Colorado Backcountry Multi-Sport Adventures
Colorado Backcountry Multi Sport Adventures
Imagine a multi-sport getaway where you are literally immersed in the pristine wilds of Colorado's snow-covered peaks, wildflower-laden meadows and shimmering aspen groves. On our lofty backcountry adventure, we bicycle historic pathways, raft exhilarating whitewater, and hike among jagged peaks and glaciated lakes. At day's end, relax in the comfort of a European-style chalet.
The classic allure of the Colorado Rockies in the summertime is manifested in wildflower-laden meadows, gentle aspen groves and snowcapped peaks. Imagine a multi-sport getaway where you are literally immersed in the pristine wilds of Colorado's backcountry. On our lofty adventure, we bicycle historic pathways, raft exhilarating whitewater and hike among jagged peaks and glaciated lakes by day. At day's end we settle into the luxurious comforts of another backcountry chalet. Though the "huts" are set high in the mountains, this tour is geared for the beginner biker and hiker.
The huts are remote and idyllic hideaways perched high on mountain ridges with magnificent views. These charming chalets offer you the unique opportunity to stay in the high country among endless trails, wildflowers, elk and deer. Featuring amenities such as vaulted ceilings, bay windows, wood stoves and photovoltaic lighting, you will enjoy evenings of backcountry comfort. After a day on the trail snuggle up to a good book or relax on the sun deck and soak in the view.
Day 1. Hike from Tennessee Pass to Uncle Bud's Hut via the Colorado Trail, Uncle Bud's Hut
Our group assembles at the Evergreen Lodge in Vail at 9:00 a.m. After a short orientation and a shuttle, we lace up our boots for a day of hiking along a portion of the 490-mile Colorado Trail, which stretches from Denver to Durango in the southwest corner of the state. Today's trailhead straddles the Continental Divide at Tennessee Pass and the views are spectacular. Midday we enjoy a picnic set beneath the craggy Galena Peaks. The grades along the trail are moderate as we begin our hike at a high elevation.
Trail's end is Uncle Bud's Hut, our home-away-from-home for the next two nights. Situated above 11,000 feet, the hut is picturesquely set near tree line in an open expanse. Enjoy a stroll, relax on the sun deck and marvel at the magnificent view, or cap off the day with a game of frisbee in the meadow that fronts the hut.
Dinner this evening is truly a well-deserved feast. Under clear mountain skies, we relax on the deck and enjoy the peace of the Rocky Mountain backcountry.
Colorado Trail hike [8 miles; approximately 1,300 feet of elevation gain, 300 feet of elevation loss]
Day 2. Rafting the Arkansas River or Hiking Galena Mountain, Uncle Bud's Hut
Today we experience a thrilling rapid-filled day rafting Brown's Canyon of the Arkansas River, Colorado's most popular stretch of whitewater. Zoom Flume, Pin Ball, Staircase, and Devils Punch Bowl are just a few of the exciting rapids we'll encounter.
For those who do not want to raft, walk a portion of the 490-mile Colorado Trail that ventures into the alpine reaches of the Holy Cross Wilderness. The trail leads to a series of remote lakes before climbing above treeline along the edge of Galena Mountain. This treeless expanse is a wonderland for exploration as you can ascend Galena ridge for "top-of-the-world" views.
Brown's Canyon rafting [Class III+ Rapids]. Please let us know upon registration if you do not want to raft.
Option: Galena Mountain hike [up to 6 miles; 1300' elevation gain/loss]
Day 3. Hike from Uncle Bud's Hut to Timberline Lake, Skinner Hut
Continuing on the Colorado Trail we hike past a series of emerald-tinted alpine lakes and through a verdant valley peppered with colorful wildflowers to an open meadow where we begin our ascent to Timberline Lake. We soon find ourselves on the shores of the sunsplashed lake set at the base of the Continental Divide. Permanent snowfields cling to the high, unnamed peaks surrounding this beautiful lake. From the lake we enjoy the return descent along the cascading Lake Fork.
After a shuttle up the rugged Hagerman Pass, we find ourselves at our next tranquil hideaway -- Skinner Hut. Blending well with the high, alpine landscape, this handsome stone building appears to have been carved from the underlying crags. In the evening sunset, the sea of peaks that radiate in all directions is truly dramatic.
Bear Lake Trailhead to Timberline Lake Trailhead hike [3-¾ miles; approximately 500 feet elevation gain and 1,280 feet loss]
Timberline Lake hike [5 miles; approximately 815 feet of elevation gain, then loss]
Shuttle up Hagerman Pass to Skinner Hut [1 hour over rough four wheel dirt road]
Day 4. Free Day to Bike, Hike or Relax, Skinner Hut
Today is all yours as we layover for a day at Skinner Hut. The options are limitless. If you are pumped for some cycling, we have the adventure for you!
Rolling out our bikes, we enjoy a downhill ride from Skinner Hut. Our route follows the old railway grade of the Midland Railroad of the 1890s as we descend towards Turquoise Lake. En route, we'll hike to the long since abandoned Haggerman Tunnel and explore the ghost town of Douglas City, once a wild settlement with eight saloons and dance halls.
