the ground but the sunny weather is perfect for outdoor winter activities. Find all of the relaxation and adventure you’re seeking at these 10 beautiful and secluded cabin camping spots in Colorado. 

Located along the Big Thompson River in Estes Park, River Spruce is open year-round and makes for a great stay during the winter months. With private hot tubs and plenty of amenities in these cozy cabins, this spot makes for a perfect winter oasis. Since its located in Estes Park, these cottages are near Rocky Mountain National Park where snowshoeing and skiing are popular winter activities. 

#homesweethome from the weekend. So cozy!

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Stay in a secluded cabin at Grand West Village Resort in Leadville. There are cabins perfect for both couples and families. Complete with mountain views, gas fireplaces, and full kitchens, these cabins are ideal for a winter getaway, especially for skiers since the resort is located within driving distance from five major ski areas.  

Private log cabins at Vista Verde Guest Ranch make for an unforgettable stay in Steamboat Springs during the winter months. This dude ranch offers solo escape packages along with couple and family packages too. Go cross-country skiing with experienced guides or simply enjoy your all-inclusive stay by relaxing around the ranch. 

Relaxation can be found while staying at a cabin along Bear Creek. Cabins at Country Road, located in Evergreen near Red Rocks Amphitheatre, is close enough to Denver yet still hidden in the Rockies to make for a secluded stay. Each cabin is decorated to make you feel right at home, and breakfast is included in your stay. 

Quiet time. #colorado

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Relax in a private hot tub along the Fall River this winter season. Located in Estes Park, there are five fully-furnished cabins found on the Fall River Cabins property. With access to the river and hiking and snowshoeing trails, you don’t have to wander far to experience Colorado’s outdoor recreation.  

Those visiting Denver can still have a mountain getaway at these cabins in Evergreen. Close to Evergreen Lake and Red Rocks Amphitheatre, these cabins are perfect for both music lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. Bear Creek Cabins also typically offers specials for visitors during the winter months. 

Snow Mountain Ranch is home to a few cabin vacation homes in Granby, near Winter Park, Colorado. These cabins are perfect for groups, since the cabins sleep from five to 12 guests depending on the cabin you choose. Snow Mountain Ranch is a YMCA of the Rockies (https://ymcarockies.org/) property, so there are always fun programs and activities happening here no matter what season you choose to visit. 

Located near Leadville and Aspen, the cabins at Mt. Elbert Lodge come with equipped kitchens and enough privacy for a secluded stay. There are nine log cabins here, which vary from small cabins for two or larger cabins that can sleep up to eight people. During the winter, many cabin guests go snowshoeing or cross-country skiing in the area. 

There are plenty of cabins to choose from at the Timber Lodge. Home to 24 cabins, these rustic accommodations come with heating, Wi-Fi, and cable TV. Some cabins even come with a kitchenette. Located near Colorado Springs, the Timber Lodge is great for guests staying near this scenic area. 

There are a variety of unique cabin stays offered at Willowtail Springs. Choose to stay in the Bungalow cabin, which offers incredible views of a lake and the mountains. Or stay in the large three-bedroom Lake House cabin, perfect for families since it sleeps six people. 

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http://stepoutside.org/article/10-best-winter-cabin-camping-spots-in-colorado http://stepoutside.org/article/10-best-winter-cabin-camping-spots-in-colorado Fri, 19 Jan 2018 00:00:00 -0600
A beginner’s guide: Ice fishing Vin T. Sparano, as excerpted from Complete Outdoors Encyclopedia: Camping, Fishing, Hunting, Boating, Wilderness Survival, First Aid

 

 

Ice fishing differs greatly from open-water fishing, and it is a demanding sport. It requires an understanding of and an ability to cope with winter weather, knowledge of the cold-weather habits of the fish, and the use of an unusual assortment of gear, most of it unique to ice fishing.

There are two basic ice-fishing methods: tip-up fishing and jigging. In general, tip-ups are usually used on larger fish—pike, pickerel, walleyes, trout, and such—that prefer bait and require the angler to play the waiting game. Jigging is usually preferred for smaller fish that tend to school up—bluegills, perch, crappies, and the like. But these are merely generalizations, not hard-and-fast rules. For example, jigging (sometimes called chugging) is often quite productive on big lake trout and salmon in the Great Lakes. 

