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Posts Tagged ‘Backcountry Wilderness Area’

Everyone loves a Renaissance Man (or Woman)

by | August 2nd, 2016

You know those engaging people who know something about everything? The ones with the hungry—and well-fed—minds that move the conversational needle way past how hot July was? Well, now the darling of the summer cocktail party can be you, thanks to this list of recreational/educational activities. Learn about aeronautics and space travel. How to change your bike tires. Go on a brewery tour. Become a Rockies expert. Try your hand at plein air painting. It’s just another month in BackCountry, the perfect jumping-off point for adventure.  

Cockpit Demo Day at Wings Over the Rockies-Aug. 6, 10am-2pm

If you’ve never visited this historic 150,000-square-foot, 1930s-era air and space museum, now is the time. On Cockpit Demo Day, you and your kids can climb aboard select Wings aircraft and get a pilot’s perspective of the instruments and controls. Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum houses a collection of more than 60 aircraft and space vehicles. Test your skills on their simulator, which allows you to pilot aircraft from WWII to Desert Storm, dogfight with your friends, and ride one of ten exhilarating simulated roller coasters. Tickets are $6-$9; children under 3 are free. Learn more.

2nd Annual BackCountry Bike Clinic-Aug. 6, 9am-12pm

With so many trails crisscrossing so much open space at BackCountry, biking is a very popular community pastime. Celebrate the outdoors lifestyle at this Family Bike Festival, featuring bike checks, mini clinics (how to change a tire, etc.), bike demos, prize giveaways, music, food, and adult and child bike riding clinics on the BackCountry trails. The skills clinics will be led again this year by Cindi Toepel of Energy Experience, a five-time World and 10-time National XTERRA Off-Road Champion. Clinic participants will receive a free breakfast. Please RSVP through BackCountryLife.org by Monday, August 1st.

BackCountry Biking

Colorado Rockies Game-Aug. 21, 2:10pm

There’s something magical about watching live baseball on a summer afternoon. Rekindle your passion for America’s pastime on a fun outing to Coors Field with your fellow BackCountry residents. Tuck into a catered picnic at the Platte River Picnic Area at Coors Field, which starts 90 minutes before the game. The menu includes hot dogs, bratwursts, salad, potato chips, cookies, and unlimited fountain sodas. Then, settle in for the game. RSVP through ActiveNet by July 22. Picnic is limited to the first 50 people, so register early. Infield club seats $62; right field box seats $28.

Coors Field

Brewery Tour-Aug. 27, 2pm-6pm

Crisp and clean. Malty and sweet. Hoppy and bitter. Find your beer soulmate—and learn what’s trending in craft beer—on this tasty BackCountry tour of three Denver breweries. Catch the party bus (with snacks and water) from the Sundial House with your friends and neighbors. The Brewery Tour will visit Prost Brewing in the Denver Highlands, Epic Brewing, and Great Divide Brewery & Tap Room in RiNo. Register through ActiveNet by August 19th; space is limited to the first 50 people. $30.

Art Afield at Cherokee Ranch and Castle-Aug. 31

Monet had to start somewhere. And with a Colorado meadow as your muse, who knows where this could go? Breathtaking Cherokee Ranch & Castle invites artists of all levels to paint in an open meadow north of the Highlands Ranch Conservation Area. Disappear into your canvas for the day, inspired by views extending from Pikes Peak to Longs Peak. Dress for the weather, come rain or shine, and bring a lunch, beverage, and art supplies. Tickets $20; beginning instruction available for an extra fee. Learn more. 

Cherokee Ranch Painting

Good stuff for guys at BackCountry

by | October 29th, 2015

Ok, let’s get the disclaimers out of the way. BackCountry is wonderful for both genders. And of course, men and women like plenty of the same things. But are there aspects to BackCountry that men seem particularly to like? Definitely.

