Visitors who want to be personally guided to the attractions of Denver and the surrounding areas by those in the know have a variety of choices.
Half- and full-day bus tours of Denver and the nearby Rockies are offered by the ubiquitous Gray Line, P.O. Box 17646, Denver, CO 80217 (tel. 800/348-6877 or 303/289-2841; www.grayline.com). Fares for children 12 and under are half the adult prices listed below. Prices include entry fees but usually no food. Tours depart from the Cherry Creek Shopping Center at 1st Avenue and Milwaukee Street, as well as from local hotels and hostels on a reservation basis.
A 4-hour tour (no. 27), leaving at 8:30am, takes in Denver’s mountain parks: Red Rocks Park, Bergen Park, and Buffalo Bill’s grave atop Lookout Mountain. It costs $45 for adults. The 3 1/2-hour Denver city tour (no. 28), which departs daily at 8:30am and 1:30pm, gives you a taste of both old Denver--through Larimer Square and other historic buildings--and the modern-day city. It’s $35 for adults. The city tour combined with the mountain-parks tour costs $75. Gray Line also offers tours of Rocky Mountain National Park, Golden and Morrison, and the Colorado Springs area; call or check the website for information.
The Colorado Sightseer, 7290 Samuel Dr., Suite 150, Denver, CO 80221 (tel. 800/255-5105 or 303/423-8200; www.coloradosightseer.com), leads guided tours of Denver and environs. The Historic Denver tour includes a visit to LoDo and some of the city’s earliest buildings, the State Capitol, the Molly Brown House, and Four Mile Historic Park. It lasts about 4 hours and costs $45 per person. A Rocky Mountain National Park tour, lasting about 9 1/2 hours, costs $95 per person, including a box lunch. The 4 1/2-hour Foothills Tour includes stops at Coors Brewery, the Buffalo Bill memorial, and scenic Red Rocks Park. The cost is $45 per person.
Banjo Billy’s Bus Tours ([tel] 720/938-8885; www.banjobilly.com) offers 90-minute tours in a funky bus (complete with couches and a disco ball) covering all sorts of nooks and crannies of Denver history, especially the most bizarre ones. Tickets are $22 adults, $20 seniors, $14 children 6 to 12, and free for children under 6. Summer tours depart the Colorado Convention Center at 14th and California sts. Tuesday to Sunday at 1pm and 3pm, and less frequently at other times of year. There is also an adults-only brewery tour ($40).
The LoDo District (tel. 303/628-5428; www.lodo.org) leads guided walking tours of the storied area June to October. Tours depart from Union Station (17th and Wynkoop sts.) on Wednesdays at 2 and 4pm; the cost is $10 adults, $5 students, and free for those 12 and under. They also offer adults-only tours focusing on the seamy side of the city's history on Saturday afternoons for $20. Take advantage of your cellphone with Rocky Mountain Audio Guides (tel. 303/898-7073; www.rmaguides.com), which delivers 40- and 80-minute walking tours of downtown Denver. Call 24 hours before your tour to purchase ($15–$25); then you simply dial a number and walk around town, guided via satellite.
Bicycling & Multisport Tours
The World Outdoors (tel. 800/488-8483 or 303/413-0938; www.theworldoutdoors.com) offers a 6-day, 5-night multisport hut-to-hut tour that begins and ends in Vail (100 miles west of Denver). The huts, which are pretty plush for backcountry accommodations, serve as recreational headquarters for guests, who have plenty of hiking, rafting, and sightseeing opportunities between mountain-biking treks. The trips aren’t cheap, costing around $1,500 per person, but this is a great way for the outdoors enthusiast to enjoy the Rockies west of Denver. Available in June and August, tours include meals but not biking and camping gear.
Colorado Mountain Expeditions (tel. 888/263-4453 or 970/759-8737; www.coloradotrailhiking.com) offers supported weeklong treks on the Colorado Trail (which runs 483 miles from Denver to Durango) for $925 per person, all meals included. The beauty of these trips: You only carry a day pack for 10 to 20 miles each day. A support crew sets up your camp and makes your meals while you focus on the trail, not the campsite.
Another company that offers weeklong tours in the area is Bicycle Tour of Colorado (tel. 303/985-1180; www.bicycletourcolorado.com). For $350 to $400, a biker can join a tour involving about 1,500 riders and 70 volunteers--including medical and bike-tech support as well as guiding services--on a 400-mile journey that hits six different cities each year, crossing the Continental Divide several times in the process. Although accommodations can be prearranged at hotels, most riders elect to stay at facilities provided by the city (for example, the local high school). All meals are provided for the one fee for the week.
A good resource for bicyclists is the Denver Bicycle Touring Club (www.dbtc.org), which organizes local rides and publishes a monthly newsletter.
Walk2Connect ([tel] 303/908-0076; www.walk2connect.com) is the place to go for informative and invigorating walking tours around the city for $25 to $55 per person. Some tours include lunch.
Bikalope Tours ([tel] 800/979-3370; www.bikalope.com) will take visitors on 9-mile bike tours of downtown and vicinity for $50 per person, bike included.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.