Everybody needs beauty…places to play in and pray in where nature may heal and cheer and give strength to the body and soul alike.
—John Muir

Welcome to your personal playground

By Vicki Allsopp

Do you love exploring paradise through an adventurous lens? Do you subsist on avocado toast and adrenaline? Boulder County has something to satisfy every appetite.

With a culture that supports health and fitness, enjoyment and respect for the outdoors and a do-it-yesterday attitude, it’s a given that BoCo offers a plethora of activities to keep locals and visitors busy all summer.

Welcome to your own personal playground: the Rocky Mountains. Here are some ways to play this summer in the air, on land or atop the sea—well, river, actually.

// Gliding //

Turn those childhood dreams of flying into a reality when you take to the skies, soaring in a sailplane. It’s the one activity where having a “bird brain” is a good thing.
The Experience: According to the Soaring Society of Boulder, the Boulder area has optimal gliding conditions year-round. Through the strategic use of thermal lifts, glider pilots take you on a peaceful yet exhilarating adventure where you’ll soar to new heights and make friends with fluffy cumulus clouds.
The Experts: Mile High Gliding, 303-527-1122, www.mile-high-gliding-inc.business.site
Rocky Mountain Soaring, 303-747-6301, www.rockymountainsoaring.com.

// SkyDiving //

The question: Why jump out of a perfectly good plane? The answer: Because you can, and many more before you have.
The Experience: Skydiving is so much more than jumping out of a plane. Freefall. Terminal velocity. An invigorating—although losing—battle with gravity. It’s about the thrill of letting go and putting your complete trust in another to fulfill the desire to fly. It’s about facing and conquering fears and telling your friends and family it was the most awesome experience of your life. And, of course, it’s all about the bucket list, baby! Check that one off this summer.
The Experts: Mile-Hi Skydiving Center, 303-702-9911, www.mile-hi-skydiving.com; Rocky Mountain Skydive, 303-944-9708, www.rockymountainskydive.com.

// Ballooning //

We Coloradans love to brag about our altitude. Take those bragging rights to the next level (or height) with a hot air balloon ride.
The Experience: If soaring into the troposphere is what you crave without the heart-pounding adrenaline rush, a hot air balloon ride fits the bill (especially when it involves Champagne at sunrise). A bird’s-eye view of Boulder Valley, the Flatirons and the Front Range gives a new perspective on the natural beauty of our area.
The Experts: Fair Winds Hot Air Balloon Flights, 303-939-9323, www.hotairballoonridescolorado.com; Life Cycle Balloon Adventures, 303-216-1990, www.lifecycleballoons.com.

photo by R Daniel

// Rock Climbing //

Traditional climbing. Sport climbing. Top-rope climbing. Bouldering. Mountaineering. Who knew rock climbing had such diverse options?
The Experience: Feel the reverberating power of the Rocky Mountains face-to-face (literally). From the newbie to the experienced technical climber, the Rocky Mountains offer the best of all worlds for all experience levels. With so much to explore, you’ll never want for new climbs and challenges that progress with your skills. There’s a reason the rocks, boulders, cliffs and crags of Colorado draw people from all over the world. Take time to experience them yourself.
The Experts: Colorado Mountain School, 720-387-8944, www.coloradomountainschool.com; Colorado Wilderness Rides and Guides, 720-242-9828, www.coloradowildernessridesandguides.com; The Mountain Guides, 800-239-7642, www.jhmg.com.

// River Boarding //

No longer confined to lakes and reservoirs, stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) has transformed into an entirely new sport. With a wealth of SUP-friendly locations, Colorado is quickly becoming a paddleboarding mecca.
The Experience: Originally created for kayakers, the Boulder Creek Whitewater Course—located in the heart of downtown Boulder near Eben G. Fine Park—is the perfect location for SUPers craving more motion in their ride. Ready for more of a whitewater thrill ride? Head up the creek for rough waters and challenging obstacles.
The Experts: Rocky Mountain Paddleboard, 720-943-1132, www.rockymtnpaddleboard.com; Whitewater Tubing & Recreation, 720-239-2179, www.whitewatertubing.com.