Hop on a road bike. Cast for giant trout. Hike a new trail. Catch a baseball game. Relax on a sunny patio. Colorado calls to us in the summer and draws us outside to play in its spectacular landscape. Here, we present nine itineraries that promise to get you outdoors—and loving every minute of the hot days of June, July, and August.
Wet and Wild in Salida
Cast for giant trout along the mighty Arkansas River.
By Lindsey B. Koelher
Up and at 'Em If you want to taunt the fish before they hunker down during the heat of the day, you should arrive along the banks of the Arkansas River by 10 a.m. Scream out U.S. 285 and make a grub stop at the Brown Burro Cafe in Fairplay for huevos rancheros with house-made salsa. From there, wind your way through red rock–studded scenery before cresting the rim of the valley—the stunning Collegiate Peaks and the river far below will come into view quickly.
Tie One On With waders, fly rod—and, of course, a Colorado fishing license—you can get a line wet nearly anywhere along the Arkansas River as you make your way south toward the town of Salida. When your windshield wipers begin to smear bug guts—May and June see periodic hatches of caddis that make the fish go absolutely wild—this is your cue to tie on a dry fly. Make a morning of it and pull into three or four of the dozen or so county roads that jut off of U.S. 285 and 291, on which you’ll find plenty of accessible areas to cast for trout.
Refuel Park anywhere you find a space in downtown Salida, and belly up to one of the outside tables at Benson’s Tavern, a barfly’s kind of place with well-worn furniture and an easy ambience. Order an appetizer and let the sun dry the river water off you.
Relax Pop into kid emporium Kaleidoscope Toys, dive into the stacks at the Book Haven, and wander around the Mixing Bowl gourmet shop before pulling up a piece of grass at Riverside Park. If you’re in Salida on July 11, you can catch the Colorado Brewers Rendezvous in the park. Otherwise, sit a spell and listen as the Arkansas babbles by.
Go Italian At Amicas, order dinner at the counter before finding a table in the cozy dining room. Start with the Insalata Spinaci before gobbling down the Terracina pizza (topped with pepperoni and veggies). Wash it down with a brewed-right-there pint of Amicas’ No Name Wheat, an unfiltered hefeweizen-style beer—or take a 64-ounce growler to go.
Last Cast Before the last rays of the sun set behind the Rockies, grab your rod out of the car and take a few final casts right near the bridge at the end of F Street, a spot that often roils with fish just before dark. Cast away with the other die-hard anglers until dusk swallows your fly.
If You Go
Brown Burro Cafe: 706 Main St., Fairplay, 719-836-2804; Benson’s Tavern: 128 N. F St., Salida, 719-539-9391; Kaleidoscope Toys: 116 F St., Salida, 719-530-0533; The Book Haven: 128 F St., Salida, 719-539-9629; The Mixing Bowl: 148 F St., Suite A, Salida, 719-539-2655; Colorado Brewers Rendezvous; Amicas: 136 E. Second St., Salida, 719-539-5219.