Day at Grand Lake, Colorado for $2

I took the kids to Grand Lake this week for a day of fun and we spent a whopping $2.  If you have toddlers that are entertained by water, sand, and ice cream, give it a try for a day while you are here.  Here’s what our day looked like:

9am – departed Winter Park with lunch packed

9:40am – arrived in Grand Lake, parked on main drag across from park

9:40 am – 10:40am – played on big play structures in park with lots of other kids. Four swings – 2 for little guys, 2 for bigger kids.

10:40 – walked down to lake (3 minute walk) and played at “beach”. Nice thing is that water is really cold do you don’t have to worry much about your toddlers jumping right in. They think it’s good enough to get their feet wet and laugh at the dogs jumping in after the ball.  Lots of sailboats and motor boats where out.  If you wanted to break the $2 budget, you could rent paddleboats (seat 4) for $24/hr for 2 people or $32/hr for 4 people.  You can also rent boats right there too but that would probably break the bank.

11:30am – had packed lunch on picnic benches and faced the water so we were entertained with the view. Kids ate

Yum! $1 cones.

more than normal. Guess this strategy worked.

12 noon – packed up lunch, and headed to ice cream.  You can go right there by the beach (homemade ice cream, looked good) but we went back up to the ice cream joint in town b/c there were about 30 people in line at the one by the beach.  Got a chocolate ice cream – kid size – for each child in sugar cone.  $1 each.  wow!  Sat outside on a bench for little kids and they looked so cute eating their ice cream, a lady stopped and took a picture of them with her camera.

12:30pm – walked the boardwalk a bit and then got in the car and headed back to Winter Park

12:40pm – two boys fast asleep in the car just as the afternoon rain started to fall.

Crankworx Bike Fest Winter Park, CO

Colorado crankworx lodgingWinter Park Bike Festival

The biggest Colorado bike festival of the year is almost here. Get ready for gravity defying mountain bike riding at the biggest and best bike park in the state.

Crankworx runs from July 29th to August 1st. Watch the world’s best freeride mountain bikers battle it out for over $35,000 in prizes in Winter Park’s Trestle Bike Park. Catch the high-flying action of Slopestyle, the intense speed and head-to-head competition of Dual Slalom, or watch the pros tackle most difficult trail in Trestle Bike Park in the UCI/Pro GRT Downhill competition. Plus, check out the latest in bike gear from a variety of manufacturers in the Vendor Village, free live music and parties in the evening and more! You won’t want to miss this event.

Crankworks 2010 events include:

July 29, 2010: Dual Slalom Slopestyle Qualifiers
July 30, 2010: Super Downhill Best Trick
July 31, 2010: Cross Country Slopestyle Finals
August 1, 2010: UCI/PRO GRT Downhill

Make sure to get your lodging at the Winter Park base close to where the competition will be going on. Last year the base are was full so make your reservation today to get the primo digs.

Winter Park Lodging Company is offering 3rd night free so come up and see the the festival and experience the whole Crankworx weekend.

When you’re not busy watching this incredible mountain biking event, you and your kids can also enjoy other activities in the Winter Park area:
•skateboarding at the skate park in Hideaway Park in downtown Winter Park
•horseback riding
•alpine slide
•miniature golf
•lift rides
•hiking
•mountain biking
•golf (at nearby Pole Creek Golf Course, Headwaters Golf Course, Grand Lake Golf Course, or Grand Elk Golf Course)
•fishing in rivers, streams, and lakes

Hoe Down in the Wild West of Winter Park

Who doesn’t love a good Hoe Down? It’s fun for the whole family.  You can go to an authentic Hoe Down in Tabernash,  just 15 minutes from Winter Park.  Sombrero Stables at Snow Mountain Ranch invites you to Hoe Down with them every Friday night, the last one is August 13th. Starting at 5:30 and ending at 9:30, you can enjoy live entertainment, wagon rides, a game of horse shoes, and kids games.  Dinner, cowboy fare of pulled pork and hot dogs with all the fixin’s and a drink, is included.  Adults are $20, children 6-12 are $15, and kids 5 and under are $8.  (There are reduced rates if you choose to eat before you go. Adults-$15, Kids $10, and Tots $5. ) Tickets are available at the Stables office. Give them a call at 970 887 1999 to reserve your saddle today.