Also called tilts, these come in various styles, but they all perform two basic functions: they hold a baited line leading from a revolving-type reel spool, and they signal the bite of a fish. The most common type of tip-up consists of three strips of wood, each about 18 inches long. Two are cross pieces that form an X as they span the hole. The third piece is an upright; at its bottom end is attached a simple line-holding spool, while the upper end holds the signaling device. The signal is usually a piece of very flexible spring steel with a red (some anglers prefer black) flag on the end. After the hook is baited and lowered to the desired depth, the steel arm is “cocked”—bent over and down and hooked onto a “trigger.” When a fish strikes, an arm on the revolving spool releases the steel arm and it flies erect.

In this type of tip-up, the reel is positioned underwater. In other variations, the reel is positioned above the ice. Each type has its advantages. The above-the-ice reel can be more sensitively adjusted for light-biting fish, but the line tends to freeze on the reel once it gets wet. The underwater reel largely eliminates the problem of freezing, but the fisherman must remove the tip-up from the hole before he can grab the line.

Baits for tip-up fishing are usually live. In general, it pays to match the size of the bait to the size of the fish you’re after. Baits range from tiny maggots (often called mousies) and grubs for panfish, to worms and small minnows for walleyes, and up to 6-inch baitfish for pike. 

As done by ice fishermen, jigging is simply a method of imparting an up-and-down movement to a lure or bait. Jigging can be—and is—done with any sort of line-holding rod or stick. 

Some jigging rods—more appropriately called sticks—are simply pieces of wood 18 inches or so long, with U-shaped notches in each end. The line—10-pound-test monofilament is very popular—is wound lengthwise onto the stick around the U-shaped notches and is paid out as needed. There are other types of jigging sticks of varying designs, and many ice anglers use standard spinning or spincast rods or the butt half of a fly rod. 

Rods made specially for ice jigging are simple affairs consisting of a fiberglass tip section that is 2 or 3 feet long seated in a short butt. The butt may have a simple revolving-spool reel or merely a pair of heavy-wire projections around which the line is wound. The tip section may have two to four guides, including the tip guide. The shortness of such a rod lets the user fish up close to the hole and have better control over the lure or bait at the end of his line. 

There are many and varied jigging lures and baits, but flashiness is built into most of them. Others produce best when “sweetened” with bait. Two popular jigging lures are: an ungainly looking critter with a heavy body shaped and painted to resemble a baitfish, a hook at each end and a treble hook in the middle of its underside, and a line-tie ring in the middle of its upper surface; and a long, slim, three- or four-sided, silvery model with a treble hook at one end and a line-tie ring at the other. 

Jigging methods vary with the fisherman and with the fish being sought. However, a productive way to fish many jigging lures, especially flashier types, is to twitch the lure slightly and then jerk it suddenly upward with a quick upward movement of the arm. The proper interval between jerks is learned with experience. 

Popular jigging baits include a single perch eye (either impaled on a small hook or used to sweeten a tiny hair or rubber-bodied ice fly), worms, grubs, maggots, insect larvae, minnows, and cut bait (pieces of skin or flesh that are cut from the tail or body of such fish as smelt and perch). 

Jiggers tend to move around more than tip-up fishermen, boring holes in different areas until they find a productive spot. 

Like most other forms of fishing, ice angling requires some auxiliary equipment. Most ice anglers prefer to keep such gear to a minimum, for they have to haul it with them wherever they go on the ice. 

If you’re going to fish through holes in the ice, you need something to make those holes. The ice auger is a popular tool for this job. Augers come in different designs. One has a long handle with a U-shaped bend at the top, and a rounded cutting blade at the bottom. The handle is turned much like that of a manual drill, and the blade cuts a round hole through the ice. Another type looks like a giant ice drill with sharp, widely spaced threads. It is used in the same way. Gasoline-powered ice drills are also available. 

