I’ve already covered the northeastern states of Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine and now I wanted to take you guys on a trip to the west. I’ve visited Colorado on a whirlwind trip some time ago, staying in Denver and taking in as many landmarks and attractions as I possibly could. Usually I like to take my time when traveling around, but Colorado just has so much to offer that I didn’t want to miss out on anything.
I did miss out on some things, though. Colorado is also just too big to cover in only a couple of weeks. So, the following are based on my own experiences and travels. Although incomplete – there’s more to see in Colorado than just these ten suggestions – they do make for a wonderful itinerary if you’re staying in Denver.
Top 10 Things to Do in Colorado
Colorado’s capital city is packed with great museums (the Denver Art Museum, Denver Zoo and Denver Museum of Nature and Science), breweries, huge green areas and two major sports venues. Denver is a great base to explore the state.
Rocky Mountains National Park
An introduction really is unnecessary here. The Rocky Mountains is one of the most well-known mountain chains on earth. They form the spine of the state and the national park offers fantastic hiking, fishing, road tripping, cycling and other fun activities.
Mount Evans Scenic Byway
Mount Evans rises up from the Great Plains a short distance west of Denver. The main attraction is the Scenic Byway that leads all the way to the summit, a road that is in fact the highest paved road in North America. The views are, unsurprisingly, phenomenal.
Garden of the Gods
Located near Colorado Springs, the magnificent Garden of the Gods consists of towering red rock formations. The beauty of this area also lies in the fact that it’s a public park and therefore free to visit.
One of Colorado’s most exclusive hotels, the Broadmoor is situated at the foot of Pikes Peak in the Rocky Mountains. I don’t usually include accommodation in lists of things to do or see, but this one is the exception to that rule. It’s a marvelous hotel.
Royal Gorge Bridge and Park
This attraction combines spectacular natural features with plain fun. The Royal Gorge is a massive canyon that is crossed by one of the world’s highest suspension bridges, but also by a thrill-providing gondola. Additionally, there are train rides through the canyon; you can go zip lining, visit the zoo or simply enjoy nature at its very best.
Red Rocks Amphitheater
Easily one of the most spectacular outdoor concert venues on the planet, the Red Rocks Amphitheater, located just outside of Denver, is set in between tall red cliffs and rock formations and overlooks the Great Plains.
Manitou Cliff Dwellings
The Manitou Cliff Dwellings are authentic 800-year-old dwellings once inhabited by the local Anasazi Indians. The site includes a museum and a gift shop, but the main attraction is the cliff dwellings themselves, which can be entered, explored and touched.
One of the major locations during the infamous Bone Wars, Dinosaur Ridge is where you can see fossilized dinosaur tracks, bones and other prehistoric remains. There are a couple of museums and visitor centers, but walking along the ridge can be done for free.
‘America’s Mountain’, as Pikes Peak is also known, is one of the main natural landmarks in Colorado. Just like at Mount Evans, the mountain’s summit can be reached by car on a scenic road. Additionally, there’s also a spectacular cog railway to the summit, which is a major attraction in the area.
Like I said above, this is a personal selection of top 10 things to do in Colorado. There’s a lot more, but these ten suggestions are a good start to get to know the state, and they’re easily accessed by motorhome or car rental from Denver.