The Ultimate Guide to the Best Places to Travel in Colorado
Are you ready to embark on an unforgettable adventure in the stunning state of Colorado? Prepare to be captivated by mesmerizing landscapes, iconic landmarks, and thrilling outdoor activities that make this state truly a haven for travel enthusiasts. From the majestic peaks of the Rocky Mountains to the enchanting beauty of the Garden of the Gods, Colorado offers an array of breathtaking destinations that will take your breath away. Join us as we explore the best places to travel in Colorado, where every corner is a picturesque masterpiece waiting to be discovered. Buckle up and let the adventure begin!
Experience the beauty of Colorado’s 14ers through hiking, driving, or train rides
Rising 14,115 feet above sea level, Pikes Peak is one of the top attractions in Colorado. You can reach the summit through various means – hiking (which requires quite an effort!), biking, driving, or even taking a ride on The Broadmoor Manitou and Pikes Peak Cog Railway.
For a more guided experience, you can take a Jeep tour to the top of Pikes Peak, which provides fascinating information about the history of this famous Colorado destination.
Garden of the Gods
Discover the family-friendly and captivating beauty of Colorado at Garden of the Gods
The Garden of the Gods park is an absolute must-visit in Colorado. With its red rocks set against the backdrop of the Rocky Mountains, it offers a breathtakingly beautiful landscape.
The park features paved hiking trails, allowing easy accessibility for strollers and wheelchairs. During your walk through the park, keep an eye out for fascinating rock formations like the Sleeping Giant and the Kissing Camels.
Located on the outskirts of Colorado Springs, Manitou Springs is a resort city that offers a unique blend of culture, history, nature, and healing experiences.
The town is known for its eight mineral springs, which were believed by Native Americans to have healing properties. Today, visitors can sample the water from different fountains located throughout the city. Each spring has its own distinct taste, and the experience is similar to wine tasting, but with added health benefits.
In addition to the springs, Manitou Springs offers the thrilling Zipline Center and the challenging Manitou Incline. You can also explore the Cave of the Winds Mountain Park or visit the nearby Garden of the Gods.
Nestled at the base of Pikes Peak, Colorado Springs stands out among other mountainous regions of the state as a non-skiing destination that captivates visitors with its unique attractions. You can hike to the summit of Pikes Peak, an iconic landmark that inspired the song "America the Beautiful." Alternatively, you can enjoy a scenic rail ride on the Pikes Peak Cog Railway.
Other notable attractions in the area include the remarkable rock formations at the Garden of the Gods as well as various museums and fine art centers.
Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre
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Located just west of Denver, you'll come across the majestic red rocks that emerge from the earth, forming a breathtaking natural amphitheater renowned for its exceptional acoustics. Playing at Red Rocks has become a highly coveted opportunity for many renowned artists.
Experience the vibrant fusion of urban vibes and serene natural beauty in the bustling capital city of Colorado. Denver serves as a cultural hub, boasting numerous museums, shopping streets, performing art centers, lively sports venues, and a wide selection of exciting restaurants and breweries.
The city also pays tribute to its rich mining heritage and cowboy history. As it is situated at a high altitude of 5,280 feet above sea level, Denver is famously nicknamed the Mile High City!
Denver Union Station
While many cities have train stations, Denver has transformed its transportation hub into the heart of the city. The 1914 Beaux-Arts train station, which is also a historic landmark, now features ten chef-owned restaurants and bars, a boutique hotel, and a selection of unique shops. Fun fact: the station's rooftop is home to four bee hives! After exploring the station, you can conveniently hop on a bus, light rail, or Amtrak to your next destination.
Embrace the picturesque mountain town of Buena Vista filled with water activities and mountain sports
Buena Vista, situated along the Arkansas River, offers a fantastic destination for whitewater rafting in Colorado. Check out our guide to staying in Buena Vista to plan your accommodation.
The town is also home to several hot springs perfect for relaxing, such as the Cottonwood Hot Springs Inn & Spa and the Mt. Princeton Hot Springs Resort. Additionally, Buena Vista provides ample opportunities for fishing, mountain biking, hiking, kayaking, and various other outdoor activities.
Indulge in numerous Colorado activities in the highest incorporated city in North America
Leadville, an old mining town, holds the distinction of being the highest incorporated city in the United States. Located less than half an hour from the Copper Mountain ski resort, Leadville offers a plethora of activities to enjoy in every season.
