5 reasons to stop in this historic town on the way to Rocky Mountain National Park
Located 45 minutes from Rocky Mountain National Park, the town of Lyons holds a great amount of excitement and unique places. While Lyons is quite small with just over 2,000 residents, the five-minute drive through town includes stops for music and art along the St. Vrain River and red sandstone cliffs.
“I really enjoy coming to the Thursday night concerts to see all the people that enjoy our small town. Everyone is always so friendly and it creates a great environment for visitors,” says longtime resident Sofia Pena Y Lillo.
Here are our five favorite places to stop while in town.
1. Have Some Brews at Oskar Blues
Midtown along Main Street sits the original Oskar Blues Brewery, now a chain with six locations in three states. The Lyons brewery makes a convenient pitstop on your way to the national park, has ample parking and a second-floor deck with a view. It's claim to fame is that it was one of the first microbrewries to put craft beers in environmental-friendly aluminum cans, a concept that at first was ridiculed but now is commonplace. The food is also unique ranging from all-you-can-eat catfish to Sunday's special, the "Walk of Shame" with ample meat, cheese and gravy. Find more information at www.oskarblues.com.
2. Listen to Live Music at Sandstone Park
Sandstone Park at 4th and Broadway is a great attraction for many reasons, but the summer concert series held there every Thursday from June through August is definitely a standout. Sit on the grass beside the river and watch live rock and bluegrass bands play on a stage backed with large sandstone monoliths. Bring a blanket, a cooler filled with snacks, and leave the rest to the bands! Find the concert schedule at www.lyonscolorado.com/events/sandstone-summer-concert-series.
3. Feel Like a Kid Again at a Pinball Arcade
Remember when you were a kid and loved to play pinball at the arcade? Now you can relive the past. Over 30 old-fashioned pinball machines from the 1960s, 70s and 80s live on beside new game machines at Lyon's Classic Pinball Arcade on West Main Street. What started as a hobby for owner Kevin Carroll, became a family business over a decade ago. Kevin loves to see parents and grandparents bring in the kids to share an old pastime. If you're interested in some competition, every Thursday night the arcade hosts a tournament for all and any. Come ready to battle some fierce competition. Find more information at www.lyonspinball.com.
4. Hike an Off-the-Beaten Path at a Preserve
Button Rock Preserve is a great place to get out of town a little and explore less-frequented hiking trails. This walk-in-only park invites you to get out of the car at an ample parking lot. Stroll an old gravel road along the North Saint Vrain Creek reaching Ralph Price Reservoir at the two-mile mark. Up for more of a challenge? There are several spur trails that offer moderate hikes. Watch for wildlife such as eagles, marmots, deer and ducks, or bring your fishing pole to catch brown trout in the river shallows. Late in the summer season through fall, you might even catch a glimpse of black bears snacking on chokecherries.
From Lyons, drive west on Highway 36 for four miles. Turn left at Boulder County Road 80 and continue for three miles where you will arrive at the parking lot. County Road 80 is a narrow gravel drive with no shoulders or turnarounds for oversize vehicles. The trailhead parking lot does not have spaces for RVs or other long vehicles. Find more information at www.longmontcolorado.gov/departments/departments-n-z/parks-open-space-and-trails/directory-of-parks-trails/button-rock-preserve.
5. Float Down the Creek at LaVern Johnson Park
On the west edge of town, LaVern Johnson Park, previously called Meadow Park, is a great place for all ages and kinds. There are numerous activities at the park such as tubing down the stream, playing in the park’s multiple sports fields, camping and even ice skating. Try the new Whitewater Park with eight features to challenge kayakers and tubers.
During the annual Planet Bluegrass Folks Festival, this park is the official campground for event-goers. The rest of the year, it's a perfect place for a family picnic and enjoying the river. From Main Street, drive south two blocks on 5th Street, then turn right (west) on Park Drive. For more information, visit www.townoflyons.com/349/LaVern-M-Johnson-Park.