Hop onto one of BackCountry’s trails and you’ll probably run into several of the community’s very active bikers. The in-neighborhood trails connect to trails within the South Rim, the community’s private wilderness of 467 acres, and then to 26 miles of challenging trails within the greater acres of the Backcountry Wilderness Area. Bikers never get bored here. As resident Craig Wilmes says, the trail systems “are very well-maintained and offer various degrees of difficulty from ‘not-too-bad’ to ‘that was really hard.’” An avid biker, Craig hosted a community bike clinic in August and encourages fellow bikers to join him and a group of fellow riders each Saturday during seasonable months.

BackCountry Colorado south rim

And while we’re on the topic of the Backcountry, some residents have enjoyed taking advantage of the Highlands Ranch-organized activities there, such as archery, camping, and hunting deer, elk, and wild turkey. Best of all, these activities, like the Backcountry Wilderness Area itself, are limited to Highlands Ranch residents to prevent overuse.

Six years ago, BackCountry resident David Angard organized the very first BackCountry Golf Tournament as a way for residents to get to know each other. This annual charity fundraiser, held at the Highlands Ranch Golf Course, is still going strong. Prizes, lunch, and game rehashing are always part of the fun.

Another resident, Doug Teague, put together a basketball team, the BackCountry Coyotes, that plays in the Highlands Ranch Men’s Sunday Night 35+ League. Doug says he’s met a “ton of great people from BackCountry” and is “always looking for good players and beer drinkers to join the team.” If you’re interested, contact Doug at dougt@csmdirect.com

BackCountry biking Colorado

Two other man-friendly options are monthly Cigar Nights and Poker Nights. Cigar Nights typically rotate between host homes, and include cigars, drinks, food, and conversation (women and non-smokers attend too, by the way). For more information, contact Tommy Yionoulis at tommyycomic@mac.com. Poker Nights are just getting off the ground, so contact Howard Wolsky at hwolsky@gmail.com if you’re interested.

Gents, here’s the bottom line: between the abundant, outdoor activities and active, highly social residents, BackCountry is an excellent place to be—dude or not.  

A flower grows in the suburbs

by | September 9th, 2015

Here’s the thing about Highlands Ranch. After more than three decades, this is no upstart, amenities-lite suburban community. Highlands Ranch has all the shops, restaurants, and services you could want. Without the headaches and traffic dealt with by our urban friends to the north.

Abloom romance floral display

Regularly, this blog profiles local businesses that add to the richness of the Highlands Ranch and BackCountry community. Abloom is one of them. Located in Highlands Ranch Town Center, just 10 minutes from BackCountry, this florist and gift shop is a favorite for its creative floral designs and quality merchandise.

abloom wedding display

It’s the kind of place where you can come in and grab ready-made, but uniquely beautiful, flower arrangements—or you can put yourself in their very capable hands and let the creativity fly. (Their floral photo gallery attests to their refreshing designs.) Abloom’s arrangements can be found at weddings and major corporate functions, as well as everyday anniversary and birthday events.

Abloom navy plum display

When it comes to gifts, the shop’s owners travel throughout the United States and Canada, searching for unique, and often exclusive, finds. Their wares include jewelry, paintings, scarves, note cards, metalwork, and blown and fused glass. Many of the artists they represent are willing to create custom work per your request. While the quality of art is high, the attitude is down-to-earth. The owners go out of their way to make everyone feel welcome. Which is only appropriate in Highlands Ranch (and BackCountry), where residents prefer a bit of small-town heart with their city perks.

Bike trails and clinics and snow cones, oh yes.

by | July 15th, 2015

With three separate trail systems winding through the breathtaking open space behind the Sundial House, it’s no surprise that BackCountry is a biker’s dream come true. Or that BackCountry has planned its first bike clinic.

