Outdoor Adventure Packages
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Every trip we provide is a custom outdoor adventure. We want to get you ready for that big peak, fish that wild river, bike that epic downhill, and do it with all the confidence in the world. Colorado Wilderness Rides and Guides is more than a guiding company. We are also your mentors and teachers. We want to see you succeed on whatever project you’re working on, and with our custom Colorado adventures and experiences based around your desires and specifications as our guests, we’re ready to hear and meet your needs. The question is: What can we do for you?
frequently asked questions
The services of a professional guide(s); national park permit and backcountry camping permits; transportation between Boulder and the wilderness trailheads; all food during the backpacking trip; a re-supply drop, if necessary; gear for water purification and cooking; bear canister, tent, and medical kit; SPOT personal locator beacon, and contingency and emergency support.
Meals while in the front country (breakfast on Day 1 and dinner on the last day); laundry; alcoholic beverages; hotel overnight before your trip and at trip’s conclusion; personal equipment (sleeping bag, sleeping pad, backpack – these items are available to rent); and gratuities for your guide(s) – while this is at your discretion, the recommended amount is 20%. We recommend optional trip insurance.
- Transportation to and from Boulder at the beginning and end of the trip. If you arrive from Denver International Airport, we will arrange transportation for you for an additional charge. If you are staying in Estes Park, we can pick you up and drop you off from your hotel or a central location. If you are staying in Denver, we will help arrange transportation to/from a central Boulder location. If you arrive by car, we can arrange for your car to be left, while we are out on the trip.
- Equipment rental cost for a 3-day backpacking trip: personal backpacking gear: backpack ($25); sleeping pad ($14); sleeping bag ($25).
Optional: Fly fishing ($100 per person). Extra cost is due to the guide and equipment needed. Fly fishing license ($9 – $27 pp) is not included.
We take pride in providing excellent meals in remote settings. Remember, we are far from the road and trailheads, so our foods are not right out of the refrigerator. We accommodate dietary restrictions and preferences.
Mornings will consist of cereals, bagels, burritos, etc. Lunches will include meat and non-meat sandwiches, hummus, veggies, etc. Dinners will include protein and carbohydrates to recover and refuel for the next day.
We will be in the Rocky Mountains in June, July, August, and September. Our days tend to be long. In June, snow may still be present on trails and campsites. Bugs (mosquitoes) will be present in July and early August, particularly in and around water sources. August brings fewer bugs and cooler evenings. September generally has the fewest bugs, although that can vary from year to year, with shorter days and cooler nights. The weather is usually warm during the day (60s and 70s F). The evenings will be in the 30s – 50s F, depending on the altitude and month. Afternoon thunderstorms are almost a daily occurrence. Storms are generally strong and brief, lasting less than 60 minutes. Lightning often accompanies storms, so we make sure we are below tree-line by 2 pm. Windy conditions can be common above tree-line. As in any big mountain chain, snow can fall at any time or month during the year, even summer. There may be some snow patches around the Continental Divide in July, but not enough to warrant an ice axe or crampons.
Everyone asks this question, and for good reason. It all depends on the equipment you bring and the care you take in packing. We will help go through your gear before starting the trip and get rid of any luxury items not needed. These items can be stored with us and retrieved at the end of the trip.
Personal and group gear should weigh less than 35 lbs for each person. For women, we recommend all personal gear weighing under 13 lbs, and under 20 lbs for men (this includes your backpack, sleeping bag and pad, and clothing). Regarding food weight, plan on 2-3 lbs per person per day. So, 2 days of food will be 4-6 lbs. Tent and fuel should weigh around 4 lbs per person. We will divide tent, food, and fuel evenly among the group. Your guide will carry a tarp, group medical kit, water purification, and communication device. Every group is required to carry enough bear canisters to hold all food and toiletries. Water weighs 2.2 lbs per liter. Plan on carrying 2 liters throughout the day.
An equipment list will be provided when you book your trip. Please bring only what is on this list. The less weight, the better.
We will send you a recommended exercise program and an outline designed for backpacking. If you have any questions about your fitness level or recommendations/questions about a fitness program, please call us.
The best airport to fly into is Denver International Airport. Driving time between the airport and Boulder is 45 minutes to 1 hour; central Denver is 30 minutes; and Estes Park is about 2 hours.
If you are driving, we will e-mail directions to you.
Expect to be tired at the end of each day. This is normal, especially if you’re not acclimated to the altitude and exertion at altitude. You can expect living in close proximity to other trip members and guides for very full days. All trips are different because each trip is made up of different personalities, weather conditions, etc. Your guides will prepare each trip to suit the abilities and desires of the participants. You can expect a trip into Colorado’s backcountry that you’ll remember for the rest of your life.
Our Difficulty Ratings for backpacking trips are based on a scale of Easy to Extremely Difficult (Easy, Moderate, Difficult, Very Difficult, and Extremely Difficult).
Easy – On our easy trips, you will hike 2-4 miles a day with 25-35 pound backpacks on maintained trails. Elevation gain/loss may be as much as, but not more than, 1500 feet. Altitudes range from 5,000 – 9,000’.
Moderate – On moderate trips, you will hike 3-6 miles a day with a 25-35 pound backpack on maintained trails. Elevation gain/loss may be as much as, but not more than, 2250 feet. For a moderate trip, you should be comfortable hiking 6-8 miles in hilly or mountainous terrain with a backpack.
Difficult – On difficult trips, you will hike up to 8 miles a day with a 25-35 pound backpack. Elevation gain/loss may be as much as 3000 feet on maintained trails, or up to 2000 feet on more-rugged trails. For a difficult trip, you should be comfortable hiking 6-8 miles a day in hilly or mountainous terrain with a 25-pound backpack at altitudes of 7000’ – 10,000’.
Very Difficult – Very difficult trips take place on rugged, unmaintained trails with larger backpacks (30-40 pounds). The hiking is often steep and steady with daily distances of up to 10 miles and an elevation gain of up to 4000 feet. For these trips, you should be comfortable hiking for several hours (3 – 6 hours) without many breaks and have previous experience exercising and sleeping at elevations of 7000’-11,000’. Trips take place at altitudes of 7000’ – 13,000’.
Extremely Difficult – Extremely difficult trips involve hiking on very rugged trails or off-trail with backpacks of 35-45 pounds. These trips demand prolonged hiking with very strenuous, difficult sections. Terrain can be steep, loose, rocky and/or exposed (3rd class terrain). If you are considering an extremely difficult trip, you must be able to exercise vigorously for long periods (5-10 hours) and have previous experience exercising and sleeping at elevations of 10,000‘ – 14,000’. Trips take place at altitudes of up to 14,400’.
Note on altitude: If you live at less than 2000’ in altitude, at 5000’ you will need to increase your exertion by 15% to achieve your normal pace; at an altitude of 10,000’ you will need to increase your exertion by 25% to achieve your normal pace; and, at an altitude of 14,000’ you will need to increase your exertion by 35% to achieve your normal pace.
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