June 19, 2024


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38 Best Things To Do In Colorado


Colorado is one of the greatest states in the nation, and if you haven’t visited before, then you should plan a trip right away. This mountainous and breathtakingly beautiful state entered the union in 1876, earning it the nickname of the Centennial State.

Today, it’s home to just under six million residents, but as many as eighty-seven million visitors visit the state each year. It’s no wonder – there’s so much to see and do all over Colorado’s 104,185 square miles.

Coloradans divide the state into four generally vertical regions, starting with the Eastern Plains on the eastern side, followed by the Front Rage, the Rocky Mountains, and Western Slope as one travels west.

On this list of Colorado things to do, we’ve organized activities in Colorado here using these divisions with further north/south subdivisions within each area.

Although the Front Range and the Rocky Mountains tend to be the most heavily visited areas, there are plenty of fun and interesting things to see and do on either end of the state, too.

So, if you’re looking for fun things to do in Colorado, and want to know what to see in Colorado, you came to the right place. What’s in Colorado, you ask? Here’s a comprehensive list. Read on, get excited, and start planning your trip.

Table of Contents

TLDR – Best Fun Things to Do in Colorado

Need that info for your Colorado vacation right now? I’ve got the goods right here!

  • Most significant landmark – Rocky Mountain National Park
  • Best park – Rocky Mountain National Park
  • Best free activity – Garden of the Gods
  • Best activity for kids – Children’s Museum of Denver
  • Best activity for adults – Strawberry Park Hot Springs
  • Best food – Downtown Denver
  • Best nightlife – Downtown Denver
  • Best all-round accommodation – Glenwood Hot Springs Resort

Eastern Plains

Colorado’s Eastern Plains region is just what it sounds like. The eastern third of the state is part of our nation’s Great Plains and like the plains of other states, it’s mostly known for farming and ranching.

Many people are surprised that Colorado isn’t immediately mountainous when they enter from Nebraska or Kansas, but it isn’t – this large section of the state is flat and rural. Still, this is a great part of the state to visit as it is rich with history, and there’s lots of plains wildlife to see here, too.

Northern Eastern Plains

1. Overland Trail Museum; Sterling

This fantastic little museum commemorates and celebrates western expansion by examining the lives and times of gold seekers and early pioneers. The Overland Trail, a branch of the Oregon Trail, is believed to have been the busiest road in the nation (or maybe even the world) from 1862 to 1868.

Here you can explore historic buildings and view museum exhibits to learn about the early days of settlement in Colorado.

See Related: Best Museums in the US You Need to Visit

2. North Sterling State Park; Sterling

This 5,700-acre state park offers recreation opportunities for the people of this part of Colorado. The 2,880 reservoir is wonderful for swimming and boating and there are six miles of trails along its shoreline.

There are two year-round campgrounds offering 141 sites. The visitor center rents life jackets, family activity backpacks with binoculars, field guides, and GPS units for geocaching fun.

Southern Eastern Plains

3. Bent’s Old Fort National Historic Site; La Junta

Bent’s Old Fort National Historic Site is an exact replica of the 1833 trading post built by Charles Bent, William Bent, and Ceran St. Vrain. It’s on the exact footprint of the original.

This fort was built to facilitate trade between the Southern Cheyenne, Arapaho Plains Indians, and trappers.

At the time of its construction, it was the only major white American permanent settlement on the Santa Fe Trail between Missouri and Mexico. Stop in and learn about life in Colorado at this time from costumed docents.

See Related: Best Vacations for a Group of Friends

4. Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site; Eads

On November 29, 1864, 675 U.S. Army soldiers massacred an estimated 150 peaceful Cheyenne and Arapaho people on this site.

Most were women and children. This site is worth a visit for anyone interested in paying respects to these innocent people, and for those who wish to learn more about the Native American genocide that is sadly often omitted or glossed over in American history books.

The Front Range

The Front Range region is where the majority of Coloradans live and work, and it’s where the Rocky Mountains begin. It includes all of Colorado’s biggest cities – Fort Collins, Boulder, Denver, and Colorado Springs.