Scheduled for 9am-noon on Saturday, August 8, the BackCountry Bike Clinic will be led by five-time World and 10-time National Xterra Off-Road Champion Cindi Toepel, of Energy Xperience. But don’t let her prowess intimidate you. This clinic is geared toward beginner and intermediate riders who will learn how to properly stay upright, handle corners with ease, negotiate small obstacles, and minimize the boo-boos. Instruction will be followed by a trail ride. While all levels are welcome, advanced riders may prefer to contact Cindi directly for advanced instruction outside of the event.

backcountrywildernessarea

Kids (stable riders ages 7-11) will have their own clinic from 9:15am-10:15am, while adults (ages 12 and up) will meet from 10:30am-11:45am. Both clinics will take place on the BackCountry trails just behind the Sundial House.  A local bike shop will offer bike safety checks and a Highlands Ranch Park Ranger will talk about BackCountry wildlife you might encounter. Music, snacks, and drinks—including beer—will be available after the adult clinic.

This inaugural event is hosted by residents Craig Wilmes and Marni Hall, realtors at Realty One Group Premier. As an avid biker, Craig hopes the event will tempt even more people out on the trails. Craig hits the trails three to four times a week, meeting up with 8-10 neighbors on Saturday mornings. One set of trails is private to BackCountry residents, consisting of two big loops with two smaller inner loops. Craig says, “These trails are fairly tame, well maintained, and I like them because I can basically figure eight the loops however I like.”

These trails connect to the Douglas County East-West Regional Trail system and the Highlands Ranch private trails. “Both systems are very well maintained and offer various degrees of difficulty from ‘not-too-bad’ to ‘that-was-really-hard,’” says Craig. “Make sure to carry your Highlands Ranch ID card with you as I’ve actually been stopped twice by Park Rangers to make sure I was a resident.” (Which means that your lovely backyard wilderness area will never feel overrun with cyclists from all over the metro area.) On the trails, you might see prairie dogs, owls, coyotes, turkey, deer, and the occasional eagle.

BackCountry Family biking

Although Craig and his family have lived in BackCountry since 2011, he only ventured out onto the trails two years ago. After just one ride, he was hooked. “I love the BackCountry trails,” he said. “And the community too, the look of it and all the events.” And now he’s kicking off an event that he hopes turns into a regular one. To his fellow residents, he says, “Don’t wait like I did to jump on your bike and give it a try. If you’re ever interested in going out with other riders, meet our group at the corner of Tiger Lily and Meadowleaf Lane around 8am on most Saturdays throughout the summer.”

Please note that the clinic is a free event, but you must register and sign a waiver at www.backcountrylife.org by Wednesday, August 5. The event is open only to BackCountry residents and their guests. You must provide your own mountain bike, helmet, and water. For questions, please contact John Lyon at the Sundial House at 303-346-2800 or Craig Wilmes at 303-810-7299.

BackCountry, then and now.

by | April 14th, 2015

Hard to believe, but it’s already been eight years since BackCountry’s grand opening. Back in 2007, Shea’s master plan was inspired by the magnificent views and commitment to conservation of the adjacent wilderness area. The concept was to build a community that preserved thousands of acres of natural beauty, encouraged an active lifestyle, and nurtured a deep sense of community. As residents eagerly tell anyone who will listen, mission accomplished.

Enjoy these photos, which show how our community has grown over the years and promise a natural beauty that only increases over time.

Sundial House

Sundial House Bird's-eye view

Sundial House Progress

Sundial-Side-Exterior-Crop

Images of the Sundial House, built in 2009. From an idea taking shape out of bare dirt to an elegant and award-winning heart of the community.

Flying kites in Reflection Park

Fun in the pool

Easter Egg Hunt 2015

A few intrepid kite flyers in Spring 2009. The Kite Festival was the predecessor to BackCountry’s highly attended events of today: pool parties, movie nights, concerts, egg hunts and so much more.

Reflection park early days

Reflection Park 2015

Reflection Park, opened in 2008. These pint-sized trees have grown into shade-giving beauties. (Come on summer!)

Discovery Park BackCountry

BackCountry Discovery Park

Discovery Park has come a long way since 2009, and it’s a beautiful barometer of the changing seasons.

