Resorts that 'have it all'

May 5, 2004
Outside Magazine
Week of July 25-August 1, 1996
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Resorts that 'have it all'
Question: I'm looking for an adventure package at a resort that offers as many activities as possible. I am especially interested in four-wheel-drive excursions, mountaineering, hiking, camping, survival skills, horseback riding, and mountain biking. Other interests are whitewater rafting, fishing, rock climbing, canoeing, kayaking, and hot-air balloon or airplane sightseeing. I realize this is a huge list; that's why I am looking for a place with a large selection of activities. Price is not a concern and I want something in the United States. Ideally it would have some spa-like amenities like a hot tub, pool, massage, fitness, and great food. Please respond even if you know of nothing that fits the bill or give me your ideas on what comes closest to a match. Thanks for your patience.

Dave Thum
Chicago, IL
[email protected]

Adventure Adviser: First off, a cautionary word: Finding a place that has it all is harder than it looks. With that in mind, the closest thing to the adventure resort you're looking for is The Peaks at Telluride, Colorado, a 177-room resort/spa that has everything from golf--OK, so it's a little cushy--to mountain biking the Uncompahgre National Forest and fly-fishing on the nearby San Miguel River.

There's so much good stuff to do here, it's hard to know where to begin. So first, the hard facts: Doubles start at $230 per night, including full use of the one-acre, four-level spa. Keep in mind, though, that most everything else will cost you extra, so while there's plenty of great options right on the premises, it's not all-inclusive by any means.

Inside, pamper yourself at the spa with an international menu of exotic-sounding wraps and soaks, strap into your harness and try the 25-foot indoor climbing wall, or put your muscles to the test in the Cybex weight room.

But the best part of The Peaks is what's outside: miles of mountain-bike friendly jeep trails and hiking trails abound in the 14,000-foot San Juan Mountains that rise above Telluride on three sides. Sign on with resident-pro Joel Herck, a Southwest native, for guided hikes or a course in basic to advanced rock climbing. He also leads technical ascents of nearby fourteeners like Mount Wilson and El Diente. Or, opt for the solo route and just hike out the front door on two-hour treks to Savage Basin, the Tomboy Mine Ruins, or Bridal Veil Falls.

Telluride Sports, right at the resort (970-728-3458) rents mountain bikes for $20 per day and can point you to singletrack loops like the 16-mile Deep Creek Loop or a classic knobby-tire grind over 11,750-foot Ophir Pass to Silverton. (For more on mountain biking in Telluride, check out our travel feature, "Telluriding: A fat-tire romp in the Rockies.")

Telluride Outside (800-831-6230) runs fly-fishing trips for brown and rainbow trout on the San Miguel, as well as whitewater raft outings on the Class III-IV Gunnison River and Class III Dolores. The resort can also direct you to local hot-air balloon outfitters, horse stables, and four-wheel-drive companies.

Oh, and some final details: Digs at The Peaks are roomy and decidedly Southwestern in feel and many have their own terraces. The food ain't so shabby either: local lamb and free-range chicken are staples of their "Ranchlands Cuisine" theme, but you can also order up low-fat options (entrees, $7.50 to $30). For more details and reservations, call 800-789-2220.

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