Colorado Top Picks

Travel back in time, conquer the white stuff on skinny skies and the alpine variety, and dig the unusual suspects that make up our honorable mentions
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Rooms with a view: Colorado's Mesa Verde (Corbis)

Step into the Past in Mesa Verde
Rising 1,600 feet from the surrounding desert valley in a vast sandstone plateau in the Four Corners region rests perhaps the most stunning archaeological site in the country. And as photogenic as Mesa Verde is, no image can prepare you for the intense, mysterious experience of seeing the site first-hand. Hiking routes (which double as cross-country ski trails during the winter) let you appreciate the breadth of this Ancestral Puebloan settlement, but for many, just marveling at its cavernous, intricate structure is a feat in itself.

Cross-country Skiing Along the Tenth Mountain Division
Hut-to-Hut System

For untrammeled, high-alpine, winter-white perfection at its skinny skiing best, the system of 29 furnished huts that make up the Tenth Mountain Division route cannot be beaten. Over 300 miles of trails get you into the state's true backcountry, interweaving remote peaks with the luxe comfort of Leadville, Aspen, and Vail. The trail system is also open to hikers and mountain bikers during the summer, but winter brings out the hut system's greatest assets: cloud-white snow, whisper-quiet passage, and a warm place to rest your head each night.'s guide to the Tenth Mountain Division Hut-to-Hut System

Ski Beaver Creek Resort
Vail may pull the crowds—after all, age does have its privilege and Vail is Colorado's oldest ski resort. But for those more interested in skiing and less in the scene surrounding the sport, neighboring Beaver Creek offers something otherwise un-thought-of within the Vail Valley: complete solitude.

Honorable Mentions
Hiking and Camping in Rocky Mountain National Park
You know it, you love it, and—crowds be damned—there's a good reason why.

Mountain Biking in Durango
More than 40 rides with varying terrain within easy reach of the city center—and that's just the beginning.

Ice-climbing in Ouray
The only ice park in the United States.

Rock Climbing in Black Canyon
This region of Gunnison National Park offers an intimate, intimidating realm in which to get vertical.

Fly-fishing in White River National Forest
The haute-resort region near Aspen and Vail mean only one thing to anglers: trout country.

Published: 22 Aug 2003 | Last Updated: 20 Nov 2012
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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