BackCountry Spirit Trail home

Somerset model home BackCountry

A model home from the early Spirit Trail Collection. Good design is timeless, but compare with today’s Somerset model, sporting a cooler palette and cleaner lines.

Beautiful BackCountry Open Space

BackCountry Open Space overlook

View of the 8,200-acre Backcountry Wilderness Area just behind us. Hasn’t changed a bit. And best of all, it never will.

Seven years. No itch.

by | March 9th, 2015

It’s been seven years since Roxie Mountain-Weed and Rick Weed moved into what was then a brand new community named BackCountry. And back then, in the days before the Sundial House, Discovery Center, or even a single model home, when all there was to see was a trailer and some drawings, this was a leap of faith.

But when they saw the views of the Front Range and downtown Denver and understood the vision for the community, they both instantly agreed: “This is it,” Roxie recalls saying. “It was kind of wild. But because of Rick’s work in land development, we knew Shea’s reputation. We wanted a Shea home, and we loved all the open space that was going to be attached to the community.”

new homes oudoor space colorado

Over the years, Rick, Roxie, and their three children (now in college) have logged quite a few miles on those trails in the 8,200-acre Backcountry Wilderness Area. Still do. One of Roxie’s favorite activities is taking a walk at sunset with her walking stick, “Moab,” and watching the deer and other wildlife come out. Other tried-and-true favorites include concerts and movie nights.

“There’s something wonderful about lying on the grass, under the stars, and watching a fun movie with all the little kids running around. And now you can run into Indulge [at the Sundial House] and grab something to drink. It’s just so cool here. Sometimes I just think…‘pinch me’!”

BackCountryCo.com

Seven years later, Roxie still speaks enthusiastically about their decision, noting how well the community has evolved. “We’ve lived here long enough to know that Shea keeps its promises and does everything well. The Sundial House turned out so beautiful and high-end, so far beyond our expectations. And I can’t say enough about the landscaping.” Their home still makes them happy, too. It feels a little big with the kids gone, but Roxie says she can’t see herself moving. “Actually, I should probably get out more, but I just love to be home!” The indoor-outdoor living features are among her favorites, with a wrap-around deck that can handle a party of 50, plus French doors off the morning room that create a huge extension of the house. Perfect for the Colorado lifestyle.

So, no, they don’t plan on leaving BackCountry any time soon. “I am so happy that I live here,” says Roxie. “Even after all this time, I still feel like I’m on vacation. It’s like I have a mountain home, but in the city. I just can’t imagine being anywhere else.”

Here’s a video of Roxie and Rick sharing their thoughts on BackCountry back in 2012.

They came back to the Ranch.

by | February 11th, 2015

But this time, to BackCountry.

When Sadrian and David Alderson found out they were moving back from Arkansas to Colorado, choosing Highlands Ranch was a no-brainer.

“There was no question,” recalls Sadrian. “I love Highlands Ranch. The four state-of-the-art rec centers, activities, safety, and the strong community feel make it a wonderful place to raise kids.”

And Sadrian’s hardly a newbie at evaluating communities. Although they are a young family, the Aldersons have lived in Louisiana, Illinois, Arkansas, and now twice in Highlands Ranch. But this time around, they discovered BackCountry and instantly fell in love with it. “Lured in,” Sadrian says, by the 8,200 acres of protected open space behind the community.

“We love to hike and mountain bike with the kids,” who are ages 6 and 1, explains Sadrian. “With small children it can be hard to drive the two hours into the mountains, but here we can just walk to a trailhead and hike as much as the kids can handle.”

The Alderson family exploring their home during construction.

The Alderson family exploring their home during construction.

After moving into their new home in August, Sadrian found even more confirmation of the smart decision they made. They love Stone Mountain Elementary, where their older daughter attends, citing its excellent instruction, administration, active parent support, and enriching curriculum.

