One would be remiss if a family ecotourism series did not include Cowboy Country, namely Colorado and Wyoming. Amtrak’s California Zephyr route runs between Chicago and San Francisco. With its sleeping, dining, and private bathroom accommodations, it may offer a fun alternative to driving. Once at your destination, you could rent a hybrid car from Enterprise, Budget, or Hertz to explore the rest of Colorado and Wyoming.
Suggested family ecotour itinerary:
- Colorado Trail – covering nearly 500 miles of splendid habitat that includes seven forests, six wilderness areas, five major river systems and eight mountain ranges from Denver to Durango, the Colorado Trail is open for hiking, fishing, biking, and horseback riding. There are also organized 4-5 day trekking expeditions available as well as the ability to access the Trail in Durango via a train that stops along points to Silverton. A popular day trip is to take the train to Silverton and then hike back to your car.
- Rocky Mountain National Park – from elk to big horn sheep, mule deer and moose, it will feel as though you are on safari – right here in the U.S. Also, check out the special activities for children.
- The Colorado Peace Ride, which is a 238 mile ride along Colorado’s San Juan Skyway, is an annual all-inclusive and environmentally sustainable four-day ride that allows participants to raise money for non-profit organizations including Sophia Peace Center and Volunteers of America.
- In addition to visiting Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks in Wyoming, the Bighorn National Forest also offers plenty of fishing, hiking, and biking over its over 1,500 miles of trails as well as some cowboy adventures.
Suggested green lodging:
- Briar Rose Bed & Breakfast near Boulder, Colorado is a leader in sustainable hotel operations in the city. From organic breakfasts ingredients that are gathered using the Briar Rose bike/trailer to its xeric garden, Briar Rose offers plenty of opportunities for walking and biking as it is situated close to the Boulder Creek Path and Chautauqua Park in the foothills of the Rockies.
- The Cody near Cody, Wyoming is situated near Yellowstone National Park and Big Horn National Forest. Low-impact environmental initiatives abound at The Cody from its construction (use of reclaimed lumber) to its energy conservation and recycling programs.
Check out our other eco-certified trips through North America!