Alright folks, Colorado is calling! You might think you know what’s coming – mountains, skiing, maybe some craft beer, but there’s so much more to this rectangular paradise than meets the eye. Buckle up, as we dive into the 17 unmissable things to do in Colorado.
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1. Scaling Pikes Peak
When you’re in Colorado, it’s almost a crime not to lace up your hiking boots and venture into the great outdoors. Our first stop is Pikes Peak. You see, the thing about Pikes Peak is that it’s not just any mountain – it’s a 14,115-foot beast.
As your lungs fight for the thin air and your legs burn, you’ll question why you decided to do this.
But then you’ll reach the top and it will all make sense.
Traveler’s tip: Remember, altitude sickness is real. Don’t rush your ascent.
2. Exploring Mesa Verde National Park
Next up, Mesa Verde. This place is old – like, really old. We’re talking ancient civilizations and cliff dwellings that pre-date the Roman Empire. It’s a sort of hauntingly beautiful place where you can almost hear the whispers of the past in the wind.
Traveler’s tip: Don’t forget your camera. The sunsets here are nothing short of epic.
3. Tasting Beer in Fort Collins
If your idea of adventure is more about exploring new flavors than climbing mountains, Fort Collins has got your back. Welcome to the Napa Valley of beer. With over 20 breweries, you’ll be sipping, gulping and maybe even chugging your way through some of the best craft beers in the country.
Traveler’s tip: Remember to pace yourself. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.
4. Rafting in the Arkansas River
There’s whitewater rafting, and then there’s whitewater rafting on the Arkansas River. This is the kind of activity that will have you whooping with exhilaration and terror in equal measure as you navigate the rapids.
Traveler’s tip: Leave your valuables behind. You’re going to get wet. Very wet.
5. Visiting Black Canyon of the Gunnison
Think Grand Canyon but darker, narrower, and way more dramatic. This lesser-known national park is one of Colorado’s best-kept secrets and it’s an absolute must-visit.
Traveler’s tip: Make sure you’re fully charged. Your Instagram feed will thank you.
6. Exploring Great Sand Dunes National Park
This place will mess with your head. You’ve got the Rocky Mountains on one side, and then a sea of sand on the other. Sandboarding, sledding, and dune hiking are all on the menu here.
Traveler’s tip: Bring plenty of water. It’s hotter than it looks.
7. Hiking the Maroon Bells
Two giant, snow-capped peaks reflecting off a crystal-clear lake. Maroon Bells is the kind of place that makes you say “wow” out loud. A lot.
Traveler’s tip: Arrive early to beat the crowds.
8. Touring the Denver Art Museum
Enough with the outdoorsy stuff. Let’s head to Denver. The Denver Art Museum is a creative haven, and with over 70,000 works of art, it’s one of the largest art museums in the West.
Traveler’s tip: Check out the temporary exhibitions. They’re usually mind-blowingly good.
9. Riding the Colorado Scenic Byway
You can’t come to Colorado and not spend at least one day on a scenic drive. And the Colorado Scenic Byway is the epitome of scenic. It’s the kind of drive that makes you realize just how magnificent Mother Nature really is.
Traveler’s tip: Don’t rush. Take your time and take it all in.
10. Rock Climbing in Rocky Mountain National Park
If you’ve ever had the urge to hang off the side of a mountain, this is your chance. Rocky Mountain National Park is a rock climber’s paradise. But it’s not for the faint-hearted.
Traveler’s tip: Hire a guide if you’re a beginner. Safety first.
11. Soaking in Strawberry Park Hot Springs
After all that adrenaline, it’s time to relax. And Strawberry Park Hot Springs is relaxation personified. It’s nature’s own hot tub.
Traveler’s tip: Visit in the evening for a quieter experience.
12. Exploring the Garden of the Gods
With its towering sandstone rock formations against a backdrop of snow-capped Pikes Peak, this place is aptly named. It’s a slice of geological heaven.
Traveler’s tip: Wear sturdy shoes. You’re going to want to explore.
13. Skiing in Vail
Vail is not just a ski resort. It’s THE ski resort. With world-class slopes and luxury resorts, it’s the ultimate winter getaway.
Traveler’s tip: Don’t ski? Try snowboarding or snowshoeing.
14. Wine tasting in Palisade
Yes, you read that right. Wine. Colorado might be famous for its beer, but its wine scene is rapidly catching up. Palisade is the heart of Colorado’s wine country.
Traveler’s tip: Don’t miss the ice wine. It’s a game-changer.
15. Driving the Million Dollar Highway
The Million Dollar Highway. It sounds like something out of a movie, right? Well, it’s real, and it’s spectacular. The views are priceless.
Traveler’s tip: Keep your eyes on the road. The views can be distracting.
16. Riding the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad
This is nostalgia at its best. A steam train ride through the rugged San Juan mountains. It’s like stepping back in time.
Traveler’s tip: Book early. This is a popular one.
17. Skiing in Aspen
Last but not least, Aspen. It’s a little bit fancy, a little bit wild, and a whole lot of fun.
Traveler’s tip: Check out the après-ski scene. It’s legendary.
There you have it, 17 reasons why Colorado is more than just the “Centennial State”. It’s a state of adventure, a state of beauty, and a state that will leave you begging for more.