Rocky Mountains | Moon Travel Guides https://moon.com Trip Ideas, Itineraries, Maps & Area Experts Sat, 21 Oct 2017 00:30:54 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.2 https://deathstar-650a.kxcdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/cropped-moon_logo_M-32x32.jpg Rocky Mountains | Moon Travel Guides https://moon.com 32 32 125073523 Jackson Hole Winter Activities https://moon.com/2017/10/jackson-hole-winter-activities/ https://moon.com/2017/10/jackson-hole-winter-activities/#respond Thu, 12 Oct 2017 22:43:55 +0000 https://moon.com/?p=60378 Winter in Jackson Hole brings skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling, ice climbing, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing. Experience the best of this Wyoming destination with these fun winter activities.

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Winter in Jackson Hole brings skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling, ice climbing, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing. While the winter season runs Thanksgiving-early April, high season includes all holidays and school vacations: Christmas, New Year’s, Martin Luther King weekend, President’s Day week, and school spring breaks. Prices go up for those holiday periods. To avoid the crowds, plan midweek trips outside of the holidays. January and February usually bring the coldest weather, while March often delivers big dumps of snow.

welcome sign at Jackson Hole in winter

Winter in Jackson Hole brings skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling, ice climbing, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing. Photo © Tenley Thompson/iStock.

Skiing and Snowboarding

Snow King Mountain (100 E. Snow King Ave., Jackson, 307/734-3194, early Dec.-Mar., lift tickets $48 adults, $30 juniors and seniors) is not usually a choice for diehard destination skiers and snowboarders, but families like its smaller size (400 acres), night skiing for kids, tubing, and cheaper rates.

Jackson Hole Mountain Resort

With big vertical, steep chutes, and a reputation as a big, bad experts-only ski area, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort (3265 W. Village Dr., Teton Village, 307/733-2292, late Nov.-early Apr., lift tickets $121 adults, $75 juniors, $98 seniors) has only 50 percent of its terrain devoted to advanced skiers and snowboarders. The rest is rolling groomers for beginners and intermediates. The resort’s 4,139 vertical feet has 19 lifts spread across 2,500 acres, including the Aerial Tram that goes to the 10,450-foot summit of Rendezvous Mountain. The average year delivers 450 inches of snowfall. Lift tickets are pricey, but you often can get cheaper rates with lodging packages or online. The resort has several terrain parks, on-mountain and base area restaurants, rental shops, and lessons. The resort does not own lodging properties, but Teton Village has accommodations ranging from a hostel to luxury lodging.

Heli- and Snowcat Skiing

Heli- and snowcat skiing can rack up 12,000-15,000 vertical feet in places where you have elbow room in big bowls, glades, and steeps. High Mountain Heli-Skiing (Teton Village, 307/733-3274, mid-Dec.-Mar., $1,200/person) has access to five mountain ranges surrounding Jackson Hole. A trip usually gets in six runs per day. Reservations are required; sometimes you can get packages that combine a trip with lodging.

person dressed in green skiing in Jackson Wyoming

Skiing in Jackson Hole is an unforgettable experience. Photo © Josh Beckner/iStock.

Backcountry Skiing

The Tetons are a backcountry ski mecca. Slap on a pair of skins and grab the transceiver, beacon, and probe to head out for skiing. Teton Pass, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort side country, and hike-to terrain beyond the boundaries of Grand Targhee Resort are the most popular places to go. Consult with experts at Teton Mountaineering (170 N. Cache Dr., Jackson, 307/733-3595) when renting gear and check on avalanche conditions (Bridger Teton Avalanche Center, 307/733-2664) before you go.

Cross-Country Skiing and Snowshoeing

Unfortunately, housing and hotel developments have usurped the groomed Nordic centers in Jackson Hole and Teton Village, but some of the pathways around town are groomed for skate or classic skiing. Check current grooming conditions (307/739-6789) and download online maps of groomed trails (www.friendsofpathways.org).

Any summer trail around Jackson Hole can turn into a snowshoe trail in winter. One of the most scenic places to snowshoe is on the summit of Teton Pass. Follow Forest Road 019 south for about three-quarters of a mile (1.5 miles round-trip); it’s short but big on scenery. A trail continues from the end of the road, but you’ll need avalanche gear to proceed.

Guides and Rentals

Skinny Skis (65 W. Deloney, Jackson, 307/733-6094 or 888/733-7205, 9am-6pm Mon.-Sat., 10am-5pm Sun., hours vary seasonally, $15-25/day) rents snowshoes and general touring, metal-edge touring, and skate-ski packages. The shop also waxes and tunes skis.

Hole Hiking Experience (Jackson, 866/733-4453, daily in winter, $75-175/person) guides half-day to full-day cross-country ski trips and snowshoe tours (2-6 hours), plus combination programs of hikes mixed with wildlife-watching or other activities.

Snowmobiling

Snowmobile routes tour the Gros Ventre Mountains. A unique trip goes to the Granite Hot Springs (20 miles round-trip, early Dec.-early Apr.) in Bridger-Teton National Forest. The tour follows snow-buried Granite Creek Road (Forest Rd. 30500) up Granite Creek to the hot springs. The route is suitable for beginning snowmobilers. Togwotee Adventures (1050 S. Hwy. 89, Jackson, 307/733-8800) guides snowmobile tours to the Gros Ventre Mountains, Togwotee Pass, Granite Hot Springs, and Yellowstone.

Snowmobile rentals are available at Leisure Sports (1075 S. Hwy. 89, Jackson, 307/733-3040, 8am-5:30pm daily) and Jackson Hole Adventure Rentals (1060 S. Hwy. 89,Jackson, 307/733-5678 or 877/773-5678, 8am-5pm daily Nov.-Mar., 9am-6pm daily Apr.-Oct.). Snowmobiles run about $135-175 per day; winter gear costs $5-20 per item. Trailers are also available.

Ice Skating

A free outdoor ice rink operates at the Town Square in Jackson. Grand Teton Skating Association (noon-8pm daily mid-Dec.-Feb.) runs the rink. Skate rentals ($5) are available. Snow King Sports (100 E. Snow King Ave., 307/201/1633, daily mid-Oct.-Mar., $8 adults, $6 kids) has indoor public skating (noon-2pm) and open hockey (10:15am-11:30am, $10).

Tubing

King Tubes (Snow King Mountain, 100 E. Snow King Ave., Jackson, 307/734-9442, 2pm-7pm Tues.-Fri., 11am-7pm Sat.-Sun. early Dec.-Mar., $20 adults, $15 kids for one hour, $5 each hour thereafter) requires no skill on the snow to have some fun sliding. A rope tow pulls you and your tube up a hill where you can then sail downhill.

