1. Rocky Mountain National Park
Established in 1915, Rocky Mountain National Park has become one of the most popular National Parks in the U.S. and is a must do in Colorado. Trail Ridge Road, which goes through the Park from Grand Lake to Estes Park is the highest paved road in Colorado. Be aware that this road is open from roughly Memorial Day until the snow flies in the fall. Many options for camping abound within the park, the best place for lodging and to make your “home base” while visiting is the town of Estes Park. Abundant wildlife, including Elk, Moose, Deer, Black Bear and more are one the attractions to this park. In the fall, Elk can be viewed (and heard) throughout the park without ever leaving your vehicle. Located in north/central Colorado about 80 miles from Denver.
2. Garden of the Gods
Located in Colorado Springs, Garden of the Gods is a registered National Natural Landmark. Towering 300’ sandstone rock formations abound. See the “Kissing Camels” & “Balancing Rock” formations. Very easy access is only part of what makes this a special place. One of the most visited places in Southern Colorado.
3. White Water Rafting in the Royal Gorge
The Arkansas River in Colorado has become the most popular place for rafting in the western U.S. The Royal Gorge is the best and most exciting white water trip in all of Colorado with its easy access, spectacular views and nearly continuous rapids – 7 of 10 miles of nearly continuous class II – IV white water thrills. Be ready for an unforgettable adventure in the Royal Gorge. Book your rafting trip with Whitewater Adventures today!
4. Pikes Peak
Known as “America’s Mountain”. Located just 15 miles west of Colorado Springs on Hwy 24. Free shuttles are available each day from Memorial Day weekend to around mid-October to take you to the top of this 14,000 foot peak. Enjoy picnic areas, hiking trails and spectacular views. Best to start early and be back down in the early afternoon due to the potential for lightening & thunderstorms.
5. Royal Gorge Bridge & Park
Located just west of Canon City, Colorado. The Royal Gorge Bridge is an engineering wonder. Completed in 1929, the Royal Gorge Park has become the most popular attraction in Canon City. The bridge is 1260 feet long – 18 feet wide and is about 965 feet from the surface of the Arkansas River. Sometimes the questions arises as to why the bridge was built and where does it go? The answer is – to the other side. The Park is open 365 days a year.
6. Red Rocks Amphitheater
Located 10 miles west of Denver near the small town of Morrison, Colorado.
This world famous concert venue can be visited at any time as part of the Denver Parks system. Many locals use the park as a daily workout spot. Red Rocks is a favorite among concert goers and performers. Red Rocks has hosted such acts as The Beatles, U2 (who recorded a live album there), The Grateful Dead, Neil Young and The Dave Matthews Band among many, many others who have performed here. Probably the best outdoor concert venue anywhere, with a view of the Denver skyline right from your seat as you enjoy the show.
7. Cripple Creek
Cripple Creek is one of the historic mining towns in Colorado where gambling was legalized in 1990, along with Central City and Black Hawk. About one hour west of Colorado Springs, or an hour north of Canon City, Cripple Creek is not a place you happen upon accidentally. You have to mean to go there. A couple of mining museums, a scenic train ride (open air) and several casinos are among the attractions here. Loaded with history and folklore, Cripple Creek is a very interesting place to step back in time to the Colorado that was during the mining boom of the late 1800’s.
8. Great Sand Dunes National Park
Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve is in southern Colorado in the San Luis Valley. 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. The backcountry Medano Pass Primitive Road winds through a canyon toward the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Trails lead to forests, wetlands and alpine lakes like Medano Lake, which is home to trout and tundra wildlife.
9. Royal Gorge Route Train
Located in Canon City, Colorado. This 2-hour train ride through the Royal Gorge is known as “the most arresting scenic train in all of American railroading”. A heritage railroad and historic train ride along what is considered to be the most famed portion of the former Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad. Year-round train rides including dinner trains, special events and the popular “Santa Express” in November & December. All aboard!
10. Mesa Verde National Park
Established in 1906, Mesa Verde National Park is in southwest Colorado. It's known for its well-preserved Ancestral Puebloan cliff dwellings, notably the huge Cliff Palace. The Chapin Mesa Archeological Museum has exhibits on the ancient Native American culture. Mesa Top Loop Road winds past archaeological sites and overlooks, including Sun Point Overlook with panoramic canyon views. Petroglyph Point Trail has several rock carvings. About an hour from Durango, Colorado. Closest town for lodging is Cortez, Colorado.