Congratulations. Since you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you’re in Colorado, it is summer and you’re armed with a fresh bag of herb, purchased legally.
Colorado and its majestic mountains offer limitless opportunities for outdoor activities, and for all but the most urban stoners, a cool buzz tends to magnify the awe and sense of one-ness with nature.
Whether you’re on vacation to Colorado, one of the hordes of folks who have moved here in the past few years or just a local just looking for something new to do, here are some of the best options to get out and experience our beautiful state.
Just remember, it’s illegal to puff publicly, and there are also rangers in the national forests who would love to write you a ticket for possession on federal lands, so be cool.
Soak Naked in a Natural hot Springs
The same earthly forces that shaped the Rocky Mountains left faults and fissures in the rocks that allow geothermally heated mineral water to rise to the surface. There are dozens across Colorado, ranging from posh resorts to small puddles along a river. To truly be one with nature, lose the bathing suit and take the healing waters as Native Americans have for centuries. Valley View Hot Springs, a rustic collection of cabins and a dozen scattered pools 3.5 hours southwest of Denver, is the best clothing optional resort. Visit olt.org/vvhs for more details. If you feel like a long hike, try Conundrum Hot Springs around Aspen. On the Western Slope, Orvis Hot Springs in Ridgway has more of a commercial feel, but it’s still lovely.
Pee in Both Oceans
The Continental Divide bisects the state, and there are many places reachable by car where you see the most amazing view of your life. Water in one direction goes to the Pacific Ocean and in the other to the Atlantic. For easiest access, drive Loveland Pass an hour west of Denver off Interstate 70, Hoosier Pass just south of Breckenridge or Independence Pass east of Aspen.
Get Drenched at Red Rocks
No matter who’s playing the show, a concert at Denver’s famed Red Rocks is worth the price of admission. Thanks to monsoonal storms over the mountains, it usually rains in the afternoon. Don’t run. Embrace it and dance in the rain. It usually clears up by sunset and rainbows over the Denver skyline are common.
People Watch on Pearl Street
Boulder, a regular stop on the hippie highway, is in a class of its own in Colorado. On Pearl Street, closed to cars, you’ll find what local boosters call “the best dining, shopping and people watching in the West.” Street musicians to nudists and everything between can be found here, stomping grounds of the biggest collection of oddballs this side of Vegas.
Have a Colorado Craft beer at the top of the World
No other state has as many peaks above 14,000 feet as Colorado. Despite the image of mountaineering, many are simply walk-ups, no ropes required. And only two states have more breweries than Colorado. So carry a delicious craft beer (or three) up to that elevation, and we can pretty much guarantee it’ll be the best tasting beer you’ve ever had. The website 14ers.com is a great resource for information and trail details. Remember, even “easy” 14ers claim lives each summer, so as the Boy Scouts say, “be prepared.” If you don’t have a hike in you, you can drive to the top of Mount Evans (less than an hour from Denver) or Pikes Peak (just west of Colorado Springs).
Listen to John Denver Around a Campfire
Sure, you can do this anywhere. But even if you despise country or folk music, you’ll get chills when “Rocky Mountain High” comes on and you’re surrounded by a ring of peaks or beneath an ocean of stars. The singer was called before Congress for the line “friends around the campfire and everybody’s high.” He claimed it was about elevation and not cannabis.
Raft the Arkansas River
Just a couple hours west of the Front Range cities, between the towns of Buena Vista and Canon City, is the most-rafted river in the nation. Rafting famed whitewater runs like The Numbers or The Royal Gorge is like riding a roller coaster without the harness or seat belt. Ice-cold water pelts your face. The raft plunges through rocky chutes at impossible angles. Don’t worry. There’s always a guide present, so it’ll be alright. For a mellower float (at least after the spring runoff ends) try Brown’s Canyon.
Catch a Rockies Game
Yeah, Denver’s Major League Baseball team the Colorado Rockies are perennially bad. But they still rank in the top 10 in attendance each summer, largely for the experience. Party beforehand in Denver’s chic LoDo neighborhood and watch the sun set over the mountains from the bleachers in a ballpark with an old-time feel. You may even forget there’s a baseball game.
Take a Cannabis Tour
If all this seems intimidating, many private companies offer tours to drive and show you the sights. Some partner with cannabis-friendly hotels. Tour packages can be pricey, but there’s no better way to do an all-inclusive Colorado cannabis vacation.