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Best outdoorsy summer town in Colorado?

State College...
Level Contributor
56 posts
6 reviews
Best outdoorsy summer town in Colorado?

Please help me pick a town; there are so many to choose from! We're looking for a really beautiful place to spend a summer week. We want scenery (big mountains & lakes!) & lots of outdoor adventure.

Boulder, Telluride, Durango, Estes Park, etc...what do you recommend?

Destination Expert
for Breckenridge
Level Contributor
3,355 posts
28 reviews
1. Re: Best outdoorsy summer town in Colorado?

I like the areas of Durango & Telluride based off of what you described. Ouray is a beautiful town and in my mind one of the prettiest town in Colorado.

If you have a vehicle with decent clearance, you can take a drive from Silverton up and over to Lake City Colorado (one is Engineers Pass, cannot remember the other one).



Destination Expert
for Colorado
Level Contributor
11,466 posts
178 reviews
2. Re: Best outdoorsy summer town in Colorado?

Well. let's see...

Boulder is not really in the mountains. It has access to lots of outdoor adventures but if you want to be IN the mountains, I wouldn't choose Boulder.

Estes Park is great, but my pick would be any or all of the mountain towns along the San Juan Skyway, which would include Telluride, Dolores, Durango, Silverton and Ouray. Keep in mind that the Telluride Bluegrass Festival is June 18-21 this year. That can be a plus or minus for Telluride that weekend.

Look at durangotrain.org for info on what they say is the country's longest, largest zipline adventure, if you are interested in that. Takes five hours to complete the whole thing!

Level Contributor
70 posts
1 review
3. Re: Best outdoorsy summer town in Colorado?

One of my favorite mountain towns is Grand Lake. It's on the opposite side of Rocky Mountain National Park from Estes Park, and it doesn't get nearly the tourists that Estes does. There's still plenty to do if you like the outdoors-hiking, fishing, camping, horseback riding, etc. There are several great campgrounds and cabin options, as well as a few decent hotels. It's small and rustic and more "local", which I love.

Santa Fe, New Mexico
Destination Expert
for Santa Fe, Mesa Verde National Park, Boulder, New Mexico
Level Contributor
22,242 posts
58 reviews
4. Re: Best outdoorsy summer town in Colorado?

I've lived in both Boulder and Durango and there are outdoor adventures both places. Boulder is much larger and as mentioned before, not in the mountains but right up against the foothills. Durango is in a valley surrounded by mountains and is much smaller.

If you are into rock climbing, biking, hiking Boulder may be a good choice. You would be within 1-2 hours of high mountains, fishing, Rocky Mtn National Park, while also near Denver.

If you want rafting, kayaking, fishing, horseback riding, jeeping and hiking, then Durango will fit the bill. Also Mesa Verde National Park is only an hour away.

Fruita, Colorado
Destination Expert
for Fruita, Grand Junction
Level Contributor
7,538 posts
265 reviews
5. Re: Best outdoorsy summer town in Colorado?

If you want big mountains then you have to come to western Colorado. The San Juans cover more than 12,000 square miles, hundreds of them are over 13000 feet high, many over 14000 feet high. Most of this land is publicly owned so you can hike and camp and fish with freedom. The area around Ouray is called the Switzerland of America and Ouray is a charming town with wonderful natural hot springs. You can jeep into the back country for beautiful vistas and wildflowers, old ghost towns. Lots of things to see and do.

Albuquerque, New...
Level Contributor
2,169 posts
36 reviews
6. Re: Best outdoorsy summer town in Colorado?

My vote goes to the "Little Switzerland of America," the San Juan Mountains above Durango. The narrow-gauge railroad between Durango and the old mining town of Silverton is spectacular! You mention lakes...are you going to do some fishing? Are you camping any? The Durango area has both. If you're interested in a mountain cabin, you might want to check out the Vallecito Lake area, 26 miles northeast of Durango. Boat rentals there also. We'

ve summered there often since the 60's. If interested, I can give you some specific places...semd me an E-mail for info.

Haviland Lake, about 18 miles north of Durango on US550, has great (yet primitive, i.e. no electricity, etc.)campsites overlooking the lake. "Usually" good trout fishing is to be had from the bank in summer. There is horseback riding at the turnoff to the lake if you have kids along, or are so inclined yourself.

Don't miss Mesa Verde National Park to the west while you are in the area. Have a great trip!

Sarasota, Florida
Level Contributor
4,186 posts
109 reviews
7. Re: Best outdoorsy summer town in Colorado?

It wasn't included in any list so far, but since katemax said "etc." I'll add a few names. Steamboat Springs is definitely an outdoor place, though admittedly the mountains there can't compete with those in the SW part of the state. It's also hard to skip over Summit County -- Breckenridge, Keystone, etc. -- for outdoor activity of all types. And I guess Aspen would qualify nicely as well, if you can take yourself away from the diversions of restaurants, shops, music concerts, etc.

8. Re: Best outdoorsy summer town in Colorado?

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