It’s hard to believe that the summer of 2020 is just about over. Only a few short months ago we were longing for warmer weather and sunny days so we could break free from the winter doldrums that were only made worse by a worldwide pandemic that kept us close to home. Although this has been a summer unlike any other — we haven’t been able to partake in the usual festivals, concerts, and ball games — we still feel lucky to be living in Colorado where we can take off for a weekend backpacking trip, float down a river on a hot day, or just sit back and take in the breathtaking landscape and forget all of our worries, even if for just a moment.
This time of year, we almost hate to see summer go, but we know that beautiful fall colors and the winter sports season are right around the corner. However, before you put away your sandals and pull out your ski boots, there are still several weeks to enjoy summer activities in Colorado. Here is our list of five things you should do before summer ends.
Get In a Great Workout at Red Rocks
You can go to the gym anytime, but why not head to a place that inspires you to do more, push harder, and be the best you can be? We’re talking about taking your workout to Red Rocks Amphitheater.
Although most people have only been to Red Rocks to see a concert (another must-do for any Coloradoan), they forget that the park is open to the public every day of the year. This is great news since most of the 2020 shows have been canceled due to COVID-19. It means you can still take in that awe-inspiring view and it won’t cost you a thing.
It’s hard not to get inspired when you’re running up and down stairs surrounded by towering rock formations that were formed almost 300 million years ago. Just try taking those 145 steps from the stage to the top and back down a few times, and you’ll soon realize why athletes of all types come to train here. Looking for something a little less strenuous? Check out one of the several hiking trails in and around Red Rocks that range in length from just over a mile to over six miles.
Take a Break From the Heat By Floating Down a River
Much of Colorado has experienced unrelenting record-breaking temperatures this summer. If you’re getting tired of the heat, and just want to cool off, we have the perfect answer. Head to one of the many river-tubing spots in Colorado and enjoy a relaxing and refreshing float, while you still can. Water levels do tend to be lower this time of year, so you’ll always want to check ahead of time to confirm if the spot you are planning to go to has enough water, but there are still plenty of good places to go. The Yampa River in Steamboat Springs and the Poudre River in Fort Collins are two favorite destinations that offer miles of fun and refreshment.
Hike a 13er
If you’ve lived in Colorado for at least a week, then you’ve likely heard the term “14er” and you may have even hiked a few. These 14,000+ feet peaks get all the attention — and therefore they also get all of the traffic. In fact, the trails to many of the most popular 14ers — Longs Peak, Mount Bierstadt, Grays and Torreys — are often overcrowded, especially on the weekends. If you’re looking to practice responsible social distancing while enjoying a peaceful trek up a mountain, why not consider one of the many 13ers in Colorado?
Although many are only slightly lower in elevation, they still offer just about the same amount of challenge (and in some cases more) than the acclaimed 14ers. In fact, the highest 13er, Grizzly Peak, is just a mere 12 feet short of hitting the 14,000-foot mark.
Besides the fact that you’ll probably have a quieter, much more enjoyable hike if you’re trying to check monumental hikes off of your list, many people don’t realize just how many 13ers there are in Colorado. In fact, there are a total of 637 of them! This is more than ten times the number of 14ers! That’s why, before the snow starts to fly, we recommend heading out to bag one or more of these beautiful peaks. Mount Audubon is one of the more popular 13ers because of its close proximity to Boulder, and it’s rated lower on the difficulty scale. However, if you’re looking for a challenge and some solitude, Jagged Mountain in The San Juans is definitely worth the effort.
Spend a Day On the Lake
Colorado’s arid climate, rugged terrain, and vast prairies can sometimes make you forget that our great state is actually home to over 4,000 lakes. Many of them may only be accessed by hiking trails, but there are hundreds that can be used for swimming, boating, kayaking, fishing, and more.
Unless you’re planning to partake in a polar plunge or ice fishing, chances are you’ll want to enjoy lake time while the weather is still warm. Fortunately, all you have to do is grab a blanket or a camping chair, and find your spot next to the water. For a little more excitement, you can visit any number of gear rentals to rent a standup paddleboard or kayak so you can actually explore the lake on the water.
If you really just want to get out on the water in a boat, but don’t want the cost and upkeep associated with owning one, you’ll be happy to know that you can actually rent boats of all sizes at many marinas. While it might set you back a few hundred dollars (depending on how long you rent it), being able to have your very own boat — even if just for the day — is well worth the cost. Just want to try it out for an hour or two? Many places, such as the marina in Estes Park will even rent by the half-hour.
Enjoy a Local Microbrew on the Patio
If you’re a fan of Colorado microbrews, then you probably know that there’s no better time to enjoy them than during the summer, on a patio. With many restaurants and breweries choosing to set up additional responsibly-spaced outdoor seating, there are more places than ever before where you can enjoy a cold, frosty beverage while taking in the views.
If beer isn’t your thing, don’t worry — there are usually plenty of other thirst-quenching options. Ciders, seltzers, and even kombucha and small-batch sodas are all popular alternatives that taste particularly refreshing on a patio during a hot summer (or end-of-summer) day.
Enjoy Summer Now...Fall Is Right Around the Corner
In Colorado, the end of summer is bittersweet — we’ll miss the extra hours of sunshine, but we also welcome the cooler temperatures and changing colors. No matter what season it is, we love living in Colorado and experiencing all that it has to offer.
At ColoradoCool, we create unique, high-quality, Colorado-inspired apparel and accessories made for those who love our great state and it’s active lifestyle. Each of our designs is hand-drawn, right here in Northern Colorado, and you won’t find them anywhere else. Whether you’re looking to replace your summer tees, or you need a new hat or hoodie for fall, we hope you’ll shop ColoradoCool and support a local business who loves Colorado just as much as you do!