Free [or practically free] Skiing/Snowboarding in Colorado for ALL 5th and 6th Graders

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Skiing/Snowboarding Is Free [or almost free] in Colorado! Calling all 5th and 6th graders – you can ski 60+ days this winter for free [or close to free] at 20 Colorado resorts! If you are thinking of skiing/snowboarding in Colorado AND you have a 5th or 6th grader, you are in luck!

The Colorado Passport program is for you – even if you don’t live in Colorado. Live in Massachusetts and want to ski/board in Colorado – your 5th grader skis free. Live in California and you want to ski/board in Colorado – your 6th grader skis almost free. As long as you can prove your child is a 5th or 6th grader they qualify for the 5th & 6th Grade Passport Program! 

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Here is how the 5th & 6th Grade Colorado Passport Program works:

5th GRADE PASSPORT

  1. Register your 5th grader at Colorado Passport for their pass. You need a photo and proof of grade that you can upload. They will mail you the pass once approved. You DON’T need to be a Colorado resident.
  2. Ski up to 60 days. That’s right your 5th grader can ski 3 times at all of 20 resorts including: Winter Park, Copper Mountain, A Basin, Aspen, Eldora, Crested Butte, Loveland, Snowmass, and more [see below for full list]!

6th GRADE PASSPORT

  1. Register your 6th grader at Colorado Passport for their pass. You need a photo and proof of grade that you can upload. They will mail you the pass once approved. You DON’T need to be a Colorado resident.
  2. Register by November 30, 2016 and pay $105 to ski 80 days. That’s right, your 6th grader can ski 4 times at all of the 20 resorts including: Winter ParkCopper Mountain, A Basin, Aspen, Eldora, Crested Butte, Loveland, Snowmass, and more [see below for full list]! You can still register through January 31, 2017, but the cost goes up to $125. This is still a screaming deal if your child qualifies!

PARENTS/ADULTS/KIDS [Not 5th & 6th graders]

The best way to get a deal on skiing in Colorado [if you aren’t a 5th or 6th grader] is to purchase a pass at any of the mountains at which you plan to ski. People in Colorado know, it makes sense to get a pass. The walk up prices at some of our amazing mountains can easily be over $150/day. I am not kidding! Here are some ideas of passes that might work in conjunction with the Colorado Passport:

Aspen/Snowmass/Buttermilk: Get a Classic Pass which give you 4-7 days at a serious discount with no blackouts from $199+

Winterpark: Get a Season Pass ahead of time for $429/adults and $249/kids. This also gives you 10 family/friend passes at $69 – $89/day, so maybe you just buy one pass and use the benefits to purchase cheap tickets for other adults skiing with you.

Copper Mountain: Try a Copper 4 Pack for $169/kids & adults. It’s a deal!

PASSPORT PROGRAM MOUNTAINS

screen-shot-2016-10-05-at-10-40-38-amNeed more ideas for how to get your family skiing in Colorado for cheap? Give me a shout – I’m happy to help! -Amanda

Colorado Elementary School Kids: Get 16 free days of skiing at Vail Mountains with their Epic School Kids program

#Skiing #Free #Kids #Families #Colorado #Winter #Snowboarding

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Why I Am Getting My Kids Outdoors This Summer!

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Boulder County is a mecca of outdoor activities. Why is it that we parents find ourselves begging our kids to get off technology on a regular basis? At least I do. I love getting my kids out the door and into the backyard, on a hike, on their mountain bikes, or anywhere other than indoors as often as possible!

The summer is a great time to get the kids outside and engaged in authentic learning opportunities – the kind that present themselves all the time in the outdoors. I get the brochures for STEM and engineering focused camps and these all look amazing, but I say summer is a time to get outside, leave the traditional classroom behind, and explore a more authentic and engaging “classroom” in the outdoors. This summer I’m getting my kids out the door and learning more about themselves through outdoor experiences! It is time to get our kids out the door and into the outdoors this summer!

Authentic outdoor education programs offer our kids incredible opportunities to push themselves and develop the whole person by allowing them to:

  • Be without technology and fully engage!
  • Build confidence and grit doing things things that are fun but tough!
  • Be bold and try new things! 
  • Engage in healthy risk taking – the activities have high perceived risk, but low real danger!