Winter Sleigh Rides

In Teton Village, Teton Village Sleigh Rides (307/733-2674, daily in winter, $35/person) operates horse-drawn sleigh rides from the corral across the street from Snake River Lodge. Rides depart three times each evening (5pm, 6pm, and 7pm). Reservations are a good idea.

dogs pulling a sled in Jackson Hole

If you’re planning on a dog sled tour in Jackson Hole, advance reservations are recommended. Photo © jbreeves/iStock.

Dogsledding

Dogsled tours (late Nov.-early Apr.) take place on the fringes of Jackson Hole and require longer drives or shuttles to reach their locations. Reservations are required, with pickups available in Jackson.

Jackson Hole Iditarod Sled Dog Tours (307/733-7388 or 800/554-7388) runs full-day and half-day trips up Granite Canyon in Bridger-Teton National Forest. The company is owned by eight-time Iditarod veteran Frank Teasley.

Winter in Jackson Hole brings skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling, ice climbing, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing. Experience the best of this Wyoming destination with these fun winter activities.


Excerpted from the Seventh Edition of Moon Yellowstone & Grand Teton.

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Why You Should Visit Sheridan, WY https://moon.com/2017/09/why-you-should-visit-sheridan-wy/ https://moon.com/2017/09/why-you-should-visit-sheridan-wy/#comments Thu, 28 Sep 2017 22:05:16 +0000 https://moon.com/?p=60606 The biggest reason to visit this northern Wyoming town now is the new wave of businesses that are opening alongside intact and revitalized older businesses, providing this enclave with the perfect combination of fresh energy and original character. It’s kind of like the charm of an old VW bus with the luxurious feeling of a Rolls Royce. Visiting here gives you a distinct sense of discovery, as you explore a town that is at once historic, full of character, and newly coming into its own.

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This is the moment to visit Sheridan, Wyoming.

It’s not just because this college town of about 18,000 souls in northern Wyoming opened the Whitney Center for the Arts in 2016. And it’s not just because of the expanded, 24,000-square foot, $15.8 million Brinton Museum just outside of town in Big Horn. It’s not even because the Big Horn Mountains provide a bit of shelter from Wyoming’s notorious winds.

The biggest reason to visit this northern Wyoming town now is the new wave of businesses that are opening alongside intact and revitalized older businesses, providing this enclave with the perfect combination of fresh energy and original character. It’s kind of like the charm of an old VW bus with the luxurious feeling of a Rolls Royce. Visiting here gives you a distinct sense of discovery, as you explore a town that is at once historic, full of character, and newly coming into its own.

Come along for the ride with these recommendations for a visit to Sheridan.

a blue car parked in front of the Trail End Historic Site

Learn more about the area’s fascinating history at Trail End Historic Site. Photo © Mindy Sink.

Sights in Sheridan

Plan some time to learn more about the area’s fascinating history and culture.

Trail End State Historic Site is the historic home of the Kendrick family, whose patriarch was a cattle rancher, Wyoming Governor, and United States Senator. There are self-guided tours available, or you can plan ahead and schedule a guided tour of the four floors of this 1913 Flemish Revival style mansion.

On the grounds of the 620-acre Quarter Circle A Ranch is the historic Brinton house, and the new Brinton Museum in the Forrest E. Mars, Jr. Building. Three floors house a collection of Western and American art, an art gallery, a gift shop, and a bistro with spectacular views of the Bighorn Mountains. The building alone is an attraction unto itself, with North America’s largest rammed earth wall as the centerpiece.

Sheridan College campus is home to the Whitney Center for the Arts, which has performance and gallery spaces where you can see regional artists display artwork or local musicians such as Jalan Crossland perform. This is also where the annual Wyoming Theater Festival takes place.

For some background reading on the history of this part of Wyoming, pick up Where the River Runs North by Sam Morton.

sign on the building of the Whitney Center for the Arts in Sheridan WY

The Whitney Center for the Arts was opened in 2016 on the Sheridan College campus. Photo © Mindy Sink.

Hungry or Thirsty?

While Sheridan isn’t quite a dining destination yet, downtown offers plenty of options for libations and a bite to eat.

The Mint Bar is classic Western nightlife. If taxidermy gives you the creeps, though, you may want to go elsewhere. Personally, between the neon cowboy outside and the glowing stuffed jackalope (a mythical Western animal) behind the bar, wild horses couldn’t drag me away. Locals love to tell stories of people riding horses through the front door here.

Black Tooth Brewery is an award-winning brewhouse and taproom where you can stop in for a few cold ones with names like Saddle Bronc Brown Ale, Wagon Box Wheat and Cowboy Joe. Thanks to their expanded facility, you can even pick up a six-pack of whatever they’re putting in cans right here.

Open Range Restaurant is found in the city’s historic Sheridan Inn. If you haven’t already heard about Buffalo Bill, you will in Sheridan. William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody was—and is—world-renowned for his Wild West rodeo shows, but in these parts, is known as an early investor and one-time manager of the inn. Wyoming-size portions await, so order accordingly.

Red Velvet Bakery & Tapas makes the most delicious quiche I have ever eaten, plus hearty baked goods that you can take along for a day of hiking and exploring. The storefront on Main St. is worth hunting for when you need a caffeine fix.

storefront of Black Tooth Brewing Company in Sheridan, Wyoming

Quench your thirst at the Black Tooth Brewing Company. Photo © Mindy Sink.

Go On, Git!

Are those wide-open spaces calling your name? Whatever your interests, there are all kinds of options nearby.

Less than an hour’s drive outside of town, you can drive along the Big Horn Scenic Byway to Steamboat Point and do a hike of about 1 mile to the top of the rock formation. If you have the time, keep on going to Sibley Lake: a pristine blue jewel where you can hike, boat, fish and camp. If you have even more time, keep on driving to Medicine Wheel in the Bighorn Range, built by Native Americans hundreds of years ago.

If you’re here in the winter, there’s even skiing—both downhill and cross-country—relatively nearby.

rock formation of Steamboat Point surrounded by grass

Take a hike up to Steamboat Point. Photo © westernphotographs/iStock.

Where to Shop

Don’t forget souvenirs for the folks back home!

For that authentic Western gift, go to King’s Saddlery and King Ropes on Main St., where they forge the ropes used in rodeos around the country. For those of us still learning the, er, ropes of lassoing, maybe just pick up one of their baseball caps. Be sure to check out the on-site Don King Museum too.

Surf Wyoming is a fun local brand that celebrates the best of Wyoming’s great outdoors. Grab a t-shirt at their shop on Main (practically across the street from King’s).

