Seniors Can Bike, Hike and Take Narrow-Gauge Railroads to See the Best of the Old West this Summer (2002)

This summer, groups of senior tourists will have the opportunity to hike, bike and travel by rail though some of the most spectacular and historic areas of the West. Colorado State University and Elderhostel have collaborated to design travel packages to suit a variety of interests and energy levels.

"We think we’ve created travel packages that will allow the participants to really experience the beauty and the history that makes this region unique," said Bill Bertschy, director of Colorado State University’s Pingree Park mountain campus. "There is a rich legacy to the West and we are very proud of it. These packages were put together with that in mind: allowing interested visitors to share in the very special history of this land and the people who lived here."

The packages include biking the central Colorado Rockies and Bryce, Zion and Rocky Mountain national parks, the canyonlands of Moab, and the archaeological sites and old mining towns of Southwest Colorado.

All packages include experts from Colorado State University offering lectures and commentary on the history and scenery, human achievement and sacrifice involved in settling the mountains and prairies of the West.

Each of the packages includes double occupancy modern lodging with private baths, all meals, transportation arrangements-bicycles, support vans for luggage and for shuttling cyclists and passes for the railways-and special tours. All participants should be 55 or older and in good health. Companions need not meet the same age requirement to qualify for the package price, but should also be in good health. Departure dates and locations and package prices vary.

For more information, contact Bill Bertschy at (970) 491-7377 or (970) 881-2150. Or contact Elderhostel at (877) 426-8056 and indicate the program number, or online at

The packages are as follows:

  • Walk & Discover: The Ancient People of Southwest Colorado. Walk and explore the Anasazi archaeological ruins at Mesa Verde National Park, the most extensive remains of early American civilization in the United States. A full-day walk with a Ute tribal leader at the Ute Mountain Tribal Park, will give participants an opportunity to see pictographs, petroglyphs and other artifacts left by early Native American settlers dating back more than 1,000 years. Participants will also learn about the European settlers, miners and railroad barons with walks in and around historic mining and ranching towns and a ride on the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Historic Railroad. Program no.: 06167
  • Bike & Explore: The History and Peoples of Southwest Colorado. This ten-day bicycle program begins and ends in Cortez, Colorado. Participants will bicycle 15 to 50 miles daily and explore archaeological ruins at Mesa Verde National Park and the Ute Tribal Reservation. Discover the historic mining and ranching towns of Durango, Silverton, Mancos, Pagosa Springs and Chama, New Mexico. Included are rides on the historic lines of the Durango and Silverton and the Cumbres and Toltec Narrow Gauge Railroads. These rail journeys offer spectacular views of the San Juan Mountains from the comfort of a rail car rather than a bicycle seat.. Instead of crossing the mountains, the route enjoys beautiful views as it parallels the range heading east from Durango to Pagosa Springs and then south into New Mexico. Program no.: 06166
  • Bike & Explore: Rocky Mountain National Park and Environs. Spanning the area from Fort Collins, west to Estes Park and south to Boulder, The "Front Range" of Colorado offers some of the most scenic bicycling in the West. Bicycle the diverse countryside and learn from local historians, Park Rangers and community planners about the natural and human history along the way. Cycle the scenic Cache la Poudre River and visit Colorado State University’s Environmental Learning Center in Fort Collins. Study grazing elk and bighorn sheep while pedaling and hiking in Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park. Examine the rich history of Boulder, former arts community turned high-tech capital of Colorado. The route follows bicycle/pedestrian paths and quiet city streets with bicycle lanes. It also traces part of Trail Ridge Road, the country’s highest Federal Highway. Program no.: 06158-0724
  • Bicycling: The Central Colorado Rocky Mountains. From the mining towns and open frontiers of the "Old West" to the tourist destinations of the "New West," this six-day bicycle program from Frisco to Glenwood Springs explores the people, natural resources and history of central Colorado. Historical figures as diverse as Molly Brown, Butch Cassidy and President Dwight D. Eisenhower left their marks on the area. Learn about the history of mining and settlement while pedaling through historic towns like Frisco, Breckenridge and Glenwood Springs. The route also includes an optional ride over Vail Pass on one day. The program ends with a 13-mile ride alongside the Colorado River as it courses through the high sedimentary walls of Glenwood Canyon. Program no.: 06156
  • Bicycling: The Redrocks and Canyons of Moab. This 7-day bicycle program through Arches and Canyonlands National Parks gives participants an up-close look at this awe-inspiring landscape while learning about the natural forces that shaped the area millions of years ago. From the "Devil’s Garden" to "Grandview Overlook" and "Dead Horse Point," local experts will explain how the area was born in a time preceding dinosaurs and the effects wind, water and time have had on the region’s geologic history. An opportunity to explore areas seldom seen by car tourists and a half-day raft trip down the Colorado River. Program no.: 44064
  • Bicycling: Bryce and Zion National Parks. An 11-day moving bicycle program through the geological wonderland of natural arches, spires, redrock canyons and hoodoos of Bryce and Zion National Parks. A rest day in each park provides additional opportunities for exploration either by bike or foot. Recommended for more experienced cyclists. Program no.: 44063

Colorado State University regularly collaborates with other institutions for special travel programs. The university has teamed with Elderhostel since 1983 to coordinate special travel programs which highlight the beauty and captivating history of Colorado and the West.