The rugged ranching town of Gypsum lies west of world-class ski areas Vail and Beaver Creek. Its name derives from the mineral deposits of gypsum found nearby. Gypsum is crushed and formed into boards to make drywall, which is used in just about every commercial and residential structure.

Cafes and restaurants fill the downtown area, along with eight parks. A walking path encircles the town hall and runs along Frontage Road. Golfers can enjoy the fairways and the restaurant at the Gypsum Creek Golf Course (often one of the first to open for the summer in the mountain region), along with other golf courses in nearby towns, while the lake resort north of town is popular for fishing, camping and horseback rides. When you're done, head to 10th Mountain Whiskey & Spirit Company's distillery location to taste test and take a tour.

Other recreational opportunities are available at Sylvan Lake State Park, about 40 miles southeast of Gypsum. In the summer, Sylvan Lake is an ideal spot for fishing, boating, hiking and picnicking. National forestlands adjacent to the lake allow for longer excursions to scenic mountain lakes. Big-game hunting and wildlife watching takes over town as the aspens turn to waving hills of gold each fall. In the winter, ice fishing, snowmobiling, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing are popular pursuits.

There's also the Gypsum Shooting Sports Park and the MX Park's motocross tracks.

Read A Day of Summer Luxury in Vail & Beaver Creek for an itinerary of things to do in the area.

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