On a recent afternoon at the Lost Forest adventure park, I saw firsthand how quickly my 9-year-old daughter is growing up.
It started with a wisecrack. As we suited up in our harnesses with the help of the Lost Forest staff, an employee asked me how my helmet fit. I told her that it fit perfectly.
“That’s a first,” my daughter said, smiling and without missing a beat. (Did I mention my hat size is 8 ¼?) It was a sick burn, but I took it as a sign of her evolving sense of wit.
Over the next two hours on the Treeline Trial Challenge Course, she would show me just how much her self-confidence is evolving, too. From one ropes obstacle to the next, she would clip in, survey the challenge, and tackle it head on. There were a few moments of intense anxiety — How could there not be? We were 20 feet in the air! — but in each case, the only person who could help her out of the situation was herself. It was simple: one foot in front of the other. No one could do it for her.
By the time she touched the ground on the final zipline, she was making me promise her a reprise next summer.
In fact, we would have moved on to the third of five ropes courses if it weren’t for her five-year-old sister, who was promised a couple of runs with Dad on The Breathtaker — a thrilling alpine coaster that is adjacent to Elk Camp Restaurant.
As the afternoon ended, we were all in agreement: we wanted more. Given that my wife and I have definitively passed down “The Caution Gene” to both kids, that’s a pretty monumental development in our family.
The Lost Forest is a blast, even if you are not an adrenaline junky. And best of all: it’s right there at the top of the Elk Camp Gondola, within minutes of the Limelight Hotel Snowmass.
Here’s a quick recap of all there is to explore at the Lost Forest.
Breaktaker Alpine Coaster
Take a thrilling ride along more than a mile of track as your sled zooms through the forest at speeds of up to 28mph. Kids taller than 38 inches can ride with an adult, and those taller than 54 inches can pilot their own sled. Learn more.
Treeline Trial Challenge Course
Combining tree ladders, rope bridges, rappels and ziplines across five different challenge courses, the Treeline Trial is a great place to test your comfort zone with heights. Each course has a varying level of difficulty, ranging from the easiest (Lily Pads) to the most difficult (Islands in the Sky). Learn more.
Canopy Run Zipline Tour
The Lost Forest’s most intense feature, offering 11 ziplines and two rappels across a three-hour tour. The final zipline stretches for a quarter mile, where guests can reach speeds of up to 50mph. Guests must be 16 years or older. Learn more.
Rugged Ascent Climbing Wall
This 14-lane climbing wall may not be as high as the one inside the Limelight Hotel Snowmass, but it provides a fun challenge for the whole family in a sunny spot next to the Elk Camp Restaurant. In total, it is 60 feet wide and at its highest point, 40 feet tall. Learn more.
Elevated Journey Hiking Trails
If you are seeking a more mellow pace, the network of hiking trails emanating from the Lost Forest will grant you solitude (and a nice workout). Learn more.
Aerial Approach Disc Golf
Snowmass is the only place in Colorado with two 18-hole disc golf courses. Discs can be rented from the Four Mountain Sports adjacent to the Limelight Hotel Snowmass and Elk Camp Gondola. Learn more.
Trout Hook Fishing Pond
Right next to the Treeline Trial Challenge Course lies Rayburn’s Pond, which is flush with trout ready for a nibble on the end of your line. Guests need to bring their own rod and reel, as well as have a valid fishing license before they ride the gondola up.