Aspens wave their leafy hands in the air as chirping birds fly above their branches. Deer leap and canter through fields of gold, on their way back to their mountain dens. Water streams down a hill into a clear, blue lake, supplying drinking water to a bright red fox.
Bounded by the hogback to the east and mountains to the west, the Ken Caryl Valley is rich in natural beauty and teeming with wildlife. Nestled in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, this Coloradan destination is the best of both worlds—home to red-rocked state park, yet just a ten-to thirty-minute drive from numerous attractions, malls, and the bustling city of Denver
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Upon arriving in the Valley, any visitor should start their day actively! A hike or bike ride on Coyote Song Trail will awaken the senses and transport one into a new world full of luscious green trees and mountainous rocky landscape. Coyote Song, a narrow footpath that meanders through the red rocks of the valley, is home to many creatures big and small—birds, rabbits, deer, and coyotes at night (hence the name), with even those large mammals we call humans roaming about. I have to admit—I’m one of them! Being on the cross-country team at my school, I run this beautiful trail two to three times a week. It never ceases to amaze me how I can feel so completely in nature and able to choose a variety of side trails (such as the Cathy Johnson) that range from 4-6 miles, one even going over the eastern hogback and through a small forest of trees.
After returning, perhaps out of breath, from this little adventure, what better stop for lunch than at Morrison, just ten minutes north from the Valley on C470! This quaint, little town is full of unique restaurants such as Café Prague and Beso d’Arte, family-owned ice cream shops like the Blue Cow Eatery, and can easily be biked, run, or walked to from Ken Caryl! Red Rocks Amphitheater (one of the best in the country) lies adjacent to Morrison so a concert may be a necessary addition to the trip!
Following the jaunt to Morrison, one might return to Ken Caryl Valley and dive into one of the various neighborhood swimming pools. The Community Center includes a pool with a diving board, slide, and almost a hundred poolside lounge chairs; an indoor workout facility; and multiple activities for kids and adults! My younger brother is addicted to the community center—he goes to the pool every day to dive off the diving board and to relax gazing at the hogback, the mountains, and the aspen trees that the Community Center overlooks.
Want to catch up with the family? The significant other? The kids? There’s no better place than at the Manor House, located in the North Ranch of the Ken Caryl Valley! A old-time restaurant set on a hill, the Manor House has offered fine dining with a personal touch since it’s opening in 1914. Similar in style to that of the White House (President Ford used to fly in on his helicopter!), the staff makes everyone feel as if they truly are the President by serving wonderful food, providing top-notch service, and for the adults, a Happy Hour accompanied by a beautiful view of the lights of Denver, the twinkling stars, and the peaceful scenery of the foothills… What a perfect end to one day in Ken Caryl, but not by far the end of the potential adventurous possibilities in this local Denver valley.
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