The beautiful state of Colorado delivers an incredible visitor experience for all tourists with lots of attractions to explore. There’s something for everyone in Colorado – from the natural landscapes showcasing impressive mountain peaks and red rock formations to adrenaline fun for the entire family.
You’ll discover some of the best sights and places to visit in Colorado outside of the major city hubs. If you’re ready for some adventure, explore these top 15 must-visit Colorado attractions.
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Garden of the Gods is one of the top Colorado attractions that get millions of visitors every year.
The park covers 1,367 acres and is a National Natural Landmark containing pinon-juniper woodlands from the American Southwest and grasslands from the Great Plains.
The gorgeous landmarks and rock formations are the results of 300 million years' worth of geological history.
Be sure to stop by the visitor center before entering the park as you will find snacks as well as maps and information telling you which trails will give you the best views of nearby Pikes Peak and the rest of the park.
Accommodation: Where to stay near Garden of the Gods
Address: 1805 N 30th St, Colorado Springs, CO 80904
The name of Mesa Verde means "green table" in Spanish, and the area shows visitors what it was like to live in this Ancestral Pueblo.
It was occupied between 600 and 1300 AD, and today you can find almost 5,000 archaeological sites within the park, a figure which includes 600 cliff dwellings, which are some of the best-preserved in the country.
You can go on tours of the Cliff Palace, and even in the wintertime, visitors to Mesa Verde have plenty of opportunities for adventure with cross-country skiing and snowshoeing on the gorgeous snow-covered trails.
Mesa Verde National Park is one of the best places to visit when you’re in Colorado.
Accommodation: Where to stay near Mesa Verde National Park
Address: Mesa Verde, CO 81330
Vail is widely known as the top ski resort in North America, bringing visitors from around the world to enjoy the legendary Back Bowls.
This ski resort is one of the best attractions in Colorado known for its clear blue skies, mountain wall spanning seven miles, and 5,289 acres of three areas that let skiers of all levels enjoy the outdoors and beautiful scenery.
You don't have to worry about finding the right place to stay while in Vail as there are plenty of lodging options ranging from budget-friendly to luxurious resorts.
There is even a school for skiing and snowboarding if you want to learn. While at Vail Ski Resort, be sure to visit Vail Village as well for European sophistication mixed with mountain charm.
Accommodation: Where to stay in Vail
Address: Vail, CO 81657
Also Read: Top 10 Ski Resorts in the USA
The Black Canyon of the Gunnison is one of the best Colorado attractions for those who love old rock formations as it has some of the oldest rocks as well as the craggiest spires and steepest cliffs within North America.
Over the past two million years, the Gunnison River has worked to create this gorgeous vertical attraction.
You can find hiking trails around the rim of the canyon with options for all abilities and adventure levels. If you are up for an adventure, try going camping or taking the strenuous hike to the river.
Accommodation: Where to stay in Gunnison
Address: 102 Elk Creek, Gunnison, CO 81230
The Denver Museum of Nature and Science has been a popular attraction in Denver for more than 100 years. Here you'll find an excellent planetarium as well as an IMAX theater with fun, educational films for the whole family to enjoy.
This museum is designed to keep children entertained while they learn with areas such as the Discovery Zone and Expedition Health.
Adults will also enjoy the exhibitions that explore cultures, prehistory, gems, space, wildlife, and more. You even get the chance to touch real fossils during your visit.
Accommodation: Where to stay in Denver
Address: 2001 Colorado Blvd, Denver, CO 80205
Planning a vacation to Denver? Be sure to check out our list of top attractions in Denver, Colorado!
Maroon Bells are considered the peaks that are most photographed throughout North America. The gorgeous 14,000-foot peaks are surrounded by Maroon Lake and beautiful wildflowers.
You don't have to pay anything to access Maroon Bells via non-motorized transport, whether you are hiking, biking, rollerblading, or doing something else.
Instead of driving, it is usually more convenient to take a bus tour, which you can find plenty of during the summer. Even if getting there is sometimes complicated, the journey is well worth it.
Accommodation: Where to stay in Aspen
Address: Aspen Highlands, End of Maroon Creek Road, Aspen, CO
Also Read: Best Things To Do in Aspen
Inside the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve, you will find the tallest dunes in the continent along with tundra, alpine lakes, aspen and conifer forests, wetlands, and grasslands.
