keystone hiking

10 Things To Do In Keystone in the Summer

by Randy Jeffrey

Its reputation as a ski town precedes it, but summer in Keystone offers everything from hiking and biking to festivals and fine dining. Visitors and residents alike gravitate to the family-friendly area, with its endless entertainment, recreation, and dining options. Magical in the winter, Keystone is reinvigorated in the summer months thanks to its long, sun-dappled days and cool, refreshing evenings. An easy 90 minutes from Denver, the mountain town welcomes all to the Rockies with open arms and stunning views.

Hiking and Biking

Keystone is home to some of the best hiking, backpacking, and camping in the United States, especially during the summer months. At over 12,000 feet, allow your body to acclimate to the altitude a day or so before taking to the trails. Once you’re ready to explore, try the Loveland Pass Hike for breathtaking views within a manageable trek (roughly four miles and 3.5 hours, depending on pace and stops for picture-taking).

The winter-to-summer transition aids the area well, as many ski paths are converted to hiking and biking paths in the warmer months. Take the River Run Gondola at Keystone Resort to the top of Dercum Mountain and explore various paths. Keystone Bike Park has something for riders of all abilities; the summer trails and immaculately-kept terrain provide for one of the best downhill biking experiences in the country. Pick up a park pass for unlimited rides all summer long. 

Horseback Riding

keystone horseback riding
Photo Courtesy of Granby Chamber of Commerce

Take the trails a different route and mount up at Keystone Stables for an excursion on horseback. Take a guided ride through Soda Ridge, or if you’re one for greener pastures, try a horseback riding lesson first. The connection to nature through this equine experience is unforgettable and never as breathtaking as it is during the summer.

Wagon Rides

keystone wagon rides
Photo Courtesy of Travel Mamas

Wary of getting in the saddle? Wagon rides at Keystone Stables are perfect for a group outing that adults and children enjoy. Sit back, relax, and take a trip through the country in a covered wagon guided by wranglers, who offer insights into the area and history of Colorado, all while transporting your crew to a cozy outdoor dinner.

Water Activities

keystone kayaking
Keystone Lake, tucked into the mountains and surrounded by the town, shopping, restaurants, and Keystone homes and condos, is the center of summertime fun. An ice rink in the winter, the gorgeous lake’s cool water is primed for canoeing, kayaking, and paddleboarding in the summer.

Are you looking for something a little more adventurous? Summer is the season for white water rafting, and the rapids are abundant around the Keystone area. Keystone is a quick jaunt from the Arkansas River, Upper Colorado River, Blue River, and Clear Creek. It’s easy to find options for either an afternoon trip or a multi-day excursion for all ages and skill levels. Pack the adrenaline-inducing activities into one wild day with a mountaintop zipline tour offered at most rafting and adventuring outposts in the area.

Snow Tubing (yes, in the summer!)

keystone tubing
Photo Courtesy of Dreamstime.com

Year-round tubing in real snow? You’ll have to see it to believe it! Take the family to Adventure Point’s Mountaintop Tubing Hill for a day of fun in the sun (and snow). Don’t worry – the lift from the foot of the hill to the top helps conserve energy and deliver the promise of a sane, safe day of making memories.

Golfing

keystone golf
The views don’t get more striking than at Keystone Ranch and The River Course, Keystone Resort’s two courses and 36 holes. The renowned courses are positively idyllic, distinctively different, and the perfect excuse to spend a few hours on the greens. Don’t wait too long to reserve your tee time – the course opens in mid-May, just in time for the summer season.

Shopping

Shopping in Keystone is walkable and breezy, with plentiful options. Stay close to town in River Run to wander in and out of local shops specializing in Colorado-centric styles and brands (hint: stock up on cold-weather gear while you’re here!). Or, take an afternoon and head to the Outlets of Silverthorne, a mecca of retail shopping. A quick jaunt from home base in Keystone, the Outlets have all the cornerstone shops (Coach, Banana Republic, Nike, Ralph Lauren) and casual restaurant options to keep you going. Or, pop over to nearby Breckenridge and spend the day strolling Main Street’s boutiques, galleries, bookstores, and cafes.

Dining

Keystone is all about balance: exploration and relaxation. The food scene is no exception. Start the morning with a sweet or savory crepe at the Keystone classic Crepe Stand or with coffee at local Inxpot, featuring Vail Mountain Coffee roasted beans. Kickapoo Tavern is a can’t miss stop for lunch or dinner, and since it is centrally located in the heart of River Run Village, you won’t have to go far. Enjoy a table outside and take in the bustling village and Keystone Lake sights. Keystone and the alpine area’s fine dining scene is exceptional; Hearthstone in Breckenridge is a local favorite. Residing in a 125-year-old Victorian home flanked by aspen trees, the steakhouse serves up classic game, seafood, and produce amplified by local seasonal flavors. If you prefer a side of live music with your main course, the legendary Snake River Steakhouse features fine dining and live music and dancing on the weekends (and is kid-friendly).

Festival Fun

Keystone Festivals
Photo Courtesy of Keystone Wine & Jazz Festival

Forget the calendar — chart your summer by Keystone’s festival schedule! Each month has something to offer; June warms up the festival season with the Bacon & Bourbon Festival, a bacon lover’s dream destination, complete with a music lineup featuring regional acts. River Run plays host to the Keystone Wine & Jazz Festival in July. It offers the chance to taste hundreds of wine samples, take classes from renowned wine connoisseurs, and enjoy the stylings of local and regional jazz musicians. Later in the month, River Run welcomes artists from near and far for the River Run Village Art Festival. The free festival features masterpieces in ceramics, photography, painting, glass, woodworking, mixed media, and more.

The Mountaintown Music Festival spans weekends in July and August, a series of outdoor concerts in River Run. Catch the rotating schedule of musicians, Salida Circus performances for the kids, and weekend yoga classes to help everyone unwind. August caps off the robust summer schedule with the Bluegrass & Beer Festival, one of Colorado’s longest-running beer festivals. Sample the brews and take in national bluegrass acts in this lively summer tradition.

Rest and Relaxation

keystone apres
Photo Courtesy of TripAdvisor

Long summer days allow for more time for breaks, right? Take advantage of the spas and retreats of Keystone and settle in for a few hours of rest and relaxation. Keystone Lodge & Spa grants access to a state-of-the-art spa, steam room, pools, and hot tubs. Spa services are plentiful and if you’re looking for a new spa experience, try the altitude massage that pairs oxygen and massage to help soothe sore muscles and promote a more restful sleep.

Bonus Feature: Ghost Towns

Photo Courtesy of Hashtag Colorado Life

The spirit of the great outdoors takes on a whole different meaning; for an added-value excursion, check out one of the several ghost towns in Colorado. Montezuma, a semi-ghost town located about five miles from Keystone, was born out of Colorado’s Gold Rush era and is home to several year-round residents and vacation homes. Founded by prospectors in the 1860s, Montezuma’s vibrance dwindled after the value of precious metals plummeted and fires swept through town. Hike, backpack, and explore the area for a trip back in time (and beautiful scenery).

Contact Randy Jeffrey today if you are interested in exploring Keystone and Colorado real estate. As one of the leading real estate agents in the area, the Colorado native serves a wide range of neighborhoods. From Keystone real estate to Breckenridge real estate, Randy understands the complexities of Summit County real estate and can help you find the property that best suits you.

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