A true haven for outdoor lovers and one of the most beautiful and visited states in the US, Colorado packs a huge punch with its diversity, beauty, and grandeur. Its landscapes are filled with everything from gorgeous skiing destinations and snow-topped mountains to arid desert, river canyons. Throw in winding scenic roads, a cosmopolitan capital, unique archaeological sites, and endless opportunities for outdoor adventures and you can see why this western state is so popular. Here are the best and most beautiful places to visit in Colorado…
Rocky Mountain National Park – one of the most famously beautiful places to visit in Colorado
One of the most visited parks in the country, Rocky Mountain National Park is surrounded by majestic peaks & striking scenery in every direction. Situated between the towns of Estes Park and Grand Lake in north-central Colorado, the park offers the most incredible outdoor adventures on the planet.
With over 300miles of hiking trails, abundant wildlife, tundra wildflowers and spectacular valleys, Rocky Mountain National Park is surrounded by captivating beauty and a myriad collection of mountains. Take a lazy dip in the Estes Valley or get into a challenging hike at the Longs Peak, starry nights and fun-filled times awaits at the Rocky Mountain National Park.
Maroon Bells – one of the best places to visit in the Rocky Mountains
Lauded as the most photographed place in Colorado, the Maroon Bells are two peaks in the Elk Mountains. Located about 12 miles southwest of Aspen, the mountainous peak paired with the reflective Maroon Lake makes for a spellbinding panorama.
Discover a journey through the distinctive wine-colored mountains with meadows of vibrant blooms & a variety of natural habitats. Watch the brilliant fall colors on aspen trees, hike the Maroon Creek Trail, camp beside the pristine Maroon Lake or gaze the starry nights, Maroon Bells offer some of the hypnotizing natural views in the world.
Denver – a wonderful state capital with a thriving cultural scene
Nicknamed as the Mile High City, Denver is where urban sophistication meets endless outdoor adventures. Known for its eclectic museums, galleries, swaths of gardens and diverse neighborhoods, Denver makes for a great starting place for venturing into the Rockies.
Explore the history of this beautiful city in the Denver Art Museum and the Denver Museum of Nature and Science or stroll the Denver Botanic Gardens, there are a variety of things to do here. Check out the quirky street-art at the RiNo & Santa Fe Arts District or savor some of the city’s cuisines in Larimer Square, Denver offers world-class attractions with stunning natural beauty.
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Red Rocks Park – a Colorado beauty spot filled with spectacular rock formations
A renowned mountain park in the Jefferson County, the towering rock formations of red sandstone in the Red Rocks Park make for a fascinating experience. Popular rock formations of Creation Rock, Ship Rock and Stage Rock attract visitors from around the world. With panoramic views of Denver and the Great Plains, the park provides extensive hiking trails for outdoor enthusiasts.
Considered as one of the most beautiful outdoor music venues, the Red Rocks Amphitheater provides the most beautiful setting for a live concert. With red sandstone rocks jutting out on either side, the expansive theater creates a majestic atmosphere for a perfect evening.
Aspen – one of the most stunning and popular winter destinations in Colorado
Tucked away in the Elk Mountains in the heart of the White River National Forest, Aspen is a renowned ski destination of Colorado. Apart from a winter wonderland, the snowy town has a rich cultural history. Aspen Mountain or Ajax, rising directly from the downtown provides a legendary ski scene.
Once a silver-mining town, Aspen offers a glimpse of the 19th -century in the Wheeler-Stallard Museum, the Wheeler Stallard House and the Aspen Art Museum. Aspen’s beautiful scenery & vast open lands make for a perfect place to leave you inspired.
Garden of the Gods – a unique public park located in Colorado Springs
A magical stop in Colorado Springs, Garden of the Gods is carved with magnificent red rock formations. A short drive from Colorado Springs, this ethereal landscape represents what Colorado is all about. With dramatic views of the towering sandstone formations against the snow-capped Pikes Peak & crystal blue skies, this mystical place is a visitor’s delight in Colorado.
Learn about the red rock formations in the museum with interactive exhibits or spend time overlooking the postcard surroundings, this Natural Landmark is undoubtedly Colorado’s most photographed destination.
Recommended read: Top 15 pet-friendly hotels in Colorado Springs 2021
Telluride – known for world-class alpine skiing and outdoor adventures
Nestled in the San Juan Mountains, Telluride is tucked away in southwest Colorado. Known for its authentic mountains, Telluride is one of the best ski destinations in Colorado. A historic mining town, Telluride is known for its cultural events & endless outdoors.