For a unique Colorado experience, consider visiting the nearby Ski Cooper, a more affordable ski resort perfect for families and beginner skiers. You can also explore the Tennessee Pass Nordic Center, which offers groomed cross-country ski trails. In the summer, Leadville becomes an ideal destination for fly fishing, hiking, and biking.
👉 Read Next: Where to Stay in Leadville
Experience the thrill of whitewater rafting
This is a close-up view of the Arkansas River, where you can undertake adrenaline-pumping whitewater rafting adventures at the Arkansas Headwaters. 📍 Google Maps | Visit Arkansas Headwaters Website | 👉 Browse Salida Hotels on Booking
The Arkansas Headwaters is a highly popular destination for thrilling whitewater rafting and kayaking experiences. The river is also known for its excellent fishing opportunities, particularly for catching rainbow trout.
Additionally, the area offers various outdoor activities such as hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing, and wildlife spotting. The town of Salida, located within the Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area, is a historic Colorado mountain town that is well worth exploring.
Mount Evans Scenic Byway
Take pleasure in a scenic drive along the famous Mount Evans Scenic Byway. There's no better feeling than embarking on a road trip through a new place, accompanied by great music, delicious snacks, and good company. If you don't have time for a multi-day road trip, this byway offers a fantastic alternative.
The route begins at Echo Lake Park, although you can also start from Idaho Springs if you prefer. The entire round trip takes approximately 1.5 hours to drive, but allow at least half a day to fully appreciate the stunning scenery and make stops along the way.
During your journey, make sure to explore attractions like Summit Lake Park, Meyer-Womble Observatory, and the trig point on Mount Evans. Keep an eye out for fluffy white mountain goats, who frequently make appearances. The Mount Evans Scenic Byway is undoubtedly one of the best places in Colorado for a scenic and enjoyable drive.
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When it comes to mountain towns with wide-ranging appeal, Glenwood Springs sets the bar high. As the largest mountain town in the area with a population of over 10,000, Glenwood Springs is conveniently located near the interstate, making it easily accessible from Denver (2.5 hours away). The town is known for its three developed hot springs, a mountaintop adventure park that can only be reached by gondola, and opportunities for river activities such as paddling and fishing.
Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park
Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park holds a special place for adventure seekers. How many amusement parks do you know that are perched atop a mountain? In the United States, Glenwood Caverns is the only mountaintop amusement park, making it a unique and brag-worthy destination.
The park offers a wide range of rides and attractions. Take the classic gondola ride to enjoy the breathtaking views, or embark on a guided cave tour for a truly one-of-a-kind experience. Of course, there are also exhilarating thrill rides like the Giant Canyon Swing and a variety of roller coasters.
Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park is perfect for families or anyone seeking a day of fun and excitement. Even without visiting the amusement park, Glenwood Springs has plenty to offer, including public hot springs, the Frontier Historical Museum, and relaxing spots along the river.
Immerse yourself in the luxurious ski town of Aspen, a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts and art lovers
Despite its reputation as a playground for the wealthy and famous, Aspen has plenty to offer for all visitors, regardless of their wealth. Located in close proximity to Maroon Bells and other natural wonders, Aspen provides a wide range of activities and attractions. The town features numerous music venues, an annual film festival, wellness spas and yoga studios, horseback riding opportunities, and more. Check out our guide to what to do in Aspen to plan your trip.
👉 Pro Tip: If you're interested in hiking in the area, but prefer some company, consider joining this Aspen East End Light Hike for a guided experience along hidden river trails and lesser-known paths.
Immerse yourself in the natural beauty of Maroon Bells, a must-visit destination in Colorado
The sight of Maroon Bells is truly awe-inspiring. You've probably seen them before, as they are featured in many stock photos of Colorado, including our homepage! Located near Aspen, Maroon Bells is undoubtedly one of the most popular and breathtaking places to visit in the state.
Despite its popularity, a visit to Maroon Bells should still be high on your list of Colorado experiences!
👉 Pro Tip: During the summer, Maroon Bells operates on a reservation system. You can reserve either a parking spot or a seat on the shuttle from Aspen to ensure your visit goes smoothly.
Engage in year-round activities in the beloved ski town of Snowmass
Snowmass Village, known as a popular Colorado ski resort, offers more than just winter activities. During the summer, you can enjoy biking trails, hiking routes, and fishing spots.
