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.
Copper to Vail (and Back) on a Road Bike
Conquer 10,666-foot Vail Pass on this classic—and epic—high-country ride.
By Amanda M. Faison
Fuel Up On the way to your starting point at Copper Mountain, stop at Silver Plume’s Sopp and Truscott for breakfast. The old-fashioned bakery is best known for its breads (buy a loaf of the multigrain Johnny or jalapeño-cheddar to take home), but the morning goodies are just as tasty. Munch on a slice of pumpkin bread or a softball-size cinnamon roll, grab a cup of joe, and consider this fuel for the ride ahead. If you’ve got empty water bottles, ask owners Gail or Patrick Buckley to top ’em off.
Clip In Drive to the west end of Copper’s village—there are parking spots aplenty during the summer months—where you will find the start of the paved bike path. The gradual, five-mile climb, much of it through a wide-open valley, gets steeper as you near the summit. Make a pit stop at the top and take in the spectacular views of the Copper ski runs to the southeast, then don a long-sleeve jersey for the fast, chilly, and sometimes precipitous 12-mile ride down into Vail. The trail—which alternates between bike path and road—winds through pines and aspens, but there’s also a short stretch that runs a few nerve-wracking feet from I-70.
Refuel On the valley floor, take the south frontage road to Vail Village, and park your bike at Up the Creek, Vail’s only creekside-patio eatery. Stretch your limbs, keep an eye on your ride at an outside table next to Gore Creek, and order the grilled eggplant sandwich or a BLT. If you need spare tubes, pop into Vail Bike Tech in Lionshead, and then start back the way you came. The climb on this side is far more difficult, so keep a steady pace and have water or Gatorade at the ready. Once you’ve crested the pass, stop roughly halfway down the path back to Copper and look closely for the avalanche chutes that naturally spell out the word “SKY.”
Recover Post-ride, make for the Boatyard Pizzeria & Grill in Frisco. Order a cold pint and the feta-and-artichoke Greek pie. If you have time left in the day, drive over the Dillon Dam Road to the Dillon Marina and watch the sun set over the sailboats gently rocking on the lake.
If You Go
Sopp and Truscott: 1010 Main St., Silver Plume, 303-569-3395; Up the Creek: 223 Gore Creek Drive, Vail, 970-476-8141; Vail Bike Tech: 555 E. Lionshead Circle, Vail, 970-476-5995; Boatyard Pizzeria & Grill: 304 Main St., Frisco, 970-668-4728; Dillon Marina: 150 Marina Drive, Dillon, 970-468-5100.