Not long ago, these cities were completely separate from one another, but today, suburban sprawl kind of connects them into one big metropolitan area.

Still, it’s a wonderful place to visit as everything is relatively close to everything else, and there are lots of things to see and do. If you’re wondering what to see in Colorado, the Front Range is a great area in which to start.

Fort Collins

5. Horsetooth Mountain Open Space & Horsetooth Reservoir; Fort Collins

This amazing and beautiful open space area is a mountainous park that covers 2,711 acres and which offers twenty-nine miles of trails for biking, hiking, horseback riding, and enjoying the wonders of Colorado’s great outdoors.

It’s on the western side of the six-mile-long, half-mile-wide Horsetooth Reservoir which is a popular destination for Colorado boating enthusiasts.

This area is a great place for doing outdoorsy things of all kinds without going too deep into the mountains. If you want to get out on the water, check out this Sunset Cruise around Horsetooth Reservoir from Viator.

See Related: Best Holiday Destinations for Couples

6. Visit Some Breweries

Glass of Beer

If you drink beer, no visit to Colorado is complete if you don’t take some time to visit some of the state’s many breweries. Denver is home to some choice labels, such as Cerebral Brewing, the Great Divide Brewing Company, and the Wynkoop Brewing Company.

Fort Collins is another perfect city for beer lovers, because it’s home to quite a few, and they all want to welcome you in for a pint.

Some of the most popular breweries in Fort Collins include New Belgium, Odell, Zwei, Horse & Dragon, and Maxline. But, this list is just a start. You could easily spend an entire day or even an entire week of sampling Fort Collins’ local brews, and many visitors do exactly that.

If you’re interested in beer and ghosts, consider this Haunted Pub Tour of Fort Collins on Viator.

See Related: Best Breweries in Denver to Visit Today


7. Pearl Street Mall; Boulder

People who like shopping and pedestrian malls will love the Pearl Street Mall in Boulder. Even if you don’t like either of those things, a visit to it will give you a good feel for the flavor of Boulder and it’s a great place for people-watching, too.

There’s always something happening in this four-block stretch. Between spectacles, you can check out the unique (but rather overpriced) stores, or try some local Boulder beers or cuisine.

See Related: Best Road Trips in the USA

8. The Flatirons; Boulder

Flatirons Sceneries

You can go to the Flatirons or admire them from afar, but you’ll definitely get at least a peek at them if you’re in Boulder.

These five rock formations overlook the city from above and feel to many like a loving and protective force. They’re made of sandstone, are approximately 290 to 296 million years old, and are a symbol of Boulder.

You can’t miss them, they are obvious and visible from any place in town. But, if you want to get a closer look, there are plenty of trails that will lead you right to them.

People come from all over the world to climb the Flatirons, too, but this isn’t recommended unless you are an experienced climber. Dozens of rescues are necessary every year.

9. Colorado Chautauqua; Boulder

Colorado Chautauqua During Winter

The Chautauqua movement was a social and educational movement for adults in the United States that began in the late 1800s with continued in popularity into the 1920s.

Although the movement began in western New York, in a short time it spread across the country and was especially notable in the Midwest. These groups arranged entertainment and cultural opportunities for rural communities and helped bolster the American culture of the time.

Few Chautauqua communities still exist in the United States, but the one in Boulder is still going strong. It started in 1898 and its property was named a National Historic Landmark in 2006.

The forty acres upon which it sits is the starting point for many trails to the Flatirons. You can stay on-site in the lodge or cottages or eat at the dining hall. Check Colorado Chautauqua’s website for concert and lecture listings. There’s always something happening at Chautauqua.

See Related: Best Places to Travel Alone in the World


10. Denver Botanic Gardens; Denver & Littleton

Denver Botanic Gardens was founded in 1951 and it has been growing ever since. Even though its main location is confined to a 23-acre area inside Denver’s Cheesman Park, the gardens staff is always adding new specialty gardens and exhibits.

There’s a Japanese garden, gardens full of native plants from Colorado and surrounding states, a children’s garden, a huge tropical conservatory, and so much more. It’s a great place to spend an afternoon at any time of year.