The gift shop at the Brinton Museum has a wide selection, from kid-friendly trinkets to cute holiday presents with a Western flair. Go beyond the gift shop, too: the gallery has amazing work for sale by local and regional artists.

saddles lined up in a store

Stop in at King’s Saddlery for a souvenir. Photo © Mindy Sink.

Where to Rest Your Head

The Sheridan Inn is in a prime location downtown, walking distance from many places to shop, eat and drink. Despite its rich history and Buffalo Bill ties, the inn only reopened to guests after a renovation in 2015, after years of neglect.

If you’re traveling with a large group, get out of town and closer to nature at Canyon Ranch in Big Horn. This fourth generation cattle and guest ranch (home to the Wallop family, one of whom was a Wyoming senator) has three houses to choose from, and a welcome staff that can connect you to activities like horseback riding and fly fishing in the area. Most of all, it’s a beautiful place to enjoy the view, take a walk, and just embrace the peace and quiet.

The wonderfully surprising things about Sheridan are the many ways there are to enjoy it—for families, couples, adventurer seekers, history lovers, art patrons, and more—and how easy it is to get here with flight service through Denver (which is only a six-hour drive away) on Fly Sheridan.

Go to Sheridan Travel and Tourism to find out about upcoming events, such as Third Thursdays in summer, Wyoming Theatre Festival, the rodeo, and more.

side view of the Sheridan Inn in Wyoming

If you want lodging in the downtown area of Sheridan, book a stay at the Sheridan Inn. Photo © Shawn Parker, courtesy of Sheridan Inn.


cover Moon Denver Boulder Colorado Springs 1e Mindy Sink has roots on Colorado’s Front Range. As a journalist, Mindy has been writing about the greater Rocky Mountain region for years, including more than 10 years for the New York Times, as well as for Sunset Magazine, The Christian Science Monitor, and other well-known publications. Find more of Mindy’s Rocky Mountain travel recommendations in her book Moon Denver, Boulder & Colorado Springs.

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Best Sites for Rockhounding in Colorado https://moon.com/2017/09/best-sites-for-rockhounding-colorado/ https://moon.com/2017/09/best-sites-for-rockhounding-colorado/#respond Tue, 19 Sep 2017 16:13:12 +0000 https://moon.com/?p=60224 Thanks to its remarkable diversity of landscapes and a long and varied geologic history, Colorado is one of the best places in the country for amateur gold, gem, and mineral collecting. Regardless of whether you strike it rich, hunting for treasures is a fun excuse to get outdoors and enjoy some of the Centennial State’s most spectacular scenery.

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Thanks to its remarkable diversity of landscapes and a long and varied geologic history, Colorado is one of the best places in the country for amateur gold, gem, and mineral collecting. Regardless of whether you strike it rich, hunting for treasures is a fun excuse to get outdoors and enjoy some of the Centennial State’s most spectacular scenery. Late summer and autumn, when the mountains are carpeted with golden aspen trees and the highest peaks are dusted with snow, is the most ideal season for prospecting. A good guidebook, such as William Kappele’s recently updated Rockhounding Colorado, is indispensable, as is your trusty rock hammer. Before you head out, be sure to read up on prospecting laws and make certain that you don’t collect on private land, which is illegal. Below are a few of Colorado’s richest rockhounding sites to get you started.

view from Mount Antero of trees and a mountain

Mount Antero is renowned for large smoky quartz crystals, phenakite, and blue beryl crystals. Photo © Robert Cicchetti/iStock.

Mount Antero

Located southwest of Buena Vista and high above the Arkansas River Valley, Mount Antero is part of central Colorado’s pegmatite belt, where veins of exceptionally coarse rocks contain large concentrations of rare minerals. The collecting site, which is just below the mountain’s 14,269-foot-high summit, is the continent’s highest gemstone locale. It’s renowned for large smoky quartz crystals (up to 50 pounds!), phenakite, and brilliant blue beryl crystals that (thanks to their color) are also called aquamarine.

Fairplay

One of the best spots to try your luck searching for gold is in the chilly waters of the South Platte River’s Middle Fork near the town of Fairplay. Founded in 1859 after placer gold was discovered nearby, the town is nestled in a high-elevation valley between two spectacular mountain ranges. After obtaining a permit (PDF), you can pan or sluice along the creek at the town’s “beach” and, if you’re fortunate, find a few flakes to take back home.

rock with fossil imprints from Florissant Fossil Quarry

Conifer needles, leaves of several hardwood trees, and the relative of an ancient mosquito (left) are just a few of the author’s discoveries in rocks purchased at the Florissant Fossil Quarry. Photo © Terri Cook and Lon Abbott.

Florissant Fossil Quarry

Florissant Fossil Quarry is a privately-owned quarry located an hour’s drive west of Colorado Springs. Visitors have the opportunity to split open chunks of shale to search for fossils of the more than 1,700 species of plants and animals that were entombed in the muddy bottom of a lake that covered this area 34 million years ago. These are the same types of discoveries preserved in the nearby Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument. Weather permitting, the quarry is usually open daily from 10am – 5pm in summer and on weekends in September, but it’s best to call ahead (719-748-3275) to confirm.

Golden Gate Canyon

This beautiful canyon slicing through the foothills northwest of Denver is a great spot to search for specimens of semi-precious black tourmaline. Also abundant are crystals of blocky feldspar and sparkling mica, which are especially plentiful near the junction between Golden Gate Canyon and Robinson Hill Roads. Bonus: if you continue another six or so miles up the road, you’ll reach Golden Gate Canyon State Park, one of the region’s best areas for viewing fall foliage.

Museums, Rock Shops, and Gem Shows

If you don’t have time to put your own fortune-hunting skills to the test, you can always drop by one of the state’s many rock shops, including my favorite, Nature’s Own, which has branches in Nederland, Boulder, and Fort Collins. And regardless of whether you’re a novice or a serious collector, you’re sure to enjoy the gem and mineral display at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, which includes blocky, crimson-colored rhodochrosite and sky-blue aquamarine from Mount Antero. And don’t miss Tom’s Baby, an eight-pound gold nugget found in Breckenridge in the late 1800s.

If you’re in or near Denver, check out the Denver Coliseum Mineral, Fossil, and Gem Show and the Denver Gem & Mineral Show, both of which are held in September and feature hands-on exhibits, entertaining lectures, and hundreds of dealers hawking everything from coiled ammonite fossils to glistening nuggets of gold.


Find more ways to enjoy the natural features of Colorado in Terri’s Moon Colorado travel guide.

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Visit Colorado’s Old West Towns https://moon.com/2017/09/visit-colorado-old-west-towns/ https://moon.com/2017/09/visit-colorado-old-west-towns/#respond Wed, 06 Sep 2017 16:32:38 +0000 https://moon.com/?p=58395 Once a sleepy outpost on the Western frontier, Colorado became a hive of activity in the late 1800s after gold was discovered in its clear, cold streams. Every corner of the state hosts a nugget of history and history buffs can explore old forts, gaze at gleaming gold, sashay into old saloons, and even wash down Old West grub with historic cocktails.