In addition to the exciting downhill cruise from Skinner, an optional highlight of today is an exhilarating single-track trail that winds along the shores of Turquoise Lake offering unequaled reflections across the crystalline waters. At trail's end you can retrace your tracks or continue around the lake on a rolling paved road. Mirrored in the crystal waters are Colorado's highest peaks, Mount Massive and Mount Elbert.
For those looking to hike, consider venturing up to Haggerman Pass and the Continental Divide. Those that opt for this hike will be rewarded with 360° views that stretch from the open summit back to Leadville and the Arkansas Valley to Ivanhoe Lake and the Upper Fryingpan Valley. In the afternoon limelight, the sea of peaks that radiate in all directions is absolutely breathtaking.
Whatever you choose for the day, be sure to leave yourself some time to simply relax at the hut.
Bike ride from Skinner Hut to Turquoise Lake [9 miles, 1,800 feet of elevation loss]
Hike to Douglas City and Hagerman Tunnel, in the middle of the bike ride [4 miles round trip; 750 feet of elevation gain/loss]
Additional option in the afternoon: mountain bike along Turquoise Lake [7-15 miles; elevation gain negligible]
Alternative option in the morning: hike the Continental Divide [mileage and elevation change variable]
Day 5. Bike Hagerman Pass, Hike Henderson Park, Peter Estin Hut (Harry Gates Hut for August 7 only)
As you wake up and breathe deeply the fresh mountain air, get ready for another day of the unique backcountry beauty that only Colorado can provide. For the active enthusiast, gear up for an early morning bike ride over Hagerman Pass on the Continental Divide, followed by an intense downhill as far as you would like to go! Alternatively, join the shuttle for a scenic ride from Skinner Hut. After catching up with our bikers, we all shuttle to the Holy Cross Wilderness and explore expansive Henderson Park by foot. One can not help but wonder how the first pioneers must have felt when they first saw these beautiful mountains and lakes.
We end the afternoon at Peter Estin Hut, a guide favorite -- and for good reason. Perched on a lofty knoll at 11,200 feet, the hut is the perfect place to relax and marvel at the magnificent views. Enjoy this idyllic setting with a late afternoon hike to a nearby vista, or relax on the expansive sun deck and marvel at the jagged Elk Range peaks.
Bike over Hagerman Pass [mileage variable as the ride is van supported; approximately 400 feet of elevation gain, 2,500 feet of elevation loss]
Henderson Park trailhead to Last Chance trailhead [6.5 miles; approximately 1,400 feet of elevation gain, 1,200 feet of elevation loss]
Shuttle to Skinner Hut [1+ hour over rough dirt road]
Day 6. Hiking to Charles Peak, Biking to Yeoman Park
Hiking directly from Peter Estin Hut, our backcountry adventure continues when we climb a high elevation ridgeline to the summit of Charles Peak at over 12,000 feet. Witness staggering views of the pristine Central Colorado Rockies.
Upon returning to Peter Estin we'll mount our bikes and pedal alongside Hat Creek through the heart of the White River National Forest. Our downhill cruise winds through forests of aspen and meadows of wildflowers as we approach Yeoman Park. After our descent from Peter Estin Hut, we shuttle to Vail Valley for our trip's conclusion at approximately 5:30 p.m.
Hike Peter Estin Hut to Charles Peak and back [3 miles; 800 feet of elevation gain/ loss]
Bike Peter Estin Hut to Yeoman Park [9 miles; 2,000 feet of elevation loss]
|Colorado Backcountry Multi-Sport
* Best suited for ages 10 and older. Ages 10-18 receive a 15% discount and must be accompanied by at least one adult. Solo Traveler trips minimum age is 21.
All trips require a minimum of 4 people for the trip to run and the trip maximum is 12.
Bike & Camping Gear Rental fees:
Bicycle Rental Rates are $95. Helmets are required of all riders and are included with a bicycle rental. For those bringing their own bikes, helmet rentals are available for $10. Rental bikes must be reserved more than 60 days prior to trip departure to guarantee availability.
Sleeping Bag Rental: $25.00
Trip Fees Include:
All meals (lunch Day 1-lunch Day 5), whitewater rafting (full-day), all accommodations, T-shirt, water bottle, support vehicle, professional guides, and mountain biking instruction.
Trip Fees Exclude:
Airfare, personal insurance, sleeping bag, miscellaneous hotel expenses (phone, fax, laundry, etc.), additional optional tours, services not specified in the tour itinerary, and guide gratuities (An appropriate gratuity to each trip leader is $75-$100 per guest).
To register for a trip, please click on the trip date.
*Kids need to be (8-18) years of age for the kid discount.
You can search all the trips that we offer:
Special Requests + What to Bring:
If you have any special dietary needs or any special request that will make your trip more enjoyable, please be sure to notify your Trip Consultant or travel agent after booking. One of our trip consultants will be contacting you to go over options and the details with you.