Then there’s the ice spud or chisel. This is a heavy metal handle with a large, chisel-type blade at the bottom. The spud’s weight helps the angler punch down through the ice, but the user must shape the hole once he has broken through. 

An indispensable item of accessory gear is the ice skimmer, a ladle-type device that is used to keep the hole clear of ice chips and chunks and to skim ice. A heavy sinker will serve the same purpose. 

Many ice anglers like to use an attached spring clip. It is attached to the fishing line and used to determine the water depth—an important factor because in winter most game fish are found on or near the bottom. 

Winter is the time of year when ice fishermen venture out onto frozen waters. Most will have fun, but a few will get into trouble because they don’t know how to make sure that the ice is safe. The first rule is never take chances. There are two periods when accidents are likely to happen: early in the season when slush ice doesn’t freeze uniformly and late in the season when ice melts at an uneven rate. It takes prolonged periods of freezing to make ice safe. Here are some rules to remember: 

Be cautious of heavy snowfalls while ice is forming. Snow acts as an insulator. The result is a layer of slush and snow on top of treacherous ice. 

Clear, solid river ice is 15 percent weaker than clear lake ice. 

River ice is thinner midstream than near the banks. 

River mouths are dangerous because currents create pockets of unsafe ice. 

When walking with friends, stay 10 yards apart. 

Lakes that have a lot of springs will have weak spots of ice. 

 

 

 

 

About the author:

Vin T. Sparano is the author of Complete Outdoors Encyclopedia as well as three other guides for Rizzoli

He has been an outdoor editor and writer for more than fifty years. He is editor emeritus of Outdoor Life, and has written and edited more than fifteen books about the outdoors. In 2013, he was inducted into the Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame.

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http://stepoutside.org/article/a-beginners-guide-ice-fishing http://stepoutside.org/article/a-beginners-guide-ice-fishing Tue, 26 Dec 2017 00:00:00 -0600
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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http://stepoutside.org/article/9-best-archery-outfitters-in-colorado http://stepoutside.org/article/9-best-archery-outfitters-in-colorado Fri, 22 Dec 2017 00:00:00 -0600
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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http://stepoutside.org/article/10-best-bait-and-tackle-shops-in-colorado http://stepoutside.org/article/10-best-bait-and-tackle-shops-in-colorado Fri, 22 Dec 2017 00:00:00 -0600
10 Best Ice Skating Spots in Colorado Colorado is king when it comes to winter sports, and ice skating is no exception. From the largest Zamboni-maintained lakes in the country to family ice centers in historic ski towns, prepare to be dazzled by the incredible quality at the 10 best ice skating rinks in Colorado. 

Enjoy one of Colorado’s biggest natural ice skating rinks at Evergreen Lake in Evergreen. This 8.5-acre lake turns into an outdoor ice skating oasis that offers ice skate rentals and even hot chocolate. Since the rink is outdoors, it doesn’t open until mid-December and may close occasionally depending on the weather. 

I'll be wearing my Mickey beanie for the rest of this season..♡

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Dorsey Lake is another outdoor rink located in Estes Park. Skating at this lake offers a more intimate session versus Evergreen Lake. Dorsey Lake opens up as a skating rink in late December through February with weather permitting. 

For those in the ski town of Beaver Creek, take some time off the slopes to enjoy Black Family Ice Rink. A Zamboni refreshes the ice every three hours, so you’re sure to find some smooth ice at this outdoor rink. Since this ice rink is located within Beaver Creek Village, those who aren’t skating can enjoy a hot chocolate while watching the skaters from the heated lounging area. 

A five-acre lake in Keystone turns into a popular ice skating oasis in this ski town. This outdoor skating rink offers on-site skate rentals and even has hockey boards set up for a quick game on the ice. Keystone Lake is actually the largest Zamboni-maintained lake rink found in North America. 

Denverites can enjoy a great outdoor ice skating rink in the middle of the city. For those on a budget, this is a perfect ice skating rink to visit, since admission is free and skate rentals are only a few dollars. 

