Tag: nature

Pawnee Grasslands: A Kingdom Unto Its Own

The distant thunderhead was towering high enough to scrape the moon, which hung in the sky like a silver kite. The onset of dusk painted the westerly side of the storm vermilion; the lightning flashes and thunder-quakes tickled our senses like little chemical jolts, visceral but evanescent. “Shouldn’t we, um, take cover?” asked my companion, a newcomer to the High…

Carson Nature Center: Canoeing, Camping and Climbing 2

Carson Nature Center: Canoeing, Camping and Climbing

With 878 acres of open space along the South Platte River, the park offers children and adults the opportunity to experience activities such as hiking, mountain biking and canoeing, as well as the chance to see over 300 species of wildlife. Fishing is also popular in the park’s five lakes and the 2.5-mile stretch of the South Platte River that…

Head for the Hills: Denver Mountain Parks

Everyone knows that in our frantic world of cell phones, e-mail and the Internet, it’s difficult, if not impossible, to get away from it all. And, even without such high-tech items, who has the time to escape? It might be hard to believe, but 100 years ago conservationists were thinking about you, your stress and how it might be alleviated….

Colorado Scenic Byways: Grand Mesa

In western Colorado, the Grand Mesa towers more than a mile above the landscape. Aspens paint thick dark forests with streaks of gold, while some 300 lakes mirror the changing sky. The Grand Mesa Scenic and Historic Byway climbs up and over this massive plateau, cresting at an elevation of more than 10,000 feet. The 63-mile route crosses the Grand…

Two-Wheel Cruising: A Tour of Three Denver-Area Bike Paths

The Colorado sky seems color-enhanced. Rich blues tint the vibrant summer sunsets and most Coloradans happily traded their skis for flip-flops. The Denver area’s 100-plus miles of groomed bike paths are a great place for the whole family to enjoy the season’s longer days. Here is a look at three of them. Seven days a week cyclists buzz along the…

Battle of the Bug: Fighting the Pine Beetle in Colorado’s High Country

I’ve been fighting a little bug lately. Uh, no, I feel fine, thanks. The bug is the mountain pine beetle, scourge of the Colorado high country, munching through our alpine forests like Grant went through Richmond. From Canada to Mexico and California to Colorado, every single pine tree is threatened and countless millions have died. Global warming and an accompanying…

Horseshoe Lodge: Sleep Among Nature

Tucked into the rolling, Ponderosa-studded foothills 25 miles west of Pueblo is the newly restored Horseshoe Lodge, part of the recently renovated Visitors’ Center in Pueblo Mountain Park. Though the park is just south of the town of Beulah, it’s a Pueblo city park. Eleven guest rooms in the center’s west wing opened in October and are available year-round for…

Breck’s Wildlife Preserve: Cool As a Cucumber

You’d be forgiven for assuming that between the cozy mountain town and the snow-packed slopes, there isn’t much else in Breck. But you’d be wrong. Between the town and the mountains — more precisely, between the Gold Rush Parking Lot and Peak 8 — is one of the country’s most matchless wildlife preserves. Cucumber Gulch is a 188-acre open space…

Colorado Trail: From Denver to Durango 9

Colorado Trail: From Denver to Durango

Colorado, known for its outdoor lifestyle, has an extensive trail system, not the least of which includes the Colorado Trail, which ranks as one of the state’s top treks. This nearly-500-mile path winds from Durango to Denver, intermingling through valleys, fields and peaks in the Colorado Rockies. The Colorado Trail was the brainchild of Bill Lucas of the U.S. Forest…

Scenic Byway: West Elk Loop

Soaring mountain peaks, fathomless canyons, vast forests, crystalline reservoirs, verdant river valleys, teeming fruit orchards — these diverse sights and more beautify the West Elk Loop. Shaped like a rope with a lasso at its end, the route stretches south from Carbondale for 50 miles and then circles around the West Elk Mountains. Those who travel the 205-mile byway can…