Colorado is America’s eighth biggest state, featuring beautiful natural landscapes, Rocky Mountain vistas, and laid-back attitudes. Colorado is a year-round destination with a stunning scenery and natural beauty that piques the mind and inspires the soul. Mountain towns attract skiers, hikers, climbers, mountain bikers, and other outdoor enthusiasts of many kinds, but they’re also wonderful locations to relax and enjoy the scenery. Colorado has something for everyone, from natural landscapes with impressive mountain peaks and red rock formations to adrenaline-fueled family fun.
Scenic drives through parks and along state highways are some of the greatest opportunities for visitors to view the magnificent sights that the state has to offer. There are so many wonderful places to visit around the state, and you should be aware of as many as possible. We’ve compiled a list of the must-see places in this must-see state to help you narrow down your selections for your next vacation.
Now Coming to the Best Places to Visit in Colorado
1. Rocky Mountain National Park
One of the most visited national parks in the United States is Rocky Mountain National Park. It’s no surprise that more than three million people visit the park each year, with beautiful peaks in every direction, animals wandering the valleys, and some of the most spectacular outdoor activities on the world. Colorado’s most popular park has provided an exquisite background with over a hundred 11,000-foot peaks, five glaciers, and 150 alpine lakes. The Estes Valley is cradled by these magnificent mountains, which provide inhabitants and visitors with awe-inspiring beauty and inspiration. The Continental Divide, which extends west to the Pacific Ocean or east to the Atlantic Ocean, is made up of many of the higher peaks.
While it is possible to go across Rocky Mountain National Park without seeing any animals, we believe this is quite improbable. The wildlife in the park remind you that you are a part of something genuinely wild, from everyday sightings of chipmunks and mule deer to the emotional experience of seeing elk in rut. Some of these creatures are more difficult to notice than others, since they may blend in with the trees or lurk in the underbrush, but if you look attentively, you could have an experience unlike any other. In Rocky Mountain National Park, the outdoor explorer is kept occupied all year.
2. Mesa Verde National Park
Mesa Verde National Park allows visitors to travel back in time and witness the lives of the Pueblo people, one of America’s oldest cultures. Cliff dwellings are only one of the many wonders to be discovered in this Colorado national park, which also contains protected wilderness. Mesa Verde National Park, which translates to “Green Table” in Spanish, is located in southwestern Colorado and gives a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to view and experience a unique cultural and physical setting. This national treasure preserves the cliff dwellings and mesa top sites of pit houses, pueblos, masonry towers, and farming buildings of the Ancestral Pueblo peoples, with over 4,000 known archaeological sites going back to A.D. 550.
Join a tour to gain a deeper understanding of the significance of these ancient places. Park rangers lead guided tours through the remains throughout the year, providing an in-depth insight at how people lived hundreds of years ago. Hiking paths abound in Mesa Verde National Park, many of which lead to beautiful overlooks with breathtaking views of the desert environment. You may cross-country ski on these paths in the winter.
3. Garden of the Gods
If you’re in the Springs region, you must visit the Garden of the Gods. It’s a National Natural Landmark and one of the most popular tourist destinations in the area. In the background of these beautiful sandstone rock formations, Pikes Peak looms. The stunning physical features, or lithologic nature, of sedimentary rocks at outcrop are what make Garden of the Gods a unique national natural site. The vertical forces that shaped the Front Range of the Rockies are on full display. Over a garden of sheer sandstones, Pikes Peak looms in the distance. There are several outstanding hiking, biking, and equestrian riding routes.
While investigating the location in 1859, two surveyors tasked with establishing Colorado City came upon the towering granite fins. One of the surveyors, MS Beach, recommended that the region be designated as a “beer garden capital,” but his colleague, Rufus Cable, was taken aback by the rock formations, which jutted over 300 feet into the sky, and was shocked that Beach thought the area was only suitable for a beer garden. Rufus’ enthusiasm inspired the moniker “Garden of the Gods,” which is also used to describe to areas of Iverson Movie Ranch in Chatsworth.
4. Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve
The Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve is the biggest sandbox in North America, stretching over 30 miles and containing over 5 billion cubic metres of sand. This park, located in southern Colorado, is home to North America’s highest dunes, which rise over 750 feet over the rocky Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Under the rough backdrop of the mountains, the wind-shaped dunes sparkle. In 1932, this geologic paradise with over 30 square miles of huge dunes was designated as a national monument.
The passage of the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve Act has expanded the park’s resources to include alpine lakes and tundra, six peaks over 13,000 feet in elevation, ancient spruce and pine forests, large stands of aspen and cottonwood, grasslands, and wetlands, all of which provide habitat for a diverse range of wildlife and plant species. Find a route to stroll in the shaded woodland after a morning spent on the sand. The Montville Nature Trail is particularly popular because to its dense forest and panoramic views of the mountains, dunes, and valley.
Originally inhabited by the Ute, Aspen became a silver-mining town during the late-nineteenth-century mining boom. With the entrance of Walter and Elizabeth Paepcke in the 1940s, Aspen enjoyed a cultural rebirth following the depreciation of silver. The Paepckes presented “The Aspen Idea,” a vision for the town that centred on mind, body, and soul. Aspen’s character is driven by this concept. Forget what you think you know about Aspen; come see for yourself what “The Aspen Idea” is all about.
The Aspen Art Museum is the most popular cultural destination in Aspen, with new exhibitions of various types being held on a regular basis. The Red Brick Center for the Arts comes in second place and is a good alternative for people looking for a more cerebral vacation break. The Silver Circle Ice Rink in Aspen is a fantastic location to skate. During the winter season, the gorgeous outdoor rink is open. Silver Circle is transformed into a miniature golf course in the summer.