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Once a sleepy outpost on the Western frontier, Colorado became a hive of activity in the late 1800s after gold was discovered in its clear, cold streams. Fortune seekers flocked here, as did gun-slinging outlaws and other colorful characters who profoundly influenced the state’s history. The new arrivals laid the foundation for the state’s largest cities as well as its quaint Victorian mountain towns.

History buffs can explore old forts, gaze at gleaming gold, sashay into old saloons, and even wash down Old West grub with historic cocktails. Every corner of the state hosts a nugget of history, but due to the long driving distances, you’re better off limiting your explorations of Colorado’s Old West towns to one or two regions at a time.

welcome arch over a street in Golden

Get a taste of the Old West in Golden, Colorado. Photo © Terri Cook and Lon Abbott.

Denver

Tour the restored mansion at the Molly Brown House Museum, then learn about the West’s African American cowboys at the Black American West Museum & Heritage Center. After lunch, visit the Denver Museum of Nature and Science to view sparkling samples of gold.

The Denver Foothills

The West lives on in the town of Golden, home of the Buffalo Bill Museum and Grave (where he may—or may not—be buried), the Colorado Railroad Museum, and the haunted saloon Buffalo Rose. Nearby Morrison offers a taste of the really Wild West—Dinosaur Ridge, where armored stegosaurus once roamed. Chow down at The Fort, a restaurant specializing in Old West food and drink, including historic cocktails.

looking down at the courtyard at Bent's Fort

Bent’s Old Fort National Historic Site. Photo © Terri Cook and Lon Abbott.

Colorado Springs

Celebrate the skill of America’s best calf ropers and bull riders at the ProRodeo Hall of Fame and Museum of the American Cowboy, then ride a horse through Colorado Springs’ stunning Garden of the Gods or wander through Old Colorado City, the Territory of Colorado’s first capital. Delve further into the past at the Old Colorado History Center or visit historic Bent’s Old Fort National Historic Site along the mountain branch of the Santa Fe Trail, two hours southeast. Take a detour to serve some time at the Museum of Colorado Prisons in Cañon City. At night, rustle up some grub at the Colorado Mountain Brewery, located in a beautifully restored railroad roundhouse.

Steamboat Springs

Known for its Western-themed Hot Air Balloon Rodeo and Wild West Air Fest, Steamboat Springs is also the home of the Tread of Pioneers Museum, which tells the story of local outlaw Harry Tracy, who once ran with Butch Cassidy. While in town, saddle up a steed at one of the many local ranches, shop for cowboy boots at F. M. Light & Sons, ski with former Olympian Billy Kidd, and pamper yourself at the Vista Verde Guest Ranch.

the historic Wheeler Opera House in Aspen, Colorado

Jerome Wheeler’s influence can be seen in many of Aspen’s buildings, including the Wheeler Opera House. Photo © Terri Cook and Lon Abbott.

Roaring Fork Valley

Discover Aspen’s historical roots at the Wheeler Opera House and Wheeler Stallard Museum, both built by a department store-turned-mining entrepreneur. In summer, bike or drive to the eerie ghost town of Independence, where miners caught in the state’s worst blizzard once dismantled their homes to make skis, which they used to escape. Farther north, soak in the historic hot springs in the railroad hub of Glenwood Springs.


Excerpted from the Ninth Edition of Moon Colorado.

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Crested Butte Lodging https://moon.com/2017/09/crested-butte-lodging/ https://moon.com/2017/09/crested-butte-lodging/#respond Wed, 06 Sep 2017 16:04:03 +0000 https://moon.com/?p=59515 Crested Butte, perched high in a pretty mountain valley at nearly 8,900 feet in elevation, boasts the state’s largest and one of its best-preserved National Historic Districts. Elk Avenue, the town’s main street, is lined with brightly colored, Victorian-era buildings packed with boutique shops and a great assortment of restaurants and brewpubs. Here are some recommendations for Crested Butte lodging.

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Once a grimy gold-turned-coal-mining town, Crested Butte, perched high in a pretty mountain valley at nearly 8,900 feet in elevation, now boasts the state’s largest and one of its best-preserved National Historic Districts. Elk Avenue, the town’s main street, is lined with brightly colored, Victorian-era buildings packed with boutique shops and a great assortment of restaurants and brewpubs. If you are planning a visit, here are some recommendations for Crested Butte lodging.

The bulk of the slopeside accommodations are owned by the resort, and prices increase the closer to the lifts you get. Condominiums are often a better value than standard hotel rooms, especially for larger groups.

skier on the slopes at Crested Butte Mountain Resort

Skiing at Crested Butte Mountain Resort is superb. Photo © Terri Cook and Lon Abbott.

Downtown

The Ruby of Crested Butte (624 Gothic Ave., 800/390-1338, $149-299) is a highly lauded guesthouse whose six bright and comfortable rooms are tastefully furnished with antiques. There are beautiful views of Mt. Crested Butte from the rooms, a luxurious six-person hot tub, and a generous organic morning spread that Colorado Scenic Byways has rated “Crested Butte’s best breakfast.”

A block away, the Purple Mountain Bed and Breakfast (714 Gothic Ave., 970/349-5888, $119-249) has six rooms, each with a private bath and within easy walking distance of the historic district. The gourmet multi-course breakfast includes locally roasted coffee, and the lodge also has a Ghirardelli hot chocolate bar, Colorado craft beer on tap, and delicious desserts to finish off your perfect day. Guests must be 16 years or older.

Crested Butte Mountain Resort

The family-owned Nordic Inn (14 Treasury Rd., 970/349-5542, $85-255) is located in the only remaining original hotel that opened in 1963, along with the resort. Although it lacks frills, it’s a great value with large rooms, plus a free, hearty continental breakfast served in the spacious dining room and an electric shuttle to drive you to and from the base area.

Much higher on the luxury (and price) scale, the 226-room Grand Lodge Resort & Suites (6 Emmons Rd., 970/349-8000, $239) is a large, less-personal hotel. Given its location just 200 yards from the slopes and the comfortable, oversized rooms, the prices are surprisingly affordable (for a ski resort), especially for the suites. Amenities include a spa, indoor-outdoor pool, and a steaming outdoor hot tub.

An excellent ski-in, ski-out property, the Elevation Hotel and Spa (500 Gothic Rd., 970/251-3000, $153-199) is located steps from both the Silver Queen Express and Red Lady Express lifts. It offers nine different configurations of rooms and suites, many of which have balconies with views of the slopes and beautiful Mt. Crested Butte, as well as small kitchenettes. The hotel also has an indoor heated pool, a town shuttle, and a free ski valet so you don’t have to lug your gear up to your room.