The outdoors is a seriously powerful tool for personal growth and empowerment for our kids! I want my kids to face challenges and learn that they can push through them. I want my kids to have to engage fully by leaving all the distractions of technology behind. I also know with two boys they need outlets for taking risks in a healthy environment. I believe these are all best accomplished through purposeful engagement in outdoor adventures. This is why I’m turning to some engaging outdoor opportunities for my kids this summer. Let the outdoors be their teacher!

There are so many ways to get our kids going – even at really young ages! Think of the options: Rock Climbing, Kayaking, Biking, Stand Up Paddle Boarding, Hiking, Mountaineering, and many many more! Get the kids out there however you do it – on your own or with a camp program this summer. Of course it depends on how old your kids are and their innate interests, but you can find so many opportunities for authentic learning in the outdoors around Boulder County!

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Photo Credit to Avid4 Adventure

I did some research and I found Avid4 Adventure. I knew they were around but I had not really looked at outdoor camps until now. This summer my 12 year old will be rock climbing with Avid 4 – scaling walls and meeting new friends. He will be scaling walls and pushing himself beyond the limits he currently perceives. He will be getting out of his comfort zone. He will be getting scraped up. He will be exhausted when he gets home after long hikes to climbing spots. I believe he will come back each day with his cup full of life and ready for more adventures. Here’s to summer outdoor adventures! 

More details about Avid4 Adventure in case you think your kids are ready for an outdoor challenge this summer. They offer really professional programs and believe in authentic education through outdoor adventures. Avid4 offers day and overnight programs for all outdoor enthusiast kids and those who just want to dip their toes in the water so to speak. I love Avid4’s philosophy and professionalism! Check out their great general [kids try a little of everything] and sport specific outdoor programs for kids pre-K through 11th grade at their two Boulder County bases of operation:

Avid4 Adventure offers camps out of two local locations that may be interesting for Boulder Families – Boulder Camps and Lafayette Camps @ Avid4 Adventure

Are your kids going to camp this summer? Any great outdoor learning experiences to share with the rest of us?

#Kids #SummerCamp #Summer #Boulder #GetOutdoors

2016-17 Ski Passes: Family Deals Are Happening Right Now!

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What are the best ski deals for families right now? There are some good ones that are time limited, so it may be time to get your passes soon. Don’t delay, the best deals are in the Spring when these areas are trying to entice you to purchase for the 2016-17 ski season.

Rocky Mountain Super Pass+*

Included: Copper Mountain, Winter Park and Eldora, and days at Steamboat, Crested Butte and some others

Cost: $499/adult, $409/teen, $299/child [The price of these passes are only guaranteed through April 5, 2016.]

KIDS SKI FREE! One free child pass [12 & under] with the purchase of an adult RMSP and RMSP+ until June 1, 2016. 

*You can purchase the regular Rocky Mountain Super Pass, but it’s the same price as the RMSP+, so I think it’s a clear decision. 

 

Mountain Collective

This is a new one to me, but might be attractive to some adventurous, traveling families. The Mountain Collective gives you 2 free passes to 12 areas in the United States so 24 days of skiing if you can make it to all locations. Think Alta, Whistler/Blackcomb, Taos, and many more! The only local areas are those in Aspen. But if you are ready to go to the snow, this pass may be a fun one to add to your list.

Cost:$379/adult, $1/child

KIDS SKI FREE! Their child pass is $1 when you purchase an adult pass [limited time]. 

 

Vail Resorts/Epic School Kids

The Epic Pass products are on sale. Again this year they will be offering their Epic School Kids program which offers children through 5th grade a pass that allowed them to ski free for 4 days at Vail, Beaver Creek, Keystone and Breckenridge. Not too bad! Time to get on this one as this is a limited time offer and there were lots of families sad about not jumping on this one earlier!

The other thing to consider is adults need to get passes that align with these free kids’ passes, so you want to look at the whole package.

KIDS SKI FREE! 4 free days at Vail, Beaver Creek, Keystone and Breckenridge

What passes will your family get?

 

How Memories Are Made: Family Travel Through Nicaragua and Costa Rica

“There is a great hotel in San Jose!”, was my son’s response to our friend’s request for suggestions of what to do in Costa Rica.

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For almost three weeks we traveled throughout Nicaragua and Costa Rica – all eight of us – two families traveling together. We intended to have an adventure so we spent our days on volcanoes, zipping through the jungle canopy of Costa Rica, surfing in San Juan del Sur, hiking through the heat and humidity of a remote volcanic island, and riding horses. It was all adventure, but not all of it as positive as others; during the course of the trip the kids’  backpacks had been stollen and the kids managed to puke all over at least two hotels. It was an amazing [multi] family adventure! It really was. Honest.

