There are lots of things to do in Colorado, from hiking through otherworldly state parks to skiing at top-notch resorts. Colorado has something for everyone, whether you’re considering an epic road trip or seeking some heart-pounding outdoor activities! Any time of year is a great time to travel to the Centennial State. In the winter, you can go skiing in Black Canyon or Breckenridge, snowboard in Aspen or Vail, or explore the vibrant downtown areas of Denver and Boulder.
Summer is the ideal time to visit one of the many incredible national parks, such as Rocky Mountain National Park, where you can camp under the stars, or the Garden of the Gods, where you can hike through some unusual rock formations. If you’re seeking some excitement in one of Colorado’s thriving cities, you can attend a concert at Red Rocks Amphitheater in Denver, sip on award-winning regional craft beer in Boulder, or drive up to Pikes Peak in Colorado Springs!
You might be overwhelmed by the sheer number of sights and activities available. Therefore, we have created a list of the top things to do in Colorado. You’ll undoubtedly have a blast exploring this amazing region of the world if you follow these unique and fun Colorado bucket list suggestions!
1- Mesa Verde National Park – Things To Do In Colorado
You will be astounded by Mesa Verde and the level of access to the actual ruins that the park offers visitors, whether or not you have previously seen cliff dwellings.
Cliff Palace, the focal point of the park, is one of the most impressive homes in the entire Southwest, boasting a dramatic setting and remarkably well-preserved ruins. You can ascend ladders right up into the heart of the residence on ranger-led tours, which are offered frequently during the summer high season. You should strongly consider purchasing your Cliff Palace visitor tickets in advance of your trip. Demand is high and there are few available spots, especially during the summer. Tickets may be ordered up to 14 days prior to the date of arrival.
If you’re not up for that level of exertion, you can still see the entire site from an overlook close by. The Ancestral Pueblo lived in the structures on Mesa Verde from roughly 600 AD to 1300 AD. The park contains thousands of archeological sites, but the most impressive ones are the cliff dwellings. Numerous locations, many of which are on top of the mesa, are accessible via a road. There are numerous hiking trails that lead to lookouts and interesting locations, including petroglyphs, without the need for a ranger tour.
Mesa Verde is accessible via a protracted road that ascends dramatically above the surrounding landscape, and it is situated close to the towns of Cortez and Mancos. It takes about 45 minutes to get from the highway up to the site. Before driving up, you can learn more about the park and the road conditions at one of the visitor centers that is close to the highway. When you get there, you can reserve a ranger-led tour of Cliff Palace so you’ll know when to show up for the hour-long tour.
2- Denver Botanic Gardens
The Denver Botanic Gardens are the ideal place to see the best of western North America’s plant life and gardens designed to resemble various global settings. The gardens span over twenty-four acres and feature drought-tolerant native western flora and plants that have been adapted to thrive in the region’s climate.
They also have displays of daylilies, roses, and iris, perennial favorites. The Mordecai Children’s Garden offers picnic tables, parking for strollers, and year-round programming to encourage hands-on investigation of soil and water. Numerous gardens are devoted to the tranquility of Japanese strolling gardens and bonsai, and there is also a greenhouse filled with tropical and subtropical flowers.
3- Strawberry Parks Hot Springs – Things To Do In Colorado
A true natural paradise, Strawberry Parks Hot Springs is not to be missed. Bring your swimsuit and check out these natural springs the next time you need to recharge. They have been preserved to give visitors the chance to unwind in a beautiful, wild setting while also keeping it accessible to everyone. Enjoy Mother Nature’s best jacuzzis while you can!
The park offers day areas for picnics and restrooms, or if you want to extend your trip, you can stay overnight. Visit the nearby hiking trails, or if you ride a bike, bring it with you. Afterward, you can always unwind in the springs and ease your aching muscles. Your visit will be well worth it thanks to the stunning and distinctive stone formations that surround the springs.
4- Visit St. Elmo Ghost Town to get spooked
St. Elmo, an abandoned mining community tucked into the foothills of the Collegiate Peaks, is Colorado’s best preserved ghost town. More than 40 buildings that are still standing and are on the National Register of Historic Places date mostly from the 1880s, the heyday of the town.
Visitors get a fascinating look into Colorado’s past when they stroll past the courthouse, jail, and billiards hall, which give them insight into the days when the hills were ruled by silver and gold. For information about each building’s history, look for the small placards there. Although it’s busy on summer weekends, St. Elmo is accessible year-round via a well-maintained dirt road.
