#2: Horsetooth Reservoir and Arthur’s Rock
I’ve been delaying posting about these two activities for a while because of the uncertainty surrounding the High Park Fire. Their status is still unknown, but if we find out that they’re open to the public during Nationals, I highly recommend taking a day trip just west of Fort Collins for some fun in the sun!
The trail to Arthur’s Rock is one of my favorites in Lory State Park. It is 1.7 miles unpaved and of modern difficulty. The trail winds through beautiful meadows and forested areas and ends at the top of Arthur’s Rock, which overlooks Fort Collins and Horsetooth Reservoir. I’ve taken many out-of-town friends to the top and they’ve loved it! That is crew member Trevor Taylor pictured above on a trip to Colorado last summer. Below is Angelo Cella, my best friend from Boston.
Don’t worry, he’s just posing for the picture. There is no bouldering required on this hike. Here is the view from the top:
You can see Horsetooth Reservoir in the foreground and Fort Collins and beyond in the background. Horsetooth is a 6.5 mile long reservoir surrounded by 1,900 acres of public land. FUN FACT: There is a ghost town at the bottom of Horsetooth Reservoir! To build the Reservoir in 1949, they flooded the town of Stout, Colorado. When I was young, I was terrified that bodies would float up from Stout while I was in the reservoir. Clearly, though, they didn’t drown all the people during construction.
Horsetooth has it all – hiking, boating, grilling (gas only no charcoal), swimming, biking, rock climbing, camping – you name it! You can find more information about activities at Horsetooth here:
#14: Red Rocks!
Concert junkies, listen up! Red Rocks Amphitheater is one of the PREMIERE concert venues in the country. This outdoor amphitheater A) is stunning B) has incredible views of Denver at night (see above) and C) has amazing natural acoustics created by the walls of rock on either side. Here’s the schedule for National’s week:
FRIDAY JULY 6th – String Cheese Incident
SATURDAY JULY 7th – String Cheese Incident
SUNDAY JULY 8th – Symphony on the Rocks – the Music of John Williams
MONDAY JULY 9th – The Beach Boys 50th Anniversary Tour
TUESDAY JULY 10th – Film on the Rocks – “Bridesmaids”
THURSDAY JULY 12th – John Denver Tribute w/ John Adams Band and CO Chamber Orchestra
FRIDAY JULY 13th – An Evening with Yanni Under the Stars
SATURDAY JULY 14th – Brandi Carlile with Ingrid Michaelson & Gregory Alan Isakov
Check out their website for more information on shows and tickets:
If you aren’t interested in going to a concert, Red Rocks is still a great place to visit! It also has several stimulating hiking and biking trails that show off the locations natural beauty and amazing geological formations. More info here:
#17: Maroon Bells
If you crave the picture-book Colorado experience, look no further than Maroon Bells, a truly cinematic location that is claimed to be the most beautiful place in Colorado AND the most photographed peaks in the nation. Unfortunately this one is a bit of a trip from The Ranch- about 4.5 – 5.5 hours (depending on the heaviness of your foot), which is why I’m telling you about it in advance so you can plan ahead, if you choose.
The Maroon Bells are the peaks of two fourteeners in the Elk Mountains separated by a third of a mile. Bring your cameras, sunscreen, water bottles and hiking boots! There are lots of great trails with varying degrees of difficulty that give you incredible views of the park. The 28 mile loop is considered one of the best hikes in the world! (Though probably too long and too strenuous to be completed during the National Show). Check out this link for more info:
While I highly recommend hiking AROUND the bells, be advised of the peaks’ alternative nickname: The Deadly Bells. Many people have died attempting to climb these peaks, as the terrain is rocky and prone to slides.
If you arrive before 9 AM, you can supposedly drive straight to the park, but between 9 AM and 5 PM, you must take a $6 bus from Aspen (