Colorado gals crave adventure. We relish a bike ride over Loveland Pass or a long trek through the Indian Peaks. We pitch tents, lead-climb up granite walls, and know that a cup of tea and child’s pose do wonders for the soul. This place instills us with a gutsy spirit and charm that runs far deeper than our wind-burnt cheeks. And it’s something that can’t be ignored during the last hurrah of our single lives.
Fortunately, Colorado knows its women. From spa glamping to backcountry skiing, this state was built for an adventurous bachelorette and her intrepid friends. So before you maids of honor settle on the trip to Vegas with firemen clad in tear-away pants, consider first what’s outside our backdoor.
The Steamboat Grand / $$$
Two hours from the modern-day pace of the Front Range, there’s a place that takes you back to the Wild West days of yesteryear. Mirroring its namesake town, The Steamboat Grand embodies a rustic elegance that charms guests into slowing down and taking a load off. What’s more, the hotel is centrally located for making the most of a fun girls’ weekend in this haven of mountain activities.
While snow is still falling, take advantage of the fresh powder with a guided snowshoe tour led by Steamboat Ambassadors. You’ll spend the morning meandering along the Vista Nature Trail before breaking for a gourmet lunch provided by Hazie’s Restaurant. And Hazie’s is only the start of the good food found here. Take part in the town’s Sunday brunch on the mountain—a tradition which includes complimentary views of Mount Werner as you feast on smoked salmon and orzo pasta.
In the warmer months, kayak the Yampa River or mountain bike your way through the Yampa Valley—which, by the way, you can also get a bird’s-eye view of with Zephyr Helicopter Tours. After all of your escapades, local brews are in order. Mahogany Ridge Brewery’s easygoing atmosphere and Alpenglow ale are just right for toasting to the future bride before soaking in Strawberry Park’s hot springs to unwind from the day.
Who it’s for: The outdoorsy-yet-still-prefer-turn-down-service crowd.
Book it: Visiting soon? Go for the Steamboat Grand Spa package. With a three-night stay, you get major discounts on gear rentals, lift tickets and a spa treatment. Check out: steamboatgrand.com; 970.871.5050
Must-have gear: A quick-drying travel towel—handy for the hot springs and spa.
Devil’s Thumb Ranch Resort & Spa / $$
It’s Heaven. Or at least as close as you’ll come to it in Colorado. Bucolic and refined, there’s over 100km of groomed trails for your cross-country skiing heart, and lazy-day rafting trips on the Upper Colorado. It’s zip-lining, paddle boarding, hiking, fly-fishing and archery. But it’s also head-to-sore feet pampering at the Ranch Creek Spa, and private group yoga sessions in their climate-controlled studios. It’s high altitude facials and organic skincare products; secluded cabins with fluffy robes and heated floors.
It’s the Devil’s Thumb Ranch in Tabernash, plopped down amid acres and acres of unparalleled beauty. And while you’re here celebrating the upcoming I-dos, pull yourself away from the adventure and plush amenities (I dare you) to dine on ginger-scented grilled salmon at the Tabernash Tavern. Or elk filet mignon, and other mountain cuisine, at the Ranch House Restaurant. Every season is your friend here, so come whenever—you’ll want to stay forever.
Who it’s for: Adventurers who favor pampering easily within reach.
Book it: The “Choose Your Zen” package is great for a group of friends on their first visit to the ranch. Upon check-in, you’re given vouchers to use as you sample the meals and activities of your choosing. Starts at $313 for double occupancy; devilsthumbranch.com; 970.726.5632
Must-have gear: Your fleece. Even in the warmest months, temps really drop once the sun does.
Tennessee Pass Nordic Center, Cookhouse and Sleep Yurts / $
Picture it: You, gliding through the snow with your belongings strapped to your back (party hats and plastic wine glasses included). All around you, sky melds with ground in a flurry of white. Then, on the horizon you see it—a roundish tent-like structure with gentle smoke plumes rising up. It’s your bachelorette yurt. And if you have no idea what a yurt is, consider it a new synonym for fun.
