Denver's great out­doors

Business Traveller (Asia-Pacific) - - WEEKEND IN... -

It’s only when you leave the city that you re­alise the sprawl­ing met­ro­pol­i­tan area is but a speck in the mon­u­men­tal Mid­west­ern land­scape: to the west is the soar­ing back­drop of the mag­nif­i­cent Rocky Moun­tains, while to the east lie the big skies and slow, flat, end­less slide of the Great Plains. Here are three ways to get a whole new per­spec­tive on the Mile-High City:

Hire a car and head about half an hour west to the nat­u­rally formed Red Rocks Am­phithe­atre (open 7am-7pm April-Oct, 8am-4pm Nov-March; free; re­drock­son­line.com), the strik­ing 9,000-seat lo­ca­tion of U2’s Un­der a

Blood Red Sky con­cert video. Tens of thou­sands come here ev­ery year to work out, hike, visit the mu­seum, or sim­ply to re­live mean­ing­ful mu­si­cal mo­ments. The long view back to the city and air­port be­yond is ex­tra­or­di­nary.

On the way, drive the twist­ing, climb­ing Lariat Loop road to the Buf­falo Bill Mu­seum (9am-5pm daily May-Oct, Tue-Sun Nov-April; US$5; buf­falo­bill.org). Well-pre­sented gal­leries tell the story of the army scout, buf­falo hunter, cow­boy show­man and western pi­o­neer. His grave is nearby on Look­out Moun­tain. The Colorado Sight­seer pro­vides half-day tours to both of the above (US$50; col­oradosight­seer.com).

For the ul­ti­mate out­door ad­ven­ture, head to the spec­tac­u­lar Rocky Moun­tain Na­tional Park, 115km north­west of Denver. The vast 1,075 sq km park has count­less peaks, alpine lakes, deep glacial val­leys, pine forests, 565km of trails, and wildlife such as ea­gles, elk and even moose; it’s like Switzer­land – on a very good day. Aspire of­fers scenic day trips (US$115; aspire-tours.com).

From top: Red Rocks Am­phithe­atre; Buf­falo Bill Mu­seum; and Emer­ald Lake, Rocky Moun­tain Na­tional Park

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