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Explore Captivating Colorado

Updated: Mar 18, 2022

Quick Guide: Learn about what Colorado has to offer and explore

Colorado has so many things to do and see that it can be hard to narrow down what you want to do. From wandering through unique towns and cities, to hiking or skiing mountain trails, and rafting down a river Colorado has everything to offer. If this sounds like the place you want to visit, just ask Kat to plan your custom, personal adventure and get started exploring captivating Colorado.

These lists do not, in any way, include EVERYTHING. Colorado is full of so many unique experiences that this blog would go on forever. There are some categories to think about when traveling to Colorado. Each covers some of my favorites to help get an idea of what your future trip could include.


Cities and Towns of Colorado

There are many cities and towns, big and small, in Colorado that all have something unique to offer. Some can be quick one day stops while others will take years to fully enjoy.

Union Station, a beaux arts-style transport hub, also has cool places to eat and drink, plus summer events that include concerts and a weekly farmers' market.
Denver, Colorado
  • Denver - capital of Colorado, is an American metropolis dating to the Old West era

  • Boulder - at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains with trail-lined Flatirons overlooking the city

  • Colorado Springs - near glacier-carved Pikes Peak with hiking trails and a cog railway leading to its 14,114-ft. summit

  • Breckenridge - known for its ski resort, year-round alpine activities and Gold Rush history

  • Steamboat Springs - the city’s geothermal hot springs are said to have therapeutic properties

  • Glenwood Springs - sits in the rugged Rocky Mountains and rich with wildlife and features Hanging Lake, with its striking turquoise waters

  • Estes Park - base for Rocky Mountain National Park, home to wildlife including elk and bears, plus miles of trails


Professional Sports Teams to see a game or two

Denver is the smallest city in the country to host 5 major professional sports teams. That should tell you something about the sports fans of this state.

  • Denver Broncos - compete in the NFL as a member club of the league's American Football Conference West division and play home games at Mile High Stadium

  • Colorado Rockies - compete in MLB as a member club of the National League West division playing home games at Coors Field

  • Denver Nuggets - compete in the NBA as a member of the league's Western Conference Northwest Division playing home games at Ball Arena

  • Colorado Avalanche - compete in the NHL as a member of the Central Division in the Western Conference and play home games at Ball Arena

  • Colorado Rapids - compete in MLS as a member of the Western Conference playing home games at Dick's Sporting Goods Park

  • Two minor league baseball teams are the Colorado Springs based Rocky Mountain Vibes and the Grand Junction Rockies

  • There is also a lacrosse team, Colorado Mammoth, and rugby team, Colorado Raptors amongst many other sports teams


National and State Parks for hiking and more

With 250+ City Parks, 42 State Parks, 29 Recreation Centers, 8 National Monuments, and 4 National Parks, there is more than enough open space to explore and get lost in.

Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve is in southern Colorado. It’s known for huge dunes like the towering Star Dune, and for the seasonal Medano Creek and beach created at the base of the dunes
Great Sand Dunes
  • Rocky Mountain Natl. Park - Estes Park - spans the Continental Divide and encompasses protected mountains, forests and alpine tundra. It's known for the Trail Ridge Road and the Old Fall River Road, drives that pass aspen trees, elk and rivers

  • Great Sand Dunes Natl. Park - Alamosa - known for huge dunes like the towering Star Dune, and for the seasonal Medano Creek and beach created at the base of the dunes

  • Mesa Verde Natl. Park - Mesa Verde - known for its well-preserved Ancestral Puebloan cliff dwellings, notably the huge Cliff Palace

  • Dinosaur National Monument - Dinosaur, CO/Jensen, UT - wild landscapes, topography, geology, paleontology, and history make it a unique resource for both science and recreation

  • Garden of the Gods - Colorado Springs - provides 300ft towering sandstone rock formations against a backdrop of snow-capped Pikes Peak and brilliant blue skies

