Best Place to See the Colorado State Animal

Georgetown

Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep favor steep and mountainous terrain, which means they hang out in places that are hard for humans to access. But at the Georgetown Bighorn Sheep Viewing Area, looky-loos can pump a few quarters into the giant binoculars and take a gander at the hundreds of sheep that make up the "Georgetown herd." One of the best times of year to spy on sheep is in November, when the town hosts the Georgetown Bighorn Sheep Festival. It's also the species' mating season, which means visitors are more likely to see male sheep head-butting each other to establish dominance — and for a shot at makin' it with the ladies.

Don't let the confusing name fool you: This 71,000-acre swath of forest, lakes and trails is an uncrowded gem. Colorado State Forest State Park, near Walden, is also home to more than 600 moose, which can be viewed year-round. Start at the Moose Visitor Center, where moose-seekers can take a virtual tour of the expansive park, learn about the animal and get tips on where to spot one. Even if the moose prove elusive, visitors might be lucky enough to see some of the other mammals that make their home here, including bighorn sheep, elk, black bears and deer.

They may not be the tallest or the most-hiked of the state's fourteeners, but Aspen's Maroon Bells are some of Colorado's most photographed peaks, especially during the fall. Groves of aspen around the craggy sandstone mountains turn yellow as they prepare to shed their leaves, staining the nearby slopes and valleys bright gold — and drawing in gaggles of leaf-peeping tourists who pay $10 to drive down the park's access road. The quintessential place to snap a picture is from the shores of Maroon Lake, but it can get crowded; strap on a backpack and ramble down a trail into the surrounding White River National Forest for a chance to find your own aspen grove — and maybe catch a glimpse of a moose or beaver — before the trees drop their colors and the snow settles in.

Thank magazine publisher John Brisben Walker, who saw the natural sandstone amphitheater outside of Morrison in 1906 and envisioned the grand stage it would become. Or thank the Civilian Conservation Corps, whose workers helped turn it into a reality. Whoever you credit, no other venue in the country can match Red Rocks for pure grandeur. The 9,450-person-capacity theater has become a staple for touring acts from Dave Matthews Band to Pretty Lights; on summer nights, with the stage lights glowing on the rocks and the stars twinkling above, the music takes on a depth beyond the strictly aural. And lest we forget, Red Rocks is a damn fine park in the traditional sense, too, drawing local hikers, bikers and sightseers with its miles of trails, which link to the Jefferson County park system. Meanwhile, dedicated exercise groups turn the empty amphitheater into an outdoor gym during the daylight hours.

Whether you're a native or just passing through, you haven't really seen Denver until you've seen it from the seat of a scooter, hair flying, on one of those sunny Colorado days. But you don't have to commit to a Vespa of your own in order to try it: At ScooTours, you can rent one for a day, on the condition that you know how to ride a bike, are eighteen or older and have a valid driver's license. With every rental comes a "scootorial," if needed, and tour-loop suggestions to suit your personality are available for the asking. Caveat: No drinking — or inhaling — allowed while aboard a ScooTours vehicle; ScooTours recommends that you save it for later. Oh, and however cool they might make you look as you zoom through the streets, leave those six-inch stilettos at home.

Lakeside Amusement Park, a turn-of-the-last-century landmark that runs along the banks of Lake Rhoda, offers the ideal setting for a mid-summer date night. The park is full of excuses to get close to your darling: share a seat on the Ferris wheel or Skoota Boats, or get adventurous and take a shaky ride on the infamous Wild Chipmunk or historic Cyclone coasters. Then romance your sweetie with a soft-serve twist cone under Lakeside's art-deco neon strips and incandescent bulbs as they blink against the evening sky. Whatever you do, don't forget to take advantage of the most romantic attraction of all: a trip around the lake together in a petite version of a narrow-gauge rail car.

Urban pools are usually rectangular holes in the ground made of concrete and filled with chlorinated water (and sometimes leaves, lost toys and empty Cheetos bags). But when Denver Parks and Recreation decided to remake the outdoor pool next to the La Alma Recreation Center, which sits in a neighborhood chock-full of kids, it went far beyond an ordinary rectangle. Though there are still six lanes where lap swimmers can front-crawl calories away, the pool also sports a diving board and a twisty-tunnel water slide so tall that adults brave enough to give it a whirl have been known to whoop with joy when the ride is over. The pool also has an exemplary kiddie area, complete with things that rain water down, things that spit water up, a padded toddler slide and a freaking whirlpool — which is big enough for grownups, too. Not that we'd know or anything.

Every Monday, Greg Plavidal, owner of the Boulder Anytime Fitness franchise, runs a special session for a group of women between the ages of fifty and eighty who used to belong to a now-shuttered Curves. Some of these women were nervous about training at a regular gym, but Plavidal's sessions are gentle, organized and easily adjusted to a participant's fitness level. For those wanting to take their workouts to the max, there's also boot camp — loud, hot, sweaty and unrelenting — with ex-marine Korey Reyelts, who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Boulder boasts many gyms, but Plavidal didn't see the kind of place he wanted there — affordable, with a friendly, bright atmosphere that was neither a country club nor a grimy grunt-and-sweat shop — so he created one that is accommodating to clients at every level, from college athletes to retirees.

Pura Vida has long been a mecca for the exercise elite — a members-only gym with state-of-the-art facilities and top-of-the-line workout programming. But earlier this year, the fitness fortress opened its doors to non-members with the introduction of the Sunday Afternoon Meltdown, a combination yoga and meditation class focused on detoxing and preparing for the week ahead. Thirty bucks gets you in on a one-hour heated yoga session followed by a half-hour guided meditation, capped off with a specialty herbal elixir to sip while you take advantage of the club's steam room and hot tub.

20th Street Recreation Center

Far from the corporate-chain experience, the 20th Street Gym is the workout facility of hard knocks. The city's oldest rec center, located in the heart of downtown, 20th Street is a no-frills training facility, complete with a fully stocked weight room, shiny cardio machines, an indoor pool and basketball court, and weekly yoga and spin classes. But the best workout in the city comes from the gym's boxing program, offering real in-the-ring training for kids and adults alike. The grownups' classes are a nonstop circuit involving a speed bag and heavy-bag hitting, jumping rope and one-on-one guidance from expert coaches — something that no chain health club can match.

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