There's a fascination with Colorado that goes beyond its laid-back atmosphere and casual way of life. For starters, it's been hailed as the fittest state in the entire country thanks to its (mostly) lovely weather year-round and endless number of hiking trails. A long list of outdoor recreation is what makes this spot such a prime destination for avid nature lovers... but what about everyone else?

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Contrary to popular belief, you don't need to be an expert hiker or a mountain climber to experience Colorado in the best ways possible. All you need to know is where to go and, luckily, we do. Its small towns are just as adventurous as cities like Denver and Boulder, and some would argue their charm even makes for a better vacation. To beat the crowds and see another side of this wonderful state, consider these towns on your next Colorado getaway.

Lake City

Lake City is practically the definition of a charming small town in Colorado and one of its biggest draws is the number of waterfalls around the area. It's a popular destination for those who know where to look for them (it's not difficult!) and photographers come from all around to photograph its serene landscape. The mountains surrounding the town create a dramatic backdrop and the snow at their summits never melts fully, giving that iconic Colorado appearance that so many people expect when they visit the state.

The history of the area is evident by the abandoned mining villages and ghost towns that can be found just outside of the town limits, making for an interesting day trip. Those who enjoy exploring these town ruins will undoubtedly appreciate the history - and eerie nature - of what's been left behind. The town is also not far from Silver Thread Scenic Byway, where more views of the surrounding area can be had - this is also how visitors can get to North Clear Creek Falls, which is one of the most popular, and dramatic, waterfalls in Lake City.


For those who really want a feel for the Rocky Mountains, the town of Victor, which is considered an antique mining town, is perfect. Nestled into the mountain range, this town isn't huge but offers plenty for those who don't mind exploring its history. Along with that history comes a bit of adventure in the form of gold mines, and this is a popular place for some to try their hand at gold panning. Who knows - you might even come up lucky.

Visitors can tour the old sites where a gold rush once brought hundreds to the area in search of a new life, and the town itself is a testament to that boomtown atmosphere. Around Victor, there are plenty of tours to take advantage of, including those that wind through gold trails and even old cemeteries in the area. Those looking for a full picture of what Victor was once like can head to the town's museum which is home to many artifacts and exhibits that are helpful in understanding its mining history.

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Creede is a stunning small town simply because of its location - it's sandwiched in between the mountains with absurdly dramatic backdrops thanks to its high elevation. Mountain peaks are practically within reaching distance (at least, they feel that way) and it's a great small town to spend the weekend in just exploring. It's also saturated in local history with a founding date that goes all the way back to the 1880s, thanks to the silver boom that brought thousands to its streets.

While the town of Creede was once bustling with people eager to make a living mining silver, when the well dried up - metaphorically - the population once again receded from over 10,000 to a mere 300 or less. Today, the town feels as though it's one where everyone knows everyone, and the town is still dripping with its rich silver boom history. Nearly every building features the classic 19th-century architecture that was so common in Colorado and the surrounding west, and its breathtaking mountain backdrop is really nothing short of artwork at the hands of Mother Nature. If you're still not hooked, then it might just be the town's Hollywood reputation that reels you in. The Shootist (a John Wayne film) was shot here in 1976, and, more recently, The Lone Ranger, back in 2013, was also filmed here. So if you're looking for a town that boasts all manner of impressive traits, look no further than Creede's mountain-cut roads.

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