The World Outdoors will provide you with extensive pre-departure information, including your reservation payment receipt and confirmation, travel insurance application, suggestions for preparing for your trip, a packing list, information on pre- and post-trip arrangements, a guest questionnaire and a liability release agreement.
General Information, Questions & Answers
What type of weather should I expect?
Summer is prime time in the mountains. You can expect low humidity with highs in the 70's and lows in the 40's. However, as in other mountainous regions, weather in the Rockies is very changeable - sunny skies can turn stormy in minutes, afternoon thunderstorms are common and snow, while rare in the summer, is possible anytime of the year.
How will the change in altitude affect me?
This is a difficult question to answer as altitude physiologically affects different people in different ways. The Rocky Mountains range from 5,000 feet to over 14,000 feet of elevation, and have an extremely dry climate. Thus, to prevent altitude sickness we recommend that you always remain well-hydrated, gradually expose yourself to higher elevations, exercise moderately until altitude acclimatized, eat a diet consisting of at least 70% carbohydrates beginning 1 to 2 days prior to your trip, and get plenty of rest. Furthermore, we suggest that you arrive in Vail at least 1 to 2 days prior to the first day of your trip.
How difficult is this trip?
This trip is hillier and more challenging than our Easy tours. It is intended for the average active adult who feels comfortable being active 4-6 hours a day. The hikes are 2-9 miles/day with climbs of up to 1300 feet and elevations up to 12,000 feet.
How nice are the huts?
Although the huts are luxurious backcountry accommodations, they are still relatively rustic. They are equipped with pumped water in the kitchen, an attached outhouse, photovoltaic lighting, a social area centered around a wood stove, an expansive sun deck, and your guides will make solar showers available for bathing. Please note that you will need to bring [or rent from us] a sleeping bag and a pillow case [comfortable mattresses make up the huts' 'single' level beds]. There are several sleeping rooms - the size of the group determines how many people will share each room. For more specific information about the huts, visit their web site at www.huts.org.
If you're traveling on your own and want to share the experience with other solo travelers, we've set aside special departures for many of our trips. Itineraries are identical to our those of our open trips but, because these departures are composed entirely of independent travelers, there's a unique, fun dimension to the group dynamic. Of course, solo travelers are more than welcome on all of our open departures as well, where often half of our guests are traveling alone.
Meeting Place & Time
9:00 a.m., in front of the Evergreen Lodge, 250 South Frontage Road West, Vail, 800-284-8245 / 970-476-7810 (www. evergreenvail.com). From Denver, take exit 1-76 on I-70, follow the round-about under the highway. Follow Interstate 70 West to Vail, exit #176. Stay in the right (outside) lane; enter the "roundabout" to go under Interstate 70 overpass. After passing under the overpass, you will take a right heading west on South Frontage Road. The lodge is a seven story cream colored building with green trim. It is approximately ¼ of a mile down on the left hand side of the road. We recommend you have a breakfast prior to our meeting and arrive prepared to hike immediately following our orientation.
Please see our directions and driving times in the upper right hand corner to get additional directions.
If you are flying
Our trip consultant will contact you and help with your air travel. If you wish to book with your own travel agent, the confirmation packet will have all the details that you will need. Public transportation from Denver International Airport to Vail is available for approx. $65 one way through Colorado Mountain Express. Call Colorado Mountain Express at 800-525-6363 / 970-926-9800 or log onto www.cmex.com for more information. Rates are subject to change and advance reservations are recommended. Advance reservations are also recommended. Vail is 98 miles and approximately 2 hours from downtown Denver. The shuttle from Denver International Airport to Vail takes approximately 2-1/2 to 3 hours.
5:30 p.m., Evergreen Lodge, CO. Airline departures should be scheduled no earlier than 9:30 p.m. from Denver.
How do I book airfare for this trip?
Once you have booked your reservation, Sherry will contact you to help arrange your air. You can also call James TravelPoints, a local travel agency, at 800-538-7461 and ask for Georgia (ext 251) or Di (ext 252) or email GeorgiaT@travelpoints.com or DianeJ@travelpoints.com. Be sure to tell her you are traveling with The World Outdoors. Alternatively, you are welcome to book your airfare online, directly with the airline or through your personal travel agent.
The Best Value in Active Travel Guarantee:
We commit to you that all of our trips are of the highest quality at the best value. If you find a trip of equal quality that matches our itinerary and inclusions at a lower fare within 30 days of booking your trip with us, we will gladly refund the difference. A simple guarantee that assures you of the best trip at the best fare!
If you cancel your trip, you must notify us in writing. We calculate your refund from the day we receive written notice of your cancellation. There is no refund for arriving late or leaving early from a trip.
Number of Days Prior to Trip Departure
|90 days or more
||$100 per person
|89 to 60 days
||50% of total price per person
|59 to 30 days
||75% of total price per person
|29 to 0 days
||100% of total price per person
We highly recommend trip insurance. This is an option we will discuss with you.