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Project Rise Denver

If you like results, high-fives and post-exercise beers, head to Project Rise Fitness for a high-intensity workout suitable for seasoned athletes and newbies alike. Owner Caleb Sommer delivers a brutal but fun cardio program drawing on aerobics, gymnastics and strength training. Sweat sessions are coupled with nutrition coaching, too, for a comprehensive approach promoting long-term health. Forget about fitness plateaus: Like snowflakes and Lady Gaga's hairstyles, no two Rise workouts are exactly the same. Variety is good, but it's the unique community of fitness enthusiasts that'll keep you coming back for more. Between wine-workout parties, weekend partner drills and Friday night sweat sessions with catered food and beverages, Rise is more than a gym — it's a close-knit clan of welcoming wellness junkies.

Way out west in the Four Corners region of Colorado lies the town of Mancos, a cultural gem on the edge of Mesa Verde National Park that's not only a gateway to several of the nation's most treasured archaeological hot spots, but also a real, working cowtown situated in the valley made famous by the Westerns of Louis L'Amour. To counter that, it's also a town of artisans and summer balloon fests and art fairs. And Mancos is a stop on two of Colorado's designated scenic byways: For a true Rocky Mountain adventure, make your way to Mancos via the breathtaking San Juan Skyway, rolling past mining towns and hot springs and over the cliff-hanging Million Dollar Highway, or opt for the Trail of the Ancients, a Four Corners loop with stops at Mesa Verde, Lowry Pueblo, the Anasazi Heritage Center and Hovenweep.

The Colorado grasslands aren't for everyone. Their lush periods are slight while the dry spells are brutal, but if you fine-tune your eye (which has probably been spoiled by all those mountain vistas) to the more subtle charms of the plains landscape, visiting them is well worth the drive. Find out what the fuss was all about when the U.S. Army tried — and eventually failed — to expand its Piñon Canyon Maneuver Site by encroaching on the grassland ten years ago: There are dino tracks preserved in the canyon along the Purgatoire River (anglicized to "Picketwire" by its American denizens), the ruins of the Dolores Mission to explore, and petroglyphs and tipi circles in Picture Canyon. Wildlife runs the gamut from prairie chickens and pronghorns to collared lizards and roadrunners, and you can even follow the Santa Fe Trail, imagining yourself crossing the plains in a covered wagon.

Rich in mining lore, Texas-sized belt buckles and beautiful scenery, the Silver Thread Byway follows the Rio Grande River out of South Fork, passing by the Collier State Wildlife Area on ancient Ute Indian lands on the way to historic Creede, a mining town reinvented with art galleries, eateries and a famed summer repertory theater on Main Street. In spite of its charming new directions, you can still revisit Creede's mining past firsthand at the Underground Mining Museum or on side trips into the hills above town before heading over steep Spring Creek Pass and past Lake San Cristobal to picturesque Lake City, a Victorian aerie perched high in the San Juans. From there, it's on through high-walled canyons to Gunnison — and back again.

You can add to or take away from this extensive loop by stitching together a variety of scenic byways and national heritage areas, but whichever route you commit to, you're going to gain a new appreciation for northern Colorado — and especially for its rugged scenery, from the Poudre Canyon to the headwaters of the Colorado River. Highlights range from the de rigueur Trail Ridge Road and Rocky Mountain National Park to the pristine and nature-heavy beauty of North Park and Walden, the Rawah Wilderness and the Medicine Bow and Never Summer Mountains.

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Daniels Park is in a part of Douglas County dominated by gated communities and homes beyond the means of the 99 percent. But you don't have to be stupendously wealthy to enjoy this spectacular slice of Colorado. The 1,000-acre property was donated to the City and County of Denver by Miss Florence Martin more than eighty years ago, and since the early days, an 800-acre preserve for a buffalo herd has been among its grabbiest attractions. But there's a lot more to see than just bison: On a clear day, visitors can experience one of the great views in the state, stretching from Pikes Peak to Long's Peak, as well as gorgeous hiking and picnicking areas. And despite the park's location, there's no admission fee.

Jefferson County

Tired of hearing your kids whine, "Are we there yet?" Mount Falcon Park is a Jefferson County gem that sits a mere twenty miles from downtown Denver, but it still offers all of the topographic variances, tucked-away treasures and sweeping panoramas of a more remote trek. Park at the east entrance (3852 Vine Street in Morrison) and hop on Castle Trail, which links up with Turkey Trot Trail after a 2,000-foot elevation gain for a rigorous-but-doable loop boasting views of Red Rocks and the LoDo skyline. Take Castle Trail farther west, and you'll stumble on the historic Summer White House Trail, leading adventurers to stone remnants of an early 1900s home, the cornerstone of a would-be summer White House for presidents. There are over twelve miles of trail between the east and west entrances at Mount Falcon Park, and picnic tables, shelters and restrooms are accessible from both entries.

Ben Siebrase

Belly Bliss founder Lauren Williams makes the daunting task of parenting a little bit more blissful with a center devoted entirely to pregnancy, childbirth and motherhood. We recommend dropping in for a family yoga class. Offered weekly, these hour-long sessions include games, music and partner poses, along with flowing asanas and a few challenging postures, too. Parent-child yoga delivers the same mental and physical benefits of regular yoga, like peace of mind, relaxation and increased flexibility, but the perks don't stop there. Family Yoga is a time for parents to truly connect with their babies, toddlers and children in a calming yet playful environment — and to meet other parents, too. No previous yoga experience required.

Great Wolf Lodge Facebook

Nestled between iconic red sandstone formations and majestic mountains, Great Wolf Lodge is an all-inclusive getaway suitable for wolf packs of all ages. Not many hotels are created specifically for kids and their parents, but Colorado's latest travel addition, which opened in Colorado Springs in December 2016, is one of those unique properties. Everything's under one roof: a 50,000-square-foot aquatics center, a 20,000-square-foot indoor entertainment complex, pristine rooms and six eateries, some boasting locally sourced, scratch-made grub. Water-park access is included with lodging, and your kiddos are sure to sleep soundly after exploring three pools, obstacle courses, a multi-level treehouse-slash-water-fort and twelve water slides, including two-story body slides, the four-story Alberta Falls, and Howlin' Tornado, a six-story funnel. Kiddie chutes are available for wee guests, along with the zero-depth-entry Cub Paw Pool. Free activities — yoga, wildlife walks and storytimes — are offered on site daily through the Great Wolf Kids Program.

YMCA of the Rockies

Who says you have to spend a fortune on your next family getaway? YMCA of the Rockies delivers two fantastic destinations at Snow Mountain Ranch and its Estes Park Center. At each site, guests are greeted with a robust lineup of year-round activities; the experience is a little bit like camp for the whole family. In addition to hiking, horseback riding, archery, swimming, crafts and miniature golf, each site boasts its own unique entertainment: There's fishing, a summer tubing hill and llama treks at Snow Mountain Ranch, and concerts, guided hikes and a spectacular zipline at Estes Park Center. When night falls, gather 'round the campfire for a marshmallow roast, then hunker down in a lodge room or cabin — or in one of Snow Mountain Ranch's new yurts.

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