Originally published in the Summer + Fall 2019 issue.
Summer is footloose, super charged with love and light and sun and more love. We summon and depend upon rivers, trails and mountaintops for soul therapy and doses of much needed clarity.
Oftentimes these healthy experiences become skewed, captured through an iPhone camera or a filtered Instagram story rather than being genuinely experienced and absorbed. This summer, leave the electronics behind and set your focus on raw nature and internal wellbeing. In a serene blend of solitude and relaxation, these three Colorado destinations deliver on downtime. (Hint: They all share a crucial common amenity — zero Wifi.)
Bears Den Cabin at Elk River Ranch
Where: Clark, Colorado
Why go: Clark is a notch south of the Colorado-Wyoming border, hugging the edge of the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forests and nestled in perfect playtime proximity to Steamboat Lake State Park’s hiking, biking, boating and fishing. Elk River Ranch is a three-season activity center (spring is too muddy with snowmelt) flanked by aspen, evergreen and wildflower-cloaked mountain meadows. Reserve the Bears Den Cabin — complete with a king-sized bed, full-size kitchen and gas fireplace stove — for a private nook with stellar sunset views.
Bring: A swimsuit for the on-property hot tub or a trip to nearby Strawberry Hot Springsand a good book for retreating to the riverside hammocks.
Book it: www.elkrivergr.com
Mt. Sherman Yurt
Where: Fairplay, Colorado
Why go: Tucked into lush green forest 14 miles from civilization, this 16-foot yurt is the ideal minimalist mountain hideaway. Roughing it round-home-style means sleeping bag slumbers by the wood-burning stove, solar-powered showers, an indoor composting toilet and no cell reception. The yurt sleeps a snug six, but we recommend a solo night or two for a sweet helping of divine solitude in the shadows of the Tenmile-Mosquito Range.
Bring: A 4WD vehicle to traverse the rough dirt road, hiking boots to properly explore Mt. Sherman or Horseshoe Peak and your dog — a max of two well-behaved pups are allowed.
Book it: www.discoverfreehouse.com
Beaver Lake Lodge and Cabins
Where: Marble, Colorado
Why go: Once home to quarry workers, these five cabins are now rural summer havens complete with porches, log beds, handmade quilts, baths, kitchens and charcoal grills. The historic lodge — Marble’s former 1800sschoolhouse — also offers four stylish rooms resting at 8,000 feet in one of Colorado’s most photographed valleys. Hike to waterfalls, visit the many fishing holes or take the lodge’s canoe, kayak or stand-up paddleboards out for a spin on Beaver Lake. And don’t even think about texting. There’s no reception in the entire valley. (Locals like it that way.)
Bring: A sense of adventure. Follow the Jeep trail to the remote ghost town of Crystal City, stopping at the famous Crystal Mill along the way. Seek out the historic Redstone Castle, soak in the natural Penny Hot Springs and learn to carve Colorado Yule Marble at the Marble Symposium just outside of town.
Book it: www.beaverlakelodge.com