Drive Colorado's eastern high plains through flowing fields of wheat, and you'll gradually climb foot-after-foot through a third of the state, all the while waiting and wondering when you'll first see the Rocky Mountains. What appears to be cloudy skies on the horizon soon come into focus, and you'll catch your first glimpse of the towering Front Range.
On a clear day, 14,000-foot summits like Grey's Peak and Pikes Peak are visible from almost 100 miles away. As you approach the range looks like the teeth of the lower jaw of a wild animal, jutting into blue skies. Anticipation builds as you consider all the adventure that awaits in this vast sea of alpine rock and wilderness.
Interstate 70 takes you through the Mile High City and into the heart of the Front Range. This area is home to iconic ski resorts like Breckenridge, Keystone, Winter Park and Vail. Colorado is an amazing place for winter sports. With plenty of snow and low humidity, cold temps don't feel quite as bone-chilling as in many parts of the country, and the sun always seems to find a way through those clouds.
Lake Dillon, off I-70, provides some of the highest altitude fishing in the world. Rainbow, brown trout, Kokanee salmon, and Arctic Char provide anglers an opportunity for a great day on the water. Lake Dillon is one of the only places in the lower 48 to catch Arctic Char, and it’s well worth the effort. With 360-degree mountain views reflecting off crystal-clear waters, this is just one of the thousands of examples of beautiful alpine lakes and rivers stocked full of the best fishing any wilderness has to offer.
Continuing northwest, I-70 brings you into canyon and mesa country. It's hard to believe you're in the same state as purple mountains and dark green forests turn to red rock gorges and plateaus. The land here is bare and leathery. The lack of protection from the sun gives it an aged dimension and in glaring contrast, it couldn't be more different than the areas to its east.
If traversing east to west through the middle of the state highlights Colorado's diversity of landscape, focusing on Colorado to the north and south of I-70, in a way, shocks you with the vast amount of rugged beauty. Colorado has over 15 separate mountain ranges with 54 peaks exceeding 14,000 feet. The state is the pinnacle of hiking, climbing, rafting and hunting. With almost 30 million acres of public lands and four national parks to enjoy and explore.
Great Sand Dunes National Park lies in the Sangre De Cristo Mountains and is home to the tallest dunes in North America. Crossing Medano Creek and heading into the dunes, you might spot sand boarders and hang gliders. Working your way up through the sand is tedious but worth the views when you reach the top of 750-feet High Dune and get to experience the thrill of boarding back down.
South Central Colorado is marked by old mining towns and prospector's old rusty gold pans. Elk and Bighorn Sheep migrate through places like Red Mountain Pass in the San Juan Mountains. The animals use the elevation to their advantage, and hunters aiming for these prizes must track and pursue. While our lungs burn and legs tire, these animals navigate the rocky terrain and altitude with ease. A hunt in Colorado is more than just a hunt, it’s an adventure of a lifetime.
Describing Colorado’s opportunity and beauty is an unending process in a state with so much nature to offer the outdoorsman.