Just west of Denver, Bear Creek Canyon climbs its way to Evergreen through the shady riverside community of Idledale.

When a stage line ran through the canyon in the late 1800s, there were just 10 homesteads in the area. Today that number has grown, but the canyon community remains a quiet, sleepy place that sees more bikers and drivers than residents. In summer, the road through Idledale may be dotted with pop-up farmstands selling fresh peaches, melons, corn and more.

The creek, along which one of Idledale's original entrepreneurs once rented summer tent sites, is open to the public in designated areas. Little Park, a sharp turn off Colorado 74, is a picnic spot right in town. Lair O' the Bear Open Space, just west of town, offers one of the best places to wander the creek and hike high into the hills above Idledale, while short loop trails provide views of the foothills beneath Mount Blue Sky, as well as the city of Denver.

Fly-fishing is another highly popular pursuit along Idledale's riverfront. Bring a rod and a license, or snag a local guide to find the best spots. While there are no restaurants or lodging facilities here, there are plenty of mountain-style facilities in Evergreen and Morrison, just a few miles up or down the canyon.