Discovering Hidden Colorado

Study Sustainability in the Mile High State

Any trek to study sustainability across the U.S. would be remiss without a stop in Colorado. The state is renowned for skiing, but Colorado has so much more to offer. There are national parks where you can volunteer with landscapes ranging from red rock deserts to alpine forests, so take your pick!

The Worldwide Navigators Difference


Sojourn – Gain a better understanding of the community you’re visiting. Learn about different religions or spiritual practices. How do these impact the communities? How does religion or spirituality influence local traditions?

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Savor – Will you choose sweet or savory? Take the time to visit local markets and discover unique local ingredients. Learn how to prepare traditional meals & local favorites.

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Tip of the Tongue – Each morning, take the time to learn a few basic greetings and phrases in the local language. Learn how to write greetings & your name in the local script.

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A Wrinkle in Time – History influences our present. Discover the history of the country you visit. Hear the stories of your guides & their family history. Where do they come from?

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Journal Journeys – Take some time to reflect on the day’s events and document your journey. Spend a moment journaling about the day had & day ahead. These are memories for a lifetime!

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Culture – From local dances, festivals, or simple gestures to communicate – all of these make up a country’s culture. Learn and practice cultural norms & how to show respect in the culture you visit.

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Today you’ll arrive in Denver where you’ll be met by your guide at the airport and transported to your hotel in Denver. Before you even set foot in the city you’ll marvel at the gorgeous Front Range jutting up from the plains and looming over the city. Once you’re settled in your accommodations, your guide will take you for a walkabout to get acquainted with the neighborhood, and then dinner with your travel companions to discuss the upcoming adventure!

Today you’ll start out exploring Denver’s prehistoric past at Denver’s Museum of Nature and Science. You could easily spend an entire day there, but be sure to check out the prehistoric exhibitions, including the Dinosaur Trek Through Time, an interactive exhibit that’s fun for all ages. When you’ve had your fill of dinos, step outside and enjoy a picnic lunch in the city’s gorgeous City Park, home to two lovely lakes and miles of footpaths.

Your dino-riffic adventure continues as you head out to the Dinosaur Ridge natural area for a post-lunch hike. Be sure to hydrate and take it easy your first few days in Colorado, as the elevation can have detrimental effects until you acclimate. Afterward, the Morrison Natural History Museum will offer a cool, refreshing lesson in the pre-history of the area. Then, catch the sunset from the glorious and storied Red Rocks Amphitheater before heading back to your hotel.

Today get packed up early for the drive up to Central City and Black Hawk, a pair of historical Colorado towns founded in 1859 during the historic Pike’s Peak Gold Rush. Once known as the “richest square mile on earth,” today the historic district offers casino gambling, historic tours, and a charming old-timey vibe for the whole family.

After you get checked in to your hotel, you’re free to hit the casino or just wander the streets of Central City and soak up the historical atmosphere. But be sure to stop in the Gilpin County Museum to get a sense of the lives of the miners who came here 150 years ago when the area was largely wilderness because you’ll be mining for gold soon enough! Next, visit the town’s cemeteries, straight out of every old west movie you’ve ever seen and full of history in their own right. After dinner, catch a show at the Central City Opera House, built in 1878 and still hosting world-class performances today.

Today you’ll get an up close and personal view of what mining was like in the old days, with a trip to historic Georgetown. This scenic town is home to the Capital Prize Mine, founded over 100 years ago and still in operation today. Travel 1,000 feet below the surface and mine for your own ore, which you’ll break open above ground and keep the riches within!

After lunch, enjoy a ride on the scenic Georgetown-Silver Plume train loop, a narrow-gauge train hearkening back to the era when the iron horse conquered the continent and offering incredible views as it runs along Clear Creek. Back to your hotel to get packed up for your next destination, Keystone, where you’ll spend the next couple of nights.

Today you’ll awaken in the gorgeous ski resort town of Keystone, Colorado. In winter it’s packed with skiers, but in summer the green and verdant hills are full of outdoor opportunities. Start the day with a hike arranged by your guide, who will get you hooked up with a local conservation group to help out with some trail maintenance as you enjoy the amazing views.

After a morning of giving back to the beautiful outdoors of Colorado, it’s time for an old west horseback ride with a Colorado wrangler guide on some Rocky Mountain trails! See the viewpoint of the miners and other settlers when they first rode into these hills 150 years ago. That evening, a horse-drawn covered wagon will take you to Soda Creek Valley where you’ll enjoy a traditional homestead dinner.

Today you’ll start by heading up to the gorgeous North Peak at Keystone, which offers some amazing mountain biking opportunities for the adventurous adrenaline junkie! For those who prefer their adventures to be a bit slower-paced, there are a myriad of hiking trails offering all difficulty levels as well. You’ll spend this day exploring the various trails of Keystone either on foot or on two wheels, depending on your choice, before meeting back at the hotel to get cleaned up and meet for dinner.