The Lost Forest at Snowmass provides an array of exciting activities for kids, including an alpine coaster, a treetop challenge course, and a climbing wall.
🥾 Read Next: Colorado’s 15 Best Hikes
Remember when I mentioned that Colorado is home to unique towns that have their own distinct identities? Well, Crestone is one of those towns. With a population of fewer than 150 people, Crestone is dedicated to sustainable living and spirituality. Throughout the town, you'll find various off-the-grid homes and spiritual centers, such as the Crestone Mountain Zen Center and the Tashi Gomang Stupa.
Red Feather Lakes Area
Experience rafting, kayaking, and fishing in a peaceful setting
The Red Feather Lakes area in northern Colorado is a hidden gem that offers a peaceful retreat away from crowds. The Cache La Poudre River provides plenty of opportunities for rafting, fishing, kayaking, and other water activities. If you're looking for a unique experience, visit the Shambhala Mountain Center, a Buddhist retreat nestled in the midst of breathtaking natural beauty.
Photo by Citycommunications at English Wikipedia, CC BY 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Looking to explore Northern Colorado? Look no further than Fort Collins. Located near the Wyoming border, Fort Collins offers a unique blend of history and modern attractions. Its Old Town area features well-preserved houses from the 1800s, while attractions like the Global Village Museum of Arts and Fort Collins Museum of Discovery add to its cultural offerings. Additionally, you can enjoy outdoor activities at Lee Martinez Community Park or visit an urban trampoline park. Fort Collins truly offers a diverse range of experiences.
Discover the gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park
Estes Park is located just outside the entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park and is considered a must-see destination in Colorado. It offers a range of activities for visitors all year round. Whether you enjoy hiking, biking, horseback riding, or winter sports like skiing and snowshoeing, Estes Park has something for everyone. The town is surrounded by the stunning Rocky Mountains, allowing you to enjoy breathtaking views wherever you go.
Rocky Mountain National Park
A trip to Colorado wouldn't be complete without a visit to Rocky Mountain National Park! It's a must-see destination that attracts many visitors from around the country. With its location along the Continental Divide, the park offers a stunning landscape with over 100 peaks above 10,000 feet. Hiking enthusiasts can explore various trails, ranging from single-day hikes to multi-day adventures. If hiking isn't your thing, you can still enjoy the park's beauty by driving along the Trail Ridge Road. During the summer, the park is bustling with activities such as hiking, camping, fishing, and wildlife photography. In the winter, it transforms into a winter wonderland with opportunities for cross-country skiing and snowboarding.
Experience outdoor recreation and a vibrant brewery scene in this unique college town
Boulder, located a short 45-minute drive from Denver, is a vibrant college town with a charm of its own. It offers a wide range of outdoor recreational activities, including hiking and mountain biking trails that lead you to the famous Flatirons. After a day of adventure, unwind at Pearl Street Mall, a popular strip filled with shops, restaurants, and breweries. For those who enjoy hiking and beer, you can even join a Boulder Hike & Brews tour that combines a hike in the Flatirons with a visit to a local taproom.
Experience tubing, mountain biking, and more in this friendly town
Golden, located just a short distance from Denver, offers a wide range of activities that make it a unique destination in Colorado. While many might associate Golden with the famous Coors Brewery tour, the town also boasts other breweries and distilleries. Outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy tubing on Clear Creek or explore the quaint shops on Washington Avenue. Additionally, Golden Gate Canyon State Park is a paradise for outdoor recreation and is considered one of the best State Parks in Colorado. If you're looking for a well-rounded destination, Golden has it all.
Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
Tessa Desjardins/Travel Leisure
For an authentically Colorado experience, head to Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park in western Colorado. This national park features a deeply carved river gorge with sheer walls that provide a breathtaking setting. Be sure to check out the Painted Wall cliff, which appears as if it were painted with giant stripes. Watching a golden eagle soaring above the canyon adds to the awe-inspiring experience.
Black Canyon of the Gunnison
While Arizona may have the Grand Canyon, Colorado has its own marvel in the form of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison. With a staggering 3,000-foot drop, the vastness of this canyon and the surrounding landscape will capture your imagination and have you reaching for your camera. The name "Black Canyon" is indicative of the limited sunlight that reaches its depths, creating a stunning interplay of shadows and sunlight. Whether you choose to drive along the Rim Drive to enjoy the viewpoints or embark on a full-day hike or kayaking adventure, the Black Canyon will leave a lasting impression.