The plants are always changing, so you can come back time and time again and always find something new and exciting to view.

Denver Botanic Gardens has another location on the edge of Denver’s southwest suburbs called Chatfield Farms. It is also well worth checking out. This property is much larger at 700 acres and serves as both a native plant refuge and a working farm.

Both locations offer fantastic seasonal events like Lavender Days, Glow at the Gardens, Blossoms of Light, Pumpkin Festival, a Cornfield Maze, and more!

11. Denver Art Museum; Denver

Denver Art Museum

Denver Art Museum is one of the largest art museums between the West Coast and Chicago. Its collection includes over 70,000 pieces of art from all over the world. The building itself is a work of art that was designed by Italian architect Gio Ponti in 1971.

Inside, you’ll find exhibits in nine categories: African Art, Art of the Ancient Americas, Architecture & Design, Asian Art, European & American Art Before 1900, Indigenous Arts of North America, Latin American Art, Modern & Contemporary Art, Oceanic Art, Textile & Fashion, and Western American Art.

You can get lost in any one of these areas for an entire day if you’d like, or try to see it all!

The museum also offers educational programs and hosts traveling exhibits as well. It’s truly one of our country’s premier art museums and even people who aren’t generally into art are sure to find a few things that will move them and stay with them for the long term.

12. Meow Wolf Convergence Station; Denver

Have you heard of Meow Wolf?

If not, you likely will soon, as this New Mexico art collective is growing by leaps and bounds. Their first immersive art experience in Santa Fe is now New Mexico’s most-visited tourist attraction.

In recent years they have opened additional (and completely different) locations in Las Vegas and Denver, with more on the way.

If you love weird and strange art, or even if you don’t think that you do, you’ll love this place. It’s hard to explain until you actually go – and even then it’s difficult to put into words.

This massive space includes many rooms, colorful and mysterious artworks in all mediums, costumed performers, and a storyline that you can choose to follow or not.

Your eyes will be amazed by all you see in Meow Wolf and you may even enjoy a feeling of pleasant sensory overload during your visit. Don’t miss it; it’s one of the most popular attractions in Colorado right now, as it just opened last year.

See Related: Best Family Vacation Spots in the World

13. Children’s Museum of Denver at Marsico Campus; Denver

People traveling with little ones will love this children’s museum that offers both indoor and outdoor play spaces that kids will absolutely adore!

Housed in a 46,902 square foot building on a nine-acre campus.

This place is full of things to do including a huge outdoor climbing structure, a giant indoor multi-story climbing structure, a spray-pad water park, and a massive indoor water table with rivers and waterfalls.

Also, a fire truck to climb on, a room dedicated to making bubbles, an art studio, a play veterinarian’s office, and store, and so much more.

Parents will have as much fun at this children’s museum as the kids. Plan a lot of time for this place, and you still won’t feel like you had enough time to do everything!

14. Red Rocks Park & Amphitheater; Morrison

Red Rocks Park & Amphitheater

Although Red Rocks Park and Amphitheater are technically in Morrison, about twenty minutes from Denver, Denver owns and maintains this property and has since 1927.

The park is gorgeous and unforgettable; red sandstone rocks rise to majestic heights at odd angles above visitors and trails weave their way among them.

The amphitheater, which seats 9,525, is considered one of the best concert venues in the entire world and is on the bucket list of not only every band but of every live music fan as well. If no concert is scheduled for the day you visit, you can walk inside and check it out.

Do so, or better yet, see a concert there if you can, even if you don’t know the artist. This place will come to you in dreams for the rest of your life!

See Related: Most Beautiful Valleys in the US

15. Molly Brown House Museum; Denver

Molly Brown is best known for being unsinkable – she survived the sinking of the RMS Titanic and was played by Kathy Bates in James Cameron’s 1997 film about the ship.

However, this incredible woman did much more than that in her lifetime; she was an activist, a philanthropist, an actress, a dedicated volunteer in helping women and the poor, and she even ran for Senate.

Her Denver home was built in 1889 in a combination of Queen Anne, Richardsonian, and Romanesque styles and is open to the public for tours.