Excerpted from the Ninth Edition of Moon Colorado.

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Where to Stay in Aspen https://moon.com/2017/08/where-to-stay-in-aspen/ https://moon.com/2017/08/where-to-stay-in-aspen/#respond Thu, 31 Aug 2017 17:56:53 +0000 https://moon.com/?p=59569 Aspen’s accommodations are spread throughout the downtown. Many of the priciest digs are clustered at the base of the mountain, but there are more choices scattered throughout downtown. Prices tend to be quite expensive in both winter and summer; there are few deals to be had outside of these seasons. This short guide provides visitors with a variety of options for where to stay in Aspen.

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Aspen’s accommodations are spread throughout the downtown. Many of the priciest digs are clustered at the base of the mountain, but there are more choices scattered throughout downtown. Prices tend to be quite expensive in both winter and summer; there are few deals to be had outside of these seasons. Cheaper accommodations can be found in outlying areas stretching north from Aspen, including Basalt, El Jebel, Carbondale, and even in Glenwood Springs, an hour’s drive north. This short guide provides visitors with a variety of options for where to stay in Aspen.

aerial view of the town of Aspen

View of Aspen from Smuggler Mountain Trail. Photo © Terri Cook & Lon Abbott.

$150-250

One of the least expensive places to stay in Aspen is the family-owned Tyrolean Lodge (220 W. Main St., 970/925-4595, $220-245). Although it’s located right on the busy main street, it’s also just a few blocks from downtown, and the free ski shuttle stops right outside the door. Its 16 rooms are basic (think 1970s decor) but spacious, have kitchenettes, and accommodate up to five people apiece. Be aware that the lodge has no elevator, so if you book a room on the third floor, be prepared to climb up and down the stairs.

$250-350

Although the 53 rooms are basic and it’s located right on Main Street, the Molly Gibson Lodge (101 W. Main St., 970/925-3434, $295-370) has a wonderful pool that’s heated year-round, free daily après-ski wine-and-cheese parties, a free buffet breakfast, fireplace and whirlpool tub suites, and free guest parking just three blocks from the downtown.

One of Aspen’s few surviving, Old World-style ski lodges, the Mountain Chalet Aspen (333 E. Durant Ave., 970/925-7797, $219-334) has a family-friendly atmosphere, with a cozy living room where you can warm up next to a roaring fire, group breakfast tables, and a fantastic location near the base of Aspen Mountain. The no-frills rooms and suites are clean and comfortable and come in a variety of configurations, from economy rooms with original 1950s furniture to remodeled two-bed, two-bath apartments with full kitchens and living rooms. With a heated outdoor pool, hot tub, and fitness center, as well as free parking, the chalet represents one of Aspen’s best values.

Limelight hotel pool and hot tub in winter

Relax in the hot tub at the Limelight Hotel, a top accommodation in Aspen. Photo © Jeremy Swanson, courtesy of Limelight Hotel.

Over $350

With a fantastic location facing Wagner Park and within walking distance of the Silver Queen Gondola and the downtown, the contemporary Limelight Hotel (355 S. Monarch St., 970/925-3025, $405-1,120) is one of Aspen’s top lodging options. From king rooms to spacious suites, the hotel has 10 different types of rooms to choose from. All have very comfortable beds and a simple, inviting decor. The enormous, open lounge with leather couches and lime-green accents is a great après-ski spot, as well as the location of the impressive (and complimentary) Continental Divide breakfast buffet. The Limelight also goes well beyond the usual pool-and-hot tub amenities. They offer free bikes to cruise around town and both a ski concierge and an adventure concierge to help you plan your next hike, bike ride, tennis match, or mogul run. The concierge can even set up a one-way, 11-mile hike to Crested Butte, during which you’re equipped with a SpotSatellite GPS device so that your private transport is waiting for you when you reach the end of the trail.

Located steps from Aspen Mountain’s Silver Queen Gondola, the stylish 90-room Sky Hotel (709 E. Durant Ave., 970/925-6760, $160-799) has a unique decor, with captivating black-and-white photos on the walls, headboards designed to resemble cable-knit sweaters, and racing stripes on the curtains and walls. Sky offers deluxe, premier, and superior rooms with one or two beds, plus spacious suites, pet-friendly rooms, an evening wine reception, and a late checkout time (noon).

The chic, glass-fronted Hotel Aspen (110 W. Main St., 970/925-3441, $323-584) has 45 luxurious rooms and suites with comfy beds draped with 300-thread-count sheets and fluffy down duvets. Room options range from traditional king rooms to more lavish fireplace or private whirlpool tub suites. The hotel has free guest parking, a heated outdoor pool and steaming hot tub, and a popular (and free) après-ski wine-and-cheese reception each afternoon in addition to a complimentary hot breakfast.

the historic Wheeler Opera House in Aspen, Colorado

Jerome Wheeler’s influence can be seen in many of Aspen’s buildings, including the Wheeler Opera House (pictured here) and the Hotel Jerome. Photo © Terri Cook and Lon Abbott.

A stout brick building built by Jerome Wheeler (of the Wheeler Opera House fame) in 1889, the Hotel Jerome (330 E. Main St., 970/920-1000, $689-855) has a distinctive Western ambiance—antlers, moose heads, and photos of Native Americans adorn the walls. The striking lobby features comfortable sofas and chairs next to a roaring fireplace, above which hangs an enormous portrait of Jerome Wheeler, one of Aspen’s most prominent founding fathers. Rooms include loveseats or a lounge chair and feature cozy king-size beds; several suites are also available. In addition to a spa, the hotel has two bars and an upscale restaurant.

Set on five lush acres three blocks east of Aspen Mountain, The Gant (610 S. West End, 970/925-5000, $591-799) is a gorgeous property that offers condominiums (1-4 bedrooms). All rooms include romantic wood-burning fireplaces, full kitchens, and a balcony or patio. Valet parking, bell and concierge service, and free in-town and airport transport round out the amenities.

In a park-like setting about 1.5 miles north of downtown, the beautiful 40-acre Aspen Meadows Resort (845 Meadows Rd., 800/452-4240, $288-499) has 98 bright Bauhaus-design suites with floor-to-ceiling windows, functional work spaces, and comfortable sitting areas. The resort is the home of the Aspen Institute, an influential nonpartisan think tank that hosts intellectual gatherings to tackle some of our nation’s most critical challenges, from improving homeland security to combating economic inequality.