5- Drive Through Colorado National Monument on a Scenic Route
It’s not surprising that visiting Colorado National Monument is among the best things to do in Colorado given the area’s towering rock formations, dramatic red rock canyons, and breathtaking vistas. There are numerous ways to explore this 23,000-acre park, whether you want to hike, mountain bike, or drive.
Rim Rock Drive is a must-do if you can only do one thing during your limited time. Undoubtedly, this is one of the most beautiful drives in the US! The 23-mile-long, 16-switchback winding road takes you to the majority of the park’s top sights. You can take a break along the way to take a 3.4-mile hike on the well-known Serpents Trail to see breathtaking views of Grand Junction. Don’t forget to pause at the Red Canyon, Fallen Rock, and Ute Canyon overlooks.
Highland View Overlook is a prime location for photographers to spend some time at either sunrise or sunset. The panoramic views of the craggy cliffs and unusual rock formations are unmatched from one of the highest lookouts in Colorado National Monument. Another well-liked location for Instagram-worthy pictures is Balanced Rock. Because you won’t want to miss the scenery, you probably won’t want to be the one behind the wheel.
6- Garden of the Gods – Things To Do In Colorado
This officially recognized National Natural Landmark is home to a distinctive landscape of angular stone fins and towers that rise 300 feet above the ground. The scene is completed by the large, perfectly-balanced boulders and rock piles that surround the fins and the distant mountains.
You can get up close to the striking rock formations and wander through the surreal landscape on the fifteen miles of walking trails, the majority of which are short and simple. Rock climbing is a common activity in the park, but there are also designated bike lanes for road biking, mountain biking, and horseback riding. Jeep tours of the Garden of the Gods and Foothills are also very well-liked.
As a museum, the Garden of the Gods Park Visitor & Nature Center features exhibits and a 20-minute video on the park’s geology. Additionally, they provide daily led nature walks. Incredible views can be seen from the visitor center, and the on-site café, which has huge windows, is a great place to relax with a snack or beverage.
7- Denver Museum of Nature & Science
The Denver Museum of Nature & Science was founded by Edwin Carter, a single individual who, in 1868, relocated to a one-room cabin in the Rocky Mountains and amassed the largest collection of Colorado flora ever known. The Denver Museum was officially opened in 1908, and in 1926, museum researchers discovered fossil evidence that North America was inhabited more than 10,000 years ago.
The museum now serves as a hub for learning, research, and tourism. It features both rotating and permanent exhibits and is focused on family experiences. Every visitor has a memorable experience thanks to exhibits on and about dinosaurs, robots, space, weather, and knowledgeable docents. The planetarium and the IMAX theater also have rotating shows that appeal to audiences of all ages. Visits with young children are ideal for a cutting-edge children’s center.
8- Black Canyon
Black Canyon is located on the western side of Colorado and is home to elk, golden eagles, deer, and, of course, the famous Black Canyon. The Black Canyon, which has steep cliffs and jaw-dropping drop-offs, is a breathtaking sight to see. The tallest cliff in Colorado, the striated Painted Wall, is another reason for its fame.
As soon as you arrive, make sure to not only visit the Southern Rim but also the Northern Rim. Naturally, there are a few hiking trails nearby, but if you want to see the rest stops along the Southern Rim, it’s also simple to drive there. You can see Gunnison Point Overlook, Pulpit Rock Overlook, and the stunning Painted Wall View here, It is absolutely lovely.
9- Adventure in Aspen
The scenery and memories you’ll take away from year-round sightseeing in Aspen, Colorado, will last a lifetime among all the other things to do there. If you’re in Aspen, make sure to drive a short distance to the Maroon Bells Scenic Area for stunning views of these mountains. There are numerous hiking trails there for hikers of all skill levels, so you can adjust your activity to fit your group.
Excellent skiing and snowboarding can be found in Aspen during the winter, and during the summer, you can go hiking, mountain biking, fishing, and engaging in a variety of other outdoor activities. You can find award-winning restaurants and a variety of boutique stores whenever you visit.
10- Check out Hanging Lake
One of the most well-liked destinations in Colorado is Hanging Lake, a stunning natural wonder situated in Glenwood Canyon. As a result of travertine deposits that line the shoreline and produce a vivid turquoise hue, the lake is renowned for its striking color.
For hikers and nature lovers, Hanging Lake is a well-liked vacation spot that is reachable on foot. The trail can get quite crowded during busy times despite the fact that the hike to the lake is relatively steep.