16. Attend a Sporting Event

Coors Field

Denver is fortunate to be one of few cities in the nation with five major professional sports teams: The Denver Broncos (NFL), The Colorado Rockies (MLB), the Denver Nuggets (NBA), the Colorado Avalanche (NHL), and the Colorado Rapids (MLS).

Chances are, one or more of the five will have a home game while you’re in town, so you really should make an effort to attend, root for the home team, and admire the state-of-the-art arenas and stadiums where they play.

You’ll be glad that you did – Colorado sports fans are an enthusiastic and welcoming bunch; as long as you’re rooting for the local team!

Colorado Springs

17. National Museum of WWII Aviation; Colorado Springs

It may seem strange that the National Museum of WWII Aviation is in Colorado Springs, but because this city is also home to the United States Air Force Academy, it makes a lot of sense.

This large collection of planes and helicopters from The Great War is located at the Colorado Springs Airport and features twenty-five different aircraft for visitors to view and discover, and there are many more under restoration to be added soon, too.

If you like planes and American history, you’ll get a kick out of this place, and enthusiastic volunteers are always on hand to answer your questions.

See Related: Best Tourist Destinations in the World

18. Garden of the Gods; Colorado Springs

Garden Of The Gods

Red Rocks Park in Denver, the Flatirons in Boulder, and Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs were all created by uplift of the same layer of red rocks, but they all look completely different from one another, and that’s why they’re all worth a visit.

Garden of the Gods is, in many ways, the most accessible of the three as it is a free park, maintained by the city of Colorado Springs, with a paved ring road around and through the beautiful rock formations that make up the park.

The colors here are a bit brighter and more striking at Garden of the Gods, too.

This is a crucial thing to see and do when visiting Colorado Springs and it’s so quick and easy you can easily make time to drive through several times during your stay if you’d like. Alternately, you might enjoy this Garden of the Gods Jeep Tour or Segway Tour, both from GetYourGuide0.

19. Pikes Peak Cog Railway; Manitou Springs

If you don’t feel like climbing to the top of Pikes Peak on foot, that’s understandable. This giant mountain that overlooks Colorado Springs is 14,115 feet tall.

However, you can get to the top much more easily, and you have two options to do so. You can pay a toll and drive your car up the nineteen-mile Pikes Peak Highway, or you can take a ride on the Pikes Peak Cog Railway.

The Pikes Peak Cog Railway first opened in 1890, but don’t worry – they just laid a brand new track a few years ago, so it’s in very good shape.

While standard trains can only ascend at a ten percent incline at most, a cog railway can climb at much greater angles. The Pikes Peak Cog Railway has an average incline of twelve percent, but it’s as much as twenty-five percent in some places.

The ride to the top takes about an hour and it takes about the same to get back down, but the views are worth it, and you should do it – it’s these exact views that inspired Katherine Lee Bates to write the poem that became the lyrics to America the Beautiful, after all.

See Related: Fun & Best Things to Do in Colorado Springs

The Rocky Mountains

The Rocky Mountain region is what most people picture when they think of Colorado. It’s truly spectacular and is an epic playground for people who love the great outdoors.

Whether you are active and athletic or if you’d prefer to view the mountains from the comfort of a car or hot tub, there’s something for you in this part of Colorado. It’s no wonder that Colorado is sometimes called The Rocky Mountain State – these mountains are the heart and soul of Colorado for sure.

Of all the things to see in Colorado, getting out into the Rocky Mountains should be at the very tip-top of your list!

Central Rockies

20. Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park

If you want to see some spectacular and unforgettable views of the Rocky Mountains but only have a full or half day to do it from Denver, then you must drive Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park end to end.

This road is the highest contiguous road in North America, and on your journey on it, you will ascend to incredible heights above the treeline where you will see alpine lakes, snow banks in mid-summer, wildflowers galore, and wildlife frolicking in their happy place.

Trail Ridge Road is only open in the summer, though, so time your visit correctly.

The rest of the park is worth exploring, too, and much of it is accessible year-round. It was established in 1915 and covers over 400 square miles. There are over 355 miles of hiking trails to explore and there are five developed campgrounds in the park if you wish to stay overnight.