6. Glenwood Springs
Glenwood Springs is a mix of leisure and adventure, with a splash of family fun and Old West heritage thrown in for good measure. Numerous people come to Glenwood Hot Springs Resort for a peaceful bath in one of the many restorative hot springs, including the world’s biggest mineral hot springs pool. Skiing, whitewater rafting, sky diving, and paragliding are all popular seasonal sports, attracting outdoor enthusiasts. Families, on the other hand, prefer low-cost attractions that appeal to a wide variety of ages.
The massive pool at Glenwood Hot Springs has welcomed guests to swim and bathe in over 4 million litres of mineral-rich water for over 100 years. Visit the Yampah Vapor Caves to have a natural steam bath like you’ve never had before. The 16 spring-fed pools at Iron Mountain Hot Springs are terraced along the Colorado River and encircled by the Rocky Mountains. Whitewater rafting and fishing are popular activities on the Colorado and Roaring Fork rivers.
7. Dinosaur National Monument
Dinosaur National Monument is home to the world’s most productive Late Jurassic Period dinosaur quarry, with over 2,000 dinosaur fossils exposed by a natural rock wall. Dinosaur National Monument, however, offers much more than bones to pique your interest. The discovery of vivid river canyons and old petroglyphs awaits you. The night sky is filled with more stars than you’ve probably ever seen in your life as the sun sets. Take the Tour of the Tilted Rocks or a beautiful drive on the Harpers Corner Road from the dinosaur quarry. Put on your hiking boots and head to one of the Monument’s paths, or take a guided raft ride to see the canyon walls from the river’s edge.
The park is divided into two sections: northwest Colorado and northeast Utah. All of the dinosaur remains for viewing, as well as the largest campsite, are on the Utah side. On the Colorado side, camping is confined to 4×4 roads, with some dispersed camping available on BLM properties. On the Colorado side, there is a beautiful drive of about 20 miles to an overlook of the Colorado and Green Rivers. There are also ancient homesteads and rock art. The Quarry Exhibit Hall is located near Vernal, UT, on top of the world-famous Carnegie Dinosaur Quarry. It’s open all year and has over 1500 dinosaur bones. There are no dinosaur displays on the Colorado side of the monument, only magnificent landscape.
8. Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
The Black Canyon of the Gunnison, near Montrose, Gunnison, and Crawford, is Colorado’s own Grand Canyon, leaving tourists awestruck with its grandeur and dramatic scenery. The stunning scenery of Black Canyon of the Gunnison has only become a national park since 1999, yet the canyon was carved millions of years ago by the Gunnison River. The Black Canyon, so named because the cliffs are sometimes cloaked in shadows, giving them a black appearance, contains some of the world’s oldest exposed rock, Precambrian or “basement” rock dating back approximately 2 billion years.
This is a great site for scenic drives because you can view the Gunnison River, which drops in height at one of the quickest rates of any North American river, from 2,000 feet below the frequently guardrail-less edge. Climbers of all levels will find a playground here, but the majority of tourists will enjoy walks, nature trails, driving, Gold Medal fishing, and simply appreciating the park’s natural beauty. Observe the world’s fastest bird, the Peregrine falcon, as it flies down the canyon at speeds of up to 200 mph, all while a mule deer mother and her fawn graze on wildflowers.
9. Maroon Bells
Discover how a trip through over 300 million years of jagged stone inspires tourists from all over the globe to Defy Ordinary in Aspen’s Maroon Bells, North America’s most photographed mountains. The Maroon Bells, a group of distinctly bell-shaped, wine-colored peaks rising 14,000 feet above the pristine, glacial Maroon Creek Valley, provide some of the world’s most breathtaking natural views. The Maroon Bells provide a variety of natural ecosystems and a diversified, colourful depiction of the untamed Elk Mountain range, from brilliant wildflower meadows to airy groves of Aspen trees to summit-based alpine tundra.
Visitors may enjoy many ways to explore Aspen’s natural wonders and boundless mountain adventure at any time of year, thanks to six gorgeous hiking routes, different camping spots, and bike pathways. Hiking is still the greatest way to appreciate the area’s unsurpassed beauty, particularly in July when the alpine meadows bloom with a profusion of flowers and in late September when the Aspen trees turn an amber yellow. The tiny National Forest Service campgrounds that line the hiking trails beyond the lake are popular with road cyclists, and campers can find satisfying seclusion in the small National Forest Service campgrounds that line the hiking trails beyond the lake.
10. Elitch Gardens Theme Park
Elitch Gardens, Denver’s downtown theme park, is located in the centre of the city. The theme park has a wide range of attractions, including thrill coasters like Mind Eraser and Tower of Doom, as well as over a dozen pint-sized rides for smaller visitors. Families will enjoy a variety of rides. Elitch offers a whole water park to keep you cool on hot days. The Island Kingdom Water Park has its own section of the theme park. It is open from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Bring your swimsuit because it is necessary to wear adequate swimwear. Commotion Ocean is a massive wave pool where you can go bodysurfing or just relax in the waves. There are also a number of lengthy slides and other wet attractions in the Water Park.
Elitch also has food, shopping, and gaming in addition to rides. Throughout the summer, there are a variety of exciting shows as well as concerts. Before you go, double-check the entertainment schedule. Over the years, some of the historic shine has faded, but the attractions have grown to include a water park, additional thrill rides, and other amenities. The licenced characters are gone now that Six Flags has divested the park, but there are still plenty of great thrills to be experienced, including the Twister II, a super-sized duplicate of Mister Twister from the park’s former iteration across town.
We’re confident you’ll find one to add to your list among ten tourist attractions in Colorado from our list. What is your go-to attractions in Colorado? Let us know in the comments section.