Fireworks, 5Ks, and festivals. It wouldn't be a celebration of our nation's freedom and independence without a few of these regular 4th of July activities. And whether it's a small-town parade, a concert or a backyard barbecue, you can find plenty of freedom festivities this year from July 4-7 in Colorado's ski country. The state's mountain resorts are enticing guests with plenty of activities to fill the long holiday weekend--and that's minus the snow that's pretty hard to come by in July, even in a good snow year (late-season snow didn't even keep Arapahoe Basin open until the Fourth of July this year; it closed in early June).
Once summer strikes you'll find everything from yoga to mountain biking and hiking at Colorado resorts. Those activities will keep one busy when the sun's out, but once the sun sets, visitors can still find plenty of fine dining, jamming concerts and buzzing nightlife. Each of the Colorado resorts has created a unique atmosphere within its natural surroundings. Plus while the rest of the country is dealing with heat waves and sweltering temperatures, the cooler mountain temperatures are just right for a day outdoors. Check out what's happening around Colorado's resorts for the long 4th of July weekend.
Take your running legs for some pounding at the 2nd annual Arapahoe Basin Trail Run on Sunday, July 7. Runners will test their bodies at high elevations as the race begins almost 11,000 feet above sea level, and then they'll test their stomachs at the mid-mountain BBQ and pig roast at the conclusion of the run. Not really a runner? Try the shorter trail race that's followed by an all-you-can-eat BBQ and live music. And better yet for those city runners who are used to paying top dollar for running races: This one will only set you back $15. Nice!
Aspen may not be holding fireworks this year because the area is experiencing dry conditions that can put it at risk for wildfires, but there are still plenty of events to keep visitors busy. Boogie's Buddy Race, a festive 5-mile race that also offers a family- and dog-friendly one-mile walk, supports the Buddy Program. The Old Fashioned Fourth of July parade is an Aspen tradition and is followed by the AVSC Fourth of July Picnic in Koch Park. Try Bike Snowmass, a network of downhill and cross-country mountain biking trails, the entire holiday weekend, or ride the gondolas at Aspen Mountain and Snowmass, which provide access to plenty of family-friendly activities.
Here's a mountain town that has four days of 4th of July celebrating. July 4 brings a 10K trail run across Breckenridge's in-town trail system and the Firecracker 50 mountain race where more than 700 cyclists kick off the Main Street parade. There's also a Fourth of July Garden Party, chalk art contest, and the 10th Annual Arts District Grand Celebration. From Friday to Sunday, the town hosts the 30th Annual Breckenridge July Art Festival. And the Breckenridge Music Festival brings The Wailers to town on July 5 and Hot 8 Brass Band on July 7.
Practice your sun salutations, down dogs, oms and more when Wanderlust comes to Copper July 4 to 7. Wanderlust is a unique festival that highlights yoga and brings together the world's leading yoga instructors, top musical acts and DJs, renowned speakers, and top chefs and winemakers. And there's lots of yoga to be had with the breathtaking backdrop of the Rocky Mountains. This year, Wanderlust coincides with Copper's other 4th of July activities which includes a celebration and concert that MOBY is headling.
Whether you're looking to indulge or melt calories this 4th, you can find both at Crested Butte. The Crested Butte Fire & EMS Department hosts a Pancake Breakfast from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m., followed by a food court and kids activities. The 45th annual Gothic to Crested Butte Run, Walk or Crawl 1/3 Marathon starts in the town of Gothic and then winds through the woods and meadows of Mt. Crested Butte to a finish in downtown Crested Butte. And if you haven't passed out yet from either stuffing your face full of pancakes or the run, there's a 4th of July parade and then music and games. From July 6-7, you'll find the fourth annual Bluegrass in Paradise presented by Crested Butte Music Festival.
Purgatory at Durango Mountain Resort
Visitors will find fireworks, fun runs, parades, ice cream socials and more in the Silverton and Durango area during the holiday week. There's also resort shuttle service to Silverton to watch fireworks on July 4 and Durango Mountain Resort's Summer Concert Series at Dante's on July 5.
Ski Granby Ranch
How many laps can you ride on the Strawberry Jam Trail? This new trail is the site of the Strawberry Jame fun race on July 6 where racers wind their way down the trail and have three hours to log as many laps as they can. If you need more incentive, prizes, including a 2014 bike season pass, are awarded to the competitors who log the most laps and to those who have the most spirited costumes.
Here's another town with some pancake breakfast and race action. The Steamboat Springs Lions Club sponsors the July 4 pancake breakfast. You can find plenty of races from the 7th annual Cross Country/Nordic Combined Roller Ski Race, the 21st annual Steamboat Sprint, and the Independence Day Ski Jumping Extravaganza and Nordic Competition at Howelsen Hill. Then there are fireworks and the Steamboat Springs Pro Rodeo. And that's just on the 4th of July. The weekend includes a free concert by Sam Bush, the Strings Music Festival, a luau and pig roast, and the Mountain Madness Half Marathon and 10K.
The town of Telluride hosts Firemen's Fourth of July on July 4, an event that includes a parade, fireworks and tons more. On July 6, the Sheridan Opera House is holding a speakeasy gala to celebrate is 100th birthday.
Winter Park and Fraser Valley host a Fourth of July celebration that includes kid-friendly activities, a picnic, live music and fireworks. On July 6, you'll find the Run for Independence presented by Grand Park. This 5-mile race starts at Winter Park Resort's Vintage Hotel, winds through the Village of Winter Park, down the Fraser River Trail and through the Town of Winter Park before it finishes in Fraser. July 6 is a busy day for the area as Winter Park also hosts The Village Uncorked, a festival that features artists, wine and cheese, and the SolShine Music Festival.
See? You don't always need skiing and snow to have fun in the mountains. And Happy Independence Day!