  • Glenwood Canyon - Glenwood Springs - rugged scenic 12.5 mi canyon in western Colorado with walls climbing as high as 1,300 feet above the Colorado River. Hanging Lake hike is in this canyon

  • Eldorado Canyon State Park - Eldorado Springs - consists of two areas, the Inner Canyon and Crescent Meadows encompassing 885 acres with a variety of recreation opportunities available

  • Rifle Falls State Park - Rifle - central feature of the 48-acre park is a triple 70-foot waterfall flowing over a travertine dam on East Rifle Creek. Commonly seen wildlife includes mule deer, elk, coyote, and golden-mantled ground squirrel


Relaxing Hot Springs

There are around 93 developed and undeveloped hot springs throughout the mountains and along the rivers of Colorado. Some have resorts and spas while others are just free to enjoy in nature.

Historic hot springs in the mountains with many pools for all to enjoy. There is even an adults only time at night.
Strawberry Hot Springs
  • Strawberry Park Hot Springs - Steamboat Springs - natural hot springs nestled in the mountains of Colorado

  • Iron Mountain Hot Springs - Glenwood Springs - a therapeutic, natural hot springs resort located on the banks of the Colorado River

  • Pagosa Hot Springs - Pagosa Springs - natural springs along the Piedra River

  • Great Sand Dunes Swimming Pool - Alamosa - family friendly oasis in the San Luis Valley with a large family pool, 25-person hot tub, and 2 on-site restaurants. The Greenhouse is an adults-only tropical escape with 4 pools, sauna, and on-site bar

  • Avalanche Ranch Hot Springs - Redstone - designed around the natural landscape and rock formations of the Crystal River Valley

  • Ouray Hot Springs Pool - Ouray - 5 hot spring pools are nestled into a valley surrounded by 13,000 foot snow-capped peaks

  • Hot Sulphur Springs Resort - Hot Sulphur Springs - the waters have been flowing from seven natural springs for hundreds of years and were used for healing by the Ute people


Outdoor Adventures on water and land

The rugged terrain of the Colorado mountains are well known for the limitless, epic outdoor adventures.

Whitewater rafting along Clear Creek river near Idaho Springs, Colorado.
Whitewater rafting along Clear Creek River
  • Whitewater Rafting/Kayaking - available on the Arkansas, Animas, Cache La Poudre, Clear Creek, Colorado, Dolores, Piedra, Roaring Fork, San Miguel, San Juan, Yampa rivers and more

  • Ziplining - Many locations ranging from the Royal Gorge west to Durango then north through Glenwood and Steamboat Springs and along the foothills in Castle Rock

  • Rock Climbing - from bouldering, lead climbing, multi-pitch, and top roping you can find it all around Boulder Canyon, Rocky Mountain Natl. Park, Garden of the Gods, Eldorado Canyon, Rifle Mountain, Clear Creek Canyon and more

  • Mountain Biking - Literally almost anywhere in the mountains you can do this. Many ski resorts have summer passes to take bikes up so you can go down

  • Hot Air Ballooning - a unique way to view the beautiful mountains and scenery from Denver, Colorado Springs, Steamboat Springs, Fort Collins, Aspen, and Pagosa Springs

  • Dog Sledding - want to see a bunch of dogs go crazy wanting to pull you on a sled? Go to Monarch, Aspen, Steamboat Springs, Pagosa Springs, Durango and more to enjoy this unique experience

  • Other unique adventures: Canyoning, Ice Climbing, Snowmobiling, Para/Hang Gliding, Skydiving, Sailing, Ice Fishing, Fishing, Horseback Riding


Hike some of the tallest Mountains

Colorado’s 58 unique 14ers (14,000ft mountains) range in difficulty from easy Class 1 day hikes to overnight Class 4 Climbs. Few try them all but doing at least one is worth the effort and the views.

