Backup plans for a vacation to the Front Range
May 13, 2013 11:54 AM   Subscribe

My fella and I will be in Estes Park and Golden, Colorado for the week of May 26th-June 1st. We planned on doing a lot of hiking. We've had our fingers crossed for good weather, but it's starting to look like we may have to have some backup plans. Help!

When we made reservations for Estes Park and Golden for the last week of May, we knew that we'd be cutting it close. The main road through Rocky Mountain National Park officially opens on May 24th...if the weather cooperates. We planned on several days of hiking in RMNP and the Snowies up in Wyoming. I've already scratched the Snowies off the list due to snow (should have seen that one coming, right?). Our main plans are to do a bunch of fun day hikes in RMNP. We do NOT want to bring our snowshoes.

So now we are making some backup plans for things to do on the Front Range the last week of May. I used to live in Fort Collins, so I'm confident that we won't just be sitting around the hotel room, twiddling our thumbs. Although I'm sure we can have a ton of fun just hanging around Old Town, I'd like other ideas.

We're both in our mid-30's outdoorsy folks in good health and prepared for trail hiking. No backpacking on this trip. We're both cyclists but are not bringing our bikes with us. I'd love to rent bikes somewhere, but am worried about how we'll fare in the hills (we're flatlanders and we're just getting back into biking after the long winter). Anyone have any suggestions about nice flat places to rent bikes and toodle around?

We like museums - I think Denver has a natural history museum? - but are really looking forward to spending time outside. We like history, science, archaeology, etc. Anything pertaining to trains is double plus awesome.

Any recommendations for the best Brewery Tour? We're not huge beer drinkers, but we are the sorts of people that love taking tours of historic buildings, factories, landmarks, state capitols, etc.

We will have a car, but I'm not keen on spending a ton of time in it. I think the farthest south we'd be willing to go is Colorado Springs, and only if there's something totally awesome going on. We're going to hit Vedauwoo on the way out, so no need to visit Garden of the Gods. We'd be willing to drive up into the mountains if the roads are open.

Help us, Metafilter! Save us from sitting in the hotel room, playing Empire Builder and watching House Hunters. Thanks!
posted by Elly Vortex to Travel & Transportation around Colorado (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Trains, you say? Golden, you say? Voila: Colorado Railroad Museum.
posted by scratch at 11:58 AM on May 13, 2013

If the weather cooperates and the roads are open you can just cycle DOWNhill! It's a number of years since I was there, but there were several tour companies which offered bike tours starting up in the mountains (they drive you up in a van) then you ride back down into town. It was very easy and a lot of fun - the one I did covered about 25 miles, and I only had to pedal for about a mile on the flat. There was a good lunch at the end, in a lovely park. They also had mostly-flat tours around the town and valley as well.
posted by valleys at 12:13 PM on May 13, 2013

This is a bit out of the way, but you could ride the Leadville train.
posted by cog_nate at 2:24 PM on May 13, 2013

Do you ski at all? A-Basin is open until June 2nd and quite a bit of the mountain is still open.
posted by mmascolino at 2:29 PM on May 13, 2013

Some random stuff not in Fort Collins:

Tiny trains near a flat bike path with a brewery/hops plantation at the other end, and just a little bit further by bike an unusual zoo, and if it's hot some ice cream made rather close to the source.
posted by drwelby at 6:15 PM on May 13, 2013

I really like (or liked, it's been a couple of years) the tour at New Belgium. Of the breweries I have been to in Fort Collins, I think it is the most interesting tour for people who are not that keen on tasting. They talk a bit about sustainability and how they work that into brewing, which I find neat.

If you find "factory" type things really interesting, the Coors tour (in Golden) has a lot of information and is obviously on a larger scale, so is pretty different from New Belgium.
posted by freezer cake at 3:35 PM on May 16, 2013

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