No. 2 Hiking Trail of the Week in Winter Park, CO

colorado waterfall hikesRocky Mountain National Park Hiking Trails

The second edition of the hike of the week is back for Winter Park, Colorado.  This week the hike takes a little drive from WP up to Rocky Mountain National Park.  This week’s hike is a relatively easy and short hike that goes to a beautiful waterfall and continues to a stunning meadow with great mountain views and small ponds teaming with fish.  There is a charge to get into Rocky Mountain National Park but this hike is a hike in and there is no fee.  If you continue to drive into the Park there is a charge

On the way back stop in Grand Lake and check out Colorado’s biggest natural lake with some of the best views in Colorado.

Adams Falls, East Inlet Trail – Winter Park Hike of the Week

(Rocky Mountain National Park)

BEGINNING ELEVATION: 8400ft.

ENDING ELEVATION: 8480ft.

Miles one way: .5 miles to Adams Falls, 1 mile to the glaciated valley

Rating: Easy

Trailhead Location: From the Winter Park Visitor’s Center drive north on US HWY 40 19 miles through Granby to US HWY 34 and turn right. Continue for about 15.3 miles to the Grand Lake Visitor Center and turn right in to the village of grand Lake. At the Mountain Food Market, the road will veer to the rights into Grand Lake (a wooden sign days “Welcome to Grand Lake”) veer left and follow the road for 2 miles to the end of the road to a parking lot, the trailhead is well marked.

Trail Information: This is an easy hike up to a beautiful waterfall. It is suitable for all ages. Be careful at the top of the waterfall as the water is fast and strong. Keep small children well away from the water’s edge at the falls and stay on the trail only. If you decide to, you can continue on another .5 miles past the falls in to an alpine meadow with gorgeous views of “Mt. Baldy” and ponds full of fish.

Special Trail regulations: This hike is in the Rocky Mountain National Park so no dogs or bikes are allowed.

Stay tuned next week for the third installation of the Winter Park Hike of the week.

Winter Park Hike of the Week No. 1

Adams Falls, East Inlet Trail
(Rocky Mountain National Park)

BEGINNING ELEVATION:    8400ft.

ENDING ELEVATION:           8480ft.

Miles one way: .5 miles to Adams Falls, 1 mile to the glaciated valley

Rating: Easy

Trailhead Location: From the Winter Park Visitor’s Center drive north on

US HWY 40 19 miles through Granby to US HWY 34 and turn right. Continue fir about 15.3 miles to the Grand Lake Visitor Center and turn right in to the village of grand Lake. At the Mountain Food Market, the road will veer to the rights into Grand Lake (a wooden sign days “Welcome to Grand Lake”) veer left and follow the road for 2 miles to the end of the road to a parking lot, the trailhead is well marked.
Trail Information: This is an easy hike up to a beautiful waterfall. It is suitable for all ages. Be careful at the top of the waterfall as the water is fast and strong. Keep small children well away from the water’s edge at the falls and stay on the trail only. If you decide to, you can continue on another .5 miles past the falls in to an alpine meadow with gorgeous views of “Mt. Baldy” and ponds full of fish.

 

Special Trail regulations: This hike is in the Rocky Mountain National Park so no dogs or bikes are allowed.

Winter Park, CO Free Music Thursdays

Free music Colorado MountainsFree Colorado Live Music

Winter Park, CO will be hosting free Music Thursdays in Hideaway Park in downtown Winter Park.  These are completely free shows and are just a blast to attend.

The shows start at 6PM and go till around 8PM and there are usually good crowds and lawn chairs are provided by The Winter Park Chamber of Commerce.  It is always fun to pack a picnic dinner and some adult beverages and here a little live music in one of the most s[spectacular settings that you will ever hear live music. These shows are very kid and dog friendly and are well attended by both locals and visitors alike.

This year there are some pretty well known names on lineup that includes Opie Gone Bad and Hunker Down, a Winter Park favorite.  The first show is June 24th and last is August 12th.

Here is the lineup and dates:

June 24: Samantha Fish
July 1: Boa & The Constrictors
July 8: Opie Gone Bad
July 15: Wendy Woo
July 22: Quemando Band
July 29: Rob Drabkin
Aug 5: Soul School
Aug 12: Hunker Down

Again the performances take place in Hideaway Park right on US Highway 40 in town.  Look for the big moose on the north side of US 40 and take a right.  The park on your left.  Pack a picnic , the kids, some drinks and head out for some music and a great friendly atmosphere.

The last two years the weather has been great with mostly sunny skies and no wind.  It does get a little chilly as the sun sets so be sure to bring a jacket if you are planning on staying past dark.

Come up and make a weekend out of the show with some great biking at Trestle Bike Park on Friday and maybe a hike or Colorado mountain golf on Saturday and then some mountain biking on Sunday.