The Maroon Bells are two peaks in the Elk Mountains, Maroon Peak and North Maroon Peak, separated by about half a kilometer. The mountains are on the border between Pitkin County and Gunnison County, Colorado, United States, about 19 kilometers southwest of Aspen. Both peaks are fourteeners.
Maroon Bells 14ers
  • Pikes Peak - a Class 1 where you can drive or take the cog rail to top or choose to hike the 24 miles

  • Other Class 1 Peaks - Handies, Grays, Quandary, Mt. Elbert, and San Luis

  • Mt. Bierstadt - a 7 mile, Class 2 located in the Mount Evans Wilderness of Pike National Forest

  • Other Class 2 Peaks - Mt. Sherman, 4 collegiate peaks, Mt. Massive, Mt. Evans, Torreys and more

  • Longs Peak - a 14.5 mile, Class 3 in Rocky Mountain Natl. Park not for novice hikers. Prepare for this hike

  • Other Class 3 Peaks - Mt. Sneffels, Mt. Lindsey, Mt. Eolus, Crestone Needle, Snowmass and more

  • Maroon Bells - two peaks, Class 3-4, in the Elk Mountains, Maroon Peak and North Maroon Peak, separated by about half a kilometer

  • Other Class 4 Peaks - Pyramid, Mt. Wilson, Sunlight, Little Bear and Capitol


Museums to learn a bit more

Wherever you go in Colorado there is bound to be a museum, big or small, to expand your knowledge in history, science or even gain an appreciation for art. Just keep an eye out because some times museums are hidden away in old houses rich with something to learn.

The Denver Art Museum is an art museum located in the Civic Center of Denver, Colorado. With encyclopedic collections of more than 70,000 diverse works from across the centuries and world, the DAM is one of the largest art museums between the West Coast and Chicago.
Denver Art Museum
  • Denver Museum of Nature & Science - with an IMAX Theater, a planetarium and thousands of square feet devoted to science exhibits, you’ll need to schedule more than one trip

  • Denver Art Museum - collections of more than 70,000 diverse works from across the centuries and world

  • Children's Museum of Denver - features more than a dozen "playscapes," including a hands-on fire department, an assembly plant for interactive building activities and a tiny veterinary clinic

  • Meow Wolf - Denver - Surreal, walk-through art experience with many interactive rooms, bizarre sculptures & a story arc

  • Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum - Denver - located on the former grounds of Lowry Air Force Base and housed in the historic Hangar No. 1, built in 1939.

  • Buffalo Bill Museum and Grave - Golden - experience the life and times of American legend William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody

  • Museum of the West - Grand Junction - ride in a stagecoach, fly a 1958 Cessna, gaze upon an Anasazi pot, see real firearms used by outlaws, study ancient rock art, and sit in a one-room schoolhouse to experience western Americana at its best

  • Fort Collins Museum of Discovery - this museum integrates the history of science and the science of history into an interactive and engaging museum


Zoos and Aquariums to see some wildlife

From native species to exotic creatures from around the world, Colorado is filled with amazing animals in state-of-the-art habitats including tiny frogs, colorful sea life, and giant elephants.

Denver Zoo is an 80-acre zoological garden located in City Park of Denver, Colorado, United States. Founded in 1896, it is owned by the City and County of Denver and funded in part by the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District. It is the most popular paid attraction in the Denver metropolitan area.
Tigers at the Denver Zoo
  • Denver Zoo - an 80-acre zoological garden located in City Park, home to over 550 unique species. You can also enjoy Zoo Lights around the winter holidays

  • Downtown Aquarium - Denver - expansive complex with a state-of-the-art aquarium housing 500+ species, plus a restaurant (with live mermaids) & lounge

  • Denver Botanic Gardens - a 23-acre park with a conservatory, variety of theme gardens and sunken amphitheater, which hosts various concerts in the summer. Amazing lights are lit to enjoy around the winter holidays

  • Cheyenne Mountain Zoo - Colorado Springs - the highest mountain zoo in America providing many hands on attractions including feeding giraffes all day

  • Pueblo Zoo - a 25-acre zoo open year-round and home to over 420 animals of more than 140 species

  • Other unique wildlife encounters at The Wild Animal Sanctuary (home to over 500 lions, tigers, bears, leopards, cougars, wolves and other carnivores), Colorado Wolf & Wildlife Center and the Butterfly Pavilion


Theme Parks for some fast rides

Colorado amusement parks are happy to provide opportunities to dangle upside down from a roller coaster, slip down a waterslide or ride easy on a train ride. All types of thrills can be found across the state.

Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park is an adventure park located above Glenwood Springs, Colorado, about 160 mi west of Denver. Prior to 2003, only cave tours were available until a major expansion took place. The park is unique because it sits at an altitude of 7,100 ft on a mountain above Glenwood Springs.
Alpine slide at Glenwood Caverns Park
  • Elitch Gardens Theme & Water Park - Denver - wild rides for the adventurous, plenty of slower family rides, an 11-ride water park, an arcade, lots of places to eat and summer concert series

  • Water World - Denver - one of the biggest water parks hosting six-story-high speed chutes, white-water slides, massive wave pools, a kids’ funhouse and that famous Colorado sun

  • Lakeside Amusement Park - Denver - old-time park since 1908 the continues to be popular with families thanks to its affordable admission and kid-friendly amusements

  • Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park - Glenwood Springs - the highest amusement park in America providing haunted cave tours, bungee trampoline, laser tag, a maze, alpine coaster, zip ride and much more

  • Royal Gorge Bridge & Park - Canon City - walk across one of the world's highest suspension bridges above the Arkansas River, and then take in some other thrills, including the world's longest single-span aerial gondola, kids' playground and carousel, zipline and Royal Rush Skycoaster

  • Great Wolf Lodge - Colorado Springs - indoor water park, lodging, restaurants and other activities mean one-stop vacationing

  • North Pole Home of Santa's Workshop - Colorado Springs - never lose that special holiday feeling with special visits from Santa, magic shows, goat and llama feeding, the Candy Cane Coaster, an elf show and more than 20 other family rides


Ski Resort fun in winter and summer

With Colorado hosting 32 ski resorts there is no shortage of fun all year round. From downhill skiing/boarding, to hiking and mountain biking, something is always available to enjoy the splendor of the Colorado mountains.

Colorado is home to the world's best skiing and snowboarding. Heavy snowfall and majestic mountains make Colorado ski resorts the perfect place for skiers and snow boarders.
Ski and Board Colorado


  • Keystone - consists of three mountains – Dercum Mountain, North Peak, the Outback – and five Bowls offering skiing at all levels

  • Breckenridge - one of the most visited ski resorts in the western hemisphere year round

  • Vail - at 5,289 acres, it is the third-largest single-mountain ski resort in the U.S. featuring seven bowls and intermediate gladded terrain in Blue Sky Basin

  • Beaver Creek - comprised of three villages, the main Beaver Creek Village, Bachelor Gulch, and Arrowhead to the west. My personal favorite

  • Crested Butte - provides some very extreme terrain as well as some easier runs that are less vertical

  • Telluride - has over 2,000 skiable acres and spans between the historic town of Telluride and the modern alpine community of Mountain Village


  • Arapahoe Basin - home to the famous Bacon Bloody Mary as well as legendary skiing over 'The Pass'

  • Copper Mountain - has 2,465 acres of in-bounds terrain under lease from the U.S. Forest Service, White River National Forest

  • Aspen Snowmass - Snowmass the largest of the four Aspen/Snowmass mountains, comprising 3,362 acres

  • Steamboat - has 169 named trails spread over 2,965 acres with 14% beginner-level, 42% as intermediate, and 44% as advanced. It also contains the premier Mavericks Superpipe

  • Winter Park Resort - longest continually operated ski resort featuring over 3000 acres of award-winning terrain

  • Eldora - one of the closest resorts to Denver at a little over an hour and around 30 min from Boulder

There are many more small town ski resorts to explore.


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