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Looking for the best places to visit in Colorado? Here’s our list of top Colorado destinations sure to leave you ready for your trip!
Colorado is a nature and adventure lovers paradise. Filled with breathtaking natural parks, luxurious hot springs, impressive mountain peaks, and vibrant cities, there is something for everyone in Colorado.
We’ve narrowed down the best places to visit in Colorado to the absolute must-sees.
Whether you’re looking to challenge yourself on some epic hiking trails or relax in a tranquil mountain village, there are endless amazing places to visit in Colorado.
Take a scenic drive on an impressive route like the Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park, or admire the history and culture at Cliff Palace in Mesa Verde National Park.
Check out the majestic Hanging Lake in Glenwood Springs, or witness towering golden sand dunes in Great Sand Dunes National Park.
Go horseback riding through the forest, hole up in a cozy ski resort, try fly fishing on an alpine lake, or ride a mountain bike down an adrenaline-pumping trail.
Whatever you’re looking for, Colorado has something incredible in store for you!
21 Best Places To Visit In Colorado
Here is our list of the 21 best places to visit in Colorado! From soaking in hot springs at a ski resort to horseback riding through national parks, to wining and dining the heart of Denver, this diverse and wondrous state is packed with sights and activities for all.
The best way to travel between all the best places to visit in Colorado is with a rental car! You can take public transport between popular cities and towns, but some of the more remote parks and lakes don’t have direct public transport from a city.
We’ll link to a few tours, but they are limited so your best bet is renting a car in Colorado!
The best way to get around is to rent a car and explore on your own! We recommend Rental Cars, which has the largest range of vehicles for the best value on the market.
1. Rocky Mountain National Park
Rocky Mountain National Park, located in the heart of the Colorado Rockies, is a breathtaking natural wonder that draws visitors from around the world.
Established in 1915, this national park spans over 415 square miles and encompasses some of the most rugged and awe-inspiring landscapes in the United States. Rocky Mountain National Park is renowned for its towering peaks, pristine alpine lakes, and lush meadows teeming with wildlife.
One of its most iconic features is the scenic Trail Ridge Road, a high-altitude highway that traverses the park and offers unparalleled views of the surrounding mountains. Visitors can explore a variety of ecosystems, from subalpine forests to alpine tundra.
Rocky Mountain National Park provides countless opportunities for outdoor recreation. Hiking and biking trails wind through its diverse terrain, catering to both novice and experienced hikers and bikers.
For those seeking a challenge, the park offers some of Colorado’s most famous fourteeners, including Longs Peak, a popular mountaineering and rock climbing destination.
Wildlife enthusiasts can spot elk, bighorn sheep, and mule deer among other species, while photographers will find endless opportunities to capture the natural beauty of Rocky Mountain National Park.
Rocky Mountain National Park is one of the best places to visit in Colorado, and it’s one of the USA’s most beloved national parks!
Denver, often referred to as the “Mile High City” due to its elevation of exactly one mile (5,280 feet) above sea level, is another one of the best places to visit in Colorado.
As the state’s capital and largest city, Denver boasts a rich history, a thriving cultural scene, and a unique blend of urban sophistication and outdoor adventure.
Downtown Denver is a bustling hub of activity, with a skyline punctuated by modern skyscrapers and historic buildings. Visitors can explore attractions such as the Denver Art Museum, the Colorado State Capitol, and the bustling 16th Street Mall, which features an array of shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues.
Beyond its urban core, Denver is celebrated for its proximity to the stunning Rocky Mountains, making it a gateway to outdoor recreation. Residents and tourists alike enjoy easy access to hiking trails, mountain biking trails, and ski slopes in the nearby mountains.
Red Rocks Amphitheatre, a world-famous natural music venue just outside the city, offers a unique setting for concerts and events, surrounded by towering sandstone formations.
Denver’s diverse culinary scene is also a highlight, with an abundance of craft breweries, farm-to-table restaurants, and food markets showcasing the city’s commitment to innovation and sustainability.
