AFTER A TUMULTUOUS YEAR, WE ALL DESERVE—NO, WE NEED—A RESPITE TO HEAL, CLEANSE, RESTORE AND REJUVENATE. MAKE THIS THE SUMMER FOR A DECADENT ESCAPE, FROM FLY-FISHING ON AN ANGLER’S DREAMSCAPE TO GLAMPING IN THE DESERT TO AN IMMERSIVE NATURE RETREAT.
Mountaintop yoga is just one element of the A to Zen retreat at Viceroy Snowmass. PHOTO COURTESY OF ROCKY MOUNTAINEER
Nature has the power to heal. This truth inspired the new A to Zen package at Viceroy Snowmass. This three-day retreat ($6,850 for two) is packed with experiences that immerse travelers in the outdoors. Start with guided SUP yoga with Summer Sanctuaries on a private alpine lake. Following the session, you’ll dine lakeside in Burlingame Cabin, where Tim Ormonde, the Viceroy’s executive chef, will prepare a farm-to-table lunch with Amarillo ceviche and oysters on the half shell.
In the morning, take a sunrise hot air balloon ride for a bird’s-eye view of the rugged Aspen-Snowmass topography. When you come back to earth, breakfast and mimosas will be waiting in a private room inside Toro at the Viceroy. Later, ride the Elk Camp gondola to the Snowmass summit for a private one-hour mountaintop vinyasa flow and meditation session. Whatever pose you’re in, views of Capitol Peak and Mount Daly will lift your soul. Next, take a trip to the natural hot springs at Avalanche Ranch, where you’ll find healing waters in three tiered pools on the Crystal River with waterfalls and rock grottoes.
Back at the hotel, cleanse and replenish with the Ute Sun Dance Ritual at the 7,000-square-foot Spa at Viceroy Snowmass. Based on an ancient spiritual ceremony in the Ute tradition, this 120-minute ritual includes a hot salt soak to wash away heavy intentions, healing hands and foot treatment, warm red clay body wrap to detoxify and improve circulation, and a hot oil scalp treatment to quiet mental stress. Finishing with a nourishing full-body shea butter massage, the Sun Dance journey is designed to restore your mind-body equilibrium.
The final A to Zen moment is a stargazing farm-to-table dinner with seasonal local fare, including Colorado striped bass, held on a lawn above the resort. After dinner, a local astronomer will use a high-powered telescope to find a star you preselected, and you can name it on the spot. As much as a star can be, it’s yours forever. 130 Wood Road, Snowmass Village, 970.923.8000, viceroyhotelsandresorts.com/snowmass –Helen Olsson
Arches National Park, Utah. PHOTO COURTESY OF ROCKY MOUNTAINEER
The romance of riding the rails has returned to Colorado. Rocky Mountaineer, known for its scenic rail routes in the Canadian Rockies, between Vancouver and Banff , Lake Louise and Jasper, has launched its first luxury train route in the U.S.: a two-day journey between Denver and Moab with an overnight in Glenwood Springs. Traveling in custom-designed coaches with spacious, reclining seats, you’ll follow the Colorado River through a series of canyons with steep, rugged walls and across the Continental Divide. Utah’s desert landscape will unfold through the train’s expansive domed-glass windows to reveal views of red sandstone arches and enchanting hoodoos. The onboard cuisine features regionally inspired dishes that showcase the ingredients and flavors of the Southwest, served to you in your seat so you don’t miss a moment of the ever-changing scenery.
The Rocky Mountaineer train. PHOTO COURTESY OF ROCKY MOUNTAINEER
To uplevel your journey, add SilverLeaf Plus service, with crafted cocktails served in the lounge car and extra courses delivered at meals. The trip can be taken either eastbound or westbound, and if you want to explore Denver or Moab—or add excursions to Salt Lake or Las Vegas—travel specialists at Rocky Mountaineer can curate a custom package for you, complete with hotels, tours and activities.
The new Colorado-Utah train itinerary has been so popular, its run has been extended through Nov. 19. 877.420.3200, rockymountaineer.com –HO
Your ranch away from home PHOTO COURTESY OF THE RESIDENCES AT ASPEN VALLEY RANCH
For the ultimate splurge, consider a monthlong luxury home rental at The Residences at Aspen Valley Ranch. The property debuted in May, renting six homesteads spread across 813 acres in a gated ranch community, with plans for six more in the works.