Tour the colorful Victorian-era homes with sweeping views of surrounding peaks or take a gondola ride & explore the companion town of Mountain Village. Ski along the exceptional terrains or float on the refreshing waters of the San Miguel River, this charming mountain town offers incredible skies with unparalleled vistas.
Colorado Springs – Colorado’s second-largest city filled with great attractions
Tucked away at the base of the Pikes Peak, Colorado Springs is located 60 miles south of Denver. At the foothills of the Southern Rocky Mountains, this urban city is home to a variety of cultural and historical attractions.
Ranked as one of the best cities in America to live in, Colorado Springs is home to some of the most famous landmarks. Enjoy the stunning natural scenery in Pikes Peak & the breath-taking Broadmoor Seven Falls. Founded in 1871, this charming town is home to the heritage Colorado Springs Pioneer Museum & the historic Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center.
Roxborough State Park – for amazing Colorado landscapes and dramatic formations
Often referred to as Denver’s Garden of the Gods, Roxborough State Park is a secluded park located in Douglas County with proximity to Denver. Step into a world of quirky tilted red sandstones rising straight out of the grasslands. Established in 1975, the 3,339-acre park is a National Natural Landmark featuring the dramatic Fountain Formation formed millions of years ago due to gradual erosion. Step into another world with lofty hills, wild-flower laden valley & abundant wildlife.
Hike the Fountain Valley Trail or watch the migratory birds making their way to the Front Range Mountains, the park is one of the favorite destinations near Denver.
Grand Lake – a beautiful western gateway to the Rocky Mountains National Park
Named after the adjacent largest natural lake in the state, the quaint town of Grand Lake is a short drive from Granby. A soothing mountain getaway for families, Grand Lake offers an ideal lakeside setting in the alpine landscape.
Stroll down the historic boardwalk of the Wild West or catch a show at the Rocky Mountain Repertory Theater, this charming town offers unmatched natural beauty. Paddle along the Grand Lake or indulge in myriad snow sports activities, Grand Lake offers an exhilarating outdoor experience with endless entertainment.
Breckenridge – world-class skiing and riding and an authentic mining town
Once a gold-rush base camp, today Breckenridge is a cozy mix of western hospitality and Victorian architecture. Located at the foothills of the Tenmile Range of the Rockies, the bustling town of Breckenridge is packed with the best of recreational activities. Marvel the colorfully painted buildings along the historic Main Street or unleash the artful side of you in the Breckenridge Arts District, the lovely downtown is a vibrant cultural corridor.
Framed by the lofty mountains, Breckenridge offers supreme snowbound fun in winters and the best outdoors in summers. Hike along the Blue River or take a fascinating walk into the Country Boy Mine, Breckenridge is a gem of Colorado.
Hanging Lake – a gorgeous beauty spot to explore in Colorado
One of the most popular hiking destinations in Colorado, Hanging Lake is a rare example of travertine geological formation. Nestled in the heart of Glenwood Canyon, Hanging Lake is a part of the White River National Forest.
A National Natural Landmark, Hanging Lake features gentle waterfalls, emerald waters, and lush surroundings with beautiful cliffs. Take the Hanging Lake Trail for an awe-inspiring vista and explore the rocky hideaways of Glenwood Canyon or gaze at the bubbling waters of the Hanging Lake, this place is a hypnotic land in Colorado.
Colorado National Monument – one of the most scenic places in the state
A sublime National Monument conveniently located by Grand Junction, Colorado National Monument is a treasure trove of Colorado. With a vast expanse of red rocks, deep canyons, and sandstone towers, this bold & scenic landscape is for visitors seeking solitude in the quiet canyons.
Take a winding trip along the Rim Rock Drive onto the mesa tops and canyon walls, monoliths, and much more. Popular features in the Monument include the Monument Canyon, Independence Monument, the Coke Ovens, Window Rock, and much more. From numerous hiking trails to scenic drives and fossil finding, get immersed in the Grand Canyon of Colorado.
Peak to Peak scenic byway – Colorado’s oldest scenic byway filled with pretty and historic sites
A marveling drive along the Front Range Mountains, Peak to Peak Scenic Byway makes for a great day trip from Estes Park. Established in 1918, this 55-mile scenic drive provides matchless views of the Continental Divide.
