Horseback riding and rafting by morning, five-star dining by evening, Beaver Creek is a summer destination where you can immerse yourself in outdoor adventure, but also treat yourself right when it’s time to relax. And it’s not as expensive as you might suppose. Indeed, this is a destination when you can seamlessly blend rugged adventure and pampered luxury into one marvellous Colorado cocktail—simple yet refined, bold but not arrogant, and it tastes damn good.
Ski resorts across the country are quickly evolving into year-round resorts (thanks to the Ski Area Recreational Opportunity Act, which has allowed for summer expansion on public lands leases), and Beaver Creek is no exception. Plan a guided hike with the Beaver Creek Hiking Center (bit.ly/2ptOQop), which offers treks within an 80-mile radius of the resort, perfect whether you’re looking to bag an area fourteener like 14,433-foot Mount Elbert, the highest in the state, or just tag along on a complimentary nature hike.
Wrangle one of the friendly horses at Beaver Creek Stables (beavercreekstables.com). The operation offers one- to three-hour rides, and the option to choose a three-hour picnic ride. Go big or go home with the adventure dining option: Canter to Beano’s Cabin (beanoscabinbeavercreek.com), an award-winning restaurant nestled at the base of Grouse mountain, serving invigorating Colorado-inspired cuisine.
Both the Colorado River and the Eagle River are easily accessible from Beaver Creek, which means a class V raft trip is just right down the road. For an adrenaline rush, Timberline Tours (timberlinetours.com) offers Class V trips down Pine Creek and the Numbers on the Arkansas River and Gore Canyon, and Class IV down the Dowd Chute on the Eagle River and Clear Creek. Previous whitewater rafting experience and a confident level of fitness is highly recommended for these. In other words, if you have never rafted before don’t start with a Class IV or V trip. Timberline Tours also offers intermediate and beginner trips with views of the Glenwood Canyon or of the Colorado Scenic Byway along the float. We like the Class III Shoshone leg on the Colorado River. This trip offers up some fun rapids to get the adrenaline pumping and it also boasts epic views of the Glenwood Canyon you can only get from a raft. Or try the Class II Upper Colorado trip. This float is ideal for families and first-time rafters because it is on a calm stretch of the river.
Located at 10,000 feet at the top of the Eagle Bahn Gondola on Vail Mountain, Epic Discovery (bit.ly/2ozer2b) features a zipline, alpine slide and a summer tubing hill, all with panoramic views of the remote and toothy Gore Range. Grab an Ultimate Adventure Pass ($94) either online or at a lift ticket office at the base of Lionshead and get after all of the activities. To soar through the canopy, purchase the Game Creek Zipline Tour for ($199, includes Adventure Pass), and fly over the tops of the pine trees in Game Creek Bowl, one of Vail’s seven legendary Back Bowls.
Nothing stirs up an appetite like adventuring at 10,000 feet. Good thing you’re in a haven of world-class restaurants. For the tastiest carb-loaded Italian hit up Toscanini (toscaninibeavercreek.com) for the housemade pasta, fresh seafood and an extensive wine list. It sits in the heart of Beaver Creek village next to the ice skating rink open year-round. Or indulge in a savory soufflé at Mirabelle (mirabelle1.com), for French-inspired deliciousness. Revolution (revolutiondining.com), specializes in rotisserie-style cuisine with multiple sides of locally grown Colorado produce. Grab breakfast, lunch, dinner—or après specials from 3:30 to 5:30 at the bar.
The ability to whip up a quick breakfast in your hotel room before you get out there for a full day is key. We recommend the Beaver Creek Lodge (beavercreeklodge.net), a boutique hotel located two minutes from the base of the mountain, with 68 suites each equipped with a kitchenette, master bedroom, sofa sleeper and fireplace. —K.C.