Concepted by local designers Michael Fuller and Poss Architecture, The Residences at Aspen Valley Ranch pay homage to the site’s legacy as a family ranch through the use of reclaimed beams, barnwood and stone. The ranch is just 10 minutes from downtown Aspen, but the thoughtful positioning of each home creates a private haven for discerning travelers. The interior design aesthetic reflects the surrounding environment, while windows and doors frame the views, from open pastures to red rock canyons. Depending on the home, you might encounter an ornate internal courtyard or a commanding floor-to-ceiling stone fireplace.
The horse barn is an equestrian’s dream. PHOTO COURTESY OF THE RESIDENCES AT ASPEN VALLEY RANCH
The property offers an immersive Western living experience with access to community spaces including the Ranch House, which serves as a gathering place for cocktail parties and s’mores under the stars. The historic barn has a full game room and a “toy garage” filled with four-wheelers, e-bikes and side-by-side off-road vehicles. For equestrians, a barn filled with horses, a riding arena and an on-site wrangler are at the ready. Guests also have access to the ranch’s state-of-the-art gym and pool house, complete with hot tub, steam room and weight room.
Rounding out the package, a deep list of services includes private chefs, in-home spa treatments and golf carts for getting around the ranch (some at an additional cost). The starting monthly rate for a four-bedroom house is $175,000, $200,000 for a five-bedroom. There’s also an option to buy out the entire ranch community, making the experience that much more exclusive. 295 Aspen Valley Ranch Road, Woody Creek, 970.670.6060, avrresidences.com –HO
Fish on exclusive waters at Taylor River Lodge. PHOTO COURTESY OF ELEVEN EXPERIENCE
Wet a line and chase wild trout and native cutthroat on the premium waters at Taylor River Lodge, an angler’s paradise in the Gunnison Valley, on the outskirts of Crested Butte. The off-the-grid mentality of this exclusive riverfront lodge means you can fully unplug, immerse yourself in nature and truly connect with friends and family. This private eight-cabin retreat has a game room, gym with a Pilates reformer, two spa treatment rooms and a swank bathhouse with a saltwater pool, steam room, sauna and hot tub.
The dining space is cozy log-cabin chic. PHOTO COURTESY OF ELEVEN EXPERIENCE
Fish on the on-site casting pond, stocked with rainbow trout, or float fish the nearby Gunnison River in a drift boat with your Eleven Experience guide. Early season means big water, nymphs and streamers—and hungry trout. Once the summer hatches kick in, it’s time for dry fly-fishing. New this summer, anglers can walk and wade private water on Tomichi Creek through Eleven Experience. The area is a wild trout fishery with extremely limited access, meaning you won’t see another soul while fishing the property.
This riverfront lodge is the perfect place to unplug. PHOTO COURTESY OF ELEVEN EXPERIENCE
Everything about Taylor River exudes luxury, from the rustic yet elegant guest cabins to the fully customized itineraries. It’s billed as a summer camp for grownups—although children are welcome, and they’ll love the riverside tepee, private climbing wall, archery and hatchet throwing (supervised, naturally).
The retreat’s Kokanee Lodge is the setting for communal dining, with a private bar and fireplace lounge. Chefs use fresh and organic ingredients to create a farm-to-table menu, best enjoyed at the outdoor riverfront seating.
Make this refuge even more private by buying out the entire property, which accommodates 24 (from $29,100 per night). This angling-exclusive package includes round-trip airport transfers to nearby Gunnison, guide service, all the necessary gear, chef-prepared meals and après, house beverages (boozy and nonalcoholic) and prearrival planning with an Eleven Experience manager. 10931 Colorado Road 742, Almont, 800.903.7761, elevenexperience.com –HO
Arapahoe Basin’s new via ferrata. PHOTO BY IAN ZINNER/COURTESY OF ARAPAHOE BASIN
Venture above tree line with a guided expedition up the highest via ferrata climbing route in North America, a brand-new summer experience at Arapahoe Basin. The via ferrata, Italian for “iron way,” allows you to scale the resort’s vertiginous East Wall—a popular boot-packing route for expert skiers and snowboarders in winter—with the aid of iron rungs that have been permanently fixed to the rock. The ascent through cliff faces and rocky outcrops requires climbing gear and helmets, but no previous rock-climbing experience. Throughout the climb, you’ll be safely clipped into a steel cable with a carabiner and short rope connected to your climbing harness.
You’ll be safely clipped into the steel cable the whole way up. PHOTO BY IAN ZINNER/COURTESY OF ARAPAHOE BASIN
The half-day tour takes you past the remnants of an abandoned mine (guides will give you the historical backstory). In the full-day guided tour, you’ll reach the East Wall’s 13,000-foot ridgeline. As you ascend the natural rock wall, the view below spans the outline of green pines marking the tree line and fields of boulders—if you dare to look down.
