Tag: Hiking

All About Telluride Hiking

Telluride, Colorado is a town like no other, surrounded by peak after peak of amazing mountains with endless terrain to explore. Hiking is surely the most popular activity in the summer, and there’s plenty of great cycling as well. Here’s what you need to know about hiking in Telluride.

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Allow for Plenty of Time

There are over 90 different hiking trails in the immediate vicinity of town, so if you are visiting from out of town, make sure you stay a little longer than you think you should. There are also tons of attractions to visit, from restaurants and shops to museums, and all kinds of special events like the Telluride Film Festival and Telluride Blues & Brews music festival.

Keep an Eye on the Weather

Telluride is situated at the mouth of a box canyon, which can make for some sudden changes in weather patterns. In the late summer, afternoon thunderstorms are common, so be sure the sky is clear before you get too far above tree line.

Choose Your Adventure

Telluride hikes span a wide range of difficulty, from meandering trails through town to gnarly climbs up 14,000 foot peaks, known familiarly as “fourteeners.” Know your hiking group’s ability level and intention when selecting your hike. It is also a great area to put together a multi-day hiking and camping trip, similar to the ones we lead on bikes. You’ll need to pack in and pack out your own provisions in this case, of course. Here’s a basic map of the trails close to town. Keep in mind that the town of Telluride is at 8,750 feet above sea level, so if you’re coming from lower elevation you will feel the difference!

A Few Highlights

Rest assured that whatever type of hike you’re looking for, it exists in Telluride. Bridal Veil Falls is definitely one of our favorites. It’s the tallest free-falling waterfall in Colorado, and it’s a short hike from town. This is a fairly accessible hike, suitable for active families. If you’re looking for a challenge, Mt. Sneffels is said to be one of Colorado’s most beautiful mountains. The hike to the summit is short and steep, requiring a bit of class 3 climbing, but the views on the way up are absolutely stunning.

We love multi-faceted adventures. If you do too, start off with a few days hiking in Telluride, and then join Western Spirit for a point-to-point ride to Durango or Moab! Give us a call and we’ll break down the details.

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Four Active Family Vacation Ideas

As you get the kids ready for school and catch up on laundry from summer adventures, it’s a great time to start planning next summer’s activities! If your family is anything like mine, you have the best time when you’re active together. Vacations scheduled around physical activities can be challenging to plan and execute, but we’ve got some ideas to help you get your family outside next summer, or even before.

River Trips

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Time on the river is one of the best ways to unplug and enjoy the company of those around you. What you may not know is that there are a lot of different ways to enjoy the river—under the guidance of experienced adventurers. Whether your vessel of choice is a canoe, a kayak, or a raft, there is an outfitter that will make sure you have everything you need. Lots of them will join you for the journey and even take care of the cooking for you. Others have the option to rent all the gear you need and head out on your own. Try canoeing Minnesota’s Boundary Waters, kayaking the Colorado River, or rafting Westwater Canyon.

Surfing

If you want to let the water toss you around a bit more and get in a little beach time, try a surfing trip for your family! Living in Utah we love rivers and lakes, but some ocean time with the family is always amazing. Surfing is physically and mentally challenging, and fun for all ages. Our friends at WildMex offer surf and stay trips in Sayulita and Punta Mita, Mexico. We had a blast with them in Sayulita last year.

Hiking

Hiking is a great way to get the family together outdoors. You can set your own pace and keep things from getting too technical, or if you want a challenge, you can push it a little harder. If you’re up for rustic accommodations (tents) and minimal amenities (no showers!), multi-day backpacking trips are awesome. But if you’re just breaking into the art of family adventures, there are great places to visit, stay in town, and take day hikes. Of course we love Moab. In addition to hiking and admiring the breathtaking natural rock formations and canyons, you can dabble in world class biking and rock climbing. Telluride and Crested Butte, CO are two other fantastic natural playgrounds worth exploring.

