With summer nearing its end and everyone heading back to school and work, here are some of our favorite ways to close out the summer!
Camping is a popular pastime in Colorado. After all, Colorado is home to 11 national forests, 4 national parks, and numerous state parks, most of which offer ample opportunities for camping. Camping in Colorado is an excellent way for many people to experience the natural beauty of the state.
There is a range of developed campgrounds and undeveloped primitive campsites that are free to stay at. We personally prefer to head off the beaten path and find a spot on BLM land or Bureau of Land Management. You can find information on where these beautiful stashes of land are located thru their maps.
Some are just suitable for car camping with tents, others can easily accommodate travel campers or RVs. Outdoorsy is a great platform that helps you find RVs, travel trailers, and camper vans in your local area.
Wherever and however you choose to camp, remember to obey local fire rules and bans and leave no trace!
Garden of the Gods
The Garden of the Gods is a free public park donated to the City of Colorado Springs back in 1909 by the Charles Eilliot Perkins family, and was designated a National Natural Landmark in 1971.
It is a unique geological area that has been eroded into various beautiful and grand shapes from the natural forces of wind, water, ice and gravity. Garden of the Gods is best known for its amazing red rock formations and for the plethora of outdoor activities you can do.
There are trails that you can hike, run, or walk depending on the level of intensity you are looking for. You can also climb, boulder, bike, or sign up for one of their guided nature walks or segway tours! To plan your visit, go to their website for up-to-date park information and necessary permits.
Go Tubing Down the Poudre River
One of the best ways to cool off in the summer heat is tubing down the Poudre River in Fort Collins. If you’re not local to our little slice of Colorado heaven, Fort Collins is a delightful Colorado town in Northern Colorado, and the Poudre River is a pleasant way to spend a day. Depending on what section you decide to float, you can enjoy some natural scenery of the Poudre Canyon or float towards the Old Town area and you can end the day visiting locally-owned shops (like Akinz), restaurants, and breweries.
This is really the best time of year to go as the water is warmer and has calmed down. The spring snowmelt levels cause really high levels of rough water. There are 2 easier / safer sections to float: Gateway Natural Area to Picnic Rock up in Poudre Canyon or Shields to Legacy Park closer into town.
It’s a good idea to wear some kind of footwear and life vests are encouraged. Be sure to check local guidelines and regulations. Although the river was closed for all use just last week, the closure has been modified to the area between Rustic (East) and the fish hatchery (West).
Great Sand Dunes
If you’re looking for a new experience, a natural history lesson, or just a breath of fresh air, head to Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve. Its mystifying sand dunes can be enjoyed during hikes (of varying difficulty) along the many trails that run through the park.
Camping is one of the best ways to get out into the great outdoors and there are a few options for camping in the area. The Piñon Flats Campground is run by the National Park Service, with 44 sites that are first-come, first-served and 44 that visitors can reserve in advance. The campground is located about three miles from the entrance to the park. During the summer months demand for it is high.
For those willing to pack their gear and necessities, free backcountry permits (required) are available at the park's visitor center. You can pitch your tent anywhere in the 30-square-foot dunefield that lies outside the day-use area. You'll have a minimum hike of 1.5 miles over the dunes, but will experience a unique overnight setting.
Aside from backpacking and camping, there are tons of options for outdoor recreation. You can fish, ride horses, fat biking, or sand boarding and sledding. It’s a really unique area with lots of options and relatively accessible.