Pueblo

This southern Colorado city of 108,000 was once the state’s industrial powerhouse, though it fell on hard times in the 1980s. There are plenty of outdoors activities for visitors to enjoy.

Water sports enthusiasts in particular find the area to be a great playground. Pueblo Reservoir, constructed to provide water storage for several Front Range cities and agriculture, offers 4,600 acres of surface water for boaters and 60 miles of shoreline for anglers and hikers. There are 400 campsites in surrounding Lake Pueblo State Park and miles of hiking and biking trails that can be used through the winter season. Summer visitors can even swim in the reservoir, a rare experience in a state where most lakes are far too cold for most. The Arkansas River below the dam offers great year-round fishing, as the outflow remains relatively warm all winter. Farther downriver in Pueblo itself is a man-made whitewater park for kayakers and stand-up paddleboarders to practice.

Hikers, runners, and cyclists can enjoy the pretty trail system along the river downtown or drive 45 minutes to the Wet Mountains of San Isabel National Forest, where a plethora of hiking and camping opportunities abound. Visit historic Pueblo Mountain Park or Lake San Isabel to enjoy these pretty green hills, which lack the high, rocky peaks of other ranges but offer a quiet beauty all their own. More ambitious hikers can walk to the top of 12,350-foot Greenhorn Mountain, the only peak in the range to rise above timberline.

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