Eat, Sleep, Play: Lyons, Colorado

With its up-and-coming foodie vibe, local flair and willingness to embrace the outdoors, this home to a summer’s worth of festivals is worth some extra exploration.

This small, sweet, family friendly town was decimated by the 2013 500-year flood—but that hasn’t stopped locals from rebuilding the place and transforming it into the biggest little town in the Rockies each summer. Lyons draws thousands of visitors thanks to Planet Bluegrass’ Rockygrass and Folks festivals (see page 23) and well as the notorious Burning Can Festival at the Lyons Outdoor Games (oskarblues.com/event/burning-can-colorado), winner of both the Best Multisport Festival and Rowdiest Festival in EO’s 2018 Best of the Rockies reader poll. You don’t have to wait for a festival to explore Lyons, however. To that point, here are our insider tips on how to get the most out of this little Front Range town that packs a big punch.

EAT

Whether you are looking for a quick bite on the way to an adventure in Rocky Mountain National Park or if you are seeking a spot to settle down with music and beer, Lyons has you covered. For tasty tacos and authentic margs, head to Mojo (mojotaqueria.com), where street-style tacos brim with authentic flavors. The brains behind craft beer in a can, Oskar Blues Brewery (oskarbluesfooderies.com), serves eclectic fare—ranging from spicy hot wings to a gooey chicken rueben—alongside an extensive beer list that includes everything from a Mexican-style Beerito to the burly (eight-percent ABV, 30 IBUs Old Chub Scottish ale. For fancy food in a flip-flop friendly environment, head to Lyons’ Fork (lyonsfork.com) for dinner daily and brunch on weekends. If you just need a strong cup of joe and a pre-hike pastry, line up at The Stone Cup (thestonecup.com), Lyons’ self proclaimed “Front porch.” This quirky, sustainably focused cafe boasts a bevy of baked goods, breakfast fare and all in a kid friendly, casual environment, as well as occassional live music and dog friendly outdoor seating.

SLEEP

If ever ever dreamed of selling everything and living in a trailer, WeeCasa (weecasa.com) is the perfect place to test your van-life constitution. This tiny home resort on Lyons’ river bend property offers 20-plus tiny homes that can sleep from one to six people. Staying at WeeCasa is the perfect opportunity to keep things simple. More fun still, the design of each home features a unique theme. Guests can pick from choices that run the gamut from a whimsical Hobbit Hole or a Moroccan-inspired Lily Pad. The property is within walking distance to downtown and it has prime access to open space if you just want to head out for a little stroll when you wake up. Make a weekend out of it, or use WeeCasa as your basecamp to explore Rocky Mountain National Park and the surrounding public lands.

PLAY

Lyons’ LaVern M. Johnson Park (townoflyons.com/349/LaVern-M-Johnson-Park) is a little tyke’s outdoor adventure dream. Surrounded on three sides by water, the park features tent and RV campsites, a whitewater park for tubing and kayaking, a massive playground and shelters and picnic areas that make it an ideal gathering place for large groups and Frisbee. Heil Valley Ranch (bouldercounty.org/open-space/parks-and-trails/heil-valley-ranch/) spreads across 6,000 acres of protected land that you can explore by mountain bike or foot. All six trails here gain less than 1,000 feet of elevation, making the ranch an excellent spot for beginners. Within spinning distance from town, Hall Ranch (bouldercounty.org/open-space/parks-and-trails/hall-ranch/) draws mountain bikers with a 4.2-mile flow lollipop off Apple Valley Road, or a 5.9-mile option that begins at the main parking lot and includes a technical rock garden.

—Jordan Martindell

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