From outdoor adventures to spectacular landscapes, Colorado has lots to offer that will inspire the soul. It’s home to fascinating historical sites, bustling cities, national monuments, and arid deserts. Skiers, mountain bikers, hikers, history buffs, and nature lovers flock to the state year after year for unforgettable vacations.
So how do travelers select the best places to visit in Colorado when the list of contenders is overwhelming? Well, these 10 amazing places will do the trick.
The breathtaking mountain scenery makes Aspen an excellent destination for a lavish getaway. Jack Nicholson, among other Hollywood celebrities, fell in love with this place so much that they purchased homes. Tourists head to the slopes every winter for snowshoeing and world-class skiing. The warmer months are also great for mountain biking, rafting, and fly-fishing. The town is known for its upscale eateries, galleries, hip bars, and live music venues. Visitors will also enjoy fun-filled annual events like the Aspen Music Festival or the Food & Wine Classic.
This is an awe-inspiring place to visit for history lovers, adventurers, and those who appreciate the beautiful scenery. Its downtown area is dominated by magnificent historic buildings. Travelers can take a journey on the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, a historic steam train, which makes a jaw-breaking 50-mile trip through a canyon and mountains. The other attraction is the Animas River which winds through the town, drawing rafters and kayakers. Visitors can also enjoy skiing at Purgatory Ski Resort in winter or hiking and mountain biking during the summer.
8 Colorado Springs
This city shouldn’t miss on every avid hiker’s bucket list of places to visit in Colorado. It’s famous for many hiking trails and nature parks with distinctive geological features. Some energetic outdoor activities visitors can engage in are cycling the Barr Trail, hiking at the Garden of the Gods Park, and zip-lining at the Royal Gorge. Art lovers can as well turn their attention to historic attractions such as the Cripple Creek Heritage Museum or the Colorado Springs Fine Art Center.
This charming town is surrounded by impressive scenery, including snow-capped peaks, forests, and the marvelous Flatirons. Some exciting outdoor activities to engage in are kayaking, skiing, hot air ballooning, and rock climbing at the Eldora Mountain Resort. Foodies are well-catered for as they can taste beers on brewery tours, visit the Dushanbe Tea House, or check out the farmers’ market. Boulder also has art galleries and iconic museums such as the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art, Henderson Museum, and SmithKein Gallery, among others.
6 Glenwood Springs
This resort city houses the largest hot springs pool in the world that has been attracting visitors since 1888. It’s open throughout the year for splashing, soaking, relaxation, and swimming. The surrounding area, including the Hanging Lake, is great for hiking as well. Lovers of high-flying adventure can try out tandem paragliding at the Red Mountain. For a more relaxing outdoor activity, golfing is available at the high-caliber courses around Glenwood Springs like the Ironbridge Course, Lakota Course, and the Roaring Fork Course, among others.
This is an ideal year-round tourist destination that offers a mix of outdoor and cultural activities. The town is one of the best ski resorts in the US as it offers almost all types of snow activities against a backdrop of phenomenal mountain peaks. Hiking throughout the San Juan Mountains offers visitors a chance to view tranquil streams and roaring waterfalls. In town, travelers will enjoy visiting Victorian storefronts, outstanding eateries, trendy bars filled with mountain enthusiasts, and frontier-era facades.
4 Estes Park
Located in the eastern part of the Rocky Mountain National Park, Estes Park is a popular attraction. There are miles of adventurous hiking trails to enjoy. Intrepid adventurers have a host of activities to try, including biking, snowshoeing, mountaineering, white water rafting, and backpacking. Less daring visitors can still play golf, watch wildlife, or enjoy the River Walk.
3 Mesa Verde National Park
This UNESCO-listed national park in southwest Colorado shouldn’t be missed. Its historical significance and striking beauty blow away the mind of visitors. It’s home to numerous Ancestral Pueblo sites such as the Cliff Palace. There’s also the Chapin Mesa Archeological Museum that showcases the Ancestral Pueblo culture. Those looking to enjoy canyon views should drive the Mesa Top Loop Road.
2 Rifle Falls State Park
This destination has a way of capturing the heart of travelers and never letting go. It’s best known for limestone caves, a deciduous forest, 70-foot triple waterfall, 13 drive-in campsites, wetlands, and groomed hiking trails. Some animals visitors are likely to see are mule deer, coyote, golden-mantled ground squirrel, and elk.
1 Rocky Mountain National Park
There’s a lot to enjoy in this hiker’s wonderland. It has 60 mountain peaks and several ecological zones starting from 5,600 feet to 11,000 feet. Daredevil hikers can explore all those zones to reach the alpine tundra, above 11,000 feet. Along the way, some animals that can be spotted are bald eagles, horned owls, Elk, moose, mule deer, ptarmigan, and bighorn sheep, among others.
There’s also the Holzwarth Historic Site that explores the history of the 20th-century Holzwarth family. Visiting this historic site makes visitors appreciate the simplistic way of life a century ago, thanks to the old farm equipment and fencing.