With its appealing mix of culture, nature, and a friendly, active community, Denver is a city that continuously captivates and inspires its residents and visitors alike.
Find more amazing things to do in Denver with our 3 Day Itinerary!
3. Crested Butte
One of the best places to visit in Colorado for skiing is Crested Butte. Often dubbed the “Last Great Colorado Ski Town,” Crested Butte is a charming town nestled in the Elk Mountains.
Renowned for its pristine natural beauty and vibrant, small-town atmosphere, Crested Butte attracts visitors year-round. During the winter, it transforms into a winter wonderland, offering some of the best skiing and snowboarding in Colorado.
Crested Butte Mountain Resort provides access to a diverse range of slopes for all skill levels, and the mountain town itself exudes a warm and welcoming ambiance with its colorful Victorian-style buildings, making it a picturesque backdrop for apres-ski relaxation.
In the summer, Crested Butte’s wildflower-strewn meadows and lush forests come alive with outdoor adventures. Hiking and mountain biking enthusiasts can explore an extensive network of trails that wind through the surrounding mountains, and the nearby Gunnison National Forest offers pristine wilderness for camping, fishing, horseback riding, and wildlife viewing.
Additionally, the town is famous for hosting unique festivals, including the Crested Butte Wildflower Festival and the Crested Butte Music Festival, which celebrate the town’s natural beauty and cultural richness.
Whether you’re seeking an adrenaline rush on the slopes or a tranquil escape in the mountains, Crested Butte offers a perfect blend of outdoor recreation and small-town charm for visitors to savor throughout the year.
4. Glenwood Springs
Another one of the top places to visit in Colorado is Glenwood Springs, a picturesque mountain village celebrated for its stunning natural attractions and unique recreational offerings.
One of its most famous features is the Glenwood Hot Springs Pool, the world’s largest mineral hot springs pool. This natural wonder offers year-round relaxation in its soothing, geothermally heated waters and is a popular destination for both tourists and locals alike.
In addition to the hot springs, Glenwood Springs is home to the Yampah Spa and Vapor Caves, where visitors can experience the healing properties of underground steam baths in natural caves, a practice that has been enjoyed for centuries.
Glenwood Springs is also renowned for its access to outdoor adventure. The surrounding Roaring Fork Valley and White River National Forest offer a plethora of hiking trails and mountain biking trails as well as places to go fishing and whitewater rafting.
The Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park, perched on Iron Mountain, provides thrill-seekers with a unique combination of cave tours and amusement park rides, making it a fantastic family-friendly attraction.
The town is also the gateway to the world-famous Hanging Lake. Known for its crystal-clear turquoise waters, Hanging Lake is suspended on the edge of Glenwood Canyon, accessible via a challenging but rewarding hike.
From iconic natural sights like Hanging Lake and Glenwood Hot Springs Pool, Glenwood Springs offers plenty of ways to relax, explore, and immerse yourself in the beauty of Colorado.
Read next: 21 Best Things To Do In Denver
5. San Juan Mountains
The San Juan Mountains of southwestern Colorado, are a breathtaking and rugged subrange of the Rocky Mountains.
This mountain range encompasses some of the highest peaks in the Rockies, including Uncompahgre Peak and Mount Sneffels, which tower above 14,000 feet in elevation.
The San Juans are renowned for their dramatic landscapes, characterized by jagged peaks, deep canyons, and lush, forested valleys. These mountains are home to a diverse range of wildlife, including mule deer, elk, black bears, and bighorn sheep, making them a haven for nature enthusiasts and wildlife photographers.
One of the defining features of the region is the San Juan River, a vital waterway that meanders through the mountains, providing not only a source of natural beauty but also excellent fishing and whitewater rafting opportunities.
The San Juan National Forest, which encompasses a substantial portion of the range, offers visitors a pristine wilderness to explore. In the summer, hikers, backpackers, and mountain bikers flock to the San Juan National Forest to explore its extensive network of trails, lakes, and wildflower-strewn meadows.
