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, … Read more

Carson Nature Center: Canoeing, Camping and Climbing

Carson Nature Center: Canoeing, Camping and Climbing 2

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 … Read more

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 … Read more

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 … Read more

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. … Read more

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 … Read more

Colorado Trail: From Denver to Durango

Colorado Trail: From Denver to Durango 8

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 … Read more

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 … Read more