DENVER POST MARCH COLUMN: 11 new outdoor adventures opening in Colorado this spring and summer

There are two new Via Ferratas opening in Colorado this summer. (Provided Adventure Partners via the Colorado Tourism Office)

New offerings include climbing, biking, hiking and paddling

The mountains themselves may not change much from year to year, but the ways for people to get up into them do.

Here are a handful of new offerings, already open to the public or coming online this June, that the Colorado Tourism Office recommended in a news release last month. They span climbing, biking, hiking, paddling, racing and more. Now reserve that campground — or new alpine hut — and get out there!

Hiking and biking

Colorado Springs’ newest trail to the top of Cheyenne Mountain is Dixon Trail in Cheyenne Mountain State Park, now open to the public. Constructed mainly by volunteers, the hike features 914 meters of elevation gain and has a challenging upper section. The park itself has an archery range and campground, plus 28 total miles of trails, some quite popular for hiking, biking or horseback riding.

Meanwhile, in Telluride, the Telluride Ski Resort Bike Park is opening in June. It’s being built through a partnership with Gravity Logic, and will have miles of gravity-fed flow trails, with big, sweeping turns over a rain absorbent surface and arching bridges. They’re also adding new freestyle trails and enhancing existing technical and cross-country trails.

Via Ferrata

Italian for “iron way,” a Via Ferrata is a protected climbing route using a series of fixed anchors, walkways and bridges across vertical rock faces. There are already a few in the state, notably in Telluride, and now there are two more: sign up for a two-hour guided Via Ferrata adventure at Cave of the Winds Mountain Park in Manitou Springs. You’ll scale limestone cliffs and mountains, thousands of feet above the canyon floor.

The Royal Gorge has a new Via Ferrata coming this summer. (Eve Nagode, provided by Colorado Tourism Office)

A bit to the south, Royal Gorge Bridge & Park also has a new Via Ferrata coming out this summer. It will allow guests to traverse the sheer granite walls of the Royal Gorge, adding yet another way to experience the Gorge (in addition to being able to see it by train, rafting or from above on the bridge or tram).

Paddling

Look for the Poudre River Whitewater Park, set to open late this summer and located on the river just north of Old Town Fort Collins. The park has a boulder-lined boat chute, rock features, kayaking holes, stand-up paddleboarding (SUP), tubing and shallow play areas along the shore for kids.

Also, look for the Eagle River Park to open this spring — a 4.3-acre affair with a world-class whitewater park for competitions, events and just playing. The park wraps along the Eagle River near the Eagle County Fair and Rodeo Grounds and Chambers Park.

Lodges and huts

Red Mountain Alpine Lodge is a year-round backcountry lodge that opened in December. (Provided by the Colorado Tourism Office)

Red Mountain Alpine Lodge (sleeps 18 to 20, from $134 per person) is a year-round, off-grid backcountry lodge just north of the summit of Red Mountain Pass at 11,000 feet. The lodge opened in December 2018 and includes gourmet food, a bar and wood-burning sauna, and offers access to spectacular backcountry terrain in the San Juan Mountains.

Also off the grid in the San Juans, the Thelma Hut (sleeps eight, $480 per night for the whole hut, plus meal plan) is powered by solar energy, open year-round and is a full-service experience that comes with a hut host who cooks three meals a day.

Experiential

Participate in the new archeology program at Canyons of the Ancients Guest Ranch. Guests will join a local rockologist who is excavating a village on the property; they’ll tour the excavation site and to learn about the ancient people who once lived in this area.

Races

On June 15, look for The Boulder Beer Chase — a new one-day, six-person relay of 55 miles, consisting of 12 legs of varying distance (3 to 6 miles per leg). The course starts in Fort Collins at Odell Brewing and finishes at Boulder Beer Co. with exchange points at craft breweries along the way.

RELATED: Best races in Colorado that you probably haven’t heard of yet

On Aug. 22-25, the Colorado Classic Women’s Only Bike Race will become the only women’s stand-alone stage race in the Western Hemisphere on the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) calendar and USA Cycling’s Pro Road Tour. The four-stage road race will raise the bar for pro women’s cycling and bring some of the top female cyclists and teams in the world.

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