Crestone Colorado: Your Adventure Destination Right in the heart of the breathtaking Rocky Mountains lies the rustic town of Crestone, Colorado, one of the region’s most historic destinations. With a long legacy which reaches back into the 1800s and a laid-back atmosphere which is sure to delight, Crestone’s greatest treasures lay within the spectacular landscape itself. From towering pines and gushing rapids to soaring peaks and endless skies, it is the perfect escape for the casual adventurer and extreme sports enthusiast alike. There are a myriad of ways to enjoy what the vast, unbounded landscape of Colorado has to offer, starting right from Crestone’s doorstep. Whitewater Wonder Imagine feeling the rush of wild water beneath your feet as you plunge into perilous rapids and dodge jagged rocks, sailing past peaks and valleys before enjoying a relaxing, slower current where the you have time to marvel at the natural beauty surrounding you. Colorado isn’t crowned the country’s best whitewater rafting destination for nothing – its unique geographical structures carved out over millions of years make it a challenging and rewarding terrain for those who wish to grab a paddle and brave its waters. Whether it’s riding the current of the North Platte, Arkansas and Colorado Rivers or simply cruising along a gentler course, there are several adventure companies near Crestone – itself just a few miles away from Salida, the prime starting point for rafters – that can accommodate rafters of all levels and ages. Hiking Haven, Camping Paradise Surrounded by beautiful wilderness, Crestone’s natural wonders flourish in abundance, making it an ideal setting for avid hikers, campers, and leisurely walkers craving inspiration from the outdoors. The region is full of magical trails both near and far, offering a great selection for all tastes and levels:     Willow Lake (the “classic” Crestone hike)     South Crestone Creek Trail     North Crestone Creek     Liberty Postal Road (a new addition) Encompassing lush meadows and dense forests, the walks range from average to challenging difficulties, and provide ample opportunities for nature watching as well. Near Crestone lies the majestic peaks of Horn Peak, Fluted Peak, Kit Carson Mountain, Crestone Peak, and Marble Mountain among several others, and slightly further afield are the Great Sand Dunes National Preserve as well as National Park. Several campsites surround these areas including the popular North Crestone Campground in the Sangre De Cristo Mountains. Mountain Biking Madness Just as Colorado is renowned for its whitewater rafting opportunities, so too does it offer the perfect playground for the lovers of that hardy two-wheeled invention. You’ll need some rugged treads for the sheer mileage and rough terrain which features great views, grueling climbs, loops, jumps, and smooth paths. There are many excellent bike trails starting right from Crestone itself, like the Arkansas Hills Trails, Methodist Mountain System and several others. Also winding through some historic towns and villages, it’s easy to find a place to stop and recoup before the next run. Prepping for Your Next Adventure Of course, these aren’t the only extreme sports you can enjoy in and around Crestone – everything from ziplining and hangliding to horseback riding and quad biking is available, not to mention Colorado’s most beloved sport, skiing! and you don’t have to be an expert to enjoy them wholeheartedly. But it’s always wise to plan in advance of your journey into the wilds of Colorado, particularly for international travelers. Get an idea of the kind of climate you will be journeying into and its weather patterns in order to gauge what kind of clothing you’ll need for travel and what kinds of sports activities are best suited to the season; prepare for blazing hot summers and cold, snowy winters. When venturing out into the deep wilds, also be sure to know your whereabouts and acquire some outdoor survival tips and tricks beforehand. Know how to identify poisonous plants such as poison ivy, and guard against mosquitoes as well as how to respond to bears, wolves, coyotes, and snakes – although most wildlife will usually stay away from humans unless threatened. Equally important, make sure you are covered by appropriate travel and health insurance, and read the small print – coverage can vary for extreme sports, such as skiing off-piste. If traveling with your favorite sporting equipment like skies or a bike, you can also find the right plan to cover you in case of an incident, or use one of many rental facilities which the region provides. By planning your Crestone adventure in advance, you can thrive on the spur of the moment in this incredible region which has a bit of everything that Colorado has to offer. ~contributor, Susan Jefferson