One perfect day in Kremmling, CO

This a real-deal ranching town at the confluence of the Colorado, Blue, and Muddy Rivers serves up splashy outdoor adventures for summer

Kelly Bastone

Back in the day: People used to pass right through on their way to Steamboat Springs, 50 miles northwest.

Now? New shops and eats are waking up the town.

Elevation: 7,362 feet.

Population: 1,500.

Who’s here: Cattle ranchers, sportsmen, dropout stockbrokers, and wood-pellet peddlers (a new factory turns beetle-kill pine into stove fuel).

Main drag: Park Avenue’s four blocks are lined with clothing boutiques, housewares stores, and cheap grub.

Artsy kitsch: Wildlife carvings and cast-iron sculptures give storefronts an endearing eccentricity. In Kremm­ling Mercantile (101 Martin Way; 970/724-8979), mooing cows call shoppers to the dairy case.

Thirst quencher: Los Amigos ($; 109 S. Sixth St.; 970/724-9243) has a secluded outdoor patio and serves buckets of Corona or Mexican Coke.

Soak it all in: It’s hard to pick just one highlight of a half-day trip down the Upper Colorado River with Liquid Descent. Class II/III rapids churn beneath Lower Gore Canyon’s 500-foot walls. Bald eagles nest near the put-in at Pumphouse, and bighorn sheep roam the canyon cliffs downriver. And before the takeout at Radium? A dip in a riverside hot spring. $45; 8 and noon;

Front porch pick-me-up: Elk antlers share space with cycling trophies at Big Shooter Coffee, a buzzing shop owned by ranchers who love endurance sports—and java. There’s ice cream, but caffeinated types should try the Electric Fence (espresso, ice cream, milk, coffee grounds). Then grab a seat out front. $; 311 Park Ave.; 970/724-3735.

Shop Wild West: Ghostwood Interiors’ woodshop produces many of the store’s dressers, bedsteads, and stools (some from blue-stained beetle-kill pine). Wrought-iron wine racks and pony-hide coasters round out the selection. 300 Park Ave.; 970/724-1110.

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