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San Jose Marriott

When I think back on our trip I remember watching the sun set on the Pacific Ocean while drinking smoothies along the coast in Nicaragua, my husband remembers “Tyler’s Place” where we stayed to surf and explore Nicaragua. BUT if you ask my kids they will tell you that there is a great Marriott in San Jose!

They did just that the other day. We have friends who scored last minute United Airlines mileage tickets to Costa Rica and knowing we had been there, asked for recommendations. I offered up mine in a detailed email. In the soccer carpool this friend asked my son this question and he offered what was most vivid in his mind – The Costa Rica Marriott Hotel in San Jose. This friend sent me an email to confirm this was his response. We both laughed. Then I started thinking about how it could possibly be that my son’s best memory of our extended family trip was of a hotel?

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The white sheets!

Until the other day I hadn’t thought about the moment when we got to San Jose, after a long drive and our stollen backpack fiasco, for a long time. It reminded me that you cannot always predict what memories will be indelibly etched in your children’s minds. What will make the biggest impact. You just never know! In this case I believe it was the contrast of the relatively rustic way we traveled for close to three weeks, the stollen backpacks, being sick, then the safety of this simply luxurious hotel.

When we walked into the hotel it felt cloistered. It felt safe. It felt welcoming. The sheets were so white. The beds so tall. The restaurant had the most amazing buffet any of us had ever seen. They prepared anything the kids requested. My kids noticed ALL these details. All of them. We had not left Costa Rica but the Marriott made us feel like we had been swept up into the best of all worlds – local culture and amenities galore. This experience is indelibly woven into the fabric of my children’s beings. They may forget the other amazing things we did on our trip, but they will not forget this simple luxury.

Skiing Every Month in 2014 = Building Grit in this 12 Year Old!

My oldest son has a goal to ski every month this year. Good goal for a ski obsessed kid! [See this 12 year old’s ski video] So this weekend my husband took him to St. Mary’s Glacier to get in his August skiing. It turns out skiing has become a great opportunity for father-son bonding. It’s also great overall family bonding, but this was of the father-son genre. The take home for our family – It’s the Process that Matter Most, Not the End Result!

The process is so much more than making the turns – but it includes the turns! The process is talking about open ended questions on the way up the mountain to the destination. The process is getting on the pack and loading it up with boots and skis and gear and stuff, then putting said pack on this 12 year olds back and hiking up about a mile to get a few turns. A mile up hill. A mile to find just enough snow to make those necessary turns that he committed to earlier this year.

Sometimes the skiing happens at #Vail or #Breckenridge or #CopperMountain, but in the summer it has happened by earning his turns. I’ve got to believe this process helps create grit in my son! Grit that will help him in get through the tough parts in his life. Grit that he will call upon when he needs to hike that last mile or finish that tough homework assignment. There is nothing as important as having grit, so when Kai tells me about his experience and how it was tough but he did it, I take a deep breath that fills me up inside. I know the process and these experiences will fill him up in the end.

Take Homes from this Adventure:

  • Follow your passion
  • Do it even when it’s tough
  • Enjoy the process
  • Find a way to bond – something you enjoy doing together!

Interested in what a 12 year old can do skiing? Check out this video Kai made of his skiing!

 

Trip Review: Riding the Mountain at Beaver Creek and More!

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Skyler biking on the Rose Pedal trail in Beaver Creek.

Our family loves heading to the mountains! We are avid skiers and at least some of us love mountain biking. Sometimes on long Boulder rides our kids complain, but when we take them to a resort where we take the chairlift up, they always enjoy themselves!

Recently we headed to Beaver Creek for a conference my husband was attending and decided to take our nine year old. We love the entire Vail Valley for it’s ski potential, but it is easy to forget that this area is bustling in the summer with so much to do! There were families everywhere enjoying all the recreation options, sitting by a fire pit in the heart of Beaver Creek Village eating pizzas they picked up, making s’mores, ice skating, biking, hiking, swimming, etc… And these resorts know how to make it easy!

What can you do at ski resorts during the summer?

