When Keystone Resort introduced its two-hour guided hike up Decrum Mountain in 2009, it dubbed the grueling leg- and lung-burner the “2,000-Calorie Hike” because of the energy trekkers burn as they gain 1,000 feet during the six-mile round-trip route. With that in mind, we came up with a few of our own summertime sweat-fests that give you cart blanche to indulge in a post-workout mountain feast—and paired them with where you might best replenish those calories.
DO THIS: Ride the Little Scraggy Trail
1,000* calories burned
The first half of the new Little Scraggy Trail (part of the Buffalo Creek trail system) opened for riding last September. Pedal more than six miles of flowy single-track through rocky outcroppings on the stretch of undulating climbs and descents from the trailhead to Kelsey Campground. You’ll have to turn back just past the campground for now, but when the other half of the trail to Buffalo Campground is finished in 2016, you’ll get to tackle an additional several miles without any backtracking.
EAT THIS: Brooks Pulled Pig from the fresh summer menu at Brooks Place Tavern in Conifer
The house-smoked pork topped with sweet and spicy bacon is the perfect post-ride plate with a seasonal on-tap brew to rehydrate.
DO THIS: Hike the Colorado Trail from Kenosha Pass to Deadman Creek
1,600 calories burned
The Colorado Trail from Denver to Durango generally takes four to six weeks to complete. But the nine-mile out-and-back section from Kenosha Pass to Deadman Creek can be done between breakfast and happy hour. The rolling single-track passes dense aspen groves, gurgling creeks, and a stunning vista of the South Park Valley, always hovering around 10,000 feet of elevation.
EAT THIS: The Honeydew Burger at Breckenridge’s Canteen Tap House and Tavern
It’s an extra hour, but the trip over Hoosier Pass is worth it for the views and seven ounces of beef topped with chile cream cheese and honey, paired with house-cut fries.
DO THIS: Kayak Clear Creek to Clear Creek Whitewater Park
1,000 calories burned
Just east of Tunnel One on U.S. 6, drop into Clear Creek for a two-mile paddle into downtown Golden. The Class III rapids (manageable for intermediate kayakers) end with an 800-foot hydro playground—a series of Class III sections comprising man-made drops, pools, eddies, and waves. Since opening in 1998, the no-cost paddle zone has hosted newbies and the area’s top talent. Warning: You may not be a professional kayaker, but you’re sure to have an audience.
EAT THIS: Bridgewater Sautéed shrimp from the Bridgewater Grill’s new menu
The jumbo shrimp are accompanied by chorizo, creamy polenta, bell peppers, fire-roasted tomatoes, arugula, spinach, white wine sauce, and Manchego cheese.
DO THIS: Climb the Young and the Rackless on Blob Rock
1,000 calories burned
The Blob Rock climbing area in Boulder Canyon usually enjoys a maternity leave of sorts. From about February 1 through July 31, land managers restrict access to fragile recreational areas in the Flatirons as well as Boulder and Eldorado canyons to allow raptors to nest undisturbed. This year, the birds of prey skipped over the Young and the Rackless, a moderate (5.9) four-pitch sport climb on the east side of Blob Rock—so climbers can get started a little bit sooner.
EAT THIS: Golden potato gnocchi at Blackbelly Market
Chef Hosea Rosenberg, who opened Blackbelly in November, serves his house-made gnocchi with local mushrooms and fiddlehead ferns in an arugula pesto topped with grana cheese and an optional farm-fresh egg.
*Estimated calories calculated for a 151-pound Colorado woman (the median weight for a 40-year-old Colorado woman, according to the 2013 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System from the Colorado Department of Health and Environment).