I found the Ultimate Mountain Tour on Trip Advisor. At just around 8 hours long and heading out from Denver, it was the perfect amount of time to spend outdoors exploring, and I got lucky that during an otherwise rainy and showy trip, on the day of this tour in late April, the weather was sunny and warm.
Clear Creek Canyon Park
Our first stop was in Clear Creek Canyon Park. We stopped here for a bit to walk some of the Peaks to Plains Trail, skip rocks in the water, and generally take in the scenery. It was a balmy 55 degrees in the morning and the sun shining made it feel a lot warmer. This was at the bottom of the mountain though so there was still so much to see.
Once back in the van driving further into the Rocky Mountains, our tour guide pointed out some of the local trees and plants and told us to keep a lookout for animals along on the sunnier side of the road.
We made our next stop at the Continental Divide at Loveland Pass, at nearly 12,000 ft.elevation. At this stop, the ground was covered in snow, and we were freezing cold! Luckily the tour information told us to prepare for this by bringing a coat, so everyone was fine. Our tour leader provided us with ice cleats to put over our shoes for better traction, and she even had extra hats and gloves for anyone who didn’t bring those things.
I didn’t think much of the height until we got out of the bus and started climbing up some hills. I’d heard from other people that just being active at the elevation in the city of Denver was enough to make you noticeably tired more quickly, but I walked all day there and was fine. Up here, though was a different story — I was literally out of breath after taking about 10 steps! Once at the summit, it was nice to take a breather and enjoy the beautiful view.
Even though it was cold, we spent a bit of time walking around here just taking in the fact that we were surrounded by mountain. Once we finally had enough, it was nice to get back in the van to get warmed up again.
From there, we headed down to the town of Frisco to check out Dillon Reservoir, which at this point, was covered in snow and ice.
Though there was still some snow on the ground here, it was noticeably warmer at this elevation, and we were lucky to spot some small animals playing, and get some nice photos.
After that, we were off to the ski town of Breckenridge, where we made a quick stop for lunch and sightseeing. A lot of the smaller restaurants were closed since we were visiting just after ski season ended there, but we did get into Columbine Cafe for a nice group meal (see my Denver Area Deliciousness post for my take on the food in Breckenridge).
Post-lunch, we had about half an hour to walk around the little town, and I ended up buying a few souvenirs in a local shop, as well as grabbing some coffee and splitting a delish stuffed cookie to enjoy on the van trip to our next destination.
Our next stop was a very brief comfort stop in the quaint little town of Georgetown, which reminded me very much of what I imagine when I think of the Old West. It was a quick stop where some people used the brief time to check out the closest souvenir shops and snap some pics of the town.
From there, we headed to Red Rocks, which for me, was my favorite part of the trip outside of Loveland Pass. It’s amazing how huge the rock formations are here! It was raining when we arrived for this portion of the tour, so we ran into the Visitor Center near the Red Rocks Amphitheater to wait out the drizzle, and learned a little bit about the history of the area.
Once the rain stopped, we were able to check out the amphitheater, walk down to the stage, and walk around to see more of the rock formations. On our way out, we even spotted a few deer, which we’d been looking for the entire trip!
Overall Thoughts on the Tour
I absolutely loved everything about this tour! I liked the small group and the fact that it was a fun group to hang out with for the day. Our tour guide, Wendy, was excellent! Hands-down the best guide, I’ve ever had for a day tour like this. I thought it was great that she was prepared with extra cold-weather accessories for our mountain peak visit, had plenty of bottled water for all of us, and even had snacks for us to enjoy as well.
Wendy also had fantastic stories about the area, and kept us engaged and entertained while we were on the bus heading from one place to another. I also very much appreciated the fact that she was flexible about time since no one in the group had firm plans after the tour that we needed to get back to the city for. It allowed us a little more time than was originally allotted in a few areas.
If you’re in Denver and only have a day or two to visit, I’d highly recommend this tour. This tour, in addition to the Denver Food Tour I took, was a great way to feel like you’ve really gotten to experience the best of Colorado in a short amount of time.