The high, rugged peaks and plentiful powder days lasting well into late spring make Colorado a top destination for skiers and riders looking for endless winter adventure. But with the change of the seasons comes the increase in stoke. Colorado has just as much to offer – if not more – in the summertime. With so much to do in Colorado’s mountain towns, this is the perfect time of year to get out and explore.
Check out our top picks of summer activities at Colorado Ikon Pass destinations that are worth adding to your bucket list for top warm-weather mountain adventures.
Close to Denver yet feeling worlds away, Arapahoe Basin offers high alpine summer activities in an unmatched and raw setting. Just as A-Basin offers spine-tingling adventure in the winter months, the new A-Basin Via Ferrata will excite even the most hardcore adventure seekers. Built above the tree line on the East Wall, these rock-climbing routes involve fixed steel cables, iron rungs, the use of a harness, and most importantly – a guide. Hanging just below 13,000 feet with jaw dropping views of the surrounding peaks and valley, this half-day suspenseful adventure is one you won’t want to miss. After a wild day on the Via Ferrata, unwind at A-Basin’s Dinners on the Divide: an intimate farm-to-table dinner that include a short hike to a wildflower field, which will host small tables with white tablecloths and a multiple-course, chef-prepared meal.
On the Road to Arapahoe Basin
Rather than driving directly on Loveland Pass from I-70, take the Eisenhower Tunnel and drop down into the valley of Summit County. Stop by Lake Dillon, which despite its pristine beauty, sailboats, and kayakers, is a reservoir for the city of Denver. To see it all within a couple short hours, pack your bike and cruise the 18-mile paved bike path around the lake. Refill from the work of the 1,100’ of elevation gain with lunch afterwards at Arapahoe Café & Pub, nestled right by the Dillon Amphitheater.
This high-altitude destination offers endless adventure for summer visitors. Winter Park Resort is home to Colorado’s longest alpine slide, featuring 3,000 feet of track with customizable speed (so you can choose your own adventure). Ready to take your stoke up a notch? The Trestle Bike Park offers over 40 miles of unbeatable terrain for mountain biking. Slow down and soak in the views of the Continental Divide on the scenic gondola ride, and end with a summer cocktail at Sunspot Mountaintop Lodge.
On the Road to Winter Park
Only 37 miles from Winter Park, the iconic Rocky Mountain National Park is worth a visit. With 359 miles of trails and 150 quintessential Colorado alpine lakes, RMNP offers breathtaking beauty and boundless adventure. Due the popularity of this National Park, in addition to new policies from COVID-19, reservations are required to enter the park this summer. Learn more about Rocky Mountain National Park reservations here.
Endless fun awaits at Copper Mountain this summer. Play a round of golf on the 18-hole Copper Creek Golf Course and take in the views of the Ten Mile Range. Afterwards, grab the kids and take part in Copper’s bumper boats and go karts. For little rippers ready to take it to the next level, the weeklong overnight Woodward Summer Camp allows kids ages 7-17 the opportunity to ski or snowboard on real snow during the summertime.
On the Road to Copper
Before settling in at Copper, stop in the nearby town of Frisco for breakfast at the Butterhorn Bakery & Café. With infinite hiking near and throughout the Copper area, bring your hiking boots and hit any of the free trails for million-dollar views.
Steamboat is the perfect summer destination for everyone, from adventure seekers to families with young kids. Take in the action and thrill at the Steamboat Bike Park, offering over 50 miles of downhill and freeride terrain. Tune up on your family’s golf skills on Steamboat’s 18-hole mini golf course, and then head to the Outlaw Mountain Coaster for over a mile of downhill fun. To make the day as seamless as possible, Steamboat offers the Land Up Adventure Zone Day Pass, which includes two mountain coaster rides, mini golf, ropes course, and unlimited scenic chairlift rides.
On the Road to Steamboat Springs
Off the mountain, Steamboat is full of surprises and plenty of activities one can enjoy. A trip to Steamboat in the summer is not complete without a float trip down the Yampa River. Grab a sturdy tube, your swimsuit, water, a hat, sunscreen, and water shoes, and hop on in the river for a relaxing and refreshing ride. **Be sure to check in advance, as water levels in the earlier months make for a more fast-paced ride that requires more attention to safety. Also, make sure you have a car waiting for you at your final stopping point.**
Tucked away in central Colorado, this gem of a destination offers a memorable summer experience. When visiting Snowmass, one of the four mountains that make up Aspen Snowmass, the Lost Forest will feel like adult summer camp. With ropes challenges, climbing walls, zip lines, biking trails, and an alpine coaster, as well as ponds for fishing and two disc golf courses, there is much adventure to discover here. Showcase your inner teenager and suit up for a private game of paintball outside the Lost Forest to duke it out with your closest friends. Kids and teens can drop-in for a day of paintball fun, allowing mom and dad to take the gondola up the Elk Camp restaurant for lunch and refreshing drinks.
On the Road to Aspen Snowmass
A summertime visit to Aspen Snowmass is not complete without visiting the Maroon Bells. These iconic Colorado mountains – you’ve seen them on photographs, calendars, and more – are a photographer’s dream. Parking and shuttle reservations are required to access the Maroon Bells Scenic Area through early fall – learn more here.
Summer has arrived, and Colorado’s Ikon Pass destinations are the picture-perfect place to soak in adventure this season. There is something for adults, kids, and families of all ages to take part in at our destinations this summer – so what are you waiting for? Head out to the Rockies for unparalleled exploration.
(Please be aware that COVID-19 policies may still be in place at most mountain destinations this summer. Be sure to visit the resort websites ahead of time to familiarize yourself with local procedures and restrictions.)