During the winter months, the San Juan Mountains transform into a snowy playground, with world-class skiing and snowboarding at resorts like Telluride and Silverton Mountain.
Additionally, the region is rich in mining history, and visitors can explore old mining towns like Ouray and Silverton, where remnants of the mining era are well-preserved. Whether you’re an outdoor adventurer or a history buff, the San Juan Mountains offer an incredible range of experiences in one of Colorado’s most captivating and untamed landscapes.
6. Mesa Verde National Park
Mesa Verde National Park is a remarkable archaeological treasure that offers a captivating glimpse into the ancient history of North America. It’s one of the best places to visit in Colorado for history lovers!
Established in 1906, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is renowned for its exceptionally well-preserved Ancestral Puebloan cliff dwellings and ruins, which date back over 700 years.
The main attraction in Mesa Verde National Park is its stunning cliffside villages, such as Cliff Palace, Balcony House, and Spruce Tree House, which were constructed within natural alcoves in the towering sandstone cliffs.
These dwellings provide a unique window into the lives and culture of the Ancestral Puebloans, who lived in this region from approximately 600 to 1300 AD, and they are some of the most significant archaeological sites in North America.
Exploring Mesa Verde is a journey back in time as visitors can take guided tours, walk along interpretive trails, and learn about the history, architecture, and lifestyle of the ancient inhabitants.
The park also offers breathtaking vistas of the surrounding desert landscape, including expansive views of the Montezuma Valley. Join a tour with an archeological guide so you can learn as much unique history as possible!
In addition to its archaeological wonders, Mesa Verde National Park boasts hiking opportunities, wildlife viewing, and a variety of outdoor activities that allow visitors to immerse themselves in the beauty and history of this extraordinary place.
Mesa Verde National Park stands as a testament to the rich cultural heritage of the Ancestral Puebloans and serves as a source of inspiration for those who wish to connect with the past and appreciate the enduring legacy of the Native American peoples.
7. Black Canyon Of The Gunnison National Park
The Black Canyon of the Gunnison, situated in western Colorado, is a geological marvel known for its incredibly steep and narrow canyon walls, some of which reach depths of over 2,000 feet (610 meters).
Carved by the mighty Gunnison River over millions of years, this imposing canyon stands as a testament to the relentless power of erosion.
What sets the Black Canyon apart from many other canyons is its dramatic vertical relief and the way the sunlight often only briefly penetrates the narrow gorge, creating a striking interplay of light and shadow on the dark, ancient rock walls.
Visitors to the Black Canyon of the Gunnison can explore its unique landscapes and geology through various viewpoints, hiking trails, and overlooks within the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park.
The park offers a range of activities, from easy walks along the rim to strenuous hikes into the canyon itself, providing opportunities for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers alike.
The awe-inspiring vistas, roaring river, and challenging terrain make the Black Canyon of the Gunnison an unforgettable destination for those who appreciate the power and beauty of the natural world.
This is one of the most unique and impressive national parks in the state, making it one of the coolest places to visit in Colorado.
Another one of the best places to visit in Colorado is the city of Boulder. A vibrant and progressive city located at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, Boulder is known for its stunning natural surroundings, outdoor recreational opportunities, and a strong emphasis on sustainability and cultural diversity.
Nestled against the backdrop of the Flatirons, a series of dramatic, flat-topped rock formations, Boulder offers a haven for outdoor enthusiasts.
The city is a hub for hiking, rock climbing, and mountain biking, with numerous trails weaving through the nearby mountains and open-space parks.
Chautauqua Park, in particular, is a beloved destination for its trailheads leading to the Flatirons and its scenic picnic areas.
Boulder is also home to the University of Colorado Boulder, contributing to a lively, youthful atmosphere with a diverse range of cultural events and activities.
The city’s iconic Pearl Street Mall, a charming pedestrian mall lined with boutiques, restaurants, and street performers, serves as a focal point for entertainment and community gatherings.