“While other schools are cutting back, ours gets lots of support from BackCountry,” says Sadrian. “So they can provide lower student-teacher ratios and extras like choir, band, a STEM lab, and Creativity and Tinker Labs, which my daughter loves.”

Sadrian finds her connections growing, meeting other families at school, in the neighborhood, and at the Sundial House. “The Halloween party was fabulous,” she says. “We’ve also gone to the Sundial House for drinks. It makes a lovely date night to sit outside next to the roaring fire pit, looking out at the Backcountry.” Even closer to home are her neighbors, some of whom she describes as “almost instant best friends.” Out of every family on her block, only one came from in-state; the others moved here from Georgia, Texas, California, and Montreal, Canada. “It’s very friendly here,” she reveals. “Everyone’s excited to live in Colorado. It’s nice to have a team of people who are all discovering the area together.”

The Alderson children pose in their new home at Christmas.

The Alderson children pose in their new home at Christmas.

But a simple day at home can be very sweet, too. The Aldersons live in the Somerset model from the Shadow Walk Collection, chosen for its open flow. Upstairs, the bedrooms open up to a loft, so there’s no place in the house where the girls are out of earshot. That’s important when you have little ones, and to keep everyone connected as the kids grow older.

The Aldersons are pleased with the quality of their home. While it can be daunting to buy a brand new home, she points out, “We’ve been so happy with Shea. They don’t skimp on quality.” In fact, Sadrian says that they hired a certified electrician to come double-check the work. She notes, “He said the work was flawless, couldn’t be better. We feel that Shea’s quality of construction is outstanding.”

That’s a good feeling, once you’ve put down roots and plan to stay a while. And with so much of Colorado to explore—starting with the wilderness just beyond BackCountry—the Aldersons plan on doing just that.

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

by | October 1st, 2014

What was that noise? Was that streak in the road a black cat? Does that mannequin look a little too…real? If you find yourself looking over your shoulder a bit more this month—and kinda liking it—then we have some appropriately spooky October activities to recommend. Not into it? That’s okay. We have some not-so-spooky ideas for you, too.

BlueManGroup
Blue Man Group
-Oct. 10-12
The ultimate in family-friendly entertainment, the Blue Man Group stops into Denver for five shows beginning Friday, October 12. This theatrical experience combines comedy, music, and technology for a truly unique event. Friday features one show; Saturday and Sunday feature both a matinee and evening performance. Purchase tickets.

Fall Craft Show-Oct. 11-12, 9am-5pm
Autumn and craft fairs were made for each other. Come ogle the creative, handcrafted wares of more than 100 exhibitors. The Fall Craft Show is the perfect place to find that one-of-a kind gift you’ll otherwise be hunting for desperately come December. Items for sale include jewelry, bath products, pottery, wooden crafts, floral arrangements, wreaths, baby and children’s articles, fused glass vases and bowls, hand-knit scarves, shawls, afghans, and more. Free admission. Held at the Recreation Center at Eastridge. Learn more.

HighlandsRanchCraftShow
Punkin Chunkin Colorado
-Oct. 11, 10am-5pm; Oct. 12, 11am-4pm
Just how far will that gourd go? For the past 17 years, the answer to that question has drawn crowds from far and wide. This zany event engages the energy and creativity of youth and adults as they employ ingenious/wacky launching devices to hurl orange orbs hundreds of feet through the air. Besides the competition, the event offers family activities, a pumpkin patch, fall market, food vendors and a beer garden. Held at the Arapahoe Park Horse TrackLearn more here or contact Jessica Hernandez at 303-326-8659 or jhernand@auroragov.org.

Paranormal Party at the Highlands Ranch Mansion-Oct. 16, 6-9pm
Sure to send shivers up your spine, this event features the Spirit Paranormal Investigations team, who will share a presentation of “Things That Go Bump in the Night,” including creepy photos and samples of real recorded spirit voices. Thankfully, there will be cocktails. Afterwards, the Spirit PI team will lead groups on an actual ghost hunt in the Highlands Ranch Mansion using their sophisticated equipment. 21+ only. Tickets $30 in advance and $35 day of, if not sold out. Learn more and buy tickets here.

