From the majestic peaks of the Rocky Mountains to the desert landscapes of the southwestern corner, Colorado has long attracted some of the most free-wheeling, adventure-loving folks around. But just because you love adventure doesn’t mean you should completely wing your Colorado vacation. Nobody wants to find themselves struggling to find a place to sleep after the sun sets. Luckily, there’s a way to enjoy a sense of spontaneity while getting a bit pampered. We teamed up with the team at Gateway Canyons Resort & Spa to find out how.
The brainchild of John Hendricks, this resort was originally born out of a true love and passion for the breathtaking landscape, which you can see for yourself on a helicopter tour. No wonder it was named one of Travel + Leisure’s top resorts in the western part of the country. Hendricks, whose vision was to create a place where people could visit and take advantage of everything the region has to offer, has since added a wide array of other activities and luxe offerings to make the experience even more memorable.
Whether you love hitting the open road, going for a brisk hike, or simply kicking back, there’s plenty for you to do. It was hard to choose, but we narrowed down our four favorite ways to enjoy Colorado the Gateway way. If you don’t have any upcoming travel plans, consider them taken care of.
1. For the luxury car lover
If you’ve ever driven a luxury automobile, it probably won’t take much arm-twisting to get you to try out some of the stellar rides at Gateway. One of the main draws of this stay is their access to luxury cars. And that doesn’t mean just driving one for yourself. Check out Gateway Canyons Auto Museum, which features nearly 60 of the most prized historic cars in the country, including the one-of-a-kind 1954 Oldsmobile F-88 concept car.
If you’re looking to put yourself in the driver’s seat, check out the Driven Rentals program, the resort’s answer to quenching your need for speed. Not only will you have your pick of the most luxurious, high-end cars on the market today, but you’ll be able to cruise the open road with stunning canyon walls throughout. The experience is located on the Unaweep-Tabeguache Colorado Scenic Byway, a 133-mile long stretch that runs around the Uncompahgre National Forest and along the Dolores River. Not a bad way to pass the time during your Colorado vacation.
2. For the adrenaline junkie
The term “big boy toys” gets a whole new meaning at Gateway Canyons. If cruising around in a Bentley wasn’t enough for you, try hopping in a Pro-Baja Truck for a riveting ride of thrills and chills. With the Driven Experience, you’ll whip around a course in the middle of the desert, testing the balance of excitement and adrenaline. Having had the chance to be a passenger myself (with a seasoned professional in the driver’s seat) I can attest to how thrilling the experience is.
If you’re looking to really check out the area’s surrounding rugged landscape, hop in a Jeep or UTV and let the adventures begin. While the vehicle choice is up to you, the stunning 360-degree views are guaranteed.
3. For the cowboy at heart
It wouldn’t be right to visit the American West without a little peak into cowboy living, and Palisade Ranch delivers just that. It’s situated on land that ranching families of the 1800s worked to support the region’s mining communities. Upon arrival, expect to be greeted by chap-wearing, spur-clad cowboys in a gorgeously rustic setting. Guests have their choice of ranching activities, such as trail rides, roping lessons, cattle drives and ranching education, all followed by a true western cookout under the stars in the cool mountain air.
4. For the naturally curious
Yes it’s true, “curator of curiosity” is actually a job title. But don’t think just anybody can land this sweet gig. Simply put, Gateway Canyons’ curator of curiosity, Zebulon Miracle, is the man. Booking an activity with him or stopping to chat when you see him around the resort is an absolute must. His job, which is to help guests see, hear and experience firsthand the natural and man-made wonders of western Colorado, is both his passion and his job. Additional activities for those looking to explore include hiking, climbing, mountain biking, rafting and fishing.
And for the extra curious, Gateway Canyons Resort & Spa is hosting a Curiosity Retreat from October 2 through October 7. Curiosity Retreats, which strive to create a forum where lifelong inquisitors can gather to explore today’s greatest questions, feature a lineup of eminent visionaries, scholars, and trendsetters covering topics ranging from the mysteries of the universe to the future of technology.