This park contains some of the very best of Colorado and is a favorite of many national park enthusiasts.

Among the best things to enjoy during your visit are a scenic helicopter tour, a day trip with lunch, and a scenic jeep tour.

21. Mount Evans Scenic Byway; Idaho Springs

Another great mountain drive that isn’t too far from Denver (the start of it is a little over a half hour from downtown) is the Mount Evans Scenic Byway.

While Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park is the highest contiguous road in North America, the peak of this road is the highest road of any kind on our continent, you’ll just have to go down the same way you came up.

The parking lot at the top is at 14,265 feet and the air is thin but the views are great!

Expect to see some mountain goats and bighorn sheep up there or along the 27-mile road to get there. It’s not for the faint of heart, but well worth the journey.

See Related: Best Spring Break Destinations For Families

22. Leadville

If you’re looking for a mountain town that looks like it’s straight out of an old Western even today, then the little town of Leadville is for you.

This historic mining town was founded in 1878 and is still home to hard-working miners this century too, but they blend right in with the local ski bums who work at nearby Copper Mountain.

This wild west town is quaint and friendly with a number of shops, restaurants, and saloons – don’t miss The Silver Dollar Saloon, which has been operating continuously since the late 1800s, and ask the barkeep for stories about famous patrons like Doc Holiday and Oscar Wilde.

You also might enjoy a visit to the local cemetery or the National Mining Hall of Fame & Museum. You’ll also have great views of Mount Elbert, Colorado’s tallest peak.

23. Vail

Vail Scenery

Vail is another mountain town worth visiting, but in many ways, it’s the polar opposite of Leadville. This famous ski resort town didn’t exist before the Eisenhower Interstate Highway System was born; I-70 was begun in Colorado in 1956 and Vail was incorporated a decade later.

Over the past half-century, this town has grown into an international mecca for skiers, and accommodations, restaurants, and services for winter visitors have popped up all over the place. Vail Ski Resort, which opened in 1962, is the largest ski mountain in the state and today offers 195 runs served by thirty-one lifts.

Vail is a great place for a high-end getaway at any time of year, but it’s worth a stop-through even if you’re trying to save your pennies.

See Related: Best Places to Visit in Colorado in the Winter

24. Telluride

Telluride and Mountain View

Yet another town in the Rockies that’s worth a visit is Telluride. Although it’s a bit of a bear to reach – it’s located in a big box canyon – it’s worth the small town solitude you’ll experience when you get there.

Founded as a gold mining town in 1878, it’s developed into a ski destination in more recent years. It has the positive attributes of both Leadville and Vail, as it’s both old and new at the same time.

It’s a great spot for a weekend getaway – and is one of the best places in Colorado to visit if you want to feel like you got away from it all while still having plenty to do.

Make an effort to ride the Telluride Mountain Village Gondola for excellent views, or come during the world-renowned Telluride Bluegrass Festival, the town’s busiest week outside of ski season.

25. Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness; Aspen

Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness and Skyline

If you’re looking for some beauty and epic hiking in Colorado’s high peaks area, head to the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness near Aspen in central Colorado.

This nearly 300-square mile protected area is home to six of Colorado’s fifty-eight peaks over 14,000 feet in height and offers over 100 miles of hiking trails.

It’s one of Colorado’s best wilderness areas by anyone’s standards. Any time you find yourself wondering what to do in Colorado, hiking is always a good answer, and this is an excellent spot to do just that. Join the city highlights walking tour and history walking tour.

See Related: Top Bizzare Roadside Attractions in the United States

26. Glenwood Hot Springs Resort; Glenwood Springs

There are hot springs for you to soak in all over Colorado, but one of the most famous and historic is Glenwood Hot Springs Resort. This hotel and hot springs complex opened to the public in 1888.

Visitors can soak in the hot, mineral-rich water in the world’s largest hot springs pool. If you prefer a more natural-looking and feeling hot spring, then you might prefer the underground geothermal steam baths at Yampah Hot Springs nearby, or the smaller soaking pools at Iron Mountain Hot Springs next door.

