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The Best Colorado Hiking, Skiing and Outdoor Destinations According to Wine and Beer Pros

John Olsen of Avery Brewing at Brainard Lake / Phot by John Olsen

Home to the Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP), more than 50 mountains that exceed 14,000 feet and countless miles of uninterrupted terrain, Colorado offers residents and visitors a wide range of options to get outdoors. To help you find your next favorite spot, we talked to brewers and wine experts throughout the state.

Avery Brewing Company

Boulder, Colorado

Avery Brewing Company first opened its doors in 1993. John Olson, Avery’s product development and innovation lead, notes that the tap room and restaurant always have some 30 beers on tap, “so no matter what you’re in the mood for, we’re going to have an awesome beer waiting for you.”

When Olson isn’t at the brewery, he enjoys being outside.

“I love skiing, camping and playing golf whenever I get the chance,” says Olson. “There are so many incredible camping options throughout the state of Colorado, many of which are right in Boulder’s backyard, so finding new spots to spend a night or two and hike around during the day has been an awesome way to get outside and enjoy the amazing scenery here.”

One of his favorite spots is Turquoise­ Lake, just outside of Leadville,­ Colorado.

“The lake is absolutely beautiful and there are a handful of campgrounds that surround it, making it easy to go hang out by the lake, fish, paddle board or hike around,” says Olson. Another one of his picks is local favorite Brainard Lake.

“Without having to get too far off the beaten path, you do some camping or just head up for the day to explore some great hiking trails and experience some epic views of the mountains along the Continental Divide,­” he says.

Snowy Peaks Winery

Estes Park, Colorado

Mt. Ida on the way to Chief Cheley / Photo by Tristan Coriell

You’ll find Snowy Peaks Winery and Tasting Room in downtown Estes Park. According to Tristan Coriell, tasting room manager and assistant winemaker, the winery focuses on producing bottles from Colorado grown grapes.

“We use a light-handed approach making the wines at Snowy Peaks, trying to let the grapes naturally express themselves,” says Coriell.

When Coriell is not at work, he enjoys hiking, trail running, kayaking, snow shoeing, mountain biking, motorcycle rides through the canyon and checking out the stars in Colorado’s tundra. His favorite hiking spots are Thatchtop Mountain, Desolation Peaks, Chief Cheley Peak and Mount Fairchild. 

“All of these summits have incredible views and isolation as there are no maintained trails to any of them,” he says.

As far as trail running goes, Coriell recommends the Ute Trail, and for kayaking, Grand Lake.

If you’re visiting Colorado in the snowy months, some of Coriell’s favorite places to snowshoe are Twin Sisters, Sky Pond and Mount Lady Washington.

Infinite Monkey Theorem

Denver, Colorado

Tim Carron of Infinite Monkey Theorem Hiking Arapaho National Forest / Photo Courtesy of Tim Carron

“Colorado has more than enough to offer,” says Tim Carron, winemaker at Infinite Monkey Theorem. Carron has been with Infinite Monkey Theorem for seven years.

“I spent my first year bartending in the tasting room, then switched over to working production in the cellar where I got to learn the ins-and-outs and ups-and-downs of winemaking and have been doing that ever since,” he says.

The winery tries to source as much fruit as it can from Colorado.

“Our Malbec is always a crowd favorite,” says Carron. “But I personally love our Cabernet Franc every year. It’s a little bit lighter bodied than our other reds and always has a nice hint of chile flavor [and] spiciness.”

But when Carron isn’t at the winery, you can find him outside.