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Cherokee Winter Nature Tour - At Cherokee Ranch and Castle

Those lucky enough to have hiked Cherokee Ranch know that there are a wealth of habitats and a rich flora that distract your eyes downwards, even as the vistas of the rugged backbone of the Rockies and distant misty towers of downtown Denver tempt you to look further away. We have experienced toasty winter days that were breathless and surprisingly sunny, as well as blustery days in the summer. One thing is for sure—you will never be bored on a Cherokee hike! This year we are starting much earlier—for better birding. But the plants will already be awake!


Whoever says winter is the “dormant” season? Wise naturalists know that nature does not sleep, you can now SEE those birds flitting in the bare branches. Buds are set on everything, and there is much more than just bark, branches and berries to liven a walk. You can see two species of Chickadees and Nuthatches that never stop in their search for food and there are a few last lingering hints of flowers. You will be surprised at how many evergreens there really are; not just pines and junipers and Oregon Grape, but many of our native shrubs and forbs keep living foliage and rosettes through the winter: they are still hard at work chlorophyll pumping! You might also be surprised to know that some Dark-eyed Juncos fly all the way from the Pacific Northwest and even Canada to winter at Cherokee. Other winter species include Flicker, Woodpeckers and a resident Red-tailed Hawk. What better time and place than Cherokee Ranch in the bright, winter light.



$20 member, $25 non-member.


Tour Guides: Panayoti Kelaidis and Lynn Willcockson




* Plants don’t really care how you dress for the field trips but BIRDS DO!! It is easier to see birds if you DO NOT wear white or other very bright colors –i.e. yellow, orange or red. Also, bring your binoculars: they can be used for both birds and plants

* Please wear comfortable shoes and bring your own supply of water for a 2 hour adventure

*Directions and details for your hike will be emailed to your email address approximately one week before your hike



Colorado Ecosystems and Native Plants Field Trip

Rocky Mountain Gardening Elective

The ecosystems of Colorado range from plains grasslands to the alpine tundra, mountain meadows to sub-alpine forests and all the points in between.

This field trip allows students to study the amazing diversity of plant and animal life that co-exist within these ecosystems and be able to identify each community by physical appearance and other site characteristics.

The class starts and ends in Morrison and we will survey the majority of ecosystems in the state.

The reference text for this course is From Grasslands to Glacier by Cornelius Mutel and John Emerick. The text is currently out of print, but used copies can be found online for purchase.


$72 member, $82 non-member.


Instructor: Sheridan Samano

The carpool will meet offsite and gas expenses for drivers will be shared.

Offsite meeting location for carpool will be be determined no later than 2 weeks before trip. Students will be notified via email.



Colorado Fall Foliage and Wildlife Tour


Colorado Fall Foliage and Wildlife Tour

Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park

September 21-24, 2014


Fall is prime time to visit Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park. Summer crowds have lessened, fall foliage is at peak color, elk are bugling in mountain meadows, and daily temperatures are ideal for exploring. Join Denver Botanic Gardens for an unforgettable fall trip to Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park.


Trip highlights include two guided days in Rocky Mountain National Park, three nights at the historic Stanley Hotel - an Estes Park icon - a Colorado wine/cheese tasting, and a farm-to-table dinner at Cascades Restaurant. Sheridan Samano, an ecologist and instructor for DBG's Rocky Mountain Gardening Program, is accompanying the group on this trip.



Sunday, September 21

Arrive on your own to Estes Park and the Stanley Hotel in time to meet the rest of the group for a Welcome Reception. The rest of the evening is on your own. Overnight at The Stanley Hotel.


Monday, September 22 and Tuesday, September 23

You'll spend these two guided days exploring Rocky Mountain National Park. The park spans 415 square miles of montane ecosystems with over 300 miles of hiking trails. Learn about local flora and fauna during these interactive days in the park. We'll spend one evening observing the park's famous elk rut. You'll hear bull elk bugle as they defend their territories and round up their harems. Don't forget to bring your camera - fall foliage should be at peak color. A Colorado wine/cheese tasting and a farm-to-table farewell dinner are included. Overnights at The Stanley Hotel.


