Cracking Up: EO contributing editor Chris Van Leuven gets his fingers in Frank’s Wild Years (5.11) at Golden’s Quarry Wall

Golden is so much more than the Coor’s factory tour (although that’s still impressive, no matter what you thnk of the beer!). With a historical nod around every corner and the entire city centered around the creek, Golden provides a laid back, genuine playground that doesn’t require I-70 traffic jams for you to get there.

EAT
The Sherpa House and Cultural Center is more than a place to fuel up after adventure. The restaurant is a place where you can eat traditional Nepalese cuisine and brush up on the region’s history. I highly recommend the Sherpa House Sampler—perfect for those who are afraid of commitment or just want some variety. Beer lovers will also be happy to know that recently, Sherpa House partnered with Golden City Brewery to start the first craft brewery in Nepal (which was thankfully unharmed in the earthquakes). Looking for a quick bite? The locals’ pick for the best sandwich in town is D’Deli. This tiny shop serves up some of the best subs on the front range. Don’t forget to ask for some giardiniera (hot pickled veggies) on your sandwich for an extra kick!

SLEEP
You simply can’t beat the location of The Golden Hotel. Located on the corner of Washington and 11th, this creek-side hotel is in the center of town making everything within walking distance. The rooms are spacious and clean and the staff is friendly and attentive. With a fresh new menu the hotel’s Bridgewater Grill offers up a tasty twist on traditional food, i.e. their meaty buffalo hot wings are a perfect balance of sweet, spicy and smoky. The restaurant’s lovely patio overlooks the creek making it a perfect pit stop on a stroll or bike ride along the Clearwater Creek Trail, even if you’re not staying at the hotel. Of course, Golden’s close enough that you can sleep at home, too.

PLAY
While there are a plethora of popular hikes just outside of Golden, you can also make the 40 minute drive to Golden Gate Canyon State Park. The park is a great size for newbies wanting to explore camping close to home or for veterans who want easy access to backcountry sites. The park boasts a variety of facilities—car camping sites, yurts, cabins, shelters and backcountry camps—all situated within 12,000 acres of forests, rocky vistas and lush meadows. For mountain bikers, there are a ton of trails that can be conquered in one aggressive day, or spread out over a weekend-long trip. The park designates “multiple use” trails as well as “hikers only” trails and the map is coded, making it easy to keep you on track. If you are looking to get vertical, the 13 separate rock climbing crags just on the north edge of town at North Table Mesa will delight all levels. We suggest you focus on the outstanding crack climbing at the Quarry Wall.