"At times we felt like we were back in Switzerland. The scenery was gorgeous, the fall colors spectacular, the weather cooperative, and it was a congenial if small group. The hiking was challenging but not drop-dead challenging and we were pleased that we did okay at altitude, living as we do at sea level. Given the location of the towns and the hikes, there is absolutely no way we could have done this without guides and support."- Susan Ware
Visit Aspen, Crested Butte, Ouray, and Telluride, three authentic Colorado towns offering their own unique flavor and identity.
Breathe the rarified Rocky Mountain air as you hike remote trails beneath 14,000-foot peaks in the Colorado high country.
Indulge in pleasures from the Old West, from Victorian hotels and saloons to ghost towns left over from the gold mining days.
Majestic snow-capped peaks; golden aspen leaves; rolling alpine meadows; tumbling waterfalls and charming Victorian hotels beckon you to explore the Maroon Bells, Elk Range and San Juan Mountains of Colorado, home of Ryder-Walker Alpine Adventures. From bubbling hot springs and historic hotels, to scenic hikes and colorful towns, the Rocky Mountains offer an authentic flavor of the American West.
Ryder-Walker’s 8-day hiking tour through Colorado offers an exploration of the region’s most spectacular trails. From remote valleys filled with golden aspen leaves, to high alpine passes replete with endless views, we’ll hike beneath the shadows of the resident fourteen thousand foot peaks as we thread our way through the most atmospheric villages of the Elk and San Juan ranges. As with all of our treks, luggage is transported so you can go light and enjoy the mountains without the encumbrance of a heavy backpack. Hiking days are challenging, but the scenery is breathtaking, and at the end of the day a comfortable bed, hot shower, a good meal, a glass of local wine or beer and the company of other hikers awaits. We also timed the tour to coincide with the peak of the autumn foliage. Photographers from around the world often descend upon the Elk and San Juan ranges to capture the spectacular hues that autumn in the mountains provides.
You’ll begin this hiking tour of Colorado in the charming mining town of Aspen. The miners may have traded their pick axes for posh outfits, but the town still has a time-forgotten ambiance. Superb hiking and inspired restaurants make for an unforgettable mix. Aspen boasts great hiking variety, from the smooth, polished granite of Independence Pass, to the ancient and fiery sandstone of the Maroon Bells.
One of the Rocky’s finest hikes connects Aspen/Snowmass with Gothic, one of the most remote inhabited towns in Colorado. Gothic is rustic, but don’t worry, as Crested Butte is only a short drive away. Following a day exploring the far corners of the West Elk mountains, we move on to the San Juans and the quaint mining town of Ouray, renowned for its topography and hot springs.
Despite the popularity of Ouray and Telluride, the trails between the towns remain largely untraveled, so we won’t have to share the trails or the views with many other parties. The route lies along quiet mountain trails with some rough and remote sections and spectacular views of the surrounding peaks as trails climb to high passes, follow abandoned Native and mining routes and traverse along streams beneath the shade of aspen, spruce and fir.
Along the way, we have selected the most comfortable and atmospheric hotels of the region. Accommodations range from our turn of the century hotel in Ouray, that reportedly hosted Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and Herbert Hoover, to our charming B&B in Crested Butte, to exquisite modern mountain accommodations in Aspen and Telluride. Each inn reflects the charm and character of its location and the simplicity of days past.
We’ll enjoy dinner in the company of the group, all nights offer a dining experience away from our accommodations at one of the many fabulous local restaurants in the towns. Breakfast is usually a buffet taken at your leisure. We’ll enjoy picnic lunches on a high pass with spectacular views or enjoyed in a scenic meadow, surrounded by tall peaks and cascading streams.
Transfer independently to Aspen, CO. The recommended gateways are Aspen or Grand Junction, CO. Settle into a superior four-star hotel located in the center of this beautiful and colorful town. Meet at 7:00 pm for a brief orientation, cocktails and dinner.
Depending on the make up of the group, one or two hikes will be offered. Aspen has a dizzying array of options from gentle to very challenging. Your guides will choose appropriate itineraries to meet the needs and interests of the group. Some hiking options include Cathedral Lake, Woody Creek and Independence Pass.
Transfer to a remote trailhead and hike above treeline into a pristine, high alpine environment. Historians will enjoy the myriad examples of nineteenth and twentieth century mining architecture that still characterize the region. Overnight in a welcoming and well-appointed B&B, filled with antiques and teeming with character.
We’ll climb through a forest of spruce and fir and hike to treeline with spectacular views of the Anthracite Mountains. Reach the summit of Red Lady (aka Mt. Emmons) and enjoy unbelievable views back to Crested Butte.
Transfer to a trailhead high above Blue Mesa/Curecanti Reservoirs and approach a seldom hiked weakness in the Cimmaron Range, Lou Pass, at the “summit” of Lou Creek. Descend to a strategically placed van near Ridgway for the very short transfer to Ouray.
Hike to Telluride, one of the most beautiful towns in the Rocky Mountains. We’ll hike beneath the imposing, snow-capped faces of Mount Sneffels and Mendota on the Mendota trail as we walk directly into downtown Telluride. Overnight in another atmospheric and outstanding hotel located in the heart of Telluride’s historic district.
As we are both starting and finishing in Telluride, many options abound and if desired we will offer two hikes of varying difficulty. The best option in the region may be Blackface which offers endless views above timberline, hiking next to famous Lizard Head, and beneath the most iconic peaks of the region Mount Wilson (14,252 feet), El Diente (14,160 feet) and Wilson Peak (14,016 feet). Return via van for farewell festivities in Telluride.