Popular attractions along the way include the Golden Gate Canyon State Park, Indian Peaks Wilderness Area and Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests. Watch the elks in Estes Park, detour the ghost towns of Hesse and Apex, explore the funky town of Nederland or pull off and take in the views of Craggy Indian Peaks, this scenic drive is a trip worth remembering
Black Canyon of the Gunnison – one of Colorado’s best-kept secrets
A star of the incredibly narrow canyons, the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park has been carved billions of years ago by the Gunnison River. Located near the town of Montrose in western Colorado, the towering cliffs are often darkened by shadows, making the walls appear black.
The most famous of these outcrops is the Painted Wall, the tallest cliff in Colorado at a height of 2247-feet. The canyons also make for some of the steepest mountain descents in North America. With numerous marked trails, the park offers impressive campgrounds, drives and nature trails with great glimpses of the canyon.
Mesa Verde National Park – the largest archaeological preserve in America
One of the most alluring places to visit in Colorado, Mesa Verde National Park preserves the ancestral Pueblo Indian heritage. Home to the Pueblos who lived there for more than 700 years, Mesa Verde is perched high on the Montezuma County in southwestern Colorado.
Step back in time with the pit houses, masonry towers, and farming structures of the park weaving seamlessly with nature. Best known for the structures of Cliff Palace, Balcony House, and Square Tower House, the national park is a World Heritage Site owing to its impeccable archaeological relevance.
Trail Ridge Road – a beautiful scenic and historic byway
A slice of heaven through the heart of the Rocky Mountain National Park, the Trail Ridge Road is the most scenic wonder road in the world. Spanning from east to west across the park, the Trail Ridge Road links the towns of Estes Park with Grand Lake.
Winding through countless lofty peaks, high alpine tundra and picturesque wilderness, the Trail Ridge Road provides unmatched scenic overlooks & photography opportunities. With numerous scenic spots and hiking trails along the way, the park offers some of the best views of forested valleys and snowy peaks from the Rainbow curve.
Cave of the winds mountain park – a popular family attraction in Colorado =
Taking show caves to a whole new level, Cave of the Winds is a must-see attraction in Colorado Springs. The stunning caves located in the Pikes Peak region of Colorado feature unique stalagmites and stalactites formations. Take a guided tour and unravel the mysteries of underground caverns with narrow passages.
A fun-filled day inside and out, the Cave of the Winds provides an outdoor park full of adventures. Surround yourself with the most stunning mountain scenery in Colorado. Take an exhilarating hike up the mountain terrain or explore the caverns deep inside, the park is a natural gift from nature.
Boulder Reservoir – a gorgeous outdoorsy destination to explore in Colorado
A year-round playground for outdoor recreation, Boulder Reservoir is located in the Northern part of Boulder. Completed in 1955, the 700-acre Boulder Reservoir was built for a water-storage facility but quickly became a popular multi-use recreation area.
Swim, boat, sunbathe, camp, or picnic in the surrounding environment, the reservoir facility makes for a lovely day out with family and friends. Watch the herons and ospreys in their natural habitat or hike along the unpaved route around the reservoir, the reservoir offers a pleasant outdoor time close to Denver.
Paint Mines Interpretive Park – a beautiful park filled with layered sands
A unique geological & historical district, Paint Mines Interpretive Park is located in El Paso County, one mile south of Calhan. An expansive open space with fantastical hoodoos, colorful clays, and sandstone-capped spires, Paint Mines covers over 750-acres of geological formations and grasslands.
Named for its brightly colored clays collected by the American Indians to make paints, the site is an otherworldly escape in Colorado. A photographer’s dream, the park offers an excellent opportunity for hikers, birdwatchers, and geology enthusiasts.
What is The Best Time To Visit Colorado?
The best time to visit Colorado is in spring and autumn. These are the months with higher temperatures (summer) or days that are not hot (winter), during which there’s less chance of seeing snow. Also, these months usually don’t have strong fluctuations in temperature; however, there could be rain showers during any season, so it’s important to check the weather forecast before deciding on a date.
Colorado is a great place to visit. With its diversity, beauty, and grandeur it’s no wonder that this western state has become so popular. We’ve highlighted some of the best places in our home state but we’re sure you’ll find your own favorite spots too! If you have any questions about anything related to Colorado or are interested in booking one of these tours with us please let us know -we’d be happy to help you out.