Regional Guide

Overview- North-Central Colorado

The Rocky Mountains constitute an area more than three times that of the Swiss Alps, and nowhere does the majesty of the range shine more than in north-central Colorado. The area extending from Denver to the northern section of Roosevelt National Forest, encompassing Boulder and Arapaho National Forest, is possibly the best place in the world for an outdoor enthusiast to work and play. Whatever your pleasure, this area is sure to accommodate. If the aim is recreation, you cannot miss your target in the area surrounding Rocky Mountain National Park.

As you enter Rocky Mountain National Park, the East Face of 14,255-foot Long's Peak welcomes you to Colorado's favorite public land. You're one of three million people who will come to the park this year, and even from a distance, it is easy to see why so many make the journey here. With 78 peaks over 12,000 feet, the high alpine scenery is without peer in the U.S. The park is a megafauna sanctuary, and is home to mountain lions, black bears, and bighorn sheep. Wildflowers balance out the harsh peaks of the gray monoliths, lending color to the glaciated valleys and gentility to steep slopes.

To the east of the national park, spoil yourself in Estes Park. Dine in one of the town's many fine restaurants and gaze upon the high peaks before you. Trail Ridge Road, America's highest thruway, has its northern terminus here, and what a way to get to town! Travel it to Boulder, a beautiful city that has manages to hold onto its 1960s' ideals while staying on the edge of technology and adventure. To the southwest lies Denver, a city that may surprise you with its cultural depth and dedication to outdoor pursuits.

Even in larger cities like Boulder and Denver, the amount of public land and park space preserved for recreation makes biking and hiking more accessible than just about anywhere else. Add Arapaho, Roosevelt, and Route National Forests to your itinerary, and you can find new challenges by foot, wheel, ski, or paddle for many months to come.

Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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