The Little Nell (675 E. Durant Ave., 970/920-4600, $1,232-1,532) has the reputation of being Aspen’s most luxurious hotel, as well as the best hotel between the Atlantic and Pacific Coasts. It’s a beautiful facility located steps from the Silver Queen Gondola and the vibrant downtown. The 78 rooms and 14 suites are gorgeous, comfortable, and have unique floor plans that include gas fireplaces. Most also have private balconies, many with fantastic views of Aspen Mountain. The hotel’s adventure concierge can set you up with private stargazing tours (with champagne), bike rides with former pro cyclists, shotgun rides in working snowcats, and just about any ski adventure you can imagine.


Excerpted from the Ninth Edition of Moon Colorado.

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8 Best Breckenridge Shops https://moon.com/2017/08/8-best-breckenridge-shops/ https://moon.com/2017/08/8-best-breckenridge-shops/#respond Fri, 18 Aug 2017 23:32:40 +0000 https://moon.com/?p=59503 Breckenridge has more than 200 boutique shops, galleries, and gift stores lining Main Street and its adjacent streets. Prices here are a bit inflated, but still offer a great selection. Store hours vary during the shoulder seasons.

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Breckenridge has more than 200 boutique shops, galleries, and gift stores lining Main Street and its adjacent streets. Prices here are a bit inflated, but still offer a great selection. Store hours vary during the shoulder seasons.

Here are our top picks for Breckenridge shops worth a visit:

storefront of Yoyo Loco in Breckenridge

YoYo Loco in Breckenridge. Photo © Scott McLeod (mcleod), licensed CC-BY.

YoYo Loco (302 S. Main St., 970/368-2841, noon-5pm Sun.-Mon. and Wed.-Thurs., 11am-6pm Fri.-Sat.) is the place to go for a huge assortment of yo-yos and specialty toys, while Joy of Sox (324 S. Main St., 970/453-4534, 9am-9:30pm daily) has the area’s best selection of cozy socks and fluffy slippers, as well as hats, toys, and sleepwear. Ruby Jane (232 S. Main St., 970/423-6947, 10am-8pm Mon.-Sat., 10am-6pm Sun.) is a fun mix of stylish women’s clothing from lace-trimmed tanks to loungewear and (of course) shoes.

If leather is more your style, check out Belvidere & Hern (308A S. Main St., 970/409-2086, 10am-6pm daily), which sells scarves, soaps, and jewelry along with leather handbags and stitched purses. The Breckenridge Candle Gallery (326 S. Main St., 970/453-2389, 10am-9pm daily) is a simple shop filled with beautiful, hand-carved candles and handmade soaps. The nearby Breckenridge Cheese & Chocolate (304 S. Main St., 970/453-7212, noon-8pm daily) is a great place to shop for specialty cheeses, meats, and small-batch chocolates.

East of Main Street, Mountain Outfitters (112 S. Ridge St., 970/453-2201, 10am-6pm Mon.-Thurs., 9am-6pm Fri.-Sat., 10am-5pm Sun.) is an indie retailer with all the right gear for your next summer or winter adventure. The Get Real Bazaaar (105 Jefferson Ave., 720/934-5397, noon-5pm Sun.-Mon. and Wed., 10am-6pm Thurs.-Sat.) is a co-op featuring the work of more than 20 local small businesses.


Excerpted from the Ninth Edition of Moon Colorado.

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Shopping in Denver https://moon.com/2017/08/shopping-in-denver/ https://moon.com/2017/08/shopping-in-denver/#respond Fri, 18 Aug 2017 23:08:49 +0000 https://moon.com/?p=59518 Shopping in Denver includes a fun mix of indie boutiques, innovative art galleries, and reputable chains. Prices are reasonable and the selection is excellent, especially in popular Larimer Square and the 16th Street Mall. Affluent Cherry Creek has two huge shopping areas that collectively comprise the largest, most-varied shopping district.

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Shopping in Denver includes a fun mix of indie boutiques, innovative art galleries, and reputable chains. Prices are reasonable and the selection is excellent, especially in popular Larimer Square and the 16th Street Mall. Affluent Cherry Creek has two huge shopping areas that collectively comprise the largest, most-varied shopping district.

shops in downtown Denver

Larimer Square in downtown Denver. Photo © arinahabich/123rf.

Denver Shopping Districts

16th Street Mall

The 1.25-mile 16th Street Mall (Wynkoop St. to Broadway) is known for its pedestrian-friendly shopping. It’s easy to stroll between the several hundred stores and restaurants; if you get tired, hop on the MallRide (4:59am-1:21am Mon.-Fri., 5:30am-1:21am Sat., 6:30am-1:21am Sun.), a free electric bus that stops at every block along the mall between Civic Center and Union Station.

The mall consists primarily of chain stores, especially casual clothing outlets. Scattered in between are a few more unique options. Sole St. Shoes (716 16th St., 303/893-5280, 10am-8pm Mon.-Sat., 10am-7pm Sun.) is a “sneaker boutique” with retro options as well as standard brands like Nike and New Balance. Wild West of America (715 16th St., 303/446-8640, 9am-7pm daily) sells moccasins, key chains, and dozens of knickknacks.

Larimer Square

Denver’s oldest and most historic block, Larimer Square (14th and 15th Sts. at Larimer St.) was the first place the miners constructed buildings after they settled along the South Platte River. Most of the square’s lovingly restored buildings date to the 1880s. They house a variety of shops and restaurants, making it one of Denver’s most popular destinations. It’s also fiercely autonomous; 20 out of the square’s 23 shops are independently owned.

The Blue Ruby Boutique (1426 Larimer St., 720/259-0031, 10am-6pm Mon.-Wed., 10am-8pm Thurs.-Sat., 11am-5pm Sun.) is a chic clothing store that features men’s and women’s garments from local designers as well as top New York brands. Eve (1413 Larimer St., 720/932-9382, 10am-7pm Mon.-Fri., 10am-6pm Sat., noon-5pm Sun.) focuses on stylish women’s clothing and accessories, including products from Papillon, Capote, and Trina Turk.

From boots and buckles to belts and bolos, Cry Baby Ranch (1421 Larimer St., 303/623-3979, 10am-7pm Mon.-Fri., 10am-6pm Sat., noon-5pm Sun.) sells anything your inner cowgirl (or boy) might crave. Moda Man (1459 Larimer St., 303/862-5949, 10am-7pm Mon.-Thurs., 10am-8pm Fri.-Sat., noon-5pm Sun.) sells contemporary-casual men’s clothing by top fashion designers and also specializes in custom garments.

Ever since he made his girlfriend a silver ring 40 years ago, John Atencio (1440 Larimer St., 303/534-4277, 10am-6pm Mon.-Sat.) has been designing and selling beautiful handcrafted jewelry in Colorado. His shop features a sparkling selection of beautiful rings, signature pendants, and gold and silver bracelets, crosses, and earrings.

