16 Adventure Trip Ideas Right Outside of Colorado
Published on 04/14/2014
Sailing the Great Salt Lake, Utah
Members of the Great Salt Lake Yacht Club, known as the "World's Saltiest Sailors", have learned that the sunsets on the Great Salt Lake are among the best in the world. And the sailing isn't so bad, either. It’s said that the density of the salt water and the other minerals of the lake intensify the sunset in the reflection.
Kayak the Black Canyon, Arizona
Just below the Hoover Dam, the Colorado River carves a harsh, rocky desert canyon punctuated with icy cold water. And with the put-in just an hour and a half from downtown Las Vegas, the Black Canyon is the perfect desert paddling respite for sun scorched desert dwellers.
Climb the Cathedral Traverse, Wyoming
Scaling Wyoming's 13,770 foot Grand Teton is a dream for many a multipitch climber. And, combined with nearby Teewinot and Mount Owen, this three-summit route, known as the Cathedral Traverse for its Gothic spires, is considered some of the best continuous climbing and scrambling in the country.
Image Source Photo Credit: Binh Pham
Camp on the Green River in Goblin Valley State Park, Utah
Think all the grandeur, hoodoos, and towers of the more name-drop-y National parks, but with a whole lot fewer people. Goblin Valley boasts 3,000 acres of canyon solitude, plus access to the Green River, making it perfect for hot summer weekend trips.
Raft the Grand Canyon, Arizona
Probably on just about everyone’s bucket list, rafting the Grand Canyon is a classic trip for good reason. Mind-blowing geology, spectacular side hikes, and world-famous whitewater make this river trip the ultimate adventure. But it does take considerable planning- traversing the entire 277-mile canyon can take the better part of a month.
Climb in Diablo Canyon, New Mexico
Just 15 minutes from the crowds of Santa Fe are the steep cliffs of Diablo Canyon. Slices of hard, dark basalt with cracks formed by cooling lava spot these canyon walls. This dream habitat for climbers offers almost 100 routes varying from single and multi-pitch to bolted and trad climbs.
Whitewater Raft on the Rio Grande, New Mexico
New Mexico's most notorious river trip, the Taos Box, takes rafters over 18-miles of intimidating white-water. Remote and pristine, the "Box" flows through the heart of the Rio Grande Gorge some 800 feet deep. This infamous run is not for the faint of heart.
Fish Lees Ferry, Arizona
A unique fishery for Rainbow Trout, the clear, 46-degree water coming from the base of Glen Canyon Dam allows for almost 15,000 fish per mile. Spectacular desert scenery only ups the ante.
Mountain Bike in Sedona, Arizona
With rides ranging from easy dirt roads to gnarly rock-strewn trails, the majestic red rocks of Sedona are a mountain biker’s paradise. Catering to all skill levels, most of the area trails encircle sandstone buttes and can go from slick rock to dirt to sand and single-track in the blink of an eye.
Backpack the Wind Rivers, Wyoming
One of the wildest stretches of mountains in the lower 48, The Wind Rivers epitomizes Wyoming with huge views, wildlife, and very few people. The Titcomb Basin offers up 35 peaks taller than 13,000 feet, 2,300 alpine lakes, and more than 600 miles of trails. And don’t forget your fly rod.
Canoe the Niobrara, Nebraska
A green oasis in the frontier high desert, the Niobrara, a National Scenic River, meanders calmly through wide green valleys, steep sandstone canyons and waterfalls. Some six ecological systems collide along the 30-mile stretch near Valentine, making for a serene and majestic canoe- and-camp experience.
Hike the Narrows in Zion, Utah
The premier hike in Zion National Park twists and turns for 16 miles through red sandstone, hanging gardens, and, at times, waist-deep Virgin River. Though it’s possible to hike top-to-bottom in one long day or do a shorter out-and-back from the bottom of the canyon, the ideal approach is to take two days, camping overnight at one of 12 designated campsites deep in the canyon.
Image Source Photo Credit: Jack Brauer
Explore the San Rafael Swell, Utah
The 2,000 square miles of sandstone slab just west of Moab known as the San Rafael Swell may not look like much from the outside. However this unassuming rock is home to an unseen maze of awe-inspiring slot canyons and narrow stone passages, meticulously carved by runoff and polished by wind and just waiting to be explored.
Raft the Cataract Canyon ,Utah
A five day trip over 100 miles of the Colorado River takes paddlers through Canyonlands and into Glen Canyon national recreation area and this white water adventure. With 14 miles of rapids rated up to Class V, Cataract Canyon also offers unique desert camping experience that features exceptional hiking and petroglyph viewing.
Mountain Bike the White Rim Trail in Canyonlands National Park, Utah
The 100-mile White Rim Trail in Canyonlands National Park allows bikers to explore slot canyons, cool off in the Green, and Colorado Rivers and get in some great riding, to boot. The jeep trail in the scenic Island in the Sky district of the park loops around the island mesa top and provides for a challenging ride and expansive views.
Canyoneering the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah
Canyoneering, that mix of all things great about the outdoors, is alive and well in Utah. The deep, narrow canyons surrounding Escalante can require some technical know-how, and maybe even a few splashes in the water, but this amazing collection of slot canyons is well worth the homework.
Kayak Lake Powell, Utah
While the Glen Canyon Dam on the Colorado River has been highly debated seemingly forever, its result, Lake Powell, remains a favorite freshwater kayaking destination. The lake’s extends from the main 185-mile watercourse into 96 side canyons where Navajo sandstone towers 500 feet above in narrow slots and paddlers can move free of waves, currents, or motorboats.