Flying high

Head east of Colorado's Front Range for good kite winds and picnicking
Lora J. Finnegan

Location, location, location. The mantra of real estate buyers serves as a good rule for kite flyers too. Along the Front Range, the best locations for kite flying are east of the mountains.

That's where you'll often find gentler winds, says kitemaker Jane Parker Ambrose of Sky Scrapers Kites (available at American Pennant, closed Sun; 3198 N. Speer Blvd., Denver; 303/458-8027). "Spring thermals billow around the Front Range slopes," she says, "creating erratic winds that are tricky for kite flying."

The winds get steadier the farther east you go. Breezes in many parts of Aurora's 4,200-acre Cherry Creek State Park, southeast of downtown Denver, are often kite-friendly. The park is also a good location for the first picnic of spring. Your only problem here may be the distracting views of the distant snowcapped Rockies.

Most kites will soar in Cherry Creek's moderate winds (typically 8 to 15 mph; check weather reports). And if the breeze drops off, there's plenty of room for a brief sprint to get the kite launched.

INFO: Cherry Creek State Park (from $6 per vehicle; 4201 S. Parker Rd., Aurora, CO; www.parks.state.co.us or 303/699-3860)