If you have a furry friend to shop for, stop by the upscale Dog Savvy Boutique (1402 Larimer St., 303/623-3979, 10am-7pm Mon.-Thurs., 10am-6pm Fri.-Sat., 11am-5pm Sun.) for toys, beds, and oatmeal-peanut butter doggie treats, as well as blueberry facials and other spa treatments for the puppy who has it all.

Cherry Creek Mall

Denver’s ritziest shopping district is located about four miles southeast of Union Station, just east of the Denver Country Club and south of Speer Boulevard. In this area are two upscale shopping areas: the indoor Cherry Creek Mall (3000 E. 1st Ave., 303/388-3900, 10am-9pm Mon.-Sat., 11am-6pm Sun.), Denver’s largest, and the outdoor Cherry Creek North (299 Milwaukee St., Ste. 201, 303/394-2904, 10am-6pm Mon.-Sat., 11am-5pm Sun.), which has more character and correspondingly higher prices.

Cherry Creek Mall features mostly high-end chains, including Louis Vuitton, Ralph Lauren, Tiffany & Co., and Neiman Marcus, as well as an Apple Store, which is always packed. Cherry Creek North is a more spread-out shopping and restaurant district with a great selection of fun and fashionable shops, including Little Feet (201 University Blvd., 303/388-9535, 10am-6pm Mon.-Sat., noon-4pm Sun.), a family-owned store that specializes in kids’ shoes, Title Nine (160 Steele St., 303/321-4001, 10am-6pm Mon.-Sat., noon-5pm Sun.), which features super-comfortable women’s sportswear and casual clothing, and the Artisan Center (2757 E. 3rd Ave., 303/333-1201, 10am-5:30pm daily), a colorful and eclectic shop selling cards, candles, chimes, jewelry, and scarves made by mostly local artists.

Downtown and LoDo Shops

Books and Music

On the edge of the 16th Street Mall, the Tattered Cover Book Store (1628 16th St., 303/436-1070, 6:30am-9pm Mon.-Fri., 9am-9pm Sat., 10am-6pm Sun.), founded in 1971, is one of the best bookstores. It has remained a classic, community-oriented retailer, with regular local-author lectures and book signings, kid-friendly activities, comfy leather couches, and delicious coffee and pastries. Its floor-to-ceiling stacks feature more than 150,000 titles, with an entire room devoted to travel and maps (with an emphasis on Colorado), and the most extensive magazine selection in the state. It’s one of downtown Denver’s most venerable and popular institutions, with two other downtown locations: one in City Park (2526 E. Colfax Ave., 303/322-7727, 9am-9pm Mon.-Sat., 10am-6pm Sun.) and a smaller outlet in Union Station (1701 Wynkoop St., 8am-7pm Mon.-Fri., 9am-7pm Sat., 10am-5pm Sun.).

Two classic Denver shops are located near the Colorado State Capitol. Capitol Hill Books (300 E. Colfax Ave., 303/837-0700, 10am-6pm Mon.-Sat., 10am-5pm Sun.) consistently ranks as Denver’s top used bookstore. Wax Trax Records (638 E. 13th Ave., 303/831-7246, 10am-7pm Mon.-Thurs., 10am-8pm Fri.-Sat., 11am-6pm Sun.) is a real brick-and-mortar store selling new and used vinyl records and other music-related paraphernalia.

Clothing and Accessories

The third-generation business Rockmount Ranchwear (1626 Wazee St., 303/629-7777, 8am-6pm Mon.-Fri., 10am-6pm Sat., 11am-4pm Sun.) sells classic men’s and women’s Western clothing, including the original snap-button shirts designed by founder Jack Weil. The shop has a huge selection of hats, leather belts, cowboy boots, and fringed jackets. The well-known brand has been worn on stage and in films by the likes of Elvis Presley, Bruce Springsteen, and Tom Hanks.

Highlands and Platte River Valley Shops

Outdoor Equipment

On the northwestern edge of downtown, perched on the bank above Confluence Park, the Denver Flagship REI (1416 Platte St., 303/756-3100, 9am-9pm Mon.-Sat., 10am-7pm Sun.) is an adventure in shopping. The huge brick warehouse has an enormous selection from bikes and kayaks to windbreakers, gloves, and freeze-dried meals and also offers plenty of classes and clinics. The flagship store includes a climbing wall, a third-floor play area for kids, and a Starbucks with a nice deck where you can toast the hundreds of other bikers, hikers, and kayakers passing by.


Excerpted from the Ninth Edition of Moon Colorado.

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Scenic Rocky Mountain Drive: Trail Ridge Road https://moon.com/2017/08/scenic-rocky-mountain-drive-trail-ridge-road/ https://moon.com/2017/08/scenic-rocky-mountain-drive-trail-ridge-road/#respond Mon, 07 Aug 2017 17:43:10 +0000 https://moon.com/?p=58223 Trail Ridge Road, the 48-mile paved road between Estes Park and Grand Lake, is the only road that crosses Rocky Mountain National Park. Driving it is an awe-inspiring adventure with stunning views that Horace Albright, a former director of the National Park Service, described as “the whole sweep of the Rockies before you in all directions.”

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Trail Ridge Road (U.S. 34, May-mid-Oct.), the 48-mile paved road between Estes Park and Grand Lake, is the only road that crosses Rocky Mountain National Park. The country’s highest continuous paved road, Trail Ridge tops out at an impressive 12,183 feet. Although there are great views all along this scenic Rocky Mountain drive, the best are from the 11-mile section above tree line, where you are surrounded by windswept tundra stretching in every direction towards snow-capped peaks, dramatic steep-walled cirques, and deep valleys. This so-called Trail to the Sky offers some of the continent’s easiest access to the fragile tundra, where the growing season can last for as few as 40 days per year.

Trail Ridge Road winding through pine trees and mountains

Take a scenic drive through Rocky Mountain National Park on the “highway to the sky.” Photo © Ronda Kimbrow/iStock.

Trail Ridge Road was built between 1926 and 1932 to replace Old Fall River Road, which was too steep and narrow for drivers to easily navigate and too shady to provide early summer access. Thanks to its ridge-top location, Trail Ridge has less snow accumulation and more sunshine, attributes that allow the park service to open it much earlier—usually by Memorial Day weekend—and to keep it open until mid-October. Each year in mid-May, two veteran road crews, one on each side of the park, begin the painstaking and dangerous job of removing the 30 feet of snow that typically cover the road and whose layers often linger along the side until late June. Even after the crews meet, the park service sometimes needs to temporarily close the road, especially to avoid dangerous black ice.