Boulder’s commitment to sustainability and environmental conservation is evident in its bike-friendly infrastructure, public transportation options, and numerous local initiatives. It’s a city where the love for the outdoors and a strong sense of community come together, making Boulder a captivating place to live or visit.
9. Grand Junction
One of the best places to visit in western Colorado is the charming city of Grand Junction. Situated at the confluence of the Colorado and Gunnison Rivers, Grand Junction offers a unique blend of outdoor adventure, cultural attractions, and a thriving agricultural scene.
The city is famous for its beautiful red rock landscapes, including the nearby Colorado National Monument, which features towering sandstone cliffs and breathtaking overlooks that provide sweeping views of the valley below.
Grand Junction is also known for its burgeoning wine industry, with numerous vineyards and wineries dotting the surrounding countryside. The area’s high-altitude vineyards produce a variety of award-winning wines, making it a popular destination for wine enthusiasts.
Additionally, the city hosts the annual Colorado Mountain Winefest, a celebration of Colorado’s viticulture. In the heart of downtown, the historic Main Street district offers a delightful mix of boutiques, restaurants, and art galleries.
With its access to outdoor activities like hiking, mountain biking, and river rafting, combined with its cultural offerings and scenic beauty, Grand Junction is one of the best places to visit in Colorado!
Check out our ultimate guide to the best things to do in Colorado for more ideas!
10. Estes Park
Estes Park is a picturesque mountain town that serves as the eastern gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park.
Known for its breathtaking natural beauty and charming mountain-town atmosphere, Estes Park is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts, nature lovers, and those seeking a serene mountain retreat surrounded by dramatic mountain peaks.
The town is set against the backdrop of towering peaks, with the iconic Longs Peak looming as the area’s tallest summit. The Big Thompson River meanders through town, adding to its scenic appeal.
Estes Park offers a wide range of recreational activities for visitors. Hiking, rock climbing, and wildlife viewing are popular pursuits in the surrounding national park, where visitors can encounter elk, deer, and various bird species.
The historic downtown itself features a delightful mix of art galleries, boutiques, and restaurants, making it a great place to explore after a day of outdoor activities.
The historic Stanley Hotel, famously known as the inspiration for Stephen King’s novel “The Shining,” is another notable landmark in Estes Park, and its architecture and history attract many curious visitors.
If you’re not sure where to begin for sightseeing in Estes Park, join a national park safari tour and let a local guide take you to all the best places!
11. Pagosa Springs
Pagosa Springs, located in southern Colorado, is a picturesque town known for its natural hot springs, stunning mountain scenery, and outdoor activities.
The town takes its name from the nearby Pagosa Hot Springs, which have been cherished for centuries for their therapeutic properties. These geothermal pools offer relaxation and rejuvenation to visitors year-round, making Pagosa Springs a sought-after destination for those seeking a soothing soak amidst the Rockies.
The charming downtown area is a welcoming hub with a mix of shops, restaurants, and art galleries. The San Juan Historical Museum offers insight into the area’s rich history, showcasing its Native American heritage and the impact of the Spanish explorers.
During the winter months, Pagosa Springs becomes a snowy wonderland, drawing skiers and snowboarders to the nearby Wolf Creek Ski Area, renowned for its deep powder and family-friendly atmosphere.
Whether you’re seeking relaxation in the soothing waters, outdoor adventures in the mountains, or a taste of the town’s vibrant culture, Pagosa Springs is a delightful destination in the heart of the San Juan Basin.
12. Colorado National Monument
Colorado National Monument, located in the western part of Colorado, is a geologic marvel and a testament to the erosive power of nature over millions of years.
This national monument encompasses a stunning array of deep canyons, towering sandstone cliffs, and rugged rock formations that have been sculpted by wind and water.
The highlight of the monument is Monument Canyon, home to the famous Independence Monument, a striking freestanding spire, and other dramatic features like Coke Ovens and Kissing Couple.
Visitors can explore this dramatic landscape through a network of hiking trails and overlooks that provide breathtaking panoramic views of the canyons and the surrounding high desert.
