We've taken a fine tooth comb to Colorado's landscape in order to uncover the best places for fishing, hiking, hiking 14ers and climbing those rock thingys that are everywhere.
Ah, Colorado: ye old seething hotbed of outdoor action sports. We've got everything from climbing to hiking to fishing to hiking even taller mountains here, but sometimes the sheer volume of action sport options can be overwhelming. That's why, dear reader, we've taken a fine tooth comb to Colorado's landscape in order to uncover the best places for each outdoor activity. For your health!
We broke each sport down by how much energy you have to have to do them too, because we know your motivation for physical activity is intimately intertwined with there's hungover (it's a wonder you're breathing), feeling squirrely (you're down for an adventure) and badasses only (Red Bull has given you wings).
Photo: Climbing House
HUNGOVER – Flatirons trad walk-ups
Even after the deepest, darkest tequila binge of your life, there are still easy-peasy routes on the Flatirons that you could conquer. If you can crawl, you can climb a flatiron and then gaze out across Boulder with bloodshot eyes, yelling, “I’m king of the world!” Tiny children and old women can climb here, so what’s your excuse? Seize the day.
FEELIN' SQUIRRELY – Eldo Canyon
Eldorado Canyon, CO
If you just barely know what you’re doing when it comes to climbing, you can have a lot of fun in Eldo. There’s a ton of rock, the cliffs are really tall, and a lot of the routes aren’t insanely difficult. You could still die, obviously, but you could die crossing the street. Or in the bathtub. Think about that one.
BADASSES ONLY – Boulder Canyon
When the world’s best climbers scour the same canyon for 50 years, you’re gonna end up with some silly-hard results. No matter how many fingertip pull-ups you can do, there are still about 700 routes here that you can’t climb, Spiderman. Watching from a lawnchair and heckling climbers is a perfect back-up option, though.
HUNGOVER – South Boulder Creek
It’s convenient, it’s quiet and you’ll get results: it’s everything you could want in rebound sex — and from a sweet fishing spot after playing one too many rounds of Edward 40-hands the night before. You may have hula-hooped out of your pants last night to take a whiz, but those terrible memories will wash away with the gentle whisper of rushing water …
FEELIN' SQUIRRELY – Clear Creek
It’s time to step up your casting game. The water is faster, the banks are steeper, and the fish here won’t just give it up like the floozies at the karaoke bar last night — but that’s a good thing. You don’t take the easy way out. And you didn’t need a fish with herpes anyway.
BADASSES ONLY – St. Vrain Creeks and Lakes
It’s time to show your Instagram followers exactly how hard you hustle. You get lost trying to find a trailhead. Like way lost. Then you bushwack through forest-clogged trails for miles. Then you get your fly caught in a tree. And then you do again a few more times. But goddamn, you catch that monster trout just before sunset, and every single one of your followers like it. Eight people have never been so happy.
HUNGOVER – Betasso Trail
It’s mostly flat, shaded and you can drive right up to the trailhead. And since it’s just a 3-mile loop, it’s probably a shorter distance than you walked trolling the bars last night. Grab a few bottles of Gatorade and tackle this monster. You can do it. We believe in you.
FEELIN' SQUIRRELY – Flagstaff Mountain
Ready to sweat out the evil toxins you’ve dumped into your body? You’ll truly become the Stairmaster once you dodge traffic and spandex-clad road bikers on your way up Flagstaff. You’ll probably end up with buns of steel after this trek, so get ready for a lot of attention from the opposite sex. We warned you.
BADASSES ONLY – Manitou Incline Trail
2,000 vertical feet in about a mile. Sweet baby Jesus, this looks like a death wish. Dragging your wheezing, aching body to the top of Hell’s staircase is only half of the problem — try not to trip on the 60-degree decline while heading back to your car, or you’ll set a bone-shattering record for fastest descent.
HUNGOVER – Mt. Evans
Want all the glory of conquering a 14,000-foot peak without all the work? We’ve got you covered. You can summit the mighty Mt. Evans by just driving up the bitch and opening your car door. Just gloss over the whole “I took a car” aspect of the story to impress your flat-land relatives.
FEELIN' SQUIRRELY – Mt. Elbert
This mountain will require you to get out of your car, but since it’s the tallest point in the entire state, we’ll let it slide. It’s about 8 miles roundtrip, with 4,000 feet of gain. Since you cut Taco Bell out of your diet last week, you’ve got this, right?
BADASSES ONLY – Long’s Peak
Estes Park, CO
Fifteen miles of hiking? Good luck with that. We’re just going to Photoshop ourselves into pictures we found on the internet, but you can prove your badassdom by conquering Long’s Peak. It can turn into a conga line during the busy summer months, so get ready to make new friends.