This national park is the perfect place for nearly any outdoor activity, including sand sledding, wildlife watching, and hiking.
You can even enjoy the water in Medano Creek, have a picnic, participate in a free ranger program, or spend the night camping.
All in all, this is one of the coolest things to do in Colorado.
Accommodation: Where to stay near Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve
Address: 11999 State Highway 150, Mosca, CO 81146
Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is actually the only mountain zoo in the country, and to make it stand out even more, you will find one of the biggest herds of giraffes in the world. At approximately 6,714 feet and 140 acres, this zoo is both an adventure and an attraction.
This zoo is one of the most popular attractions in Colorado for all walks of tourists. Everyone from children to seniors and everything in between will find something to marvel at here.
And if you come on a weekday (Monday through Thursday), then you even get a discount! Adults pay $19.75, and children (3-11) $14.75. Otherwise, for Friday through Sunday, the adult price is $24.75, and for children $19.75.
Another great focal point to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is education and engagement. This zoo really values its animals as more than just exhibits. They have rigorous programs and protocols they maintain to keep their animals both happy and healthy.
The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo even has a unique focus titled ‘EdVenture’, which mixes all the fun of adventure with the importance of education. Don’t just visit a zoo, but really and truly learn from it. At the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, you’re sure to experience a visit like no other.
Accommodation: Where to stay in Colorado Springs
Address: 4250 Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Rd, Colorado Springs, CO 80906
Elitch Gardens Theme Park is actually two theme parks in one, a water park and the typical one with rides.
The theme park also hosts concerts, drive-in movies and more, providing family entertainment as long as the weather is nice.
When you visit the theme park, you will quickly see why it is the coaster capital of Colorado, with kid's rides, family rides, thrill rides, and everything in between.
The water park is the perfect spot to cool off on a hot day, whether you want to swim, raft, or go on a thrill ride.
Address: 2000 Elitch Cir, Denver, CO 80204
The great outdoors never seemed so great! Here at the Rocky Mountain National Park, visitors are literally raving about all there is to see and do. As a proud Colorado native, it is home to some of the most stellar views of the Rocky Mountains on this side of the divide.
The Park is spread over 355 miles of unforgettable hiking trails winding their way throughout the mountain. They are bordered on all sides by rich, lush Colorado vegetation and draw mass numbers of excited adventurers to its borders every year.
Aside from hiking, the Rocky Mountain National Park is home to a few other headlining adventures as well. Things such as mountain climbing, wildlife photography, horseback riding, camping, and even fishing! And if you want your vacation with a little more relaxation, then grab a bench or picnic table and just enjoy the views.
There’s plenty to see here at the Rocky Mountain National Park! Be sure to plan ahead of time and save some time and money. Day passes into the park typically cost $25, whereas a seven-day pass costs $35 per vehicle. Get more park for what you pay, and stay for the week!
If you love being close to nature, Rocky Mountain National Park is one of the best vacation spots in Colorado.
Accommodation: Where to stay in Estes Park
Address: 1000 Highway 36, Estes Park, CO 80517
Also Read: Best Things To Do in Estes Park
Durango and the Silverton Narrow Gauge Railway is a heritage railroad attraction and National Historic Landmark in Colorado. The site takes visitors on a historical journey along the tracks to learn more about the legacy, see historical locomotives, and enjoy the scenic landscape.
The Durango and the Silverton Narrow Gauge Railway was built in the late 1800s, extending between Durango and Silverton – it was used to transport gold ore and silver mined in the nearby San Juan Mountains.
A few decades after being decommissioned, the site opened the Durango and the Silverton Narrow Gauge Railway (D&SNG) Museum and the Silverton Freight Yard.
The museums showcase former locomotives that traveled the railway. You’ll gain lots of insight into the historical significance of the railway and its impact on the local industries.
Visitors have a chance to ride along the railway on a functional train, one of the best-recommended experiences—the train travel between the towns, including an expert guide who provides historical commentary along the way. You’ll have incredible views of the wilderness and river canyons of the region.
You’ll arrive at the old western towns that have souvenir shops and restaurants to check out.
Accommodation: Where to stay in Durango
Address: Durango, CO
The San Juan Skyway is one of the most prominent highways in the Colorado Scenic and Historic Byway System. The road reveals some of the most scenic areas of Southwest Colorado and makes for a fun drive filled with sights and adrenaline.