HauntedHighlandsRanchMansion
Backcountry Wilderness Area Haunted Forest
– Oct. 24, 7-10pm; Oct. 25, 7-10pm
Taking the haunted house concept one frightening step further, the Haunted Forest has nary a wall to protect you from the horrors that lurk in the trees, and no roof to keep out the howling October winds. Brave souls are invited to explore this wilderness of fear, where darkness hides whatever awaits behind the next boulder. Concessions and DJ on site to help allay the terror. Ages 10+, parental discretion advised. Tickets $12 at any HRCA Recreation Center. Learn more.

Haunted Hayrides– Oct. 24, 6-8:30pm; Oct. 25, 6-9pm
Bring the whole family to this 30-minute adventure, where professional storytellers narrate an amusing tale as you rumble down a spooky old west trail. Rides run every half hour. 4-H concessions and petting zoo in the indoor arena. Tickets $12 for adults, $10 for children 12 and under. Payment can be made at any recreation center registration office. A portion of the proceeds benefit Douglas County 4-H. Held at Stockton’s Plum Creek StablesLearn more.

Trick or Treat Street– Oct. 25, 10am-2pm
Recreation Center at Eastridge (map)
At this truly free-of-fear event, children ages 12 and under can trick-or-treat in costume, receiving goodies from local businesses. Little ghosts and goblins should bring their own trick-or-treat bags. The line closes at 1:15pm, so plan to arrive early. $1.00 per person (adults & children), and each family may select one pumpkin from the pumpkin patch, while supplies last. Learn more.

Cattle and chickens and people, oh my.

by | September 8th, 2014

A short history of Highlands Ranch.
WildcatOverlook West

It’s a long and winding road that led to the tree-lined BackCountry Drive of today. While people tend to think of Highlands Ranch as a relatively new community (founded in 1981), the story of this place stretches back more than 150 years. Actually, much longer than that, since the land was once the hunting grounds for the Ute, Cheyenne, and Arapahoe Native American tribes. After the Europeans arrived, land ownership of what would become Colorado bounced between Spain and France until 1803 when, as part of the Louisiana Purchase negotiated by Thomas Jefferson and Napoleon Bonaparte, the area became part of the United States.

In 1859, Rufus “Dad” Clark—aka The Potato King of Colorado—filed a 160-acre homestead where the current Highlands Ranch Golf Club now stands. (Dad Clark Drive now makes more sense as a street name!) 

More homesteaders followed, including Austrian immigrants John Welte and brother-in-law Plaziduo Gassner, who began the Big Dry Creek Cheese Ranch, producing both butter and limburger cheese.

Lawrence Phipps Jr. Highlands Ranch 1937-1976 (4) web
In the 1890s, John W. Springer acquired a whopping 23,200 acres of homesteads and established the Springer Cross Country Horse and Cattle Ranch. And, he was responsible for building most of the castle-like Highland Ranch Mansion. Following a scandalous divorce, the property passed hands a few more times—once for the desperation price of $250. It also changed names to Sunland, Phipps, Highlands, and Diamond K Ranch, and shifted its focus to breeding dairy and Angus cattle, sheep, hogs, and chickens. The ranch was also the site of a prestigious hunt club, which used bloodhounds to hunt coyotes.

