Meeker: From shopping to sheepdogs

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You can find it all in Meeker --peace and serenity, breathtaking views, plenty of fishing, hiking and other outdoor options, really good restaurants, unique shops and a variety of accommodations.

Meeker is on the western edge of the Rocky Mountains and is one of Nortwhest Colorado's best recreation and vacation spots. Long noted for its abundant big game hunting, it also is the gateway to some of the best fishing, camping, horseback riding, four-wheeling and hiking spots in the nation.

The town is the county seat of Rio Blanco County. The population is 2,400. The climate is typical of Western high country with summer day-time temperatures ranging from the 70s to 90s and evening temperatures from the mid-40s to the mid-50s. The elevation is 6,249 feet.

To best enjoy and fully experience a trip to Meeker, plan to stay for a few days. You'll find outdoor fun abounds in the nearby White River National Forrest and the Flat Tops Wilderness.

There are hundreds of miles of mountain bike, hiking, horseback riding, motorcycle and ATV trails. Whether you brave the wilderness alone or hire a local guide, you can tailor your Meeker vacation exactly the way you want it.

A stroll down Main Street reveals many unique shops and stores including antique shops, art galleries and several gift shops. The town retains much of its original Western flavor with many well-maintained and restored buildings. Sheep and cattle ranches still drive their livestock through town to winter and summer pasture. Meeker also celebrates the oldest rodeo in the state, which happens during Range Call on the Fourth of July.

The Meeker Classic Sheepdog Trials have put the town on the international map. Dog handlers travel from all over the U.S. as well as New Zealand, Australia and Great Britain to compete in the event. It usually takes place the first week of September with the 2004 dates of September 8-12.

There are a variety of accommodations in and around Meeker. If you are roughing it, there are plenty of camping opportunities. If you prefer the homey experience there are several bed and breakfasts in Meeker along with hotels, motels, cabin rentals and guest ranches.

Recreational opportunities include a challenging nine-hole golf course a mile south of town that overlooks the White River Valley. The course is open April 1 to Oct. 31 and offers a complete selection of golfing amenities including a pro shop, clubhouse, restaurant and bar. There is a driving range and a unique layout to test the skills of golfers of any level. n

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