The Rink at Belmar offers a family-friendly atmosphere with a variety of fun events throughout the winter season. Enjoy two-for-one skate every Tuesday and Skate With Santa on Saturdays during the holiday season. This outdoor rink is another skating option for those located in Denver. 

Surrounded by the mountains, Winter Park Resort Ice Skating rink is absolutely picturesque. Rent some skates and even take free ice skating lessons here. You can even enjoy a night skate until 10 p.m. at Winter Park Resort’s ice rink. 

This skating rink is where world-class skaters and hockey players go to train. Although World Arena Ice Hall is a training facility, public skating is offered on certain days and times. Since it’s an indoor rink, you can enjoy a skate no matter what time of year. 

Almost 3 years later, Jelly and Larkburger are reunited! #jelly #larkburger

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Enjoy outdoor ice skating in the town of Telluride with the San Juan Mountains as a backdrop. Town Park Outdoor Rink has a warming hut, perfect from when you need a break from the ice. Enjoy an hour of free skating here from noon to 1 p.m. 

This Front Range outdoor skate rink is perfect for those living near Boulder. This pop-up skate rink appears every winter and has been pleasing Coloradans for over 14 seasons. Enjoy some hot chocolate and holiday music tunes while you brush up on your ice skating skills at Winter Skate in Louisville. 

They see us bladin' they hatin'... Love my ladies and I love sisterhoods 💙🔑

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http://stepoutside.org/article/10-best-ice-skating-spots-in-colorado http://stepoutside.org/article/10-best-ice-skating-spots-in-colorado Mon, 18 Dec 2017 00:00:00 -0600
10 Best Ski Destinations for Families in Colorado Every winter, Colorado becomes a haven for winter sport enthusiasts. Coloradans are spoiled with world-class skiing opportunities. Names like Breckenridge and Vail are practically household names when it comes to hitting the slopes. Next time you’re planning a family vacation, check out these 10 top-notch ski destinations in Colorado. 

There are plenty of amenities for families to enjoy at Keystone Resort. If your family stays two or more nights, kids can ski for free. However that isn’t all. Families should also take advantage of the resort’s Kidtopia activities like scavenger hunts, face painting, and warm cookie hour. 

Hope you had a wonderful Saturday! Who was out enjoying the expanded terrain?

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Families will love taking ski or snowboard lessons together through Winter Park’s Family Easy Start Program. The family package includes rentals, lift tickets and instruction. Kids and adults alike will love the Coca-Cola Tubing Park, where families can sled down the snowy slopes on a tube.  

This massive ski resort encompasses four mountains and over 5,500 acres of skiable terrain. There are plenty of ski runs here perfect for beginners and experts. After a long day on the slopes, head to Snowmass Village to visit the Treehouse Kids Adventure Center, which offers child care, themed playrooms and even ski lessons too. 

Beaver Creek Resort is home to three ski mountains and a top-notch ski school for kids. Beaver Creek is also home to weekly Family Fun Nights, where the whole family can enjoy live music, face painting, and more fun activities. This ski resort is actually a great family-friendly destination throughout the entire year. 

This massive ski resort is one of the largest family ski resorts in the nation. Vail Ski Resort offers families not only 5,000 acres of skiable terrain but also kid and adult ski lessons. If you’re little one is too young to ski, they will love spending time at the childcare facility while you enjoy the slopes. Kids should not miss out on Adventure Ridge, which has zip-lining, a bungee trampoline, ski biking and a bistro with kid-friendly meals. 

Suit game strong @Zloto

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If Mom and Dad would love a night out, Copper Mountain Resort offers a Kids Night Out program, which consists of three hours of child care where kids enjoy movies, games and crafts. Of course Copper Mountain is a great place to hit the slopes, however there are plenty of activities fun for kids that are off the slopes too. Head to the indoor playground known as Copper’s Barn for hours of fun. 

Learning to board is a process 🤙🏼

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Steamboat Springs is known as “Ski Town U.S.A.” Your entire family will love the kid-friendly activities provided on and off the slopes here. Steamboat Ski Resort offers a kids free ski program and even kid-only lifts. 

