Things to do in Front Range
Colorado’s Front Range region stretches from New Mexico to Wyoming along the edge of the Rocky Mountains. The Front Range corridor encompasses most of the state’s population and its largest cities, including Colorado Springs, Pueblo, Castle Rock, Trinidad, Fort Collins, Greeley, and Denver and its metro area with cities like Aurora, Littleton, and Lakewood. The Front Range offers quality of life with its many museums and art galleries, natural and urban parklands, hiking and bike trails, rock climbing areas, National Forests, and numerous recreational opportunities.
The Denver metro area and Colorado Springs consistently rate in the nation’s top ten fittest cities. The region’s quick access to trails, lakes, parks, ski slopes, and wildlands make Colorado residents the most physically active people in the country. Nine state parks—Barr Lake, Castlewood Canyon, Chatfield, Cherry Creek, Eldorado Canyon, Golden Gate Canyon, Roxborough, St. Vrain, and Staunton—are all within driving distance of the Denver metropolitan area. They offer camping, fishing, hiking, climbing, boating, and nature study. Many hiking trails thread through city and county parks in Denver and Boulder. Rock climbers flock to world-class cliffs at Eldorado Canyon, The Flatirons, North Table Mountain, and Clear Creek Canyon, while skiers head to Eldora Mountain Resort close Boulder or the Summit County slopes up I-70. Mount Evans, dominating the Front Range west of Denver, has the nation’s highest auto road as well as Summit Lake and Echo Lake Mountain Parks.
Boulder, home to the University of Colorado, is called the Number 1 Sports Town in America by Outside Magazine. This outdoor destination boasts over 300 days of sunshine annually, over 300 miles of trails, and over 45,000 acres of open space and parks. Boulder is a place to go climbing at Eldorado Canyon in the morning, take a jog on Mesa Trail in Boulder Mountain Park at lunch, spend an hour fly fishing in Boulder Creek, and then go skiing at Eldora in the afternoon. Rugged Indian Peaks Wilderness Area lies a half-hour west of Boulder if you’re looking to get out farther out of the city.
The northern Front Range encompasses Fort Collins, Greeley, Loveland, and Longmont below the mountain escarpment. Fort Collins is an outdoor city that’s just as good as Boulder. It offers lots of great city parks like Fossil Creek Park; Horsetooth Reservoir for boating and bouldering; and Poudre Canyon for climbing, fly fishing, hiking, and camping. Loveland loves Boyd Lake State Park for summer fun, while recreationists stop at St. Vrain State Park outside Longmont. Rocky Mountain National Park, topped by Longs Peak, lies west of the cities. The park, with over 4 million annual visitors, is a magnet for hikers, climbers, mountaineers, campers, and scenic drivers.
Colorado Springs, the second-largest city in the state, anchors the central Front Range. The city, dominated by 14,115-foot Pikes Peak, is home to the U.S. Olympic Committee and an Olympic training center. Outdoor recreation and sports are ingrained in the Springs’ psyche. Hikers ramble on hundreds of miles of trails, including 13-mile Barr Trail up the Peak or the straight-up Mount Manitou Incline, the most popular trail in Colorado. Climbers enjoy great scenery and routes at Garden of the Gods and Red Rock Canyon parks, while mountain bikers bump over trails at Palmer Park and in Pike National Forest. Fishermen cast lines in the South Platte and Arkansas rivers, and rafters and kayakers dash through rapids on the Arkansas, including the raging Royal Gorge.
The southern Front Range includes Pueblo, Cañon City, Walsenburg, and Trinidad. Puebloans recreate at Lake Pueblo State Park, hike the downtown Arkansas Riverwalk, or play golf year-round at Walking Stick or City Park courses. Cañon City boasts Shelf Road climbing area north of town, trails at Red Canyon and Temple Canyon parks, and trout fishing and rafting on the Arkansas River. Southwest of Pueblo and Cañon City are the Wet Mountains, topped by Greenhorn Mountain, and the ragged Sangre de Cristo Mountains and nine Fourteeners. Walsenburg and Trinidad sit on either end of the Highway of Legends Scenic and Historic Byway, providing access to West Spanish Peak, the Culebra Range, and Trinidad State Park.