Hike and bike the Rockies
By Mimi Slawoff
In winter, the Rocky Mountains are a top destination with skiers and snowboarders. Come summer, you can catch fresh air hiking and biking on these same slopes, now blanketed with wildflowers. Many more recreational activities and events await families visiting the Rockies, which stretch more than 3,000 miles in Western North America. Cooler temperatures and fewer crowds than at most beaches make these five mountain resorts ideal summer vacation destinations.
Jackson Hole, WY
The Wild West is alive and well in this Teton village. Roping, bronco riding and other rodeo events take place regularly from Memorial Day to Labor Day. More summertime activities include free concerts, tandem paragliding rides and scenic tram rides.
Donât miss: a traditional chuck wagon dinner trip complete with western music.
(MORE: Find more kid-friendly things to do in Jackson Hole.)
Deer Valley Resort, Utah
Located in the historic mining town of Park City, the resort is alive with the sound of music at the Snow Park Outdoor Amphitheater. Bring a picnic and chill out to tunes from world-renowned artists. More than 400 miles of trails make mountain biking a favorite activity with families. The Mountain Bike Schoolâs classes and guided tours help riders navigate the ins and outs of thrilling trails.
Donât miss: bobsled rides and zip lines at the Utah Olympic Park.
Vail Mountain Resort, Colorado
Vail Mountain Resort, Colorado (Photo: Colorado)
Saddle up for 40-minute, guided horseback trail rides through the woods and by mountain streams. Pony rides are available for kids ages 2 to 6. For more good times, soar to the top of the Eagle Bahn Gondola to Adventure Ridge, the hub for activities, including disc golf, zip lines, a climbing wall, rebound trampoline and ropes courses for kids and adults.
Donât miss: a barbecue lunch and views from 10,000-feet elevation.
(MORE: Find a kid-friendly hotel in Vail.)
Taos Ski Valley, New Mexico
A scenic chairlift ride is the easiest way to enjoy spectacular views and an abundance of mountaintop wildflowers. Bring a sack lunch to enjoy at picnic tables at the summit. Looking for more action? Giddy up through pines and high country meadows on guided horseback trail rides.
Donât miss: live music, volleyball and a childrenâs play area every Saturday May through August.
Keystone Resort, Colorado
Various guided hikes introduce families to the areaâs history, local wildlife, wildflowers and mountain vistas. Or hop on a mountain bike and explore the forest on single tracks or paved trails depending on your ability. More than 60 miles of trails offer many options. Golfers can tee off at two award-winning courses that wind along the Snake River and through meadows.
Donât miss: a scenic lift ride to the summit at 11,640 feet.
Mimi Slawoff, a Los Angeles-based journalist, contributed this to www.MiniTime.com.