Top Four Outdoor Thanksgiving Activities And Gear

Thanksgiving Outdoor Activities

Top Rocky Mountain Outdoor Thanksgiving Activities

Thanksgiving is about friends, family, food and — most importantly — tradition.

Traditions are, inherently, hard to change. Regardless of how you have always celebrated the holiday, however, it is possible to add some new activities to your Thanksgiving itinerary without sacrificing tradition or time with friends and family.

The Rocky Mountains are a year-round playground, so what’s the point in wasting a day inside when you could be out playing?

Here are the top four outdoor Thanksgiving activities to try out this year. Who knows, maybe they will become as engraved in your family Thanksgiving traditions as stuffing or pumpkin pie.

Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trots

Have a healthy, festive start to your Thanksgiving day with one of the various Turkey Trot morning 5Ks held in communities across the Rocky Mountains.

Turkey Trot Thanksgiving 5K

These casual, family friendly races are often free or far more affordable than similar events and typically benefit some sort of local charity. An awesome excuse to get outside AND a good Thanksgiving deed for the day? That is what I calling winning.

The Best Turkey Trot 5Ks in the Rocky Mountains

Colorado’s Louisville Turkey Trot

  • Time: 7:30am-8:45am
  • Cost: FREE with a non-perishable food donation
  • Benefiting: local Colorado food banks

Montana’s Whitefish Turkey Trot

  • Time: 9am
  • Cost: $12-$15 (non-perishable food donation suggested)
  • Benefiting: North Valley Food Bank

Idaho’s Turkey Day Run Boise

  • Time: 9am start
  • Cost: $20-$35
  • Beneffiting: Boise Rescue Mission and City Light Home for Women and Children

During the race, you may need a few gear items to get you to the finish line. Cold-weather specific running gear is particularly important for a late November road race like this.

To keep you warm, wear a sweat-wicking baselayer. For especially cold weather, try one with a fleece lining like.

For men and women, try the Marmot Frequency Hybrid Jacket.

Best Runniing Jackets

Product details:

Best Late November Rocky Mountain Hikes

Who says you can’t give thanks on the top of a mountain?

Thanksgiving is a great time to embark on an epic Rocky Mountain hiking trip. You probably don’t want a full-day excursion, but a moderate 2-3 hour hike may be just the thing you need to fully appreciate all you have.

It can be hard to find a hike safe enough to tackle this late in November, but there are several Rocky Mountain trails that are normally maneuverable on Thanksgiving Day.

One of my favorite Thanksgiving Day hikes is Horsetooth Mountain in Fort Collins, CO. This 5 mile out and back trail lies near Horsetooth Reservoir just outside of the city.

Horsetooth Fall Hike

The moderately difficult hike takes you alongside a waterfall before reaching the peak’s large Horsetooth-shaped rock. From there, adventurous hikers can scale the rock and are awarded an unbeatable view of the eastern plains.

Hike Details:

  • Hike time: 3 hours
  • Elevation gain: 1,396 ft
  • Kid and dog friendly

The only complication with Thanksgiving hiking is, obviously, that most Rocky Mountain states have already expereinced some — if not a lot  — of snow.

This can leave trails icy and dangerous. To help stabilize your footing, Yaktrax work amazingly.

Yaktrax hiking accesories

A lightweight traction device is easy to use, affordable and effective. Get the Yaktrax Pro Traction Cleats from Amazon for as little as $17.50.

 Cook Your Thanksgiving Meal Camping Style

There is something about camping food that just tastes better to me.

This may be, in part, because I often enjoy it when I’m famished from a long day of backpacking or hiking. But I genuinely believe that food cooked over a camping stove or on the fire has a special flavor that you just can’t achieve inside.

Thanksgiving Camping

This got me thinking that if a regular old camping meal is so good, how would a full Thanksgiving dinner cooked at camp taste?

I looked it up and there are actually dozens of Thanksgiving camping recipes out there.

Here are my favorite:

1. Blanched Greens Salad with Lemon and Honey Dressing

  • Ingredients:

2 cups kale, 2 cups baby spinach, 2 cups broccoli, 1 tbsp honey, 1/2 cup lemon juice, 1 orange

  • Instructions:

Boil water on your camping stove, whisk together lemon and honey, blanch veggies in boiling water and add them to lemon juice and honey.

Zest orange over veggies and toss ingredients together.

12-14 lbs turkey

2. Campfire Pumpkin Pie

  • Ingredients for the crust:

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp sugar, 2 sticks unsalted butter

  • Ingredients for the filling:

2 cups pureed pumpkin, 1 1/2 cups light cream, 3 large eggs, 1 cup brown sugar, 1 1/2 tsp ground ginger, 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon, 3/4 tsp ground nutmeg, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp ground cloves or allspice

  • Instructions:

Prepare your crust, mix your filling and add to crust, bake in dutch oven or pie iron in campfire.

Check out more detailed recipe instructions here.

Best Camping Stove and Dutch Oven for Thanksgiving Camping Dinner

Along with a solid fire, you will need a top-of-the-line camping stove and Dutch oven to cook a successful Thanksgiving camping meal.

Try the Lodge Logic Camp Dutch Oven, available at REI for $34.95.

Lodge Logic Camp Dutch Camping Oven

For the stove, my favorite is the Camp Chef Everest 2-Burner Camp Stove, available at REI for $109.95.

Camp Chef Camping Stove

The Best Outdoor Hammocks for a Post-Thanksgiving Nap

For a lot of people, myself included, napping goes hand-in-hand with eating on Thanksgiving.

My new favorite Thanksgiving nap spot is outside, in an awesome camping hammock.

Bring along a cozy blanket or a sleeping bag and Thanksgiving hammock naps may soon become your favorite part of the entire day.

My favorite camping hammock is the ENO DoubleNest Hammock.

Big enough for two, this lightweight hammock hangs between two trees and is so simple to use that even in a Tryptophan daze, you can set it up easily. Get the ENO DoubleNest Hammock from REI for $69.95.

ENO DoubleNest Camping Hammock

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Tell us about your Thanksgiving adventures in the comment section. Love to hear how everyone celebrated!

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