27. Rafting, Hiking, Rock Climbing, Skiing, Snowmobiling, & Mountain Biking

Group River Rafting

Of course, if you really want to experience Colorado to the fullest, you’ll have to get active as Coloradans do! This state is known for adventurous folk and activities, and that’s why things like rafting, hiking, rock climbing, mountain biking, snowmobiling, and skiing should be on every Colorado visitors’ list.

Fortunately, you don’t have to be experienced nor have any of the equipment to try any or all of these things while visiting Colorado – there are outfitters and eager guides in almost every Rocky Mountain town.

Outfitters who will happily take you out into the mountains, will teach you everything you need and want to know, and who can and will facilitate some of the best adventures of your life.

This Upper Colorado River Rafting Trip from GetYourGuide might be a good place to start!

San Luis Valley

28. Royal Gorge Bridge & Park; Cañon City

The Royal Gorge Bridge was built in 1929 for visitors to enjoy views of the Arkansas River 956′ below. It was the highest bridge in the world from the time it was built until 2001 when it was surpassed by China’s Liuguanghe Bridge, but it’s still the highest bridge in the United States.

Over the years, the park owners have added a number of additional thrill rides and attractions. A visit to the Royal Gorge Bridge & Park is something that the whole family will enjoy.

29. Bishop Castle; Rye

Bishop Castle is a very unique attraction unlike anything else in Colorado or really, anywhere else. Named for its creator Jim Bishop, this castle has been under ongoing construction since 1969, back when Jim was just fifteen.

Over the years, he has mostly singlehandedly constructed this massive stone structure which is 140′ high at its tallest point. It’s all made from local rocks that Jim hauled, milled, and hoisted all by himself, and also includes iron and welding also created by Jim.

Visitors can tour the castle, and if you’re lucky, you may even get a chance to chat with Jim, who is now sixty-eight years old, and who is still always working on expanding his castle.

See Related: Best National Parks to Visit in November

30. Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve

Sand Dunes

Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve is one of the state’s four national parks and it is very different from the other three. The focus of this 233-square-mile park is the giant sand dunes that remain as evidence of a great inland lake that disappeared about 440,000 years ago.

The tallest sand dunes in North America are here – the tallest, Star Dune, is 750 feet from base to top. There’s a campground, a seasonal creek and beach, trails, and more.

Many people flock here to stargaze; it’s designated as an International Dark Sky Park, and you’ll be blown away by the number of stars you can see here on a clear night.

31. Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park is another of Colorado’s four national parks – only here, you’ll spend most of your time looking down instead of up! The canyon is deep and dark and was carved by the Gunnison River over millions of years.

Although the rock itself is dark in color, the canyon gets its name from the fact that it’s so deep and narrow that the bottom only gets thirty-three minutes of sunlight a day. There are lots of great hiking trails along the rim and two campgrounds if you wish to stay overnight.

Western Slope

The mountains go up, and then they go down again. If you’re headed west across Colorado from Denver on I-70, you’ll spend two to three hours in the Rockies en route. Eventually, though, you’ll be back in the flatlands.

Unlike the Eastern Plains, this flat side of Colorado is deserty instead of grassy. More people live on the Western Slope than on the Eastern Plains, though, and there are many fun and interesting things to see and do on this side of the state.

Northern Western Slope

32. Dinosaur National Monument; Dinosaur

Dinosaur National Monument Sceneries

Dinosaur National Monument is in the northwest corner of Colorado and is also partially in Utah. If you have a dinosaur enthusiast of any age in your family, you can’t skip this.

Hundreds of dinosaur fossils have been found within the park and you can view over a dozen nearly complete skeletons embedded in the wall at the Dinosaur Quarry. The park is also popular for rafting, hiking, and other outdoor exploration activities.

See Related: Best Mancation Destinations Around the World

33. Rifle Falls State Park; Rifle

Rifle Falls State Park

Colorado has forty-two state parks and many of them are lovely. Rifle Falls State Park is one of the smallest, but it’s arguably one of the most lovely. The reason for this is the park’s main feature – a triple 70′ waterfall that you can walk under and all around.