  • Mountain Bike: You can head up hill on your own or you can take the chairlift up and bike down. With kids we always choose the later. They love finding the fun trails down. They also enjoy eating up on the mountain! There were so many kids there! The really young ones were playing in sand box at the top of the lift, others were exploring, eating at the restaurant, or getting ready to hike or bike. Our favorite mountain biking trail was the Rose Pedal. We did this at least 4 times.
  • Hiking: There are endless hiking options in the Beaver Creek area. Hiking on the mountain gives you endless options for hikes for all levels. The flowers are amazing and the views are spectacular! Our favorite hike in that Vail Valley is Booth Creek Falls in Vail.
  • Ice Skating: They keep the ice rinks open all year around. So lace up your skates and take a twirl. The kids love this in the early evening!
  • Roast Marshmallows/Make S’mores: Beaver Creek is renowned for their warm cookies after a long day of skiing. In the summer if you stay at a hotel the warm cookies turned to s’more makings by the outdoor fire pit. Yummmmm!
  • Activities: Kids [and adults] can try their hand on outdoor climbing walls, a putt putt golf course, and much more.
  • Swimming: Take a dip with your kids, slope side. My son loved swimming after a long  day of biking, hiking, & playing!

Things to consider for your visit:

  • Lodging: You can rent directly from any of the hotels in Beaver Creek, or try Vail On Sale, a discount lodging site for Vail and Beaver Creek. You can always enjoy Beaver Creek via a VRBO [Vacation Rental By Owner] deal. This option can net you a condo or house which might work best if you have a larger group.
  • Mountain Biking & Hiking: Purchase chairlift tickets for yourself and your bike onsite or here. It looks like the prices are the same if you purchase ahead of time or right when you need them. Often I find waiting with the kids is best because I just never know what might come up. Kids under 12 are FREE!
  • Activities: There are events and concerts happening all year around. To find out what is happening at Beaver Creek check in here.

#vailresorts #mountainbiking #getoutdoors #kids #families #beavercreek #

City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks Rocks For Families!

Want to get your family outdoors more? The City of Boulder’s Open Space and Mountain Parks provides excellent programming for families! I have lived in Boulder long enough that I have very little perspective on other communities’ programs to help get kids and families outdoors. But I know we have an amazing resource in the Open Space and Mountain Parks!

If you are looking for ways to get outdoors with your family check out their Nature Hikes and Nature Programs. These programs are really varied. Here are some upcoming opportunities to give you an idea of what they offer on a regular basis. Jump on board. Get outside. Have fun!

  • Fishin’ Fun When: Friday, July 26, 2013, 5:00 PM. Join ranger naturalist Arian Hampel for a two-hour excursion to to teach kids the basics of fishing on OSMP.
  • Stars of a Summer Night When: Saturday, July 27, 2013, 9:00 PM. Join Naturalist Dave Sutherland and a large telescope for a trip through the universe!
  • WabWabi-Sabi: Finding Beauty on OSMPWhen: Saturday, August 3, 2013, 9:00 AM. Join naturalist and artist Jane Larson on this easy hike and explore Wabi-Sabi, the Japanese aesthetic of “the beauty of things imperfect.
  • Calling All Rockhounds!. When: Saturday, August 3, 2013, 9:30 AM. Nature For Kids Parents: Calling All Rock Hounds! Search for rocks and minerals! Take a fantasy journey back in time. Ages 6 and up.

Open Space and Mountain Parks offers more than ongoing programming for the community. Check out their fun pages for kids too. They include outdoor oriented jokes, bingo pages, etc… Here is a the Wildlife Decoder:

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To learn more about all Open Space and Mountain Parks is doing in our community head to their website here.

Come One, Come All to the Summer Heritage Evening at the Historic Walker Ranch Homestead

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On July 20, 2013 your family has an incredible opportunity to go back in time to get a sense of what it was like to be a homesteading family in the Boulder area. To be clear you need to head up early evening of July 20 to Walker Ranch to take part in their Summer Heritage Evening.

This is where you will find volunteers doing historical re-enactment of the homesteading lifestyle. It is always a bit different, but well worth the trip up Flagstaff to engage in activities such as learning to rope a cattle, playing with early settler’s toys, watching baking, blacksmithing, etc… Think Little House on the Prairie right in our back yard.

Time: 5:00 to 7:30pm

Location: Walker Ranch [To get to the Walker Ranch homestead, go approximately 7.4 miles up Flagstaff Mountain Road, west of Boulder]

Cost: Free

More information about the Walker Ranch Summer Heritage Evening can be found here.