In addition to its geological wonders, Colorado National Monument is a haven for wildlife enthusiasts and outdoor adventurers. The park is home to a diverse range of wildlife, including bighorn sheep, mule deer, golden eagles, and a variety of desert plants.
The area offers opportunities for hiking, rock climbing, road cycling along the scenic Rim Rock Drive, and photography.
The dramatic red rock scenery, combined with the tranquility of the high desert environment, makes Colorado National Monument a hidden gem in the American West and one of the best places to visit in Colorado!
13. Grand Lake
Located in the heart of the Colorado Rockies, Grand Lake is a picturesque mountain town and the western gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park.
Known as the “Western Gateway to the Rockies,” Grand Lake is renowned for its stunning alpine beauty and its namesake, Colorado’s largest natural lake, which is surrounded by dense pine forests and offers a serene escape for boating, fishing, and lakeside picnics.
The town itself exudes a charming, rustic ambiance, with wooden boardwalks, historic buildings, and a laid-back atmosphere that harks back to the Old West.
Grand Lake serves as a fantastic basecamp for exploring the natural wonders of the Rocky Mountains. Visitors can embark on scenic drives, hike the numerous trails, and experience wildlife encounters in this pristine wilderness.
The town is also home to various seasonal events, such as the Grand Lake Regatta and Constitution Week, which celebrate the rich heritage and community spirit of this charming mountain town.
Grand Lake offers a quintessential Rocky Mountain experience in every season and is one of the best mountain towns and places to visit in Colorado.
14. Mount Evans Scenic Byway
The Mount Evans Scenic Byway, often called the “Road to the Sky,” is a remarkable high-altitude road located in the Colorado Rockies. It stretches from the quaint town of Idaho Springs to the summit of Mount Evans, one of Colorado’s famous “fourteeners” and the highest paved road in North America.
This iconic byway offers travelers a breathtaking journey through diverse ecosystems, from lush subalpine forests to the stark beauty of the alpine tundra. Along the way, visitors are treated to panoramic views of the surrounding mountain ranges, deep valleys, and pristine alpine lakes.
The highlight of the Mount Evans Scenic Byway is the opportunity to reach the summit of Mount Evans itself, which stands at 14,264 feet (4,348 meters) above sea level. The road provides access to a parking lot near the summit, from where a short hike takes you to the actual peak.
At the summit, you can enjoy unrivaled vistas of the Colorado Rockies, with clear views extending for miles on a clear day. The experience of standing atop this majestic peak, surrounded by a unique alpine landscape, is truly awe-inspiring.
The byway is typically open from Memorial Day to Labor Day, allowing visitors a limited window each year to embark on this unforgettable journey to the top of the world.
A drive along this scenic road is a highlight of any visit to Colorado!
Read next: 21 Best Things To Do In Colorado Springs
15. Colorado Springs
Nestled at the base of the towering Pikes Peak and surrounded by the stunning natural beauty of the Rocky Mountains, Colorado Springs is another one of the best places to visit in Colorado.
Known for its remarkable landscapes and outdoor activities, Colorado Springs offers an array of activities for nature enthusiasts.
The Garden of the Gods, a National Natural Landmark, features breathtaking red rock formations that attract rock climbers and hikers from around the world.
Visitors can also explore the Manitou Incline, a challenging hiking trail that climbs nearly 2,000 feet in elevation, or take the cog railway to the summit of Pikes Peak for panoramic views that inspired the song “America the Beautiful.”
Beyond its natural wonders, Colorado Springs is home to a vibrant cultural scene and a rich history. The city is peppered with historic districts, including Old Colorado City and the preserved mining town of Cripple Creek, which offer a glimpse into the region’s past.
The U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Museum celebrates the city’s role as the headquarters of the U.S. Olympic Committee and provides an immersive experience showcasing the achievements of American athletes.
For those seeking spiritual experiences, the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo and the mystical vibes of the nearby town of Manitou Springs are must-visit destinations in Colorado Springs.