Winter Park, CO Memorial Day

kid fishing in Winter Park ColoradoWinter Park, Colorado Memorial Day Weekend

Memorial Day weekend is here.  The start of official summer season and the weather is going straight from winter to summer.  The weekend weather looks good with no precipitation in the forecast and almost all of the winter snow melted.

Looking for something to do up in Winter Park?  Well there are lots of options this year with the weather looking the way it is.  Here are some of your choices:

Fishing in Winter Park Lakes - We have a bunch of lakes here along US 40 and almost all are stocked with fish your you and the little ones. These small lakes are perfect for the kids to try to hook a big one.  They are also good for the young at heart to try to snag a few.  The one lake at the entrance to Rendezvous is supposed to be a Rendezvous owner only lake but it seems to me anyone can just walk on up and catch a few (it is a very well stocked lake).

Mountain Biking at RendezvousSome of the lower elevation riding here in Winter Park and the snow is all gone, there is a little mud though. This is my favorite riding in Winter Park with some rllong hills and some great flat trail along streams and a few water crossing spots.  It is some very fun biking for just about all levels depending on what trails you take.

Take a Drive Over Trail Ridge RoadThe road will be open by the Friday before Memorial Day and it should make for a spectacular day to check out Rocky Mountain National Park.

Come and enjoy a Winter Park Restaurant with lots of deals going on.  Deno’s, The Sushi Bar, Back Country Grill are all offering big discounts and some great food.

Yes summer is officially here so come on up to see all the beauty up here.  Winter Park Resort base are operations do not open until June 12 but the a lot of stuff do do up here until then.

Rocky Mtn. Nat. Park Opening Day May 28, 2010

 

Summer is on the way and nothing announces it’s arrival better than the opening day at Rocky Mountain National Park. May 28th, 2010 will start the summer season for the Alpine Visitor Center located on the Continental Divide on Trail Ridge Road.  Crews are hard at work clearing the pass to have it open in time.  Be sure to make the drive over the divide this summer, the views are incredible. You might even see some wildlife too.

Winter Park Resort Alpine Slide

Colorado alpine slide

Summer Activities in Winter Park, CO

For those of you that are alpine slide lovers there is some very good news from Winter Park Resort.  There will be all new sleds for the slide this year.

Colorado’s longest and most exciting two-track Alpine Slide is located under the Arrow chairlift with viewing from the base area.   Both tracks are 3,030 feet long with 26 linked turns.  New this season, guests will ride in style on new, state of the art, alpine sleds.  Cost is $15, children 5 and under are free.

The Winter Park base area will open for summer fun on June 12, 2010.

If you haven’t ridden the alpine slide or more importantly taken your kids to ride the slide you are missing out.  we took our almost two year olds last summer and  they were thrilled with the ride.  For those kids a little older the alpine is especially thrilling .

There are lots of things to do at the Winter Park Resort base for the young ones and those that are just young at heart.  Winter Park Resort summer activities and attractions include lift-accessible mountain biking, Colorado’s longest Alpine Side, Amaze’n Human Maze, Leaps & Bounds Bungee, Rock ‘n Roll Gyro, Zephyr Express chairlift rides, Outdoor Climbing Wall, Mountainside Mini Golf, an 18-hole mountaintop disc golf course, eateries and shops.

Get up to Winter Park this summer and beat the crowds and the heat and have a little fun with the whole family.

Winter Park Resort summer activities and attractions include lift-accessible mountain biking, Colorado’s longest Alpine Side, Amaze’n Human Maze, Leaps & Bounds Bungee, Rock ‘n Roll Gyro, Zephyr Express chairlift rides, Outdoor Climbing Wall, Mountainside Mini Golf, an 18-hole mountaintop disc golf course, eateries and shops.Winter Park Resort summer activities and attractions include lift-accessible mountain biking, Colorado’s longest Alpine Side, Amaze’n Human Maze, Leaps & Bounds Bungee, Rock ‘n Roll Gyro, Zephyr Express chairlift rides, Outdoor Climbing Wall, Mountainside Mini Golf, an 18-hole mountaintop disc golf course, eateries and shops.

Hot Sulphur Springs, CO. Mineral Baths

Mineral baths near Winter Park ColoradoMineral Baths Near Winter Park Colorado

Hot Sulphur Springs, CO is not the most original name out there but a telling name it is.  Hot Sulpher has been relaxing travelers for many, many years from as long back as the Ute Indians were running things up here in this part of Grand County.