San Juan Skyway extends for a 233-mile loop – the route consists of multiple highways: US Highway 160, State Highway 62, and US Highway 550 (called the Million Dollar Highway). Be sure to follow the signs along each of the highways to make the right exits to continue on the skyway route correctly.
The scenic byway’s popularity comes from the incredible views it offers for travelers along the routes. The extensive loop passes through a diverse set of landscapes showcasing the diversity of Colorado. You’ll see the San Juan Mountains and ride through several mountain passes.
Other sights include the Uncompahgre National Forest, rivers, and waterfalls; you’ll pass through western towns such as Ouray and Silverton, two former mining hubs.
At times, there are no guardrails, giving you a shock of adrenaline as you peer down the cliffs of the winding roads.
This charming and picturesque attraction in Colorado is sure to give you an unforgettable experience.
Address: 4201 E Arkansas Ave Colorado Scenic & Historic Byways, CO 80222
Also Read: The Most Scenic Drives in the USA
The Mount Evans Scenic Byway takes you on a journey to the highest paved road on the continent. As you drive through the Mount Evans wilderness, be prepared for a wild ride, beautiful scenery, and lots of wildlife roaming the land.
Mount Evans Scenic Byway is recognized as a National Forest Scenic Byway and a Colorado Scenic Byway. It’s a 28-mile long strip extending from the Idaho Springs Visitor Center to the Mount Evans summit.
Take some time to visit the visitor center, where you’ll get lots of information about the route and things to see along the way. As you begin the trip, you’ll pass through Interstate 70, State Highway 103, and State Highway 5.
The road itself makes for an exciting trip, with winding turns, ascending the mountainside, and some sections lacking guardrails to peer over the cliff drops.
Reaching the peak of Mount Evans is a rewarding ending to the byway. You’ll have incredible views of the landscape from the highest peak in the wilderness region.
Whether you decide to stop at the road’s shoulders along the route for photos or wait until the end, you’ll get to see one of the best scenic sights in Colorado.
Address: Denver, CO
Dinosaur National Monument preserved the land where dinosaurs used to roam. The national monument was a popular excavation site where dinosaur bones are discovered – it’s open to the public to witness evidence of the historical creatures in nature.
Dinosaur National Monument stretches across the Colorado-Utah border. It was discovered in the early 1900s, where it became a well-known site for excavating dinosaur bones – many species were found. It soon was declared a national monument in 1915 and opened to the public.
Today, hundreds of thousands of tourists visit the site – one of the most popular features of the attraction is the Dinosaur Quarry. The Dinosaur Quarry is an enclosed section of rock called the “Wall of Bones.” Visitors can see and touch real dinosaur bones that were preserved in the sandstone rock. The fossils date back over 150 million years.
The quarry also features displays for learning about the dinosaurs and expert ranger guides.
In addition to the dinosaur attractions, visitors can also enjoy the preserved region by hiking. Many trails go through the diverse landscape, including the Uinta Mountains, Green River, and Yampa River.
Some hiking trails in the monument lead to petroglyphs, exhibiting evidence of early civilizations.
It’ll be a great experience during your vacation in Colorado!
Address: 4545 Highway 40 Quarry Visitor Center, Dinosaur, CO 81610
Also Read: The Best Dinosaur Museums in the US
Bridal Veil Falls is a famous waterfall in Colorado. It will take a bit of hiking or off-roading to reach the falls, but the views are worth it once you arrive.
Bridal Veil Falls has an elevation of 365-feet, with water running from the San Miguel River. With its location high up in the mountains, it’s considered the highest waterfall in Colorado.
The beautiful falls provide viewers with a cooling mist after making the journey to see it. You will have two vantage points of the falls – from the base or the top.
Hiking is the most common way to reach the falls, tucked away in the mountains. Take the Bridal Veil hike, and the scenic waterfall is only one of the many things to see on the trek. The trail extends through the mountain meadows, and you’ll also find the Blue Lake along the route.
You can view the Bridal Veil Falls at any time of the year. During the Spring and Autumn are great times to visit to avoid hiking in the strenuous heat – the hike to the falls can be steep. In the wintertime, the falls freeze, although ice climbing is currently prohibited.
Accommodation: Where to stay in Telluride
Address: East Colorado Ave, Telluride, CO