Late-Summer Fun in the Mountain West

Celebrate the end of the season in California, Colorado, Idaho, and Wyoming

Back-to-school commercials are airing, but that doesn’t mean that summer is over. Even after the kids are back in the classroom, summer continues to sizzle across the Mountain West. Here are a few ways to celebrate the end of a terrific season in the mountains.

Photo courtesy Go Tahoe North


North Lake Tahoe has created an interactive map to help you hike and drink. That’s right, this handy map highlights the hikes (or bike routes) near various watering holes in the North Lake Tahoe area.

For instance, hop on the Shirley Canyon Trail in Squaw Valley and experience an intermediate-level trail with waterfalls in spring and wildflowers throughout the summer. After this four-mile excursion, treat yourself to a local beer at PlumpJack Squaw Valley Inn.

Or, forget the hike and hop on the brew tour at Tahoe Brew Tours in Truckee.

Photo: Heidi Kerr-Schlaefer


One of my favorite ways to get high in Colorado is on an outing with Alpine Scenic Jeep Tours in Ouray. This incredible excursion is your chance to stand on top of the world in one of the most beautiful spots on the planet.

I’ve been out with Alpine Scenic Jeep Tours twice, and have written about it on I can guarantee that this is an experience you won’t soon forget, and believe me when I tell you that Alpine’s vehicle is tops. When it comes to four wheel drive outings, this ride is luxury.

Photo courtesy Idaho Tourism


The west is a place where trains were once plentiful, and while trains still run today, there aren’t as many. This has resulted in miles of abandoned train rails around the Mountain West.

In Idaho, they’ve converted these old railway routes into bike paths. Generally flat, these paths are perfect for anyone who wants to explore Idaho on two wheels. From the 100 mile Centennial Trail near Coeur d’Alene to the short and scenic Snake River Canyon Rim Trails in Twin Falls, there’s something for every level of rider on these rail trails in Idaho.

Photo courtesy of Tour Wyoming


If you’d rather drive than ride or hike, the Flaming Gorge Green River Basin Scenic Byway provides views of mountain peaks and breathtaking rock formations. Start your journey just west of Rock Springs, Wyoming, and head south on Hwy 191. The drive will take you deep into red rock country and the Green River-Colorado drainage basin.

This area has deep roots in Western expansion history. For instance, Wesley Powell’s expedition floated the Green River. Today, the Flaming Gorge is popular with outdoor enthusiasts, attracting campers, fishermen, and river adventurers.

Detour onto the Pilot Butte Wild Horse Scenic Loop and you may spot wild horses that run free in this primitive country.

This 100-mile byway, which spans the Wyoming/Utah border, will take approximately three-hours by car. Learn more about Wyoming’s scenic byways here.

Categories: The Heidi Guide