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Colorado’s historical trails

Colorado is celebrated for many reasons. Big mountains. Craft beer, World-class email newsletters. Stuff like that. But outside of libraries and museums, the Centennial State is not often celebrated for its history.

Not often enough, anyway. People have been hiking Colorado trails since long before Forest Service trailheads (or the Forest Service, for that matter – it was formed in 1905) were even conceptualized. And the remnants of those trails are still maintained for those history buffs with an adventurous streak. 

The Old Spanish Trail

SantaFeweb

Meandering across the Southwest from Santa Fe to Los Angeles, the Old Spanish Trail has been called “the longest, crookedest, most arduous pack mule trail in the history of America.” by historians Leroy and Ann Hafen.

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Colorado’s best season enders

This is the end … of the ski season. And that means different things to everybody. But whether you’re already tuning up your bike or are still clinging to your skis or snowboard, it’s something to celebrate. And when we cebrate, we like to get weird. So we did some homework and found 2014′s quirkiest closers. 

April 20 – Aspen Schneetag

schneetagweb

We like costumes. And beer. And goofy do-it-yourself projects that leave our garages cluttered up with scraps of particle board and little balls of dried expanding foam. So of course we love Schneetag, which has all of that stuff.

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Colorado’s best stargazing

CharlieDavisweb

Generally speaking, the farther you can get from city lights, the more stars you’ll see. But you don’t need to venture deep into the boonies to get a clear view of the night sky. If you live in or around Denver, there are at least three great stargazing spots within a 30-minute drive of downtown. 

Please remember: Stargazing is a sedentary activity, so bring more layers than you’d expect, even on warm nights. And if you don’t have a telescope (most people don’t), bring a pair of binoculars. Continue Reading…

Colorado’s best snowy trails

We know many of you are ready for the summer hiking season to start already. But above-average snow totals mean Colorado’s high trails will likely remain covered in snow through late April, whether we like it or not.

At Bootprints, we don’t have the patience to wait for perfect hiking weather. So we called up triathlete and snowshoe racer Josiah Middaugh and asked him to turn us on to Colorado’s best spring snowshoe trails.

Leadville – Mineral Belt Trail

A winter shot of Leadvilles Mineral Belt Trail

About 90 minutes from Denver, Leadville’s 5-year-old Mineral Belt Trail is an ideal spot for beginner (or first-time) snowshoers looking for a long day out. The 11.6-mile loop tours a variety of terrain at 10,200 feet – from conifer forests to open sagebrush meadows.

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Copper’s Color Run

An edited photo showing a techicolor sky about the slopes of Copper Mountian Resort

You are covered in paint, running through a kaleidoscope. It’s not a dream. It has nothing to do with the weird-smelling granola that hitchhiker gave you. It’s The Color Run – an untimed 3.2-mile run often described as the “happiest 5k on the planet.”

“Color Runners” tackle the course in white T-shirts, and are covered along the way in powdered paint of all colors. Participants are given some paint to throw themselves, and gather after the race for dancing, beer, and more paint.

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Minturn’s horse-powered skiing

A skier is pulled behind a quarter horse during Minturn's skijoring event

In case the funky name doesn’t mean anything to you, the skijoring going down in Minturn this Saturday is sort of like water skiing on snow. But with horses. And jumps. And giant rings. And did we mention horses?

Here’s how it works: A horse and rider tow a skier through an 800-foot course filled with man-sized jumps and suspended rings. The best teams grab and hold all of the rings while cruising along at 45 miles per hourContinue Reading…

The Winter Park Wipe Out

A group of participants drink beer after last year's Wipe Out race in Winter Park

Mountains. Costumes. Beer. Those are the essential ingredients for a Bootprints-endorsed event. Mix them together with a 2.5 hour scavenger hunt / adventure race, and you’ve got the Winter Park Wipe Out. The organizers are also offering the first 1,000 entrants a 2-for-1 ski pass at Winter Park Resort.

The details of this year’s Wipe Out course are secret, but last year’s course involved frozen turkey bowling, snowmobile-powered tubing, and downhill snow shovel sledding.  Continue Reading…

The Sandhill Crane Festival

About a dozen Sandhill Cranes are silhouetted by a sunset in the Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge

Where migrating birds go, they don’t get much more charismatic than the Sandhill Crane. The birds stand four feet tall with a six foot wingspan, and about 20,000 of them stop over in Colorado’s San Luis Valley for six weeks in the spring and fall.

Monte Vista’s annual Crane Festival March 7-9 celebrates the arrival of the birds in the Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge: a stopover between their wintering grounds in New Mexico and their summer turf in Idaho.

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Trail Tip: Snowshoe Caribou

A hiker walks the snowy woods of Caribou, Colorado

Ever been snowshoeing with ghosts? Here’s your chance. A well-kept secret at 10,000 feet above sea level, the legendary ghost town of Caribou is only five miles from Nederland (proud home of our all-time favorite festival).

Although there are only a handful of broken-down buildings still remaining, Caribou was a carousing, rip-roaring mining town in the late 1800s.

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Party like a dead, frozen corpse

A team runs over a snow obstacle during Nederland's annual Frozen Dead Guy Days festival

We play favorites at Bootprints. That’s sort of our job, after all – to weed through the myriad possibilities Colorado has to offer and bring you the top of the crop. And where festivals are concerned, our undisputed favorite is Nederland’s Frozen Dead Guy Days.

Held March 7-9, the festival honors of the town’s resident frozen corpse (seriously – there’s a guy cryogenically frozen in a Nederland tough shed). It draws thousands of people every year, who celebrate the post-mortem existence of “Grandpa Bredo” with music, beer, costumes and a host of wacky competitions.

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