Embark on a historic train ride through picturesque wilderness
The narrow-gauge train ride from Durango to Silverton is a one-of-a-kind experience exclusive to Colorado! 📍 Google Maps | Durango Website | Best Hotels in Durango | 👉 Browse Durango Hotels on Booking
Durango, located in southwestern Colorado, offers a wealth of experiences that reflect the essence of Colorado. It's a historically rich town that serves as the gateway to various outdoor activities. Visitors can enjoy hiking, mountain biking, river rafting, and scenic drives in the surrounding areas. Don't miss the opportunity to embark on the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Train, a picturesque Colorado mountain train ride. The San Juan Skyway and Million Dollar Highway drive are also great options for a scenic adventure, starting from Durango.
Dinosaur National Monument
Love dinosaurs? Colorado has got you covered. Dinosaur National Monument, located on the Colorado-Utah border, showcases evidence of prehistoric life in the area. You can explore dinosaur remains embedded in rocks, view petroglyphs left by early humans, and engage in various outdoor activities such as river rafting, hiking, and camping.
Canyons of the Ancients National Monument
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In the red rock canyons of southwestern Colorado lies the Canyons of the Ancients National Monument. Spanning over 174,000 acres, this archaeological wonder offers a glimpse into the daily lives of ancient Indigenous people. The area is home to thousands of recorded villages, cliff dwellings, shrines, kivas, petroglyphs, and other historic sites. It's a rich cultural and historical destination for those interested in ancient civilizations.
Embark on a road trip to this scenic ski town, one of the top vacation spots in Colorado
Telluride, located in a scenic setting, should be at the top of your list for places to visit in Colorado. Although it's a bit of a drive from the major metropolitan areas, the untouched beauty of Telluride and its surroundings make it a worthwhile destination year-round. The town offers a wide range of activities, whether you prefer warm or cold weather. From hiking and mountain biking trails to skiing and snowshoeing in the winter, Telluride caters to outdoor enthusiasts. Explore the attractions and activities guide to plan your visit.
Discover miles of trails in the Indian Peaks Wilderness
Nederland is a fantastic destination to experience the vibrant colors of fall in Colorado. The town comes alive as the aspen leaves turn brilliant shades of yellow. Whether you're visiting during fall or any other time of the year, Nederland has something to offer. Explore the miles of trails in the Indian Peaks Wilderness, go skiing at the nearby Eldora Mountain Resort, or take a scenic drive along the Peak to Peak Scenic Byway. Nederland is a gateway to breathtaking views and outdoor adventures.
San Juan National Forest
San Juan National Forest is a protected wilderness spanning 1.8 million acres under the San Juan Mountains. It offers a haven for nature enthusiasts with its diverse wildlife, including black bears, moose, mountain lions, and adorable mountain goats. If you enjoy wildlife watching, San Juan National Forest is the place to be.
Located just a short two-hour drive north of Durango, the forest is perfect for a day trip. You can bring a picnic and spend the day exploring the various trails. Mountain bikers can challenge themselves with different levels of mountain biking trails, while others can simply drive through and admire the stunning roadside viewpoints.
No matter what activity you choose, a visit to San Juan National Forest is a must when exploring Colorado. It teems with life and offers abundant beauty and excitement to appreciate.
Experience the charm and beauty of the "Switzerland of America"
Ouray is a picturesque town nestled in the San Juan Mountains and is often called the "Switzerland of America." It offers visitors a truly enchanting experience.
In Ouray, you can try various activities such as horseback riding, rock climbing, and exploring the famous ice park. The town also hosts an international film festival every June, adding to its cultural appeal.
Explore one of Colorado's finest mountain towns along the Million Dollar Highway
The Million Dollar Highway that leads to Silverton offers breathtaking views. This former mining town is a National Historic Landmark and a stop on the San Juan Skyway. Taking the narrow-gauge train from Durango will transport you to this charming destination.
When visiting Silverton, you can enjoy various activities such as shopping for souvenirs, dining at local eateries, hiking, going on Jeep tours, or trying an ATV ride. Consider staying for a night to fully immerse yourself in the beauty of this Colorado mountain town.
