Purchase a CORSAR card to help benefit search and rescue, and cover costs in the event of an emergency. You can also opt to travel midweek to avoid traffic. And don't drink and drive — get a crew together and book a shuttle with Colorado Adventure Tours (they have a limo license so you can have beers en route).
From Denver head south on Hwy. 285 towards Fairplay and take in the scenery at the top of Kenosha Pass. A quick hike will put you on the Colorado Trail to stretch your legs.
Stop for a quick beer at South Park Brewing in Fairplay before heading to Buena Vista.
Do some shopping at the adjoining Trailhead; they have a great selection of outerwear and climbing gear.
Depending on your mood, choose from a tandem towny bike and cruise Buena Vista while putting your relationship to the test or take it to the next level and try out a Honda Ruckus. If it's not too chilly, rent a stand-up paddleboard and head up the road to Cottonwood Lake for some mellow flat water paddling and beautiful views. If climbing is your thing, get some beta from the trailhead and head out to some of the climbing routes five minutes from downtown Buena Vista.
Book a room at Mt. Princeton Hot Springs Resort. If you're traveling in a group, try to secure a cabin, but they book out well in advance.
Drive up to the historic ghost town of St. Elmo to stroll around. To burn more calories, hike up the Alpine Tunnel trail and smell the wildflowers while getting heckled by marmots (don't steal their raspberries).
Bring your own bike or rent one from Absolute Bikes in downtown Salida. Get all the necessary trail information there, and head out and ride the trails on "S" mountain (they are all really well marked and maintained). For a real lung burner, ride the Monarch Crest (modify plans for an early start if you ride the crest to avoid afternoon storms).
Head to Salida to grab lunch and take in the river views at the Boathouse Cantina (the hand-battered Red Bird Farm chicken strips rock). For the beer nerds, they might have Pliny or Blind Pig on tap in addition to numerous local and Colorado craft beers.
Ride that bike you rented from Absolute up the Rodeo Run Trail (3.5 miles) to Elevation Beer Co. in Poncha Springs for a flight of beers. Local tip: If you buy an Elevation Beer Co. T-shirt, they will buy you a beer, and happy hour is Monday–Thursday 3–6pm. They have a food truck if you already burned off that T-guns (unlikely). Plus, Elevation Beer Co. is a member of The Conservation Alliance and donates a portion of it's annual revenue to the protection of and access to America's public lands. Drink great beer for a great cause.
Opt for a T-guns pizza (a local favorite) and some of their house-brewed beers. The Mexi-Lager or Cream Ale pair well with the pie.
After you have recovered from the Frankie, take a relaxing drive up Monarch Pass for some great Aspen viewing and be sure to ride the scenic tram at the top of the pass.
If you are still hungry after the Frankie, head down the Monarch Pass and back to Elevation Beer Co. for a BYO grilled cheese from Sonny's food truck and some more amazing beers, and grab a six pack to go while you frisbee golf. Be sure to stop by Vino Salida in Poncha Springs to try some local wine as well.
Walk over to Wood's High Mountain Distillery for a finely crafted cocktail and chat with the mayor of Salida, who started the distillery, about spirits and town history. He's the guy with the beard and Patagonia jacket who can ski, paddle, bike and whiskey better than you.