The park has a small campground, trails, and caves, and is home to three different species of bats.

34. Steamboat Springs & Strawberry Park Hot Springs

There are numerous charming ski towns in Colorado worth visiting but Steamboat Springs in the northwestern part of the state is especially welcoming and pleasant.

It’s a busy winter playground during the snowy months, but it’s just as good of a destination in the summer, too, with plenty to see and do.

Strawberry Park Hot Springs, a natural spring on the north side of town, is one of the nicest hot springs in the state, and it’s “clothing optional” after dark! Reservations are currently required.

See Related: Best Ski Resorts in the US to Visit

Southern Western Slope

35. Colorado National Monument; Fruita

Colorado National Monument

This national park service site is not a national park, but it’s quite large for a national monument and may very well be upgraded to national park status someday.

It covers thirty-two square miles of high desert on the Colorado Plateau and is teeming with wildlife. The main park road, Rim Rock Drive, offers overlooks and scenic views from the cliffs. There are trails for all experience, energy, and ability levels and a nice little campground, too.

36. Museum of the Mountain West; Montrose

The Museum of the Mountain West in Montrose is a great place to learn more about history and life in this part of Colorado over the past few hundred years. The museum has over a million artifacts and it feels like most of them are on display.

There are twenty-eight historic buildings to explore that have been collected and moved from other parts of Colorado over the years and which create their own little town that the museum calls Adobe Flats.

There are guided tours available if you book in advance, but you can also explore on your own if you prefer.

37. Mesa Verde National Park

Mesa Verde National Park

Mesa Verde National Park is in the southwest corner of the state and, like each of the state’s other three national parks, is vastly different from the others. The focus here is the ancient cliff dwellings which are some of the best-preserved Ancestral Puebloan archeological sites in the country.

One, the Cliff Palace, is the largest and was likely home to as many as 125 people from 1190 to 1260 CE before it was abandoned, likely due to regional drought.

Visitors can hike to the Cliff Palace and other dwellings on guided tours or they can explore the other trails and exhibits independently. In addition to the historical aspect of this park, it’s also quite beautiful and you can expect to see quite a bit of wildlife during your visit.

See Related: Famous Landmarks in the Southwest

38. Four Corners Monument Navajo Tribal Park

You’ll have to enter this attraction from Arizona as the only entrance is on that side, but if you’re in southwestern Colorado already, you might as well stop by this fun bucket list attraction.

Four Corners is the only place in the nation where four states meet; you can stand in all four at once and take a few photos.

That’s pretty much all it is, but be sure to check out the stalls where local native people are selling their wares to pick up a souvenir. Four Corners is on Navajo tribal land so you’ll have to pay a fee to them to enter and enjoy.

See Related: Tourist-Friendly Native Indian Reservations to Visit


What’s the best time of year to visit Colorado?

Any time of year is great! Colorado is a vacation playground all year round. Many people visit Colorado in the winter for skiing and other winter activities, or in the summer for camping and hiking, but there’s plenty to see and do in all four seasons.

What airports are best for flying into Colorado?

Colorado’s main airport is Denver International Airport, so you’ll likely find the best deals flying into that one. However, it’s certainly not the only airport in the state. Colorado Springs Airport, Grand Junction Airport, Aspen Airport, and others can help get you closer to exactly where you want to go.

What are the best places for nightlife in Colorado?

Denver and Boulder both have a very active bar and music scenes and are probably your best bet if you want to party all night. Ski towns are also hopping on weekend nights throughout the winter.

Should I get trip insurance for a trip to Colorado? 

It’s always wise to get trip insurance for any trip you take. You never know what will happen en route or during your stay, and with trip insurance, you can rest easy that you’re covered for any emergencies.

World Nomads is a great company that offers affordable policies, or you can try the TravelInsurance marketplace to compare a number of policies and companies if you prefer.

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Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. It’s a low cost way to ensure your travel plans go smooth no matter what’s thrown at it. Use World Nomads to find the best policy for your travel schedule.
In order to capture the widest selection of properties and the best price, use Booking.com as they have the cheapest rates for guesthouses, hotels, luxury condos, B&Bs and so much more.

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