Adventurous things to do in Denver this spring

Hiking. Rock climbing. Renting a BCycle.There are a lot of ordinary things you can do if you visit Denver once the snow's all melted and the gondolas have stopped running.

These activities are formidable ways to spend your spring vacation, but they also reek of clichés. You are in fact coming to the Wild West—home of outlaws, gold miners, and the Unsinkable Molly Brown herself.

If you want to experience true adventure in Denver this spring, you've got to veer off the well-trodden path. So strap on your spurs and bring out your bravest self—these adventures are sure to get your adrenaline racing.

Give rocky mountain oysters a try

Do you prefer Atlantic oysters or Pacific oysters? It actually doesn't matter, because Rocky Mountain Oysters are not from the ocean at all. Prairie oysters, calf fries, swinging beef, whatever you call 'em: they're bull nuts. And for some reason having to do with primitive desire and savage instinct, Coloradans consider this a delicacy. To test your courage in true fear factor fashion, head to the Buckhorn Exchange and order up a steaming pile of fried n battered bull testes. Yum?

Dive in at Casa Bonita

Casa Bonita has all the excitement of a theme park in one inconveniently located, flesh-colored building. Where else in Denver can you gorge yourself on plates of bean slop and watch professional divers catapult into an indoor jungle-themed pool? While we recommend avoiding the food entirely, do know this: Casa Bonita is one of those unique local secrets that most visitors don't dare venture to. In fact, most people in their right minds don't venture here at all—it's more of a "do it so you can say you did it" kind of place. Which is kind of like skydiving, right?

Have a pizza marathon

You're not really doing Denver right until you grab a slice of Cosmos pizza. But why stop at a slice? If you're faced with a rainy day or a bout of cold weather, test your gluttony by ordering an extra large pizza to your hotel room. This adventure is best endured when accompanied by a marathon of trashy reality TV. The logic here is that it'll take your mind off of your own reality, thereby making the challenge easier. Oh, and don't forget to order a jar of Cosmos Spicy Ranch, plus a case of Dale's Pale Ale to wash it all down.

Go on a ghost tour

After the city lights click on and the faint of heart retreat indoors, Denver's most famous ghosts come out to haunt. Luckily for you, there are plenty of options for encountering these spirits yourself. Nightly Spirits Denver is a tour company that winds through the former brothels and prohibition-era establishments of downtown. If the idea of a ghost tour gets you spooked, don't worry. This mosey provides ample bar stops, so you'll have time to down enough whiskey gingers to stop taking it all so seriously.

Giddy up

Calling all former horse girls and aspiring cowboys—horseback riding in Denver is just the thrilling equine adventure you've been waiting for. But you won't find the posh, high-class vibe of English riding stables here—so, leave your breeches and fuzzy helmet at home. The aptly named Wild West Ranch, for example, bolsters a no fuss stable stocked with spry, Carhartt-clad ranch hands eager to show you the ropes. The ranch is just 25 minutes from downtown Denver, making it an easy half-day trip (by car, that is).

Michelle Polizzi is a Denver-based freelance writer. When she's not busy writing, you can find her exploring the city by bike or whipping up a fresh veggie-friendly dish.