From checking out an old mining town, to traversing the hiking trails near Garden of the Golds, Colorado Springs is packed with incredible things to do!
Breckenridge is one of the best mountain towns to visit in Colorado, known for its historic charm, world-class ski resort, and vibrant year-round cultural scene.
Founded in the mid-19th century as a mining town during the Colorado Gold Rush, Breckenridge has preserved much of its rich history and Victorian architecture.
The town’s Main Street is lined with well-preserved historic buildings that now house boutique shops, restaurants, and art galleries, giving it a unique and inviting ambiance.
Breckenridge’s commitment to preserving its heritage is evident in its annual events like the International Snow Sculpture Championships, where artists from around the world transform massive blocks of snow into intricate sculptures.
Breckenridge is a mecca for outdoor enthusiasts, particularly during the winter months when it offers world-class skiing and snowboarding on the slopes of Breckenridge Ski Resort. With its high-altitude terrain, the resort attracts winter sports enthusiasts from all over the globe.
In the summer, the area comes alive with hiking, mountain biking, and outdoor festivals.
Beyond outdoor adventures, the town hosts cultural events like the Breckenridge Music Festival, a celebration of classical and contemporary music, and the Breckenridge Film Festival, which showcases independent cinema.
Whether you’re hitting the slopes, exploring the town’s history, or immersing yourself in its cultural offerings, Breckenridge is a vibrant destination that captures the essence of mountain living in Colorado.
17. Royal Gorge Bridge
The Royal Gorge Bridge, located near Cañon City, Colorado, is an iconic and awe-inspiring engineering marvel that spans the dramatic Royal Gorge, a deep chasm carved by the Arkansas River over millions of years.
This suspension bridge, constructed in 1929, was once the highest bridge in the world and stands 955 feet (291 meters) above the roaring river below. It’s incredibly impressive and one of the best places to visit in Colorado.
The bridge stretches for 1,260 feet (384 meters) and offers visitors breathtaking views of the sheer granite cliffs that tower over the river, creating a truly jaw-dropping experience for those who venture across its wooden planks.
Beyond its stunning vistas, the Royal Gorge Bridge and Park offer an array of thrilling activities and attractions.
Visitors can take a scenic gondola ride across the gorge, explore the visitor center’s exhibits on the bridge’s history and construction, or enjoy heart-pounding adventures like ziplining and the Royal Rush Skycoaster.
Additionally, the Royal Gorge Route Railroad offers a unique perspective of the gorge, with train rides winding along the riverbanks through this rugged terrain.
The Royal Gorge Bridge is not only a testament to human ingenuity but also a place where visitors can connect with the natural wonder and geological history of the Arkansas River Valley.
Read next: 20 Best Places To Visit In California
18. Pikes Peak
Pikes Peak, often referred to as “America’s Mountain,” is an iconic and majestic peak located in the Rocky Mountains near Colorado Springs. Standing at 14,115 feet (4,302 meters) above sea level, Pikes Peak is one of Colorado’s most famous “fourteeners,” mountains that exceed 14,000 feet.
The peak is renowned for its stunning beauty and can be seen from miles away, thanks to its distinctive pyramid-shaped summit. The surrounding landscapes are also home to the lush wilderness of Pike National Forest which is great for hiking, camping, mountain biking, fishing, and exploring.
Pikes Peak has played a significant role in American history and is famously associated with the words of Katharine Lee Bates, who was inspired to write “America the Beautiful” after gazing upon the breathtaking vista from the mountain’s summit.
One of the most popular ways to experience Pikes Peak is by taking the Pikes Peak Highway, a scenic 19-mile (31-kilometer) route that winds its way to the summit.
Alternatively, the Pikes Peak Cog Railway offers a unique and historic journey to the top. The summit provides awe-inspiring panoramic views of the surrounding Rockies, including the Garden of the Gods, Colorado Springs, and the vast eastern plains.
