What’s Your Way to Play?

One of the most frequent comments I receive on my site goes a little something like this:

I wish I could do that.

I would love to try that!

I’ve always wanted to go on an XYZ adventure!

Skill set aside {which can easily be acquired!}, anyone can experience my adventures for themselves. And you know why? Because we have awesome access to a free playground, right outside our doors.

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People rarely think about the United States Forest Service and what that really means. Truthfully, the idea is a little crazy. We have managed land {national forests and grasslands} that is free for us to use. Free. Nothing is free anymore, right?! Pretty awesome. And even better? I can bring Tally because dogs are allowed! That simple fact alone means that the majority of my outdoor adventures take place on USFS land because Tals is welcome. Hooray for pup-friendly adventures!

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Capitol Peak was NOT pup-friendly but it sure was fun…and located within the boundaries of White River National Forest. PC: Will Rochfort

Even crazier is the fact that most of Colorado’s ski resorts are actually on USFS land; permit-allowed, of course. The White River National Forest is a prime example. Twelve different ski areas call White River National Forest home, including Copper Mountain, the resort y’all have seen me frequent this year. I love Copper. And Breckenridge. And Aspen. In fact, today is actually the kick-off for the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships at Beaver Creek/Vail ski resorts. It’s the first time the championships have been stateside since 1999, and they are here in Colorado!

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Ski day! PC: Will Rochfort

This summer I’m eyeballing the Four Pass Loop near Aspen, one of the most iconic trails in Colorado, if not the country. If you read Heidi’s blog, you may remember when she ran the 26 mile journey last summer. Most people backpack the trek and take a couple days to knock it out. While I would love to do that too, I kinda like Heidi’s idea of trying to run it! There are four large passes to conquer {duh!} with some 7,400 feet of elevation gain. Most importantly, the views are absolutely incredible! It’s one of my favorite areas in Colorado and the vistas are–literally and figuratively–breathtaking.

And guess what? All of this adventure is within the boundaries of the White River National Forest. Guess there is a reason that it is the most recreated-upon forest in the country, huh?

Too often we take simple things for granted, and the land upon which I tread frequently falls into this category. This is one of the reasons I wrote this post because it is not sponsored; I simply appreciate the protected land that acts as my playground. Between hiking, skiing, snowshoeing, backpacking and trail running, I’ve covered a lot of this state, but rarely does it cross my mind that I’m enjoying land managed by the USFS. But with 150 national forests spread throughout 43 states {and Puerto Rico}, there is a good chance that you can find a national forest playground near you too.

Capture your next adventure on Yonder or Instagram and use the #ItsAllYours to enter a photo competition for a chance to win some awesome prizes!

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Do you have an adventure you’ve been contemplating for years?

Why not do it now? What’s your way to play on your National Forest land?

19 Comments

  • Reply Beth @ RUNNING around my kitchen at

    I think you take more advantage of the free playgrounds than anyone I know 🙂 I love reading about all of your adventures!

    • Reply heather at

      I try my best 🙂 Glad you enjoy the stories– you’ve been a reader for awhile!

  • Reply RFC at

    My “I wish I could do that” comments are totally geographical jealousy related, haha! I definitely take advantage of state and national parks in our area, but they look NOTHING like that 😉

    • Reply heather at

      It’s all relative, right? I look at your parks and think how green and lush they appear!

  • Reply Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table at

    I absolutely love Colorado. Every time I crash Heather’s place I have them take me out to play. How lucky to call it home!

    • Reply heather at

      Pretty awesome that you have a place to crash! Next time you’re here, let me know!

  • Reply Christine @ Love, Life, Surf at

    i love that you are able to get out and enjoy the parks as much as you do. And I definitely don’t think about how much of the land we use is actually park land. It IS an amazing thing!

    • Reply heather at

      We were scouting for the USFS logo used in the video, and that’s when it hit me: I ski on USFS land ALL THE TIME. It’s kinda crazy!

  • Reply Andy at

    I couldn’t agree more. I love public lands! …And free places to explore.

    • Reply heather at

      Seriously. Aside from occasional camping fees or whatnot, they’re pretty darn cheap. And accessible!

  • Reply Kovas - Midwest Multisport Life at

    A lot of people definitely don’t think of the USFS as important, but the amount of land they control and what they allow us to do with it is pretty far-reaching (the same for the BLM, DOI, and other Federal agencies); thanks for the reminder!

    • Reply heather at

      I definitely think people forget about the Forest Service–but there is so much playtime to be had!

  • Reply Angel at

    Hi Heather,

    Amen to this post! Definitely I will have to visit Colorado when I start living on the road. I do a lot of hiking and my playground are national forests, BLM, and national parks (when my budget isn’t tight).

    • Reply heather at

      You definitely should! If you make it this way, let me know and I’ll give you some ideas!

  • Reply Krysten at

    Can I please come adventuring with you?! I am terrified of heights, but I think I could tackle those fears if you took me with you! I LOVE reading about all of your hikes and treks!

    • Reply heather at

      YES PLEASE!

  • Reply Heidi Nicole at

    The Four Pass Loop is awesome! It’s legit and chewed me up but it’s a freaking beautiful loop! Highly recommended!

  • Reply Stacey at

    Dunno if you saw it, and I sadly missed it myself, but I think literally the day you posted this to your blog there was a television special about the Forestry Service. I’m off to search for it myself now that you reminded me 🙂 Also, I’ve barely been to CO, but I took a series of photos of a ranger we met 5-6 years ago… I gotta find those!

    • Reply heather at

      I didn’t see it but let me know if you find it– I’d love to check it out.

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