Sunscreen: Keeping Our Kids Safe from Sun AND Chemicals!

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The sun is out in full force these days. Around here we went from winter to spring conditions in what seemed like a day! No longer are we thinking about how to shovel out from the over 46 inches of snow we saw in the Boulder area, but we are turning to the age old question of sun protection. I feel like I have to educate myself again every year!

It doesn’t have to be confusing what we put our skin and our little ones. Here is a Glossary of Terms to help get started:

  • UVA: the rays that cause skin cancer
  • UVB: the rays that are responsible for burns
  • Mineral sunscreens: those containing zinc oxide or titanium dioxide
  • EWG: Environmental Working Group is a consumer group that tests cosmetics, including sun screen to let the public know what’s safe and what’s not
  • SPF: Sun protection factor which is a measurement of the UVB rays only [not UVA]
  • Nanoparticles: EWG states that they are safe in lotion, but not in sprays because nanoparticles can get into your lungs and cause harm.

The most effective protection for UVA is zinc oxide, but it’s tough to put on the kids and leave your skin white and pasty looking. The reason this works so well is it that it reflects the sun and doesn’t allow penetration. But don’t be fooled by companies that use nanoparticles to get sheer coverage because these could be harmful. For more specific information on your sunscreens head to EWG’s Sunscreen Guide.

So What Should a Family To Do? The best thing to do is avoid the sun during the middle of the day. Find shade then and head outside early or late. If you cannot do that then avoid nanoparticles, and use mineral sunscreens. The most effective protection for UVA is zinc oxide, but it’s tough to put on the kids and leave your skin white and pasty looking. The reason this works so well is it that it reflects the sun and doesn’t allow penetration. If you and your kids can stand these sunscreens they are the best.

Delicious Living Magazine recommends the following sunscreen products:

  • Badger SPF 34 Baby Sunscreen
  • Goddess Garden Sunny Body
  • True Natural All Natural Tropical Tan Self Tanner

You can find Delicious Living’s full article on sunscreens here.

Hiking With Kids In Colorado

Tips for hiking with kids in Colorado

This originally came from a great blog post on Mile High Mamas by guest blogger, hiker and author, Maureen Keilty. Here is a portion of the content of that post. For the full post go here

After more than two decades of hiking with her own son and his friends and writing several guidebooks on hiking with kids in two states, Maureen Keilty has become a bit of an expert on the subject. Here are her suggestions for making the experience the best possible. For more, check out her guide, “Best Hikes with Kids Colorado” (The Mountaineers Books).

Be safe and pack smart. Start early, know what to do in a lightning storm and carry sunscreen. Bring the “10 essentials” — a list of which can be found in the guide as well as at the Colorado Mountain Club’s website at cmc.org — along with snacks, toilet paper and a plastic bag, a whistle for kids to carry in case they get separated and rain gear.

Bring a buddy. “Kids are naturally competitive, and you can use this to your advantage,” Keilty says. “They will try to outdo each other in terms of not getting tired or staying on the trail.” They also will keep each other motivated and interested in their surroundings.

Set small, easily obtainable goals. Things as simple as a reward for getting to the next switchback or going for 10 minutes before lunch. “Games such as, ‘Does anybody see anything pink that matches my shirt,’ things like that,” Keilty says. “It keeps them away from, ‘I’m getting tired, I hate this.’ The key is to keep them from starting to say that in the first place.”

Discourage sitting. “Once they start, it’s hard to get them back up again,” she says. “It’s energy-draining, and the more they’re going to start feeling lazy and think, ‘OK, I can just keep sitting here.” Motivate movement with games and rewards for meeting goals, and stand at rest stops and water breaks.

Stay enthusiastic. If you aren’t excited, they won’t be either. When your kid finds something they are interested in, respond in kind. “I was up on a trail recently and a little girl had found a banana slug,” Keilty said. “I think they’re really gross, but I was like, wow, look at that, can you find its ear, how does it move?”

Look for hiking areas with nature centers for younger kids. Nature centers are becoming “more sophisticated,” Keilty says. “They’re like going to cartoons these days, as an adult… we love them as much as they do.” When kids tire of the trail, they can cool off, mess around with interactive exhibits and use the restrooms.

