By Tiona Eversole
The New Year is in full swing, and we are excited to see what adventures come our way. The question is: have you started planning your next adventure? If not, we’ve got you covered for the whole year. From running to rafting, here are six bucket list adventures that you will be thrilled to check off of your Southwest adventure list.
January-February: Bluebird Powder Days in Taos, NM
When you hear “New Mexico,” what is the first thing that comes to mind? It probably isn’t skiing, but after a weekend at the Taos Ski Valley, your outlook on New Mexico will change.
The Taos Ski Valley is where the New Mexico desert meets the Rocky Mountains. With an average snowfall of 300 inches a year, 300 days of sunshine, a vertical drop of 3,273 feet and over 1,200 skiable acres, the name of the game is steep and deep.
March-April: Raft the San Juan River in Utah
The winding Gooseneck section on the San Juan covers a 7 mile stretch of the river, but only an airline distance of 2 miles.The San Juan is more than just a river; it is a gateway to the hidden gems of the southwestern landscape and culture. The gentle, warm waters make for a great early season float as they meander through the stunning geography and ancient ruins of southeastern Utah.
Permits are required for the 102-mile section of the San Juan between Montezuma Creek and Clay Hills. Applications for a permit are accepted until January 31.
May-June: Hang out in Indian Creek, UT
Springtime in the desert is a magical time. Plants and animals begin to stir after a few chilly months and the temperatures are sunny and mild. In the northern section of Bears Ears National Monument lies a rocky playground known as Indian Creek.
A bouldering and crack climbing mecca, Indian Creek makes bouldering fingertips tingle and excites the hearts of climbers. Prominent sandstone walls and towers give way to the surrounding landscape, producing routes for every level of climbing.
July-August: Rip through Wildflowers in Crested Butte, CO
Why stop and smell the wildflowers when you can ride through them? A peak time for high alpine wildflowers, the area surrounding Crested Butte, CO erupts in hues of pink, yellow and blue as you ride some of the most epic singletrack that Colorado has to offer.
Crested Butte offers a mountain biking experience for all levels of riding. From the smooth Lupine Trail right outside of town to the popular and more advanced 401 Trail, you’re bound to fall in love with this vivid mountain town.
If you want to immerse yourself in all things mountain biking, visit Crested Butte during August 17-19, 2018 for Outerbike.
September-October: Get High in Leadville, CO
Imagine reaching the highest point in Colorado and being able to see in every direction for miles. The views from the top of Mt. Elbert near Leadville, CO are breathtaking… literally. At 14,433 feet, this is one hike that needs a little planning and preparation before attempting.
Mt. Elbert might be the tallest 14er, but it is also the easiest. The trail for the most popular northeast route is well established and begins at 10,040 feet. 4,700 feet is gained during the 4.75-mile trek to the summit. In other words, don’t let the size scare you. Just make sure you are well prepared and you will reap the benefits of coming out on top.
November-December: Desert Running at McDowell Mountain Regional Park, AZ
You would never believe that an impressive desert oasis exists just outside of Scottsdale, AZ. Imagine running under the stars along dirt trails with colossal saguaro cacti as your cheering squad. This is what the Ragnar Trail McDowell Mountain relay is all about.
Build a team of four to eight people and start training. This race starts at dusk on Nov. 2 and finishes at sunrise the following day. The deadline for registration is Sept. 25.