Visitors can also explore a visitor center at the summit, enjoy the famous Pikes Peak doughnuts, and even participate in the annual Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, a legendary motorsport event that challenges drivers to conquer the mountain’s winding road.
Pikes Peak is not just a mountain; it’s a symbol of the rugged beauty of the American West and one of the most fun and beautiful places to visit in Colorado.
19. Dinosaur National Monument
Dinosaur National Monument, located in northwestern Colorado, is a paleontological treasure trove that preserves a rich record of ancient life on Earth.
The park is renowned for its extensive fossil quarry, where visitors can view over 1,500 dinosaur bones, including those of Allosaurus, Stegosaurus, and Apatosaurus, still embedded in the rock where they were discovered.
This remarkable site provides a unique window into the Jurassic period and the creatures that roamed this region more than 150 million years ago. The Quarry Visitor Center offers informative exhibits and fossil displays, allowing visitors to learn about the park’s scientific significance and the process of excavation and preservation.
In addition to its fossil quarry, Dinosaur National Monument boasts stunning landscapes along the Yampa and Green Rivers, where visitors can explore canyons, enjoy river activities, and hike through scenic valleys. The Harpers Corner Road provides access to panoramic viewpoints overlooking the river canyons, offering breathtaking vistas of the rugged terrain and colorful geology.
The park is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, with opportunities for hiking, camping, and wildlife viewing. Dinosaur National Monument provides an educational and visually stunning experience for all who visit and is one of the coolest places to visit in Colorado!
20. Great Sand Dunes National Park
Another one of the best places to visit in Colorado is Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve, a striking and unique natural wonder that boasts the tallest sand dunes in North America.
This park’s standout feature is its massive sand dune field, where winds have carried and sculpted sand grains over thousands of years, creating dunes that rise as high as 750 feet (229 meters).
The contrast between the golden sands and the rugged Sangre de Cristo Mountains in the background is a sight to behold and offers a surreal and mesmerizing landscape for visitors to explore.
Great Sand Dunes National Park offers a wide range of recreational activities, from sandboarding and sledding down the dunes to hiking through the sand dunes and the surrounding forested areas.
Medano Creek, which flows seasonally at the base of the dunes, provides a unique and refreshing aquatic experience during the warmer months.
Great Sand Dunes National Park is also designated as a Dark Sky Park, making it an ideal spot for stargazing and astrophotography.
With its diverse ecosystems, including wetlands and forests, and a diverse array of wildlife, from mule deer to rare insects, the park offers opportunities for nature enthusiasts and adventurers to immerse themselves in a truly distinct and captivating environment.
21. Steamboat Springs
Last but not least on our list of the best places to visit in Colorado is Steamboat Springs, a town known for its world-class skiing, rejuvenating hot springs, and vibrant Western heritage.
Renowned as “Ski Town, U.S.A,” Steamboat Springs boasts the renowned Steamboat Resort, which offers an exceptional winter sports experience. With its famous fluffy, soft snow, the resort attracts skiers and snowboarders from around the globe, while the town’s inviting Western character and genuine hospitality create a warm and welcoming atmosphere for visitors.
Steamboat’s historic downtown exudes a rustic charm, complete with wooden boardwalks, boutique shops, and delicious dining options, making it a perfect place to unwind after a day on the slopes.
Beyond winter sports, Steamboat Springs offers year-round attractions, including its namesake hot springs. The Strawberry Park Hot Springs and Old Town Hot Springs provide soothing relaxation in the midst of the Rocky Mountains’ natural beauty.
The town is also famous for its rich Western heritage, celebrated through events like the Steamboat Pro Rodeo Series and the annual Cowboy Downhill, where professional skiers don cowboy attire for a unique race down the slopes.
In the summer, outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy hiking, mountain biking, and fly fishing, while cultural festivals like the Strings Music Festival and the Steamboat Wine Festival provide entertainment and culinary delights. Steamboat Springs is a vibrant and dynamic destination that offers a perfect blend of outdoor adventure and small-town charm in a stunning mountain setting.
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