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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.



Crested Butte Wildflower Weekend


Enjoy a long summer weekend taking in the beautiful scenery and stunning wildflowers in the Crested Butte area.Trip leader Katy Wilcox, DBG horticulturalist, will lead you on accessible hikes to experience the unparelled wildflower show this time of year.Relax for three nights at the Mount Crested Butte Elevation Hotel and Spa, a fabulous mountainside resort with all the amenities and gorgeous views.




Friday, July 24: travel on your own to Crested Butte, check in to hotel, and then meet up with group for an evening happy hour with light food.


Saturday, July 25: ride the lift up Mount Crested Butte for a tour of alpine wildflowers from the Board President of the Crested Butte Wildflower Festival. In the afternoon, take an optional tour of the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory and historic town of Gothic. Dinner on your own.


Sunday, July 26: morning wildflower hike and picnic lunch with DBG horticulturalist Katy Wilcox, late afternoon Garden Tour of the town of Crested Butte. Dinner on your own.


Monday, July 27: check out of hotel and drive back to Denver area.



Member, double occupancy: $512 per person

Member, single occupancy: $843 per person*

Nonmember, double occupancy: $612 per person

Nonmember, single occupancy: $943 per person*

*if you are traveling solo, but would like to share a room to receive the lower double occupancy rate, please call to see if there is the option to be matched with another person.

Pricing includes three nights accomodation, three breakfasts, one lunch, happy hour, and all activities. Transportation and all other meals are not provided.


Questions? Call 720-865-3613. Registration will close at 3pm on Friday, June 26.



High Altitude Garden Tour - Fall

Come cool off in the mountains at the second high-altitude garden tour featured this year at Penn and Cord Parmenter’s ranch in the beautiful Wet Mountains.


This is the “Vegetable Walk of Fame” – a tour designed specifically to see the gardens bursting with late summer harvest. See corn in succession, pumpkins on the vine, cool weather veggies, herbs, flowers and lots and lots of tomatoes. There will be seed saving in progress, which is sure to inspire some taste-testing as well and even a visit to Cord’s blacksmith shop.


Seeing is believing, and once you’ve seen Penn and Cord's mountain gardens loaded with food, you will want to go right home and start growing vegetables!


Penn’s Forest Garden is in the trees on a decomposed granite mountain and has a collection of over 45 raised beds – built with dry-stack rock or wood.


Cord’s Bio-Intensive Garden is in the open and down the mountain in the rich bottomland soil, featuring 28 large bio-intensive beds, a fleet of covers and a few well-placed hail guards.


This walking, talking, educational tour includes demonstrations, examples and two totally sustainable passive solar greenhouses. The setting is gorgeous; bring your camera, a sack lunch, water, the usual stuff …


$25 members, $30 non-members


Tour Location:

12746 CR 255

Westcliffe, CO 81252

North of Westcliffe

South Central Colorado

Wet Mountains

Participants meet at the tour site ready to start at 12 p.m.


Come prepared for 8,140 ft. in the ‘fall’. See you on the mountain!


Mount Goliath Guided Wildflower Hike

Discover the life cycles and lore of the alpine tundra and the intense beauty of a natural garden that lasts only 40 frost-free days.

This is a trail of contrasts--awesome Rocky Mountain vistas of the Continental Divide peaks, delicate floral treasures, wind-sculpted, ancient bristlecone pines, cold summit winds and gentle summer breezes. The path winds through the exquisite blooms of the alpine tundra, talus slopes and subalpine meadows providing a delightful and educational tour in one of Colorado's most beautiful natural areas.

Mount Goliath docents lead the slow-paced hike down the stunning M. Walter Pesman Trail, a moderately difficult 1.5 mile downhill trek from 12,153 ft. to 11,540 ft.

Important Remarks:

- Limited to 24 participants

- Tours are free of charge. However, YOU MUST PAY the amenity fee to the U.S. Forest Services at the Mount Evans Fee Station

- A Denver Botanic Gardens membership does not allow free access to the Mount Evans Recreation Area. Visitors to Mount Goliath and Mount Evans need to pay the amenity fee.

- Donations to the Gardens for Mount Goliath tours are accepted and you can do so by choosing to register with the $10 option below.

- Be aware: this is a downhill trek on a moderately difficult trail that starts at 12,100 ft. Before registering, please ensure that you are physically fit and medically able to participate in vigorous physical activity at high altitude conditions.

- Please come prepared for mountain weather and trail terrain (shoes for hiking, coats, hats, sunscreen, etc.).

- Tours are open to adults and children 10 years old and up.

- Tours with less than 10 participants are subject to cancellation.

- Mount Goliath tours are not available as private tours.

- For more information contact us at tours@botanicgardens.org

Please note - the Gardens does not manage the Mount Goliath recreational area, and questions not directly related to tours should be directed to the Clear Creek Ranger District in Idaho Springs.


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