Embark on an unforgettable journey up one of Colorado's famed 14ers
Pikes Peak stands at an impressive 14,115 feet above sea level and is a must-visit destination in Colorado. You have several options for reaching the summit, including hiking (a challenging endeavor), biking, driving, or taking the Broadmoor Manitou and Pikes Peak Cog Railway.
For a unique experience, consider joining a guided Jeep tour that provides fascinating insights into the history of this famous Colorado landmark.
Rattlesnake Canyon Arches
Although Utah's Arches National Park boasts the highest concentration of natural arches in the world, Colorado is home to the second-highest concentration just across the border. Within Rattlesnake Canyon Arches, located in a 123,400-acre preserve, you'll find 35 natural arches to explore—minus the national park entry fees and crowds.
Related: Discover more of Colorado's natural beauty with our list of the 10 Best Colorado National Parks and Sites.
Indulge in a shopping spree at one of Colorado's largest outlet malls
Castle Rock, located between Denver and Colorado Springs, offers more than meets the eye. Apart from being home to a large outlet mall, the town boasts natural beauty and outdoor activities, making it a worthwhile destination in Colorado.
In Castle Rock, you can enjoy various activities such as climbing the rock formations that give the city its name, exploring breweries, and even going zip-lining. It's a great place to experience the best of Colorado.
Evans Scenic Byway
Embark on a scenic drive along the highest paved road in North America
Driving along the Mount Evans Scenic Byway is a memorable experience, as it is the highest paved road in North America. The breathtaking views along the way are truly unforgettable.
The byway leads to the top of Mount Evans, one of Colorado's majestic fourteeners, with peaks towering over 14,000 feet above sea level. Keep an eye out for mountain goats during your drive—they are a common sight!
Note that timed entry reservations are now required for Mount Evans, so plan ahead. It is not only one of Colorado's best places to visit but also one of the top attractions near Denver, so it tends to get crowded.
👉 Don't miss: Check out our guide to the best day trips from Denver for more ideas to explore the Denver area and its surrounding attractions.
Marvel at Victorian architecture and natural beauty during a scenic train tour
Georgetown is a charming town located along I-70, just under an hour's drive from Denver. It showcases beautiful Victorian architecture and offers a scenic train tour that allows you to admire the town's natural beauty.
While in Georgetown, you can take a ride on the Georgetown Loop Railroad and even indulge in a silver mine tour or try your hand at gold panning.
📚 Read Next: For more travel inspiration across the United States, check out our guides to the best places to visit, spots to explore, and destinations in each state. Don't miss our list for Washington state—a perfect resource for outdoor enthusiasts.
Pagosa Springs, located in Southern Colorado, is a hidden gem that shouldn't be missed, especially if you're a fan of hot springs. With upscale spas and free public hot springs like Nathan's Hippy Dip Hot Springs, Pagosa Springs offers a diverse selection for visitors.
The town is surrounded by the stunning San Juan Mountains, providing a breathtaking backdrop. It serves as an excellent base for exploring the mountains, and with a rental car, you can easily embark on day trips to fully embrace the natural beauty.
For an off-the-beaten-track experience, Pagosa Springs is the perfect place to visit. It offers all the amenities for a comfortable stay while maintaining a charming and serene atmosphere.
Amache National Historic Site
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The Amache National Historic Site, also known as the Granada Relocation Center or Camp Amache, is a significant part of Colorado's history that remains largely unknown. During World War II, thousands of Japanese Americans were unjustly incarcerated at this site. Today, the site educates visitors about the experiences of over 10,000 people, most of whom were U.S. citizens, who passed through the camp.
Mesa Verde National Park
Zack Frank/500px/Getty Images
Mesa Verde National Park, located in southwestern Colorado, is a place of great cultural and historical importance. It was once home to the Ancestral Pueblo people, who built their dwellings within the sandstone cliffs. Today, the park is a protected World Heritage Site and International Dark Sky Park, preserving the rich heritage and architectural wonders of the ancient civilizations.
Stewart Cohen/Getty Images
While Colorado is renowned for its natural landscapes, downtown Denver offers its own allure. Larimer Square holds the distinction of being the city's first designated local historic district. This picturesque city block is lined with shops and eateries that perfectly capture the essence of Colorado. It's just a short 10-minute walk from Denver's Union Station.
