Weir Gulch takes the urban wanderer on a trek encompassing many gorgeous west Denver working-class 'hoods, including Westwood, Barnum, Barnum West, Villa Park and Sun Valley. Sections of the trail are secluded thanks to mature trees and tall grass, while other parts of the hike include crossing busy streets aboveground as water travels below street level in concrete pipes. Catch views of the mountains to the west as the pathway ambles through tracts of low-slung homes, or take in the cityscape as seen at the crest of Barnum Park, where Federal Boulevard and Sixth Avenue cut up the green space. The route is dotted with playgrounds and basketball courts, shaded areas for resting and a handful of public restrooms. This unique combination of wooded expanses, lush greenbelts and metropolitan elements makes Weir Gulch the perfect trail for understanding and enjoying Denver's mountains-meets-rural-meets-urban geographical personality.

West Center Drive and South Sheridan Boulevard to the Platte River

denvergov.org

It's hikers-only on the Mount Galbraith Loop near Golden, a moderately strenuous, 4.9-mile lollipop trek that gains about 1,100 feet in elevation and features fab views of Denver, Golden, the Front Range, Golden Gate Canyon and Clear Creek Canyon. Start out on the Cedar Gulch trail, and on hot days head for shade right away by turning right onto the Mount Galbraith Loop; the trail is lined with ponderosa pines and spruce. Climbs in and out of several ravines and rocky sections make it a little more challenging. Dogs on a leash are allowed, and they can be helpful in alerting you to the bighorn sheep clambering around the canyons.

Readers' Choice: Red Rocks Trail

Everyone knows about the Maroon Bells — most photographed, most famous, most iconic, etc. — but not everyone has successfully climbed them. Many try, but because of the peaks' location next to Aspen, in the heart of Colorado tourist country, most of the attempts are by beginners who have never been on a Fourteener in their lives. That's what makes this an ideal trek for that hotshot know-it-all relative who succeeds at everything. Maybe he'll make it, maybe he won't, but if he does, he'll talk about it for a year, and if he doesn't, it's likely to be a very public humiliation. Of the two summits, Maroon Peak (Class 3; 14,156 feet) is a little easier than its sister less than half a mile away, North Maroon Peak (Class 4; 14,014 feet), so the chances for making it are better. The views from both are spectacular.

Readers' Choice: Longs Peak

In 2008, Vail closed Minnie's Lift, which had been getting skiers and snowboarders to the Back Bowls since 1972, including the advanced terrain in Sun Up Bowl, as well as the China Bowl complex and Blue Sky Basin. Now that lift is back and better than ever: Renamed the Sun Up Express (#9), this Leitner-Poma lift is a high-speed quad, replacing Minnie's triple chair, and has reopened access to 1,285 acres of skiable terrain. Vail estimates that the ride to the top of Sun Up Bowl now takes less than four minutes, which is plenty of time to scout your lines.

vail.com

Readers' Choice: Keystone gondola

Not only will Granny find Mount Sherman to be a walk-up, but truth be told, you can get so close to the trailhead in the car that she could probably throw an orthopedic hiking boot at the summit. The hike is really a mere five-mile stroll that gains 2,100 feet in elevation, but there's so much more to enjoy: The mountain is named after General William Tecumseh Sherman, and so there's history to chat about on the way, along with old mining buildings and abandoned mine shafts near the trail to explore. Add in sprawling wildflower meadows and the fact that Mount Sherman is only about seven miles from Leadville, one of Colorado's famous mining towns, and this could turn sweet old Meemaw into a hard-core peak-bagger.

Mosquito Range, near Leadville

14ers.com

Readers' Choice: Mount Bierstadt

Skiers and snowboarders can't just drop into Winter Park's Dark Territory; you have to be "pre-certified," which puts enough people off that the place is often empty. But that's just silly, because pre-certification is easy: Watch a twenty-minute video, sign a liability waiver, pay $20, and then you're good to go for the rest of the season, ready to take on the extremely advanced and technical terrain. The section, located in lower Rail Yard, hosts all the biggest features, with better rail lines and big drops on the jumps, including a stair rail, multiple replicates, and 55- and 60-foot set-downs. And it's only experts like you, cheering on each other's comps and trying out some tricks minus the input of looky-loos. Don't want to take the time to get certified? There are six other terrain parks in Winter Park for all skill levels and interests.

winterparkresort.com

Readers' Choice: Ruby Hill

Speed demons flock to Whispering Jesse at Snowmass for its prudent grooming and well-varied terrain. The steep and rolling cruiser — which shares its name with a John Denver song — starts at the top of the Big Burn and makes its way alongside several gladed sections, between which it opens up with enough space for skiers and snowboarders to let 'er rip. The wide-open boulevard means beginners can take it slower, picking up the pace during the less-steep sections, while serious screamers just lap it, stopping for a breather at the picnic area located on the upper part of the run.

aspensnowmass.com

Billed as the steepest man-made, lift-served run in the lower 48, the aptly named Rambo at Crested Butte Mountain Resort is brutal, unrelenting and usually somewhat terrifying to the uninitiated. A standout on a mountain already known for its abundance of double-black-diamond trails (Crested Butte is host to many an extreme-skiing championship), Rambo offers a sustained pitch at between 50 and 55 degrees. The view from the top is often enough to turn away all but the most confident, but once you let go, you're in for slightly less than two miles of teeth-clenching, quad-cramping fun, complete with unexpected ledges, rocks and bushes, with plenty of time to practice jump turns and a few trees along the side for the truly fearless.

skicb.com

Readers' Choice: Prima Cornice, Vail

There's no question that Crested Butte Mountain Resort is one of Colorado's best ski areas, and it's one that relatively few ever check out. A great incentive for taking on the mountain's epic steeps, though, is the Gunnison-Crested Butte Getaway deal from the resort and the town of Gunnison, which sits just a half-hour's drive away (and you have to pass through there, anyway). Starting at $69 per person per night, you get lodging at one of eight properties and a lift ticket — and considering that lift tickets are usually $111 a day for adults, this is pretty sweet. Added enticements: Kids twelve and under ski free early- and late-season at CB, and there's a free round-trip shuttle from Gunnison to the mountain.

gunnisoncrestedbutte.com

Readers' Choice: Rocky Mountain Super Pass Plus

Fox Hollow at Lakewood

Beautifully maintained fairways — especially for a municipal course — and three different nines with varying difficulty make it tough to get bored at Fox Hollow at Lakewood. Greens fees are reasonable — less than $50 during peak season for eighteen holes — and the Meadow/Canyon eighteen-hole option plays like a championship course. Meanwhile, your backdrop is downtown Denver on one side and the Rockies on the other, and the fact that the course abuts Bear Creek Lake Park means it's quiet and pretty, with lakes and streams inviting wildlife to stop by. In addition, on-site restaurant the Den sports a patio that looks out at the mountains and serves three meals daily, including a really good burger.

lakewood.org/foxhollow

Readers' Choice: Legacy Ridge Golf Course

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