Take a guided trip or experience in Colorado for summer

It’s no secret that summer is many Coloradans’ favorite season. But actually fitting all the activities you want to experience into just a few months can feel like a game of Tetris. Camping, hiking, cycling, kayaking, mountain biking, fly­fishing, climbing, road-tripping, paddleboarding, rafting, floating, off-roading and countless other activities add up to so much fun and too little time.

To help narrow your list and be efficient with your time, especially if you’re trying something new, consider booking a guided experience. Of course, you can do most activities on your own, but you’ll learn a lot more and likely have a better time with a knowledgeable pro leading the charge — and it means you don’t have to reinvent the wheel trying to research and plan every excursion or adventure.

Whether you have guests coming into town or you just want to get to know the state a little bit better yourself, consider these quintessentially Colorado experiences you can book on platforms like Airbnb and 57Hours, a platform for professional guides.

Climb the Flatirons

The Flatirons are the reddish-brown sandstone formations that stand guard over Boulder. Driving northwest on U.S. 36, maybe you’ve found yourself wondering what it would be like to climb these iconic, oft-photographed slabs. This summer is your chance to make this dream a reality. Through 57Hours, you can book a full- or half-day Flatirons climbing session with a private guide.

Rates start at $180. Book it: 57hours.com

Make a Pocket Pipe

Whether you partake in marijuana or not, it’s still a big reason why people love to visit, move to and generally talk about the Centennial State. By booking this Airbnb Experience, you can make your own one-of-a-kind pocket pipe for smoking, gifting or just displaying proudly on your shelf. Using resin and wood, you’ll cut, carve, engrave, polish and assemble a bowl and a stem. And as the class description notes, it’s a BYOB kind of situation: “Feel free to bring tobacco or otherwise since this is Colorado … and give them a try!”

Rates start at $69. Book it: airbnb.com

Hike Longs Peak

Western adventurers have been fascinated with Longs Peak at least since explorer Stephen H. Long encountered the 14,259-foot mountain in 1820 (and named it after himself). If you’ve lived in Colorado for a while now, you know it’s one of the more difficult-to-summit fourteeners in the state. You could try going it alone, or you could enlist the expertise of a guide, such as those offered by 57Hours. The experience starts in the wee hours and includes more than 15 miles of hiking.

Rates start at $620. Book it: 57hours.com

Take photos of the night sky

There’s something special about stargazing in the mountains. Less light pollution, yes, but also a feeling of being more connected with nature and the planet as a whole. You can learn how to capture the magic of the night sky with an Airbnb Experience that’s all about Colorado astrophotography. Each session includes a 3- to 3½ -hour photography tour, complete with a DSLR camera if you don’t have your own. Hosts Maggie Martin and Alex McGregor can help you dial in the right camera settings and offer tips for capturing the night sky from places like Guanella Pass, Loveland Pass or anywhere else a four-wheel-drive vehicle can reach.

Rates start at $260. Book it: airbnb.com

Hike Red Rocks at sunrise

Red Rocks is one of the most well-known and well-loved concert venues in the country. And true Red Rocks fans know that this open-air amphitheater is just as stunning in the morning as it is during a show at night. Thanks to an Airbnb Experience, you can go on a serene, guided hike of the property as the sun begins to illuminate Denver. The 70-minute jaunt includes the history of the park, info about the big name musical artists who have played there and plenty of photo ops. You might just see a mule deer or two, as well.

Rates start at $45. Book it: airbnb.com

Do yoga with llamas

Get your Zen on with views of Pikes Peak — and an audience of llamas — with this Airbnb Experience. You’ll start with an easy walk through Pike National Forest (made even easier by the llamas carrying your gear!), then set up your yoga mat for a rejuvenating guided class in nature. Afterward, snap a selfie with a llama and take photos of the gorgeous landscape.

Rates start at $150. Book it: airbnb.com

Ride gold medal trails

The Roaring Fork Valley is home to some seriously awesome mountain biking — so awesome, in fact, that the region achieved gold-medal status from the International Mountain Bicycling Association in 2020. If you don’t know your way around the area or you want a local’s experience, book a guided experience through 57Hours. Explore trails like Tom Blake, Sky Mountain Park, Government Trail and Rim Trail with your guide planning the perfect full- or half-day of biking.

Rates start at $775. Book it: 57hours.com

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