If Colorado is a nature lover's playground, Denver is its bustling arcade. The Mile High City has experienced dramatic population growth in the last decade as people from all over the country seek to trade in their tiresome views for a Rocky Mountain High. Rolling hills wreath the Mile High City, and an escape into the wilderness is only a short drive away in every direction. Whether a person lives in Denver or is only visiting, these day trips highlight everything great about living in Colorado.

10 Cañon City

  • Drive Time From Denver: approximately 2.25 hours

There's adventure around every corner in Cañon City, and visitors will have an easy time making a day trip out of the popular sightseeing destination. The Royal Gorge Park features a pedestrian bridge and tram rides that traverse a steep canyon carved over millions of years by the Arkansas River. The city is also nearby one of Colorado's iconic scenic routes, Skyline Drive, which takes motorists on an adrenaline-pumping ride along the cliffs of the Hogback Hills.

Related: These Scenic Drives Through Colorado Will Have You Seeing The State With New Eyes

9 Garden Of The Gods

  • Drive Time From Denver: approximately 1.5 hours

Garden of the Gods is a little slice of heaven sure to have its visitors shouting hallelujah. Sandstone formations painted in orange rise from a ground covered in towering coniferous trees. Twenty miles of hiking trails winding through the park make it an ideal place to get lost for a day. The sandstone faces offer ample opportunities for rock climbing at all skill levels. Those who'd rather keep their feet planted firmly on the ground will have just as much fun watching climbers ascend towards heaven.

8 Idaho Springs

  • Drive Time From Denver: approximately 45 minutes

Look no further than Idaho Springs for a city getaway with a markedly small-town feel. Colorado's rich gold mining history lives on in the preserved architecture in the quaint downtown. An array of unique shops, eateries, and galleries breathe new life into the structures, making Idaho Springs one of Denver residents' most-loved day trips. Visitors can also tour the historic Argo Gold Mine and Mill to learn about how the industry shaped Idaho Springs. After a long day of exploring, travelers can soothe their sore muscles in the hot springs for which the city was named.

7 Bishop Castle

  • Drive Time From Denver: approximately 2.5 hours

Visitors to Bishop Castle will have a hard time believing one man is responsible for its construction. Jim Bishop built the elaborate three-story castle with an impressive array of free materials over several decades. While his initial goal was to create a single-leveled stone cottage for himself and his new bride, Bishop continued to expand on the structure until it became what it is today.

Curious staircases made of iron and stone spiral around the outside of the castle. Smoke pours from the handmade fire-breathing dragon chimney, and stained glass windows bounce colorful light into the Grand Ballroom. The free attraction promises to inspire its visitors to start working on their wildest dreams because if this is possible, anything is.

6 Boulder

  • Drive Time From Denver: approximately 45 minutes

Visitors to Boulder might want to consider an extended stay after exploring all the hip city has to offer. Its proximity to the Front Range makes it easy to spend some time in nature before heading to the Pearl Street pedestrian mall for good eats, good shopping, and an all-around good time. The university town boasts an impressive nightlife scene set against a beautiful mountain backdrop, and the welcoming residents are ready to show guests what Boulder is all about.

5 Red Rocks Park And Amphitheatre

  • Drive Time From Denver: approximately 30 minutes

Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre is a great place to see live entertainment in a beautiful place. Vibrantly hued sandstone rock formations surround the iconic venue that consistently tops the bucket lists of music lovers worldwide. Even when Red Rocks isn't hosting an event, the park is brimming with the best people-watching opportunities this side of the Mississippi. Guests perform their best tricks while filming for social media platforms, and cardio enthusiasts run, squat, jump, and crawl across the arena.

4 Golden

  • Drive Time From Denver: approximately 30 minutes

Golden is the best small-town destination for those seeking a bit of history mixed with modern flair. Its location at the base of the Rocky Mountains means breathtaking views, and the historic downtown continues to give western vibes despite its abundance of modern amenities. Travelers can visit the gravesite of Buffalo Bill and the adjacent museum to learn about the area's frontier past. While Denver is known for its craft breweries, beer lovers can pay homage to the classic Colorado Kool-aid at the Coors Brew Factory, one of the largest breweries in the world.

Related: Any Of These Colorado Towns Would Be Perfect For Cozying Up In The Winter

3 Hanging Lake

  • Drive Time From Denver: approximately 2.5 hours

Future daytrippers from Denver need to keep a close eye on Hanging Lake. The well-loved gem has attracted visitors hungry for a glimpse of the turquoise-colored water decorated by vibrant green aquatic flora, but heavy rains caused extreme damage to the trail leading to the natural gem. Officials are working hard to reopen the natural oasis in 2022 by providing a safer, more sustainable route for visitors. Despite being inaccessible right now, it's made the list so prospective travelers can appreciate the wonder when things are back up and running.

2 Black Hawk

  • Drive Time From Denver: approximately one hour

Any traveler who's feeling lucky should make their way to Black Hawk. Every weekend, the tiny town attracts thousands of visitors who take their pick from over 20 casinos and test their relationships with Lady Luck. Those who aren't in the gambling spirit can enjoy breathtaking views of the mountains at the Maryland Mountain Quartz Valley Open Space Park or admire the colorful Old West architecture lining the streets.

1 Rocky Mountain National Park

  • Drive Time From Denver: approximately 1.5 hours

A list of day trips from Denver would be incomplete without Rocky Mountain National Park. The place has it all: majestic mountain views, vast meadows, diverse wildlife, cascading waterfalls, dense forest, desolately beautiful alpine tundras. Everything. Visitors who only have a day can see the most of the park by driving the length of Trail Ridge Road and stopping along the various viewpoints to take in the sights that they'll daydream about for years to come.

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