Find the best things to do and the best places to go in Colorado all year long!
If you are the outdoorsy adventure-seeking type and are looking for the next destination where you can let your adventurous soul loose, then look no further, Colorado is, without a doubt, the place for you.
Although the state of Colorado is commonly known as a ski destination, this naturally gorgeous state has more to offer than just snow-capped mountains and ski lodges. Aside from the state’s stunning landscape of snowy mountains, rushing rivers, and dramatic canyons, Colorado has something for everyone, from cultural hubs and historic landmarks to annual festivals that bring the entire state to life.
With not one but four national parks and a variety of gorgeous lakes, Colorado offers some of the world’s best hiking experiences, especially during the spring and summer when the weather is crisp yet warm, i.e. perfect for a nature stroll.
So let’s find out in more detail what are the best things you can do while in Colorado.
Get a Taste of the Great City of Denver
Home to several educational museums, historical sites, and incredible views, Denver city is on top of the list of the must-see places in Colorado. When in Denver, make sure to stop by the Denver Art Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, and the Denver Botanic Gardens.
The Denver Zoo and the Denver Museum of Nature & Science are some of the best Denver attractions, especially, if you are traveling with children, they are guaranteed to have a blast.
Of course, because Denver has enough to fill a whole itinerary on its own, you might find yourself lost among all the things to do and places to visit. So, it would be a wise decision to book an arranged tour around the city to experience as much of Denver as possible in the limited time you have.
Hike the Colorado Trail
If you have chosen Colorado for its one-of-a-kind nature to explore your adventurous side, then the Colorado Trail should definitely be on the top of your list of places to visit.
This 500-mile long trail gives it hikers an in-depth look at just how breathtakingly gorgeous Colorado nature really is. From the Rock Mountains to several bodies of water, what you will encounter and witness while Hiking the Colorado Trail will definitely reconnect your soul with nature as nothing else could.
Something important to keep in mind when preparing to hike the Colorado Trail is that some of its routes will involve some climbing, so you will need to have the appropriate climber’s footwear on so that your hike isn’t ruined by discomfort or inconvenience. Also, make sure to have plenty of water on-hand because the hike could get quite tiring.
Explore the Ghost Towns of Colorado
What you may not know is that Colorado is actually full of abandoned towns, many of which have been left empty as a result of the mining struggles of the early 1900s. So, now, most of these abandoned ghost towns have been open to Colorado visitors so that they can get a firsthand look at the unique history of Colorado’s people.
One of the most popular ghost towns in Colorado is St. Elmo which is located about 80 miles southeast of Aspen and around 110 miles west of Colorado Springs. In St. Elmo, you will find a saloon, a jail, and about 40 other preserved buildings that were all abandoned in the 1920s. You can also buy some souvenirs from the general store of the town which opens seasonally.
Along your ghost town tour, if you find yourself at Aspen or close to it, make sure to stop by Independence Ghost Town. Located at 11,000 feet, this particular ghost town witnesses a lot of snow each year, therefore, you can only visit it during the summer months. In Independence Ghost Town, you’ll find empty stables, an old general store, as well as remains of some abandoned old cabins. If you feel like taking a free tour around this abandoned ghost town, you can wander around freely. However, if you want to get a taste of this town’s history, the best way to do it is to take a formal tour guided by members of the Aspen Historical Society.
Ski in Aspen
We can’t write a list of things to do in Colorado without, of course, making a place for skiing in the optimal Ski heaven: Aspen. Millions of people head to Aspen, central Colorado every year to hit the slopes for its ideal ski conditions and incredible ski resorts. One of said resorts is the famous Aspen Snowmass which is one of the largest ski resorts in the entire country, not just Colorado. Aspen Snowmass has several multiple chairlifts and about 150 miles of trails which makes it the perfect ski destination for both advanced and intermediate skiers. That’s not all, Aspen Snowmass also has multiple trails for beginners, as well as offers lessons at the hand of experienced instructors.
If you don’t feel quite ready for Aspen Snowmass, you can easily ski the 44 trails at the Buttermilk ski resort, or the 76 trails at Aspen Mountain.