Four peaks make up the Breckenridge Ski Resort. The top-notch ski slopes aren’t the only things that keep families coming back here. Explore the mountaintop children’s museum, outdoor ice skating and even a fun alpine slide. There are also three childcare centers at the resort that provide fun activities for infants to children up to five years-old. 

Telluride is perfect for families to visit since the town is very walkable. Since Telluride is a small town, there are plenty of lodging places offering ski-in and ski-out accessibility to the slopes, making things easy for Mom and Dad. View the town from the free gondola or take advantage of the great ski classes for kids here.  

See Forever and Woozley’s Way opened today! #DiscoverTelluride

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Crested Butte Mountain Resort has plenty of activities just for kids. Parents will love the Kids Night Out program, while kids will have so much fun at the resort’s Adventure Park. This ski resort is one of the only ones on this list that has ski runs made for kid skiers in mind. 

The Silver Queen is back! #peakphotofriday

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http://stepoutside.org/article/10-best-ski-destinations-for-families-in-colorado http://stepoutside.org/article/10-best-ski-destinations-for-families-in-colorado Mon, 18 Dec 2017 00:00:00 -0600
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, 29 Nov 2017 00:00:00 -0600
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, 26 Oct 2017 00:00:00 -0500 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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http://stepoutside.org/article/5-energizing-hikes-in-colorado http://stepoutside.org/article/5-energizing-hikes-in-colorado Mon, 23 Oct 2017 00:00:00 -0500
5 Awesome Trail Running Spots in Colorado There are so many incredible trails in Colorado that are perfect for trail runners. From flat and easy terrain to steep and rocky trails, the variety of trails in Colorado is great for all types of runners. Lace up your best pair of shoes for these five awesome trail running spots in Colorado.

This out-and-back trail in Boulder is a fun yet challenging run. Spanning 13.4 miles, Mesa Trail can be accessed from either Chautauqua Park trailhead or the South Mesa Trailhead in Eldorado Canyon. This area is teeming with wildlife, such as mule deer, falcons, and even black bears and mountain lions. Much of the trail is through ponderosa pines with spots granting views of the Flatirons, which are Boulder’s iconic rock formations. Since this trail has a 3,200-foot elevation gain, runners will most definitely get a workout while running the Mesa Trail. 

Expect spectacular views from the trail up Animas Mountain in Durango. The trail is a six-mile loop on some difficult and rocky terrain. Runners should look forward to uphill running for a couple miles. However, the views of Durango from this trail are worth all the effort. Animas Mountain is recommended for skilled trail runners hoping to add more uphill activity into their running routine.

Head to western Colorado to find this trail-running gem near Grand Junction. Crag Crest Trail is a 10-mile trail loop with moderate terrain, making it perfect for a run. Located on Colorado’s Grand Mesa, this trail is sure to boast incredible views of western Colorado. Runners will find wildflowers and views of 14,000-foot mountains in the San Juan Mountain Range. 

The trail around this high alpine lake in Leadville follows rolling hills and has minimal elevation gain. If you’re simply looking for a trail run that will get you acclimated to higher elevations, running Turquoise Lake Trail is the one for you. This trail also has incredible views of two 14,000-foot mountains, Mount Elbert and Mount Massive. This trail is only accessible for running during the summer months. 

Mount Falcon near Morrison is a scenic and fun trail run. Start out on the Mount Falcon West Loop for an easier run. However those seeking a challenge should head to the Turkey Trot Trail or Castle Trail, both of which offer steep elevation climbs. This area has a number of side trails to explore too. Since this trail is located in Morrison, Mount Falcon is one of the most accessible trail runs on this list for Denver runners. 

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http://stepoutside.org/article/5-awesome-trail-running-spots-in-colorado http://stepoutside.org/article/5-awesome-trail-running-spots-in-colorado Fri, 13 Oct 2017 00:00:00 -0500
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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http://stepoutside.org/article/5-stunning-foliage-hikes-in-colorado http://stepoutside.org/article/5-stunning-foliage-hikes-in-colorado Tue, 03 Oct 2017 00:00:00 -0500