Venture into a winter wonderland at one of the country's largest single-mountain ski resorts—Vail. With thousands of acres of slopes and trails, Vail attracts celebrities and adventure enthusiasts alike. But the excitement doesn't end with winter. In the summer, you can enjoy activities such as fishing, river rafting, zip-lining, horseback riding, golfing, and hiking. Vail offers an adrenaline-filled experience year-round.
Breckenridge, established in the 1850s, is known for its exceptional skiing and snowboarding opportunities. However, what sets this town apart is its Historic Main Street. Lined with restaurants, breweries, and unique shops housed in 19th-century architecture, Breckenridge offers a charming atmosphere both on and off the slopes. Whether you're visiting in summer or winter, it guarantees a day filled with adventure.
During the warmer months, you can explore the surrounding hills through scenic hikes, experience fishing or kayaking in nearby waterways, or enjoy a toboggan ride through the mountains. In winter, experience Breckenridge as a premier ski resort, boasting the highest ski lift in the United States.
Indulge in the Colorado sunshine while sipping wine
Palisade is a paradise for wine lovers and arguably one of the best places to visit in Colorado. Situated near Grand Junction in the heart of Colorado's Wine Country, Palisade offers a delightful day of touring wineries and vineyards.
In addition to its wine production, Palisade is famous for its delicious peaches and other produce. You can even schedule a farm tour to experience the agricultural side of the region.
Grand Junction, located in Western Colorado near the Utah border, is primarily known for its wine production. The city is surrounded by vast green spaces utilized for wine making.
While wine tasting is a must when visiting Grand Junction, the city offers much more than that. You can explore attractions such as the Museum of the West, Eureka! McConnell Science Museum, and Western Colorado Botanical Gardens. If you visit during Halloween season, don't forget to check out the nearby pumpkin patch and corn maze for a festive experience.
Grand Junction serves as an excellent base for exploring Western Colorado and provides a small-town experience with all the amenities. It's the perfect destination for a road trip adventure in Colorado.
Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre
Experience a performance at this internationally renowned music venue, which is considered one of the top attractions in Colorado
Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre is conveniently located just a short twenty-minute drive from downtown Denver but offers a truly unforgettable experience, particularly for rock music enthusiasts. Not only can visitors explore the park's hiking trails in search of dinosaur fossils, but they can also delve into the fascinating history of the countless iconic musical acts that have graced the Red Rocks stage since its inception.
📚 Related Reading: If you're planning a trip to Denver, don't forget to consult our comprehensive list of the best things to do in the city. It's packed with more exciting ideas and recommendations!
Embark on a memorable journey to one of Colorado's most iconic attractions
Hanging Lake is conveniently located just a short drive from Glenwood Springs. While the hike itself may be relatively brief, it does pose a moderate level of difficulty due to its steepness. However, the effort is undoubtedly worth it, as hikers are rewarded with breathtaking views of a unique bluish-green lake. This curious hue is the result of dissolved minerals in the water. It's important to note that swimming or wading in the lake is strictly prohibited in order to preserve its pristine beauty.
👉 Pro Tip: Due to high demand, Hanging Lake operates on a reservation system. Make sure to plan your visit well in advance!
Colorado National Monument
Colorado National Monument encompasses a stunning expanse of 20,533 acres, characterized by breathtaking red rock canyons and a diverse array of desert wildlife. This national park offers an unparalleled opportunity to immerse yourself in the dramatic desert landscapes that are so emblematic of Colorado. Additionally, its close proximity to Grand Junction makes it even more accessible and convenient to explore.
Colorado National Monument is a haven for hiking enthusiasts, with Otto's Trail and Serpents Trail recognized as the most captivating walking routes. For those with access to a car, embarking on the Historic Rim Rock Drive promises an unforgettable journey spanning 23 miles of awe-inspiring viewpoints and countless stunning photo opportunities.
Colorado National Monument is the ideal destination for those seeking to experience the majestic beauty of Colorado's red rock canyons and classic desert scenes, all within the span of a single day.
Pike National Forest
Pike National Forest, spanning an impressive 1 million acres, is a protected area located just west of Colorado Springs. This vast expanse offers a multitude of serene spots, boasting thousands of tranquil trails, creekside campsites, and picturesque lakes ideal for water-based activities.
The most renowned feature of Pike National Forest undoubtedly lies in the form of Pikes Peak, the highest summit in the southern Front Range. While many tackle the challenge of climbing Pikes Peak, there is an alternative option for those who prefer a less strenuous approach. The Pikes Peak Cog Railway, one of the world's highest railways, carries visitors effortlessly to the summit along a steep track.