Once Trail Ridge is open, driving it is an awe-inspiring adventure with stunning views that Horace Albright, a former director of the National Park Service, described as “the whole sweep of the Rockies before you in all directions.” From the lush, montane forests and fertile lowlands at either end, the road quickly climbs up to the tundra, a harsh environment where fierce winds, strong ultraviolet light, and intense cold greatly limit the plants and animals found here. Yet for a few precious weeks each summer, the tundra is home to carpets of dozens of different types of tiny wildflowers, glistening alpine lakes, and migratory and resident wildlife, which you can often spot from your car.

Fortunately for drivers, there are many pullouts along the way, which are safe places to stop and snap photos and enjoy the forever views. From east to west, great viewpoints include Hidden Valley, where you can often spot chipmunks, Many Parks Curve, the highest point to which the eastern side of Trail Ridge is plowed in winter, and Rainbow Curve, where you can see the flat Great Plains stretching far to the east. Farther west along the road, you can learn more about the tundra at the Tundra World Nature Trail, an easy half-hour walk from the Rock Cut. Two miles west of the road’s highest point, which is unmarked, the Alpine Visitor Center awaits.

Continuing west on Trail Ridge Road, you cross the Continental Divide at 10,758-foot Milner Pass and have stunning views into the upper Colorado River Valley from the aptly named Farview Curve, a short distance above the gate that closes the road in winter.

Alpine Visitor Center sign next to a winding road

The Alpine Visitor Center feels like it’s perched on top of the world. Photo © Ronda Kimbrow/iStock.

Alpine Visitor Center

Located at 11,796 feet in elevation, the Alpine Visitor Center (Trail Ridge Rd., 970/586-1222, 10:30am-4:30pm daily late May-mid-Oct.) feels like it’s perched on top of the world. Originally built in 1935, the center has been renovated several times, most recently in 2001. The building has a low profile and distinctive roof reinforced with large beams to withstand the fierce winds and crushing weight of dozens of feet of snow that can cover the structure in the winter. The center’s back windows and deck have one of the best views in Colorado, a panorama looking down Fall River Canyon toward Longs Peak and Estes Park far below.

The center has a few informative exhibits about the tundra, staff that can answer questions and help in case of an emergency, and restrooms (although it does not always have running water). Next door is the park’s only café, where you can also buy souvenirs.


Excerpted from the Ninth Edition of Moon Colorado.

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The Best Small Town Rodeos in Montana & Wyoming https://moon.com/2017/08/best-small-town-rodeos-in-montana-wyoming/ https://moon.com/2017/08/best-small-town-rodeos-in-montana-wyoming/#respond Fri, 04 Aug 2017 22:36:02 +0000 http://moon.com/?p=15163 With more than 100 annual events on the calendar between May and November, it’s hard to drive through Montana and Wyoming without running into rodeo action somewhere. Stop. Buy a ticket. The bleachers are fine. These small-town rodeos offer a unique window into life here.

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With more than 100 annual events on the calendar between May and November, it’s hard to drive through Montana and Wyoming without running into rodeo action somewhere. Stop. Buy a ticket. The bleachers are fine. These small-town rodeos offer a unique window into life here: Locals wear their Sunday best, and no one seems to mind the dust. Sitting on a sun-baked wooden bench, a beer in one hand and a bag of popcorn in the other, is the best first date in small towns like Livingston, Montana, or Ten Sleep, Wyoming, where they show off their best without hiding what’s real.

A rider being bucked off the back of a horse at the Cody Nite Rodeo.

At the Cody Nite Rodeo in Cody, Wyoming. Photo © CGP Grey, licensed Creative Commons Attribution.

Montana Rodeos

Miles City Bucking Horse Sale (third full weekend in May)

http://www.buckinghorsesale.com/

Since 1914, the country’s best bucking stock—and the most ambitious cowboys—have been showcased at this world-famous event in Miles City. The party atmosphere follows the crowds from the rodeo into town and every bar throughout the long weekend for concerts, street dances, and a good old small-town parade. Don’t be surprised if you see cowboys, carrying their saddles, hitching a ride to this event: For horses, bulls, and riders, this is the place to get noticed.

Annual NRA Gardiner Rodeo (mid-June)

Just outside Yellowstone’s north entrance, in the shadow of Electric Peak, the annual rodeo in tiny Gardiner includes all the standards—bull riding, saddle bronc riding, bareback bronc riding, steer wrestling, barrel racing, and breakaway roping—with a timeless small-town charm.

Augusta American Legion Rodeo and Parade (last Sunday in June)

Held in the hamlet of Augusta, at the edge of the spectacular Rocky Mountain Front, this is the largest and oldest one-day rodeo in the state. The town throws its biggest party of the year with rodeo action, a barbecue, a street dance, and even an art show.

Livingston Roundup (July 2-4)

http://livingstonroundup.com/

Offering small-town charm and a big-city purse over the Fourth of July holiday, this festive event puts Livingston on the map with big-name rodeo action, a popular parade, nightly fireworks, and more than 10,000 spectators that flood this riverfront community.

Wolf Point Wild Horse Stampede (second weekend in July)

http://www.wolfpointchamber.com/wolf-point-wild-horse-stampede.html

Montana’s oldest rodeo, the Wild Horse Stampede in Wolf Point, on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation, is a three-day event that includes professional rodeo, daily parades and a carnival, the famous wild horse race, street dances, and a kids’ stick-horse rodeo.

Wyoming Rodeos

Thermopolis Cowboy Rendezvous (weekend after Father’s Day)

http://www.thermopoliscowboyrendezvous.com/

From tailgate parties and a Western dance to a pancake breakfast and parade, the small-town rodeo in Thermopolis ushers in the pro rodeo circuit for the Big Horn Basin with plenty of action and family fun.

Cody Stampede Rodeo (July 1-4)

http://www.codystampederodeo.com/

With all the showmanship one would expect from a town named after Buffalo Bill Cody, this professional rodeo lets the town shine with all the classic events including bareback riding, roping, steer wrestling, barrel racing, and saddle bronc and bull riding. The rest of the summer, visitors can get a true sense of small-town rodeo at the Cody Nite Rodeo.

Ten Sleep Fourth of July Rodeo (two days over the Fourth of July)

With a rodeo history that dates back to 1908 and includes some of the biggest names in the sport, Ten Sleep boasts rodeo action throughout the summer. Special events at the annual Fourth of July shindig include a Pony Express Ride from nearby Hyattville, a Main Street parade, an old-fashioned rodeo, fireworks, and a sometimes-bloody wild horse race.

Sheridan WYO Rodeo (usually the second week in July)

http://www.sheridanwyorodeo.com/

This is the biggest week of the year for Sheridan. There is a golf tournament, art show, rodeo royalty pageant, carnival, Indian relay races, parade, and street dance on top of four nights of pro-rodeo action.


Excerpted from the Third Edition of Moon Montana & Wyoming.

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