Hiking in Summit County Colorado

Does your family dream of vacationing with thousands of other families, standing in the hot sun for up to an hour in each line for rides that might be fun for the kids, and then going through buffet lines with the rest of the crowd at your expensive all-inclusive hotel at a destination amusement park?  For some families, this is an enjoyable way to spend that precious one or two weeks per year when the kids are out of school and Mom and Dad have managed to take some vacation time after working for a solid year.  For others, there is a vacation out there with more variety, flexibility and value.  Hiking is one of the most fun activities that Keystone CO offers.

Families are now considering options besides the typical amusement park trip over the summer.  Mountain vacations are gaining in popularity over the historically popular destination vacations.  With so many recreational options, families can now choose activities that range from rest and relaxation to physically challenging.  No two days will ever be the same!

Hiking in Keystone

Hiking in Keystone

paved-bike-trail-red-hawk-keystone

Red Hawk Paved Bike Trail

In Keystone, Colorado, the sky is the limit!  With an elevation of 12,000, you can plan a hike that will allow your family to feel as though they can actually touch the sky.  One of the most enjoyable trails is near the ghost town of Montezuma. Radical Hill is about 6 miles long and has an elevation gain of about 1500 ft.  Drive past Keystone Ski Resort on Hwy 6 and right in the middle of town you will see an old grater that probably has been parked on the road for the last twenty years. Turn left at the sign for Webster Pass and drive another 1.3 miles. On the left side of the road there is a parking lot.

Although this trail is marked intermediate, it is wide and not technical, so even the younger children can feel successful.  If you have a small child, a Kelty backpack, will allow your young child  to experience a great view while you do all of the work in Keystone Colorado.  Make sure you bring lunch so that you can pull over on the trail and re-charge. The views of this hike are stunning.  Be sure to take a peek into the old mining cabin near the top of the trail. With the altitude, you will require more water than you think, as well as a sunscreen of at least 30 SPF.  This hike can be as long or as short as you want to make it, but preparation can mean the difference between a terrific day out, or a challenging experience. This region is also known for afternoon thunderstorms, so heed the general rule in Colorado that earlier in the day is better.  Regardless of what time you head out, it is smart to be prepared with a light rain jacket, a hat, and a portable blanket. If you have ever experienced a blister from hiking, you know that mole skin will make the hike down much more comfortable.
Biking in Keystone Resort Colorado

If hiking is not your thing, you might be inclined to try mountain biking.  Beware,  this sport is addictive not only for you, but for the entire family.  Don’t be surprised if for some unknown reason, you come to enjoy the pain of skinned knees, sore pelvic muscles and strained shoulders. You can rent a bike and helmet from Mountain View Sports in Keystone for $25.00 for the day.  Many people like to sample mountain biking by paying for a lift ticket, riding the gondola and having their bike handed to them at the top of the hill.  If downhill speed is what you’re after, by all means, give this a try.  You will experience several rides in one day and have ample opportunity to experience a spectacular crash that will gain you a few “badges of honor.”  Watch out for the true downhill bikers as they are not opposed to taking a 30 foot jump off of the log stacks at the edge of the trail.  You can spot them easily because all the heavy: chest shields, wrist guards, knee guards, mouth guards, and more.

Biking Keystone Lake

Biking Keystone Lake

Biking at Dercum Mountain

Biking at Dercum Mountain

The other way to try mountain biking is by doing some of the real work yourself.  Find a nice trail and work those muscles until they are screaming in pain and you find that you can go no further.  Chihuahua Gulch trail is a nice way to test your endurance and enjoy views of both Grays and Torrey’s Peaks. From Keystone, continue on Hwy 6, veer right on Montezuma Rd.   At the fork, take a left and drive another 4.5 miles to Peru Creek Road and take a left, driving another 2 miles to Chihuahua Rd. Park  and unload your bike. Be prepared to cross several streams on this trail and remember that with the 12,200 foot altitude, you might be starved for oxygen.  If you feel lightheaded, take a break and drink water and take in the views.  Although riding the trail without stopping is commendable, altitude sickness is painful, so take care of your body and drink plenty of water.

The third and final way to enjoy biking is for those of you who want the tour without so much pain.  Many rental shops offer shuttle service, driving your group and your bikes from Keystone Resort to the summit of Vail Pass, and allowing you to coast down the paved trail to Frisco.  They will pick you up and take you back to their shop where you left your car. Although you might not ever need to pedal, you still will enjoy the legendary Colorado sunshine and what a Colorado summer vacation is all about.

Although Keystone ski resort vacations can be top dollar in the winter, summertime is whole different story.  In Keystone Resort, Colorado, for example a family of four can rent a modern, upscale condo in the heart of River Run Village for the entire July 4th week for a total of $754.00 including all taxes and cleaning fees from SummitCove.com.  Fully equipped kitchens allow you to prepare your own meals, cutting out the cost of restaurant meals altogether.  Many of the complexes include amenities such as swimming pools, hot tubs, and play areas for the kids.  Hiking trails are entirely free to the public and mountain biking only requires bike rental and possibly a lift ticket for the gondola.  So, pack up the family and head out west to enjoy a truly active summer vacation in Keystone Colorado!