The first inhabitants of the springs were the Ute Indians who used the hot springs for many years. The Utes believed in the healing qualities of the waters and referred to them as “big medicine” and “magic waters”, and bathed themselves, their horses and dogs, children and women in the water, in that order! The Ute Indians often set their winter hunting camps beneath the natural shelter offered by the bluffs enclosing Byers Canyon, which adjoins our property. In 1840 William Byers, for whom the canyon is named, became the first white man to discover the hot water at our little town, which he named Hot Sulphur Springs. Byers recognized the economic potential of the baths and the surrounding area. With the aid of the U.S. Cavalry and the courts, he acquired the land, somewhat deviously, from the Ute Tribe.

The resort has been continually operational for 140 years and in the 1920’s to 1950’s was one of the most popular hot springs resorts in the Rocky Mountain States. In 1997, after our extensive renovation, the Ute tribal spiritual leader blessed the waters at our opening ceremony that almost 1,000 people attended. The Ute Indians are welcome to use the springs once again. We are blessed by enjoying renewed recognition and attendance and are considered one of the best natural hot mineral springs resorts and spas in the country.

The mineral baths at Hot Sulphur Springs are a great place to spend a day.  It is nice kid friendly and a perfect place to relax after a day of skiing.

Here is a discount coupon for the mineral baths.  If you need transportation out to Hot Sulphur Springs be sure to call Curt at Valley Taxi.  They do run taxis out there and bring you back as well.

So, if you need a little relaxation in the Colorado Rockies look no further than the mineral baths in Hot Sulphur Springs.

SpringsThe first inhabitants of the springs were the Ute Indians who used the hot springs for many years. They believed in the healing qualities of the waters and referred to them as “big medicine” and “magic waters”, and bathed themselves, their horses and dogs, children and women in the water, in that order! The Ute Indians often set their winter hunting camps beneath the natural shelter offered by the bluffs enclosing Byers Canyon, which adjoins our property. In 1840 William Byers, for whom the canyon is named, became the first white man to discover the hot water at our little town, which he named Hot Sulphur Springs. Byers recognized the economic potential of the baths and the surrounding area. With the aid of the U.S. Cavalry and the courts, he acquired the land, somewhat deviously, from the Ute Tribe.

Cross Country|Nordic Skiing at Devil’s Thumb Ranch

When guests ask where they should go for a special meal, I always reply “Tabernash Tavern or Devil’s Thumb” and I’ve been to both several times. But one thing I have somehow missed for years is the main reason people go to Devil’s Thumb in the winter – cross country skiing (those who know what they are doing call it Nordic skiing).
Devil's Thumb Ranch

Ma & Pa hoofin' it at Devil's Thumb

Devil’s Thumb is the largest Nordic center in the Rocky Mountains with 100km of trails. My mom had her knee replaced last summer so alpine skiing isn’t an option and we wanted to get out of the house last week when my parents were visiting. So, we got out my parents’ 20 year old cross country skis and took a short drive over to Devil’s Thumb on a gorgeous bluebird day.

I rented equipment from a guy who said he grew up alpine skiing in Vermont but explained that cross country skiing was actually the first “skiing” sport and beat alpine by about 500 years.  Renting was cheap – maybe $15 and equipment seemed pretty nice to me. And the best part is it felt we had the place to ourselves. He said it’s only “busy” on weekends but busy to them is like April 30th at the resort (hint: resort closes April 18th).

Meadow Trail

We had lunch at a picnic table overlooking the trails (brought it with us) and then got started. We went slowly but soon got the hang of getting in the rutts (I’m sure there’s a more proper name but that’s what we called them) made by the custom snowplow that grooms the trails and cuts in 2 rutts so you can steady yourselves.  We skied for about 2 hours and it was just beautiful. Stayed on the Meadow Trail to Wapiti then Broken Barn and back on Ranch Walk. All flat, but over bridges, down a few small little hills, gorgeous scenery and a nice workout. Ten minutes into it, we wished we were as smart as the guy who passed us wearing shorts and a t-shirt. It was HOT. And my dad and I forgot face sunscreen so we looked silly for a few days afterwards. But, other than that, it was really a wonderful day.

If you need an alternative to downhill skiing for the young or the old, or just want to take a break and enjoy the peaceful serenity of Colorado in the wintertime, head over to Devil’s Thumb Ranch and find out what “classic” vs “skate” skiing is.  Plus, it’s cheap. Adults are $18 a day and kids 12 and under and the grandparents are only $8 a day.  Got little ones? They even have chariots so you can pull them along with you for $20.  Definitely wear shorts and a t-shirt if you’re going to pull that off.  

 Bring your lunch, some water, sunscreen!, and enjoy!  Or try the moonlight nordic skiing and have a drink or a full dinner afterwards.