The Rocky Mountains. The rugged landscape. The dude ranches. Colorado is one of the best states for outdoor adventures. Most visitors use Denver as a hub to get to other iconic places like Aspen, Vail and Durango, where they can spend up to a week skiing, climbing, hiking, and cycling. But even if you’re just there for the weekend, Denver is pretty close to some awesome adventures just outside the Mile High City. They’re easy to get to, no more than an hour away tops and make for memorable day excursions. These are the must-see places outside Denver you’ll want to check out for your bachelor-party weekend.
BoulderBoulder, CO, United States
Laid-back is an understatement in Boulder, just a short drive from Denver. In fact, Boulder may have perfected the term (Croqs were invented here, to give you an idea of the lifestyle). Boulder is home to your basic Phish-loving, mountain-hugging, spiritually minded, politically active, bohemian variety Coloradan. It’s also home to the famed Naropa Institute (where Allen Ginsberg was professor emeritus). Parts of Boulder feel like a time machine back to the flower power days of the late Sixties, but it does have a non-hippy side, too. Scores of fitness junkies rock climb here, one of the trademark activities.
LyonsLyons, CO, United States
Lyons, right in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, is a magnet for mountain bikers. There’s miles of great trails here (72 to be specific, and many that are difficult/challenging) so it’s a destination for pros. There’s also some good bro bonding activities like golf and fly fishing. Lyons is as small town as it gets (about 2,300 population), so don’t expect much else. Aside from outdoor activities, the big draw is Oskar Blues Brewery, definitely a destination bar. This nationally recognized American craft beer company helms from Lyons, where the headquarters here is insanely awesome. It doesn’t feel like a brewery, which makes it pretty amazing. All sorts of guy packs come here for the day, hanging out at the lively bar (indoor and outside), good BBQ and even concerts. They even have bikes for you if you want to shred trail.
The Stanley HotelThe Stanley Hotel, Estes Park, CO, United States
We lied. Not everything on this list is under an hour to get to. But this landmark hotel is an exception worth mentioning. Deep in the Rocky Mountains, The Stanley Hotel is Colorado’s most famous attraction for Stephen King fans and ghost hunters alike. This is the hotel that inspired The Shining, a horror classic (this is not where the movie was filmed, though.) It’s an hour and a half drive from Denver, and definitely a must. The hotel is historic and sorta creepy, and it’s still majorly haunted for all those paranormal/supernatural junkies to get thrills. You can book a tour or just check it out at your own pace. It’s also a good reason to get you out to Rocky Mountain National Park, an immense and breathtaking, 415-square-mile park that crosses the continental divide.
Red Rocks AmphitheaterRed Rocks Amphitheatre, West Alameda Parkway, Morrison, CO, United States
Just ten miles outside of Denver in Morrison, the Red Rocks outdoor Amphitheatre is legendary. Every great act has performed here (The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, the Grateful Dead, U2). It holds up to 10,000 people and, if you plan your bachelor party weekend right, you can rock out with some major acts that perform at this iconic, open-air, geologically formed theater. It’s inside a stunning park too, where people bike and hike, so it’s very day-trip friendly if there’s no concert while you’re visiting.
White water rafting in Idaho SpringsClear Creek Rafting Co., Whitewater Road, Idaho Springs, CO, United States
Just thirty minutes from Denver, the rapids at Clear Creek are insane. Don’t even think about doing this if you have back problems or a heart thing. It’s pretty much guaranteed to give you an intense moment, and nothing shocks your hangover like the rapids that range from Class II to Class V. The river runs through a historic mining valley that’s completely unspoiled, so you might see some muskrat, beaver, deer, sheep and even mountain lions and bear along the way. The only way to do this well is hopping aboard with Clear Creek Rafting Company, the most reputable company out here.