Wednesday, September 24

Depart on your own today.


Price: $775* per person for DBG members (double occupancy); add $100 per person for nonmembers and $275 single supplement.


Includes accommodations, entrance fee to Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP), two guided days in RMNP, wine/cheese tasting at Snowy Peaks Winery, and farewell dinner at Cascades Restaurant.

Exclusions: meals, alcohol, optional activities, and personal expenses.

*A 3% discount will be applied for payment by check. We will carpool in RMNP each day.


To register or find out more information, please contact Sheridan Samano at Sheridan@reefstorockies.com or 303.860.6045.

Crested Butte to Aspen Botanical Hike


Thursday, August 7 – Sunday, August 10


Join Colorado Backcountry on a hiking trip over Colorado’s most scenic pass from Crested Butte to Aspen – a spectacular wildflower adventure combining lush vegetation, alpine tundra, and colorful geology. From the Crested Butte side of the Elk Range, we’ll ascend West Maroon Pass, cross the Elk Mountain Divide, then descend beneath the dramatic flanks of Maroon Bells and Pyramid Peak on our way into Aspen. After this 11 mile long day hike, you’ll eat dinner in Aspen and get shuttled back to Crested Butte. Recommended for experienced hikers, not beginners.


Take the following day to relax at the Elevation Spa and Hotel at the Mount Crested Butte Resort. Take a complimentary ride up the ski lift right outside the hotel to find the alpine wildflowers and enjoy the gorgeous view. Relax in the hotel's spa, outdoor pools, and hottubs or explore the charming and historic town of Crested Butte, just minutes away from the resort.



$692 members, double occupancy. $792 nonmembers, double occupancy.

$892 members, single occupancy. $992 nonmembers, single occupancy.


Price includes all lodging, professionally guided hike, and shuttle to and from the hike. Price does not include meals, alcohol, or personal expenses.


Please register by Monday, June 23.


A $250 deposit is due at the time of registration, which will hold your place (numbers are limited) and is refundable up until 45 days before the trip. Balance will be due 45 prior to trip, on Monday, June 23.




Crested Butte: Fields of Color, Farm to Fork


Thursday, July 31 - Sunday, August 3


Treat yourself to a fun weekend getaway in the picturesque town of Crested Butte in the heart of the Rocky Mountains. Crested Butte is a charming 1880's mining town and national historic district with great shops and restaurants in a spectacular mountain setting. It has been designated the "Wildflower Capital of Colorado".


Enjoy upscale mountainside lodging with a pool and hot tub adjacent to the ski lift and great hiking. Included activities feature a savory tapas tasting dinner with wine, ski lift ride to an alpine wildflower hike, guided tour of historic downtown and gardens and a farm to fork cooking class. You’ll have free time each day for a swim, massage, hike, shopping or any of the many activities offered in the area. Map and list of possibilities are included.


Bring your camera, hiking boots, appetite and adventurous spirit and celebrate summer in the gorgeous Colorado mountains!



Thursday, July 31


Check in at hotel anytime after 3pm

6:00 - 7:30 p.m. Savory Tapas tasting dinner and wine with instructor Susan Evans     


Friday, August 1

Breakfast at hotel

9:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. Ski lift to an Alpine Wildflowers Hike of Mount Crested Butte

Lunch on own  and afternoon free with a detailed list of possible hikes and activities provided.   


Saturday, August 2

Breakfast at hotel

10 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. Historic Garden Tour of Downtown Crested Butte   

 Lunch on own in town, afternoon free

5:30 - 7:30 p.m. Farm to fork cooking class and dinner with instructor Susan Evans


Sunday, August 3

Breakfast at hotel and checkout




$752 members, double occupancy. $100 extra fee for nonmembers and $200 single supplement.


Pricing includes three nights of lodging, three breakfasts, two dinners, hikes, tours, and class fees.

Pricing does not include transportation, $9 day parking fees, optional activities, and personal expenses.


Please register by Monday, June 16.

A $250 deposit is due at the time of registration, which will hold your place and is refundable up until 45 days before the trip. The balance will be due 45 days before the trip, on Monday, June 16.


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