Keilty also listed her top hikes in Colorado in the same blog:

TOP COLORADO HIKES WITH KIDS

METRO

Inner Canyon-Lake Gulch Loop, Castlewood Canyon State Park, Franktown

Why: It’s got year-round appeal, it’s a loop, and it’s close to both Colorado Springs and Denver. “It’s a boulder-scrambling, pond-probing, quiet canyon getaway,” Keilty says. “It’s got a little historic feature, an old dam, a great nature center, and this stream that pools, so it’s really fun to explore.” She adds that the canyon walls are warm in the winter and offer shade in the summer.parks.state.co.us/parks/castlewoodcanyon, 303-688-5242

Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge, Commerce City

Why: Also year-round, this hiking oasis in the former chemical-manufacturing complex offers a wide variety of options, from the “incredible” nature center to multiple loop hiking options and a lake where kids can “walk” on water. “It’s a floating walkway that’s just amazing,” Keilty says. “Kids just love it.”fws.gov/rokymountainarsenal, 303-289-0930

Paint Mines Interpretive Park, Calhan

Why: Still close to the metro area, this picturesque and unique area to the east of Colorado Springs is described by Keilty as looking like “rainbow sherbet melting into the prairie.” She explains that it’s called the Paint Mines because American Indians would use the rocks to make paint. “This is a place where hiking is time-sensitive,” she says. “In late May, right around dawn, pulling up here is just magical. The temperature, the colors, it’s so intense.” elpasoco.com/parks, 719-520-6375

CENTRAL
Rifle Falls State Park, Rifle Falls

Why: Located midway between Grand Junction and Eagle, the Coyote Trail here is a showcase of waterfalls. “You walk over this suspended walkway, and the kids can hang out over the waterfall and look down,” Keilty says. “It’s so cool.” She adds that this is an ideal destination for beginning campers, because the campground here is “very civilized,” and the nature center and fishing are top-notch. parks.state.co/us/riflefalls, 970-625-1607

NORTH

Bear Lake-Glacier Gorge Loop Trails, Rocky Mountain National Park

Why: Keilty calls these her answer to the question, “Hey, we’re going to Rocky Mountain National Park, so what should we do there?” She believes these are the best of the best in the park for kids: they offer waterfalls, ponds, a “Japanese-style view of trees over a foggy, misty pond.” nps.gov/romo, 970-586-1206

Chapungu Sculpture Park, Loveland

Why: It’s the most unusual of all the hikes in the book, and possibly the state — a mall-side trail lined with stone sculptures from Zimbabwe. “They’re really fun-looking, imagination-provoking statues,” Keilty says. “They placed them in different kinds of settings. I just figured, that’s kind of unusual, the kind of hike people can only do with their kids.” chapungusculpturepark.com, 970-461-8020

State Forest State Park, Gould

Why: One of her top favorites in the state, Keilty points out that this one is “way out there.” West of Fort Collins, it’s still a popular spot year-round, a 71,000-acre park with “so much going on there,” she says. “I was stunned. They have a great visitor center, where you can be nose-to-nose with a stuffed moose, then go out and spot a real one.” The park also offers fishing and camping (yurts, too), as well as an elaborate geocaching program. “Plus it’s a great winter destination,” she adds. parks.state.co.us/parks/stateforest, 970-723-8366

WEST/SOUTHWEST

Mica Mine, Grand Junction

Why: “We went to this desert canyon in the middle of July and lucked out on this one,” Keilty says. “It’s like diamonds. That’s isinglass, and it even looks like snow in some places.” There are stream crossings and a cave in this extremely kid-friendly place. blm.gov/co, 970-244-3000

Sharkstooth Trail to Centennial Peak, San Juan National Forest

Why: It’s hard to get to, but the name alone usually gets kids excited. The trail passes mini waterfalls and takes you to a mining camp; it also offers views of Mesa Verde National Park and Sleeping Ute Mountain at the summit. “The summit is pretty easy, and it’s got this grand panorama,” Keilty says. “It’s worth getting to, because there are so many options and so many appeals, and the trail is really well designed.”fs.fed.us/r2/sanjuan, 970-882-7296

Highland Mary Lakes Trail, Weminuche Wilderness

Why: One of Keilty’s top picks for a family overnighter, Highland Mary Lakes can take one night or two, and it’s a toss-up as to whether you’ll see more elk or wildflowers. “You’re up on this broad tundra, and the lakes and streams and flowers, wow,” says Keilty. “This is an ‘oh, I just love it up there’ kind of place.” fs.fed.us/r2/sanjuan, 970-247-4874