In 1979, Mission Viejo Company bought the ranch and began residential construction. The first residents, Phil and Kaye Scott, moved into Highlands Ranch in September 1981. In 1997, Shea Homes, a division of the J.F. Shea Company, acquired Mission Viejo Company and Highlands Ranch. More pools, schools, parks, businesses, and a library followed, and the population grew robustly (92,600 by 2011), thanks in part to the abundant community amenities that create a well-rounded lifestyle.

backcountry-wilderness-area-map
In fact, BackCountry’s quality of life is a direct result of that priority. More than 25 years ago, the community’s developer made an agreement with Douglas County, the Highlands Ranch Community Association, and Sand Creek Cattle Company to preserve the Backcountry Wilderness Area — adjacent to the BackCountry neighborhood — and protect it “in perpetuity for open space, recreation purposes, public facilities and wildlife habitat enhancement.” That promise of stewardship means BackCountry will continue to be a beautiful place to call home for generations to come.

PS- Are you a second generation Highlands Rancher? If you grew up in Highlands Ranch and still live in or have since returned to the community to raise your own family, please contact the Metro District. They’re working on a project and need to interview second generation Highlands Ranch residents. Please contact them at info@highlandsranch.org.

Best bets for a last blast

by | August 1st, 2014

Just as daffodils usher us into spring, those back-to-school sale ads are a sure sign that fall is on its way. But perhaps this is a better way to look at it: Now is the time to plan a month-long last blast of summer fun. So, in addition to squeezing in a few more picnics, pool parties, and forays into the mountains, be sure to fit in a few of these sure-to-please local happenings.

Film in the Park – Aug. 1, 8, 15, 29 8:15-10 p.m. (approximately)
It’s Friday night at the movies…outside! And it’s free! Grab your kids, a basket of goodies, and a picnic blanket, and settle in for a movie under the stars. (But leave your furry family members at home—no dogs allowed.) Movies are screened each Friday at Civic Green Park (map) beginning at dusk (approximately 8:15 p.m.).
 Here’s the family-friendly August lineup: Happy Feet Two (8/1); Despicable Me 2 (8/8); The Lego Movie (8/15); Frozen Sing-a-Long (8/29). Learn more.
HighlandsRanchOutdoorMovie
BackCountry Back-to-School Pool Party – Aug. 7, 10:45 a.m.-12 p.m.
Hey residents, school will start before you know it, so let’s get everyone together for an grand almost-finale. A lively entertainer will be on hand to oversee a wide variety of pool activities, and snow cones will keep everyone cool. Prizes and other fun surprises provided by Wolsky Orthodontics. Please log into www.backcountrylife.org and visit the calendar to reserve your spot by Wednesday, August 6.
USAProChallenge
USA Pro Challenge Bike Race – Aug. 18-24
Watch the world’s top cyclists as they zip through some of the most gorgeous terrain in our state. One of the largest U.S. cycling events, this seven-day race will spotlight the best of the best as they reach higher altitudes than many have ever had to endure. If you can’t swing a day trip to watch at mountain sites like Aspen or Breckenridge, stake out a spot at Garden of the Gods to catch the Colorado Springs circuit, or on Lookout Mountain for the Boulder-to-Denver leg. Learn more.
BackcountryWildernessArea
Backcountry Wilderness Hike, Picnic and Campfire – Aug. 28, 6-8 p.m.
Think of it as a peaceful, midweek camping trip—all the fun and beauty without the packing, mountain traffic, and sleeping-on-the-ground business. This Thursday night event explores the sanctuary section of the Backcountry Wilderness Area. A guide will lead you on a flat, two-mile hike that includes amazing views, a warm campfire, and roasted marshmallows. Bring dinner and enjoy a picnic in the fresh air. Ages 4 and up. $4/$5. Learn more.
TasteofCOFood
A Taste of Colorado – Aug. 29-Sept. 1
Belly up to this annual event—it’s worth every calorie. A Taste of Colorado features more than 50 of Colorado’s favorite eateries, serving up small portions and full meals alike, plus local and nationally renowned chef demonstrations. There are also five stages of entertainment from awesome bands to puppet shows, in addition to a carnival, arts and crafts marketplace, raptor shows, and exploration of Colorado historical roots though Navajo weaving, blacksmithing, and more. Admission is free. Tickets required for food, beverages, and carnival rides. Learn more.

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