Denver’s neighbor to the north is slowly reopening, and makes a great day trip. Historic Old Town is best explored by bicycle or on foot, which allows you to stay with your own pod while keeping a safe distance from others. Whether they stock Western wear, antiques or the latest outdoor equipment, the shops are open and happy to accept your touchless Apple Pay. On the beer front, New Belgium Brewing has resumed tastings and food trucks, though tours are closed through the summer; other taprooms are following suit. Nearby Horsetooth Reservoir is ideal for water sports of all kinds, and surrounded by trails perfect for hiking, biking and horseback riding. And the Poudre River is a perennial favorite for whitewater rafting, with tours ranging from mild to wild.
Find out more at 970-232-3840 or visitftcollins.com.
Regardless of restrictions, there’s still an amazing amount to see and explore in the southwestern part of the state. Mesa Verde National Park (including the lodge and campground) is open, though without the ranger-led tours of the three largest cliff dwellings; visitors can still drive the mesa loop, and an abbreviated guided bus tour is available. For a different look at ancestral Pueblan culture, the nonprofit Southwest Colorado Canyons Alliance (swcocanyons.org) offers tours of the wild and fascinating Canyons of the Ancients National Monument. At the Cortez Cultural Center, free Native American dances are still on (with distancing) Thursday through Sunday.Nearby, the award-winning Sutcliffe Vineyards has ample space for tastings, and the freestanding guest houses at the Canyon of the Ancients Guest Ranch are the perfect choice for socially distanced stays. (Fair warning: The ranch’s lambs and baby goats will get as close to you as they like.) Check out the tiny, art-filled gem of Mancos where, in addition to galleries, restaurants and the outstanding Fenceline cidery, there’s a new RV park right on the river. And Durango is definitely throwing out the welcome mat for visitors, with plenty of lodging and restaurants now serving. For a special treat, hop on the famed Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, now with reduced seating and more open-air cars.
Ready to get on board? Call 970-565-8227 or go to mesaverdecountry.com for more information.
Want to stick closer to home? Throughout the pandemic, Longmont has boasted about its Strongmont program, and it makes a strong case for a day trip. Three distilleries, a whole bunch of breweries, plenty of “crazy good” restaurants and a bountiful farmers’ market (reservations required) give tourists plenty to explore. While the Brewhop Trolley is sadly still for now, most outfitters and activities are open. You can paddleboard at Union Reservoir or get up, up and away in a hot air balloon, catch a canoe tour along the St. Vrain River or go skydiving (if 2020 hasn’t already spooked you silly). Would-be ninjas can test their skills at the Warrior Playground (by appointment only). And if that sounds a little too strenuous, pop into Cheese Importers to pick up some pecorino and other artisanal goodies, then stroll around Old Town.
Learn more at visitlongmont.org.
Cowboy hospitality is a hallmark of this historic Western town, and Steamboat isn’t letting COVID-19 put a damper on its summer season. While First Friday Art Walks are virtual and most big events are canceled, farmers’ markets now include food vendors, and the vast system of trails outside of Steamboat invite hiking and biking. If your preferred trail involves walking between watering holes, the town’s four breweries and one distillery are ready and waiting. While Old Town Hot Springs is open only to members, Strawberry Hot Springs welcomes guests (by reservation only) for stress-relieving soaks. (You’ll want one after a challenging hike around Fish Creek Falls.)
Get more information at steamboatchamber.com or call 970-879-0880.
The stunning, tightly knit town of Telluride is famed for its festivals, but there won’t be many of those this summer. This box-canyon beauty wants to protect the health and safety of its 2,400 full-time residents as well as that of tourists. Half of Telluride’s picture-perfect Main Street has been closed to cars to accommodate more outdoor dining and pop-ups by the art galleries and boutiques that line each block; the closure makes this a perfect place to amble and window-shop. The gondola is open, whooshing visitors 9,500 feet up to Mountain Village for astounding views and incredible sunsets. Allred’s Restaurant is open by reservation only, the legendary bar repurposed as a dining area. Just be sure to venture beyond the town: The hairpin roads and million-dollar views can’t be quarantined. Fair warning, though: Hotels are operating at only 25 percent capacity, so get that reservation soon, or you could be making a long trip back to Denver in the dark.
Find out more at visittelluride.com or call 970-369-2106.