Head for the Hills
You don't have to drive far to get away. Here, our 10 picks for off-the-beaten-path adventures in the foothills.
An Ode to Thirteeners
Every Coloradan's vernacular includes the word "fourteener," which we say with complete reverence and veneration. These 14,000-foot-plus behemoths are our state's claim to fame. New residents and out-of-towners quickly learn the lingo—and the fact that unless you've scaled their lofty heights you've still got something to prove. Yet, there's something to be said for a slightly less soaring set of mountains that also call Colorado home: thirteeners. Some mountains you climb for the way they make you feel. Struggle atop 14,255-foot Longs Peak, for example, and you'll swell with achievement as you drink in the privilege of reaching one of the state's highest points. But if you want the best views of Longs—or any of Colorado's fourteeners—you need to climb a less glamorous neighbor. That's the perch that affords an unforgettable (and slightly easier to reach) front-row view of the superstar. Longs' supporting cast includes 13,223-foot Mt. Audubon. It's not a jaw-dropper of a peak, and journeying up its treeless slopes feels like a great hike rather than a rite of passage. But standing on the summit, I saw Longs Peak exposed like I'd never seen it—the scars of its deep couloirs cutting down a face that hulked intimidatingly close. Mountains are multidimensional, and the mightier they are the more facets they seem to reveal. Standing on the summit is one very cool way to meet a peak. But another, as I learned that day on Audubon, is to stand atop a thirteener, facing the giants chin-to-chin. Kelly Bastone