Both experiences start with a chairlift ride up to 11,500 feet, giving a glimpse at the ski area’s midsummer transformation. Guides will demonstrate how to safely use the provided equipment, then it’s a half-mile hike to the base of the via ferrata route, where you’ll strap in for this one-of-a-kind climb. Tours include a gourmet picnic lunch, like antipasto, grilled vegetables and fresh baguettes, to be enjoyed en route. Once you return to the base, celebrate the adventure with dinner and drinks at the 6th Alley Bar and Grill. 28194 U.S. Highway 6, Dillon, 970.468.0718, arapahoebasin.com –Vyla Carter
All aboard the cherry-red train cars from Swiss train builder Stadler. PHOTO COURTESY OF THE BROADMOOR
After a nearly three-year closure, The Broadmoor Manitou & Pikes Peak Cog Railway, America’s highest railway and a Colorado institution, is finally reopening. The 9-mile chug uphill delivers you to the 14,115-foot summit of Pikes Peak, North America’s most visited mountain, with 360-degree views of the landscape that inspired “America the Beautiful.”
In celebration of the reopening—and the historic railway’s 130th anniversary—the five-star Broadmoor resort, owner and operator of the railway since 1925, is offering a special ride-and-stay package (from $640 per night, double occupancy). Stay in one of the resort’s luxury guest rooms and enjoy access to amenities including spa, pools, golf course and tennis club.
Ride the rails, then stay at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs. PHOTO COURTESY OF THE BROADMOOR
Your rail journey starts at the newly renovated Manitou Depot with a viewing deck for Instagram moments and two new retail outlets where you can stock up on snacks for the three-hour round-trip ride. The highlight at the top is, of course, the eye-catching panorama, but there’s also the new $60 million Pikes Peak Visitor Center, including elevated pathways designed to help protect the mountain’s fragile tundra. Here you can learn about the cog railway’s long history through interactive displays. Starting in 1891, its trains transported well-heeled visitors as a more comfortable alternative to an arduous mule trek.
For a bit more adventure, hike the 13-mile Barr trail to the summit and ride the train back down. The railway can also serve as the ultimate bike haul, saving bikers 19 miles of uphill pedaling. From the top, it’s a thrilling cruise down Pikes Peak Highway from the summit on a guided excursion. Be sure to test your brakes. 1 Lake Ave., Colorado Springs, 855.634.771, broadmoor.com –VC
Under Canvas Lake Powell-Grand Staircase promises a celestial experience. PHOTO BY TRAVIS BURKE
Camping has gained huge popularity in the time of COVID. This summer, elevate the experience with a bucket list-worthy road trip to visit a foursome of Under Canvas campgrounds, including one of the company’s newest outposts: Lake Powell-Grand Staircase.
Enjoy views like Horseshoe Bend. PHOTO BY TRAVIS BURKE
Perched on the edge of Utah’s Canyon Rim Plateau, the new 220-acre site features its own slot canyon and views painted in hues of orange, red and yellow stretching across Lake Powell and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. Stay in one of the resort’s 50 safari-style canvas lodging tents, each with private en suite bathrooms and furnished with plush mattresses, luxe linens and wood-burning stove. With hot running water and daily housekeeping, you’ll enjoy hotel-style amenities while connecting with the outdoors in a way you simply can’t while ensconced in a high-rise.
Explore the area’s rugged terrain by hiking, rafting, mountain biking or private jeep touring. At Lake Powell, play on the beach near Lone Rock, a free-standing sandstone monolith, and chase sunsets at Horseshoe Bend, where the Colorado River takes a dramatic near-180 turn. An Under Canvas adventure concierge can create customized itineraries, or you can book an Adventure Package, choosing from a curated list of locally guided experiences.
The culinary offerings here transcend camp grub, with a menu that leans on seasonal, locally sourced ingredients. At night, enjoy fireside s’mores and stare into the cosmos. Far from the city lights, the stars will be dazzlingly bright.
Of course, any single destination on the Grand Circle would be its own rich excursion, but this is the summer to leave worries and work behind, making your way around this ultimate glamping loop. From Denver, kick off the trip in Arizona at Under Canvas’ Grand Canyon campsite on 160 acres of pinon and juniper forest. Next, head northwest to Lake Powell, visiting the dramatic slot canyons at Antelope Canyon en route. Up next, Under Canvas Zion, which borders the red-rock playground of Zion National Park. Cap this epic odyssey with a stop at Under Canvas Moab, which just completed a $1 million transformation. Discover the deep canyons and towering plateaus of Arches and Canyonlands National Parks, before heading back to Denver. 555 S. Jacob Tank Road, Big Water, Utah, 888.496.1148, undercanvas.com –HO