Cycling

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Well, I have to admit, this is our favorite. And the reason we created Western Spirit Cycling Adventures. We want to help you and your family get out and enjoy the outdoors on two wheels. We have seen countless families make memories as they roll down picturesque descents and cheer each other on up challenging climbs. We have trips throughout the West, from Oregon to Idaho, through Colorado, Utah, and Arizona. We offer a variety of trips for all skill levels, and if you don’t see one that looks perfect for your family, we can build a custom trip to fit your needs and occasion. Give us a call any time and we can start planning your adventure.

Whichever direction you choose, it’s never too early to set aside the time and start researching your trip.  Enjoy the rest of your summer, and prepare for another school year to fly by!

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Six Fun Things to do at the Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon is inarguably one of the most overwhelmingly beautiful places in the United States. Its magnitude, color palate, wildlife, and history have fascinated countless visitors for hundreds of years.

Rainbow Rim

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The North Rim of the canyon is a higher elevation than the South Rim, and provides our favorite views. The Rainbow Trail is surely a North Rim highlight not to be missed. It is 18 miles long and was designed and flagged by Ranger John Kneeling, of the North Kaibab Ranger District. He spent three months flagging the route to make sure the trail never rose or fell by more than nine degrees. This makes for attainable climbs and fun descents. The Rainbow Rim is a beautiful ride that’s doable for cyclists of varying levels of experience, and it’s one of my favorite parts of our Grand Canyon Mountain Bike Trip.

Arizona Trail Singletrack

The Arizona Trail runs along the east side of the canyon and provides dramatic views of its upper sedimentary rock layers. Millions of years of erosion have exposed these layers of Kaibab and Toroweap limestones, Coconino Sandstone, Hermit Shale, the Supai Group and Redwall limestone. The singletrack on the Arizona trail also winds through Ponderosa pine forests as it makes its way across the state, covering 800 miles of terrain.

River Trip

Seeing the canyon from above is one thing, but it is also pretty awesome to see the geological masterpiece from the perspective of the water. You need a permit to get on the river, so it’s best to find a guided outfitter to lead your trip. Ceiba Adventures is one of our favorite crews in the canyon, running custom trips that include whatever your group needs. They’ve been taking groups into the canyon for 30 years, so they know the ins and outs of the adventure.

North Rim Lodge

Every time we visit, my wife Ashley sits quietly for as long as she can on the porch of the North Rim Lodge. Don’t get me wrong, she is a force on the singletrack—but after a long day of riding or hiking, the view from the Lodge can’t be beat. If you’ve never seen it, it might sound cliché, but the sunset over the canyon is absolutely amazing to behold.

Hike the Bright Angel Trail

If you’re anything like me, you’ll see the canyon and want to hike down into it. I’ll caution you to remember that what goes down must come back up. Canyon hiking is interesting this way! The Bright Angel Trail was one of the first trails down into the canyon and an awesome way to get down into it. Just bring plenty of water, and expect the way up to be much more challenging than the way down. There are great views all along the way, so you can turn around at any point and still have a great hike. The National Parks Service issues stern warnings not to attempt to hike from the rim to the river and back in one day.

Visit Phantom Ranch

If you take the Bright Angel Trail all the way down to the bottom of the canyon, you’ll find the Bright Angel Campground and Phantom Ranch. If you want to hike from the rim to the river, you’ll want to camp at the bottom before hiking back out. Space at the ranch is very limited, and reservations are required. You’ll need to book about a year ahead of time. But it’s well worth it to sleep in a rustic cabin on the banks of the Colorado River, at the bottom of a geological masterpiece. Keep in mind that the hike out is not for the faint of heart!

The Grand Canyon deserves a spot on every bucket list, and these are just a few of my favorite ways to enjoy it. The National Parks Service and GrandCanyon.com are great resources for more information about the park. And of course, we’d love to take you there on a Western Spirit Adventure.

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