Cool canyons

Climb, hike, fish, and bike a short drive from overheated Denver

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Cool off

Big Thompson Canyon. The entrance is on U.S. 34 just west of Loveland. For maps and information on fishing and hiking, call the Roosevelt National Forest (970/498-2770). Colorado Cherry Company (10 1/4 miles west of Lake Loveland; 1024 Big Thompson Canyon Rd./U.S. 34; 888/526-6535); Trail Ridge Winery (4113 W. Eisenhower Blvd./U.S. 34, Loveland; 970/635-0949); Viestenz-Smith Mountain Park (4 miles west of the Dam Store at the entrance to Big Thompson Canyon; www.ci.loveland.co.us or 970/962-2727).

Eldorado Canyon State Park. The park is about 8 miles southwest of Boulder. Take State 93 south from Boulder, turn right on State 170, and continue about 4 miles to the park entrance. $6 per vehicle. 9 Kneale Rd., Eldorado Springs; http://parks.state.co.us or 303/494-3943.

Waterton Canyon Recreation Area. From State 470 in Littleton, take Wadsworth Blvd. (State 121) south, following signs about 4 miles to Waterton Canyon. Call Denver Water (303/979-4129) for a brochure. You can also stop in at the South Platte Visitor Information Center (9307 S. Wadsworth Blvd., Littleton; 303/979-4120). For area wildlife information, call the Pike National Forest/South Platte Ranger District (303/275-5610).

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