While mountain biking enthusiasts will find plenty of trails to explore in Pike National Forest, we primarily recommend this destination for those who enjoy hiking and conquering challenging peaks.
Indulge in a myriad of activities year-round in Steamboat, one of Colorado's premier destinations
Steamboat Springs is another must-visit destination in Colorado, offering a multitude of activities that cater to all interests throughout the year. From skiing and snowboarding during the winter season to hiking, paddleboarding, swimming, and fishing in the summer, there's something for everyone to enjoy.
For a comprehensive guide to the best things to do in Steamboat Springs, be sure to check out our detailed article. It's the perfect resource to help you plan an unforgettable adventure in Colorado!
Browns Canyon National Monument
With a sprawling size of 21,586 acres, Browns Canyon National Monument offers ample opportunities for exploration in Colorado. Whether you're interested in hiking, camping, fishing, or any other recreational activity, this national park has it all.
However, Browns Canyon National Monument is particularly known for its exceptional white water rafting experiences. If you're looking for a thrilling and adventurous way to explore the park, we highly recommend booking a white water rafting excursion. Several official tour operators offer a variety of exciting options. You can find more information and make reservations through their official websites. For your convenience, we have provided a direct link here for you to explore the available white water rafting experiences in Browns Canyon.
Curecanti National Recreation Area
Curecanti National Recreation Area is home to three breathtaking alpine reservoirs, with water-based activities being the main highlight within the park. If you're seeking a day filled with water-based adventures, Curecanti is the perfect destination. The presence of three reservoirs helps distribute visitors evenly, ensuring a tranquil and serene atmosphere throughout.
At Curecanti, you can spend your day fishing, boating, swimming, and engaging in other water-related activities. Additionally, numerous hiking trails surround the reservoirs, allowing visitors to enjoy picturesque views of the area. We highly recommend visiting Dillon Pinnacles Vista Point, which is easily accessible from the road and offers spectacular vistas.
Curecanti National Recreation Area provides a delightful blend of facilities and activities, making it one of the most enjoyable places to visit in Colorado, especially for a memorable day trip.
Grand Lake is a charming small town nestled along the shores of a pristine freshwater lake. Despite its petite size, with a population of approximately 400 permanent residents, Grand Lake offers a delightful escape into the wilderness. The town is renowned for its abundant water activities, including kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, and swimming.
For those seeking tranquility and peace in Colorado, Grand Lake is a perfect choice. Surrounded by stunning landscapes, it provides a sense of unspoiled tranquility. Additionally, the town's proximity to busier destinations such as Granby offers the opportunity to experience a different atmosphere when desired. Grand Lake also boasts a rich history, and the Kauffman House Museum offers intriguing insights into its mining town past.
Whether you're in search of a peaceful retreat or a thrilling outdoor adventure, Grand Lake remains one of the most idyllic places to visit in Colorado.
Great Sand Dunes National Park
The scale and magnificence of Great Sand Dunes National Park can only be fully appreciated when standing amidst its vastness. Even from a distance of five miles, the towering dunes may appear no more significant than three-foot waves in the shadow of the majestic Rocky Mountains.
However, as you venture deeper into the national park, these seemingly small waves transform into colossal behemoths that leave you in awe. The park offers an extraordinary collection of dunes that continuously increase in size, each more grandiose than the last.
Once you find yourself at the edge of one of these majestic dunes, gazing upward, the true splendor of the Great Sand Dunes becomes apparent. It's a testament to the wonder of nature, leaving you wondering how such a unique landscape can exist amidst an otherwise mountainous terrain.
As you explore this magnificent destination, home to the tallest sand dunes on the continent, including the awe-inspiring Star Dune reaching a height of 750 feet, be sure to bring along a toboggan or sandboard for an exhilarating ride back down into the valley.
When it comes to choosing the best place to travel in Colorado, the options are seemingly endless. From the breathtaking landscapes of Rocky Mountain National Park to the vibrant energy of Denver's Union Station, this state truly offers something for everyone. Whether you're into outdoor adventures like hiking and skiing, or prefer exploring the historic towns and cultural attractions, Colorado never disappoints. So pack your bags, hit the road, and immerse yourself in the natural wonders and hidden gems that await you in the Centennial State.
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