Nine miles northwest of Leadville is where you’ll find the Tennessee Pass Sleep Yurts. Here, you ski or snowshoe an easy 1.3 miles to the structures that come fully equipped with log beds, solar lighting, propane stoves, and all the coffee, hot cocoa and cider a girls’ weekend might require. Pack your stuff in or opt for the available baggage delivery service. Either way, make sure to bring cards, crafts, and those books you’ve been meaning to read, in order to take full advantage of this mellow backcountry retreat. Slow down, feel the pulse of the day. Then, when you get hungry (which you will, it’s cold out), trek to the cookhouse—located in another yurt—for a four-course meal paired with idyllic backcountry stargazing. Forgot to bring the wine? The center will deliver a bottle (or two or three) to your woodland abode.
Who it’s for: A group of friends who enjoy both the outdoors and getting cozy in a bunk-bed sort of way.
Book it: Reserve a yurt for $225 per night with all trail fees included; tennesseepass.com; 719.486.8114
Must-have gear: A backpacking pack, especially the female-specific designs by Osprey and Kelty.
The Broadmoor Hotel / $$
You don’t have to spend hours on I-70 in slow-motion traffic to find mountain-town charm and thrills. With ample elevation, Colorado Springs offers as much adventure as it does elegance—a perfect combination for any pre-nuptial girls’ gathering.
Since its start in 1918, The Broadmoor Hotel has been an ideal launching pad for all sorts of weekend escapades. And whether you stay in a standard room or splurge on a private cottage along the green, you’ll feel the presence of the hotel’s immense history. Pack a picnic and set out for a hike or climb at Garden of the Gods. Ever been spelunking? You can do that too at nearby Cave of the Winds. Strap on your headlamps for a 1.5 hour-long lantern-lit tour through the caverns, where novice spelunkers get to feel like early explorers and learn about the cave’s folklore.
Tucked next to Pike’s Peak is Manitou Springs. Wander around the historic district for unique shopping along boutique-lined streets and at trendy art galleries. Follow this up with classic pub fare back at the hotel’s Golden Bee—a 19th Century English bar. Or get dressed up for a more glamorous night—complete with dancing and a giant chandelier—at the Tavern. Whatever you do, don’t leave The Broadmoor without visiting the Spa. The mountain air may be good for what ails you, but the Spa heals and detoxes with their holistic treatments inspired by the area’s landscape. From hydrotherapy to hot stone massages, every member of the party will find the escape she needs here.
Who it’s for: Those looking to break up their adventures with a massage and a day of shopping.
Book it: Through the end of October, 2014, take advantage of the Spa Girlfriends’ Getaway package which includes discounted suites and a Swedish massage; broadmoor.com; 719.623.5112.
Must-have gear: Hiking boots and wool socks—preferably ones with fun patterns.
Beaver Creek Lodge / $$$
Visitors have called it the “Tiffany’s” of ski resorts, and Beaver Creek certainly offers a posh take on roughing it. The Beaver Creek Lodge stays true to this with mountain chic qualities that make its rooms perfect for curling up by the fire or relaxing in a whirlpool bath. Soak in the lodge’s hot tub while you wait for a Cowboy Pizza from Blue Moose to be delivered. Or venture down the road to the Metropolitan—a sophisticated wine and tapas bar that’s perfect for sharing plates of worldly food with friends.
But if you and your girlfriends came here to do things besides lounge and eat good food, you can start with the phenomenal skiing to be found on Bachelor Gulch’s gentle slopes and the steep terrain of Grouse Mountain.
During the spring and summer, go rafting with AVA adventures. Enjoy the day paddling on one of five rivers as you admire views of nature (and your cute guide) that you can only get from this unique vantage point. Back on land, take the group horseback riding with Beaver Creek Stables. A 3-hour picnic ride lets you explore the famous mountain sans snow. And there are other mountains here too. Towering peaks that stare down at you—so why not go climb one of them? Several nearby 14ers (Elbert, Huron, Massive) make for great day trips. Book a group hike up one of these beasts through the Beaver Creek Hiking Center, or, if you already know your way up such a summit, go tackle it on your own! When you return, there will be no shortage of good food and indulgences awaiting you and your sore muscles.
Who it’s for: A group of friends with healthy funds and an appetite for altitude.
Book it: The lodge runs seasonal specials year-round that are continuously changing. If you’re heading up while the mountain is still open, rooms range from $300-$800. During the summer those prices drop down to $200-$300; beavercreeklodge.net; 970.845.9800
Must-have gear: A hydration pack (i.e. Camelbak)—you’ll need to keep drinking water all weekend.