Jeff Johnston: If you enjoy wintertime sports--skiing, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, whatever--Colorado is hard to beat as the place to find all kinds of those activities, but there is another side of Colorado that's equally as much fun.
We're in beautiful Vail, and this area abounds with all kinds of activities and fun things to do during this, the summertime off season. We're gonna show you around, give you, kind of, an idea of what you can do around Vail, Colorado and the surrounding area, so let's go take a look.
Our visit coincided with the GoPro Mountain Games that drew more than 20,000 people to the area. Attendees can view a number of fun competitions in town, including tightrope walking and kayaking the river rapids.
The city is a delight for walking and visiting a wide variety of restaurants and specialty shops. Sampling the local wares is just part of the fun. The GoPro Games and city are dog friendly and include numerous watering stations, plus a doggy wading pool.
The snow is gone, but you can ride up the Eagle Bahn Gondola for some family fun at Adventure Ridge on top of Vail Mountain. No matter where you go in Colorado the scenery is spectacular. The gondola goes from 8,200, 8,300 feet roughly up to the top, which is 10,300 roughly feet, so it's quite an elevation gain and what you're watching out the window, of course, spectacular. Highly recommended as a fun thing to do here in the Vail area.
The activities are manned by trained staff to keep things fun and safe for the young ones. From a mega-sized climbing gym to a kid-friendly zip line, there are fun activities for all ages.
When you're ready to let someone else do the walking, there is the Vail riding stable just a short drive from town. Parking is snug, so better to visit with just your tow vehicle or motorhome-dinghy rig.
Local Colorado campgrounds range from just the basics boondocking sites to full-scale luxury resorts. We stopped by Sugar Loafin' Campground in Leadville to look at one option where visitors can drop anchor when touring the area. Sugar Loafin' Campground is a great example of a fun place to stay in the area.
From the calm of the campground to the activity of a railroad, Colorado has something for everyone. Riding the rails can take visitors to some remote, hard-to-access areas of the state. The Leadville, Colorado and Southern Railroad offers a comfortable and scenic ride through the hills with spectacular views. The parking lot can accommodate RVs of all sizes, with convenient driving access.
On the way down the hill, on I-70 toward Denver, a sign caught our eye: gold panning. Well, when in Rome, as they say, so we took
a side trip to see what was up. The Phoenix Gold Mine is one of many places a visitor can pan for gold in Colorado. Displays of authentic mining equipment provide a glimpse into how it's done by the serious mining operators. The Phoenix Mine offers tours of the gold mine tunnels, but Pam opted to go panning in the creek. Pam was pretty good at it. After a few washouts you may go home with a bit of color, as the saying goes.
From in-town action to horseback fun, scenic train rides, and gold panning, there is a lot for RVers to do in the Vail, Colorado region.