Because of the town’s vast popularity, there is a variety of award-winning hotels in the area such as The Little Nell, Hotel Jerome, an Auberge Resorts Collection so you can enjoy your stay near Aspen’s one-of-a-kind slopes.
Visit the Dinosaur National Monument
Straddling the Colorado-Utah borders is another mesmerizing Colorado landmark: the Dinosaur National Monument. This massive landscape where dinosaurs once lived features a punch of mountains, canyons, and rivers that contain within them an uncanny collection of preserved fossils and remains of the dinosaurs’ existence. Although this particular monument is equally fascinating to both adults and children, one thing that particularly stands out among younger crowds is the on-site Quarry Exhibit Hall which displays about 1,500 bones, all once belonged to different types of dinosaurs. Another thing that brings this magnificent area to life is the murals and fossil exhibits that encourage young kids to explore and learn more about this era in a more fun way. Something else that visitors usually greatly enjoy while visiting this monument is the petroglyphs that were drawn by members of the Fremont Indian Tribe hundreds of years ago and feature fascinating images of humans and animals.
Outside of all this museum fun, there is also a lot of outdoor activities to enjoy such as hiking the trails that stretch out from the visitor centers to viewpoints that overlook the unique desert landscape. Among some of the popular routes are the 3-mile Sound of Silence trail and the 1.2-mile Fossil Discovery trail. You can also enjoy some off-trail hiking in the protected area. If you don’t feel like hiking but would still like to see all of this magnificent Dinosaur national monument, you can choose between cycling or horseback riding around the area. Entrance fees to Dinosaur National Monument are $25 per vehicle.
Reconnect with Nature at the Garden of the Gods
Located in northwest Colorado Springs, the Garden of the Gods National Park is the perfect place to strip your mind and soul of the shackles and worries of everyday life and get back to the calm and unspoiled heart of nature. The Garden of the Gods Park is every adventurer’s dream destination with its grand rock formations in various colorful hues of white, orange, and red. The views and surroundings in the magnificent national park are enough to restore all your face in the infinite powers of nature.
Among the most popular activities in the Gardens of the Gods is hiking as it is the best way to relax and reconnect with nature while soaking in the incredible scenery around you. Some of the most recommended hiking trails are the Perkins Central Garden Trail and the Palmer Trail.
If you don’t feel like hiking, you can also take an arranged Jeep tour to Balanced Rock where you will be able to hear all about the history of this magnificent park while enjoying a 90-minute ride among tunnels, waterfalls, and other truly breathtaking wonders.
Surf at Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve
If you are feeling particularly adventurous, then you can’t skip visiting Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve where you can enjoy a one-of-a-kind sand surfing experience, not found anywhere else in the state of Colorado.
If you trust your sand surfing abilities and feel extra courageous, you can choose to surf some of the more challenging and massive dunes of the park. However, if you would like to try your test the waters first, you can simply walk about half a mile where you will find smaller and easier-to-surf dunes.
For surfing boards and equipment, you can head to the Oasis store, located four miles from the entrance, which is the closest and most popular rental store in the park.
Other activities options in Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve include hiking around the park and swimming in Madeno Creek.
Camp out at Black Canyon of the Gunnison Park
Colorado’s Black Canyon is one of a handful of places that truly has the power and ability to both astonish and humble you with its one-of-a-kind beauty and breathtaking nature. One of the especially interesting things about this national park is that even though it is quite small, it holds within its 50 square miles incredible dark peaks and some of the most amazingly breathtaking canyons and views.
One of the huge perks about how small the Gunnison National Park is is that it gives its visitors a sense of intimacy thanks to the lack of crowds. Another huge perk is that it is one of the few national parks that are small enough that you can see all of it in just one day. However, the best way to do so is by car as its steep nature doesn’t make for the best hiking environment. Therefore, most, if not all, visitors choose to explore that park by driving.
This magnificent national park is divided into two rims; the North Rim and the South Rim. The North Rim has three trails and six overlook areas. As for the South Rim, it has five nature walking areas and twelve overlook areas and is considered the more developed part of the park, mainly for its visitor center which offers arranged road trips around the park.
Colorado is truly one of the most underrated gems in North America, but it is not alone. This hugely diverse continent is filled with rare beauty and enriching adventure opportunities, so make sure to check our website to find where your next adventure lies.