Best Things To Do In Colorado – Colorado is famous for its mountain views, beautiful scenery, and craft beer, and you can enjoy all of these things for free.
From bus tours and ghost towns to world-class hiking, camping, and even a festival celebrating the frozen dead, there’s plenty to do in Colorado—explore and earn without the expense.
Best Things To Do In Colorado
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Red Rocks Park and Amphitheater is world renowned for its natural soundscape and stunning beauty. Summer nights bring big bands and sold-out crowds, but the amphitheater and surrounding areas are open and free to visit during the day.
Explore the area, take in the views, then hike miles of trails through the surrounding pastures and unique red rock formations.
The beautiful cars on the Million Dollar Highway look amazing in the fall © Craig Zerbe / Getty Images
Located in the San Juan Mountains, the Million Dollar Highway is one of Colorado’s most spectacular drives. Between the towns of Ouray and Silverton is a narrow hairpin bend through Uncompahgre Canyon, which is large and close to the steep mountainside, and the valley below is lined with cypress trees and wildflowers.
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Planning advice: Be careful. The roads are terrible, even on good days – and the lack of enforcement doesn’t help. Take advantage of the pull. Red Mountain Pass (11,018ft) is a favorite for 360-degree views.
Colorado has over 50 peaks over 14,000 feet (hence the name “14ers”), all of which offer breathtaking views from the top of the world. While high-altitude hiking is no joke, the state’s various 14ers provide access for all levels.
Whether you decide to hike the 3 miles to Quandary Peak near Breckenridge, explore the Longs Peak Trail for a few days in Rocky Mountain National Park, or run to Mount Elbert—the highest of all—they all deliver big.
Ancient culture, natural beauty, and imagination come together at Hovenweep National Monument, an archeological site in the bright desert that straddles the border of Colorado and Utah. The site contains six ancestral Puebloan villages, built from 500 to 1300 AD.
Best Things To Do In Colorado
Today there are several houses, a festival kiva and a sand tower, located on the edge of the cliff. Paths and paths lead visitors into the site, which displays masonry and unique designs, an unforgettable testament to the skill and art of the ancient inhabitants.
The Garden of the Gods is a spectacular display of red sandstone with the Pikes Peak Mountains. Explore the park’s intricate network of trails (some paved, most) to giant grasses, steep cliffs, and beautiful peaks. Take a tour and watch rock climbers test their stomachs on high walls.
The visitor center has hands-on exhibits and knowledgeable rangers who provide helpful advice and maps. Guided tours of the park are offered for a small fee.
The Anderson Ranch Art Center is an impressive and magical place and the region’s arts and cultural center located on a five-acre historic ranch outside of Aspen. Visitors can watch world-renowned artists at work, stroll through the sculpture garden and admire the museum’s current works.
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Scatter camp – camping on federal land, away from campgrounds – is a unique way to experience the Colorado outdoors. Scatter camping takes you deep into Colorado forest lands and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) boundaries to enjoy nature without the crowds and without the expense.
With nearly 23 million acres of public land in Colorado, you’ll find plenty of options from mountaintops and aspen forests to mesas and river valleys.
Planning tip: Most scattered campsites are accessible via dirt roads. Stop at the ranger station to get a map and look for the camping signs along the way.
Visit the town of St Elmo, at the foot of Colorado’s Collegiate Peaks © chapin31 / Getty Images
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St. Elmo is Colorado’s best-preserved ghost town, an abandoned mine at the base of the Collegiate Peaks. More than 40 buildings are listed on the National Register of Historic Places, most from the 1880s when the city was at its peak.
Visiting saloons and billiards, courthouses and jails, visitors will get a fascinating glimpse into Colorado’s past, when these hills bore gold and silver. Look for small signs on each building to learn about its history.
Frozen Dead Guy Days is an incredibly weird and wonderful festival that attracts over 25,000 people to the Netherlands every spring. The three-day event celebrates Bredo Morstoel’s grandfather, a Norwegian who was taken to the local Tuff Shed’s freezing temperatures to (seriously) await his cremation. Parades and casket races, polar tours and cool turkey bowling make this a party to remember.
Colorado takes its beer seriously and views brewing as a high art. Among the many breweries in the state, the Great Divide Brewing Company has always stood out. The brewery has received countless awards for bold and balanced beers, including 18 Great American Beer Festival medals.
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Planning Tip: Free family tours of the downtown Denver brewery are offered daily on a first-come, first-served basis (ages 12 and under only). It’s worth a stop for a behind-the-scenes look at how his work is made.
For the first time, Lonely Planet experts have compiled the 500 most memorable, beautiful, breathtaking and fascinating experiences in the United States. Contemplate the Grand Canyon, learn about the history of an immigrant nation at Ellis Island, or stroll the architectural splendor of the Golden Gate Bridge. Where are you going next? When it comes to the best things to do in Colorado, the locals really do know all the secrets. From breathtaking mountain views to Denver’s out-of-this-world street art scene, there are plenty of things to do in Colorado to keep you busy.
I have lived here for over 13 years and am still finding ways to discover new things in the Centennial State. The best thing to do in Colorado is to hang out and enjoy the more than 300 days of sunshine you can find in the state.
Pack your bags, lace up your shoes, and get ready for a jaw-dropping list of the best things to do in Colorado.
Fun & Best Things To Do In Colorado Springs
If you’re looking to experience Colorado like a local, not a tourist, you’ve come to the right place. It’s my job to give you a local overview of things to do in Colorado. I have personally done everything on this list (some more than once).
When it comes to finding the best things to do in Colorado, local access is key! Here’s what you’ll find in this guide:
Colorado is a wonderful place to visit all year round. Colorado in the winter is great for a variety of snow sports, from dog sledding to world-famous skiing.
In the spring you can still go skiing, but it’s a great time to enjoy life in a Colorado town. Denver, Boulder, Fort Collins and Colorado Springs are great this time of year. The mountains hold snow until early June, so camping, hiking and 4×4 routes are limited. If you want to get out into nature, check out Fruita and Colorado National Monument.
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Local Tips: Late fall and spring (after spring break) are the quietest times to visit Colorado. Lodging is relatively cheap and there aren’t many tourists – although locals love to travel to Colorado.
Summer is the season in Colorado. This is the busiest time to visit the state, as many people take Colorado road trips. Summers are hot, with frequent (and violent) thunderstorms almost every afternoon and some of Colorado’s best wildflower displays.
Many of Colorado’s most popular attractions require reservations in advance and on time, and so does your homework. July marks the season of wildflowers in the mountains and one of the most beautiful displays in the world.
Fall in Colorado is another great time to visit. Fall colors in Colorado change from year to year, but generally the third week of September is the peak of activity in the aspens. Even though the nights are cooler, you can still camp, hike the beautiful waterfalls, or see one of Colorado’s best hikes.
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It really depends. If you don’t have time, you can enjoy one of the many Colorado weekend trips to dip your toes in the beauty of the state.
4 days in Colorado will allow you to hit some of the highlights and experience the different worlds.
Local Tip: Psst…Colorado has many hidden gems beyond the mountains! In fact, there are so many great places here that you’ll want to take the time to explore all the pages.
A week allows you to spend time in 2 to 4 locations depending on your choice and willingness to drive. 2 weeks in Colorado gives you the chance to see everything
Top 10 Attractions To Visit In Colorado
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