It will come as no surprise to learn that Coloradans love a good physical challenge. Regularly named one of the healthiest states in America, Colorado’s all-inclusive outdoor scene is a draw for locals and visitors alike. With outdoor activities ranging from climbing a fourteener to ice climbing, extreme mountain biking to back country skiing, there is no shortage of outdoor challenges to check off your bucket list here in Colorado. So why not add five more?
With a little training (okay, a lot depending on your fitness level!), these could be five outdoor challenges for you to conquer this summer.
Climb: Manitou Incline
photo via ManitouIncline.com
The Manitou Incline is more of a challenge than the name might imply. One mile long, it climbs more than 2,000 feet and is a literal stair master workout. If you are looking for a heart-pounding outdoor challenge, the incline is the one for you. Have you already climbed the incline? Try timing yourself and improving on your time. Increasing your speed is sure to get your heart rate up. If you want to visit this summer, get there before August 22nd as it will be closed for repairs through April.
Hike: Grays and Torreys Peaks
With a total distance of 8.5 miles, this is an iconic hike in Colorado. This hike combines two well-known fourteeners which allows those who are willing the opportunity to hike them back to back. An elevation gain of 3,000 feet over 3.5 miles will lead you to the Grays summit. Hiking down Grays North Ridge, a drop of almost 600 feet is the most difficult portion of the entire hike. This will lead you to the Grays-Torreys Saddle, and up the 575 foot ascent to the summit of Torreys. The rugged and loose trail is more difficult to navigate than Grays, which will make the arrival at the second summit that much better. This is a great choice for anyone wanting a great physical challenge and for checking two fourteeners off their list with one long hike. Did we mention the views? Sublime.
Cycle: To 14,000 Feet on Mount Evans Road
Many are familiar with Mount Evans Road and its short window of access every summer. The expansive views are some of the most breathtaking in all of Colorado. If you visit on a clear day, you can literally see all the way back down into Denver. Mountain goats and big-horned sheep are also frequently spotted on the narrow, winding road to the summit. If you have driven this road you know that it is a popular one among cyclists, but have you ever thought about cycling it yourself? It may require a bit of training if you have cobwebs on your bike, but offers a great end goal for your weekly training sessions if you can make it to the top of this beautiful mountain.
Mountain Bike: Barr Trail
Barr Trail is another two-wheeled challenge, but a must-do for any serious mountain biker. This 12 mile trail climbs nearly 7,500 feet in elevation and leads you to the top of world famous Pike’s Peak. The views along the way, and the promise of endless views from the summit are inspiration enough for riders looking for one of the most intense mountain biking trails in Colorado. Many cyclists plan on stopping at Barr Camp to rest or even stay overnight before finishing the final 6 miles to the summit. Barr Camp is a non-profit organization led by volunteers to enhance the Pike’s Peak experience for all visitors. This trail, while difficult, should be at the top of every extreme sport enthusiast’s bucket list.
Sandboard: The Great Sand Dunes
While many have visited Great Sand Dune National Park, we have a new twist on the best way to enjoy the dunes. If you need your summer ski fix, the sand dunes offer the perfect solution. Here, you can try sand boarding or sand sledding for a truly unique experience. While regular skis and snowboards only tend to work on very wet sand, the sand boards and sand sleds offer the perfect thrill as you cruise down the dunes in style.