Sports and the Outdoors
The Colorado Rockies are one of America's greatest playgrounds. Information about Colorado's recreational areas and activities is provided in each regional section; the following is general information.
Colorado Outfitters Association. 970/824–2468; www.coloradooutfitters.org.
Group sizes for organized trips vary considerably, depending on the organizer and the activity. Often, if you're planning a trip with a large group, trip organizers or outfitters will offer discounts of 10% or more and are willing to customize trips. For example, if you're with a group interested in photography or in wildlife, trip organizers have been known to get professional photographers or naturalists to join the group.
One way to travel with a group is to join an organization before going. Conservation-minded travelers might want to contact the Sierra Club, a nonprofit organization, which offers both vacation and work trips. Hiking trails tend to be maintained by volunteers (this is more often done by local hiking clubs). Park or forest rangers are the best resource for information about groups involved in this sort of work.
Individuals or groups wanting to test their mettle can learn wilderness skills through "outdoor schools."
American Hiking Society. 800/972–8608; 301/565–6704; www.americanhiking.org.
Boulder Outdoor Survival School. Boulder, Colorado, 84716. 800/335–7404; www.boss-inc.com.
Sierra Club. 1536 Wynkoop St., Ste 200, Denver, Colorado, 80202. 303/861–8819; www.sierraclub.org/rocky-mountain-chapter.
If you plan to go where trails might not be well marked or maintained, you'll need maps and a compass. Topographical maps are sold in well-equipped outdoor stores. Maps in several scales are available from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). Request a free index and catalog, from which you can order the maps you need. Many local camping, fishing, and hunting stores carry USGS and other detailed maps of the surrounding region. The U.S. Forest Service and the BLM also publish useful maps.
National Geographic/All Trails. Colorado. www.alltrails.com.
U.S. Geological Survey. Colorado. 303/202–4700; 888/275–8747; www.usgs.gov.