Then it’s time for stargazing unlike any you’ve ever witnessed before on these 10,000-foot peaks, as your local guide will help you identify constellations and other heavenly bodies under the clear canopy of the Colorado mountain sky.

This morning get packed up and ready to head up to Breckenridge, another ski resort in winter turned outdoor adventure parkland in summer. After you get settled in to your hotel, it’s time to begin the mountain adventures in earnest, with a trip up the Colorado SuperChair, a chairlift that will take you to the Alpine Camp. Don’t forget to look behind you and all around on your way up for spectacular views!

At the Alpine Camp you can indulge all kinds of outdoor activities, ranging from the extensive 40-foot high Gold Summit climbing wall, to an interpretive trail that gives you an overview of the alpine environment and the distinct flora and fauna that live at this altitude.

But don’t get too complacent because now it’s time for the Alpineer Challenge Course! It’s a set of 15 distinct challenges including navigating swinging logs and rope balancing that’s open to teens and adults of all ages that will keep you entertained all day before heading back down for dinner in Breck.

Today the adventures continue with a trip to the Goldrunner Alpine Coaster, a one-of-a-kind bobsled-like ride down a specially designed, 2,500-foot elevated track – better than any caffeine jolt to get your day started! Then head to one of the area’s renowned zip lines picked out for you by your guide for more amazing views and adrenaline rushes.

After a relaxing lunch to catch your breath, it’s time for some more easy activities, like how about a nice, lazy tube ride down the river? Follow that with a lovely dinner in the old town charm of Breckenridge and a relaxing stroll through its charming streets.

Today it’s time to head south, but even the 2.5-hour drive to Colorado Springs is a treat, winding through Fairplay and South Park, the fictional home of the famous foul-mouthed cartoon boys. You’ll get checked in to your hotel in Colorado Springs, and then head out to the Garden of the Gods, a 1,300-acre preserve with striking sandstone formations and lovely hiking trails. Afterward, head back into town and stop by the Ghost Town Museum, a model town emulating an old west settlement with activities including panning for gold, before sitting down for dinner.

Today you’ll take the Pike’s Peak Cog Railway up to the top of Pike’s Peak. The ride up is in a charming cog rail car, and the conductor will point out scenic points of interest along the way. Pike’s Peak is a 14,115-foot mountain that dominates the skyline above Colorado Springs, and once you’re up there you’ll feel like you can see all the way to Kansas! Picnic and hiking opportunities abound atop the mountain, making for a perfect Rocky Mountain High type of day.

Wake up early and head out to drive yet further south through Colorado country to the impressive Great Sand Dunes National Park. After you stop off at the visitor center to get an orientation from the helpful park rangers – the park is big enough that you can get lost, or get caught out there if a sudden thunderstorm rolls in and you don’t know where you’re going! – spend the day roaming among the dunes. There’s a shallow creek running through it, and you can splash around if it gets too hot, as well as enjoying sandboarding and sand-sledding.

After you’ve had your fill of sand, it’s time for a bit more driving to Pagosa Springs, a hidden gem of a town in the southern Colorado Rockies. Here you’ll get checked in and then head straight over to the hot springs, where you can enjoy dozens of tiered and landscaped pools with naturally spring-heated water in a range of temperatures before dinner and a good night’s sleep.

Today you’ll spend the first part of the day enjoying the lovely town of Pagosa Springs, as well as the hiking opportunities nearby. On your way out of town, check out the Chimney Rock National Monument, featuring the ruins of an ancient pueblo.

Then it’s off to Mesa Verde National Park for the final leg of your journey, where you’ll set up camp and get ready to be amazed at the incredibly well-preserved pueblo settlements there. Guided tours will take you through the sandstone structures, and you’ll learn what little we know about the people who lived there for centuries before abandoning the area inexplicably. Have a campfire dinner prepared by your group and your guide and then toast some marshmallows under the open sky, marveling at how many stars you can see outside the city!

There’s a lot more to see in Mesa Verde, so you’ll spend the first part of the day exploring the park. Then it’s just a short drive to the Canyon of the Ancients National Monument, which has a charming little museum that will tell you more about the ancient people who lived here in the Four Corners area. After stopping off there, you can head out and hike among the rock formations to see some breathtaking views. You can even find broken pottery shards left behind by the puebloans just lying on the ground!

Then it’s back to your campsite at Mesa Verde for one more al fresco dinner, and some time to commiserate with your travel companions about this epic journey that is coming to an end too soon. Enjoy a last night under the stars and imagine the ancient puebloans gazing up at the very same constellations half a millennium ago.

Time to rejoin the real world, and it’s an early start on the drive back to Denver and the airport to head home. But you’ll never forget this journey and the new friends you’ve made in the Mile High State!

You’ll always have your memories of Colorado – and a ton of photos – having seen its gorgeous mountains, alpine lakes, and red rock deserts. But perhaps you’ll also take away a new appreciation for the people of Colorado past and present, and an understanding that there’s so much more sustainable travel to do here than skiing!


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