If you’re a nature lover and enjoy exploring incredible hiking trails, then Colorado is the perfect place to visit. The Centennial State is rich in stunning national parks and nature reserves, making it ideal for those who are looking to get back to nature and escape the hustle and bustle of city life. Whether you’re visiting from another state or from foreign shores, to visit Colorado is to open your eyes to a new world, so no wonder it is on most peoples bucket list of places to visit. Here are ten incredible things to do and see while you’re there. Use these suggestions to plan your trip and get the most out of the great state of Colorado.
1 – Garden of the Gods
Located in Colorado Springs, this national landmark attracts visitors from all over the world. There are many great hiking routes to take as you marvel at these incredible sandstone rock formations and look out towards the Pike Peak Mountains. Two surveyors, M.S Beach and Rufus Cable, stumbled upon the area and were so amazed by the natural beauty that they dubbed it, ‘The Garden of the Gods’ because the view was fit for the divine. This is a must-see for those who are interested in hiking and nature.
2 – Hanging Lake
Another one for nature lovers, Hanging Lake is a stunning feature with crystal clear waters that can be found in Glenwood Canyon. The lake is situated on a natural Faultline, which caused it to drop away from the valley above it, and is named so because of that feature. There are hiking and bike trails that go past this natural marvel and could be a perfect way to spend a sunny day in Colorado if you’re in the local area of Glenwood Springs.
3 – Colorado National Monument
Located near Grand Junction, the Colorado National Monument can be found in a beautiful nature reserve and national park and encapsulates the image of the American West perfectly. Visitors are treated to incredible monoliths and can look out across the plateau, taking in panoramic views across the canyon. If you’re lucky, you might spot eagles gliding through the sky. Why not rent an RV in Grand Junction and camp near the area for a perfect weekend away? You could even drive to all the other amazing places Colorado has to offer.
4 – The Colorado Trail
For those who are looking for a challenge, you might want to consider hiking the Colorado Trail. Starting at Waterton Canyon and finishing in Durango, it spans 486 miles across the state, so make sure you plan your adventure thoroughly and carefully.
Take a tent with you to camp along the way, or do your research to find the best hotels to rest your weary legs at the end of the day. Alternatively, you can still enjoy the trail as a day trip and explore part of it if a 486-mile hike sounds like too much to handle! The trail will take you across the Rocky Mountains and offers many things to see, including Indian trails and old mining towns.
5 – Great Sand Dunes National Park
You don’t have to travel to the Sahara to see the beauty of the desert! Compared to some of the other national parks and sites Colorado has to offer, the vast dunes of this park might appear as though they belong in another part of the world. The Great Sand Dunes National Park can be found in southern Colorado about a two-hour drive away from Pueblo. Explore the sandy landscape and follow the trails that lead you through the forests nearby. Renting a small RV or a camper van could be the best way to explore the area
6 – Strawberry Park Hot Springs
You’re sure to need some relaxation time after all the hiking and other outdoor activities you will have done whilst exploring Colorado, which is why a visit to Strawberry Park Hot Springs is a must! Yet another spot of enchanting natural beauty, these springs allow visitors to truly unwind and refresh their mind, body, and souls.
Take a dip in the natural springs and absorb your surroundings as you feel all the tension and stress leave your body. There is also the opportunity to spend the night in accommodation here which could be a perfect end to your trip or an ideal half-time break from all the exploring on your trip.
7 – Vail
Famous for its ski resorts, Vail is an ideal destination for a winter break. Many people flock to the town during the winter months and over the Christmas holiday season to encourage their festive spirit and take part in their favourite winter sport.
Even if you’re not into snowboarding or skiing, taking in the views of the snow-covered mountain range and forests would be delightful. However, Vail also is a great place to visit during the summer months, too, and offers many music festivals and other performing arts events to enjoy in the sunshine.
8 – Black Canyon
Gunnison National Park, where this canyon is located, is a destination that should make your Colorado check-list anyway, but if you’re going to visit there you must make sure you see Black Canyon. The sheer rock faces tower above you and is magnificent to behold. The power of nature can surely be felt here and you will be humbled by the sight. Again, there are options to camp here overnight if you’re looking for the full experience and it is highly recommended that you do so.
9 – Toltec Scenic Railroad
For those who don’t want to hike their way through the state, head down to Antonio and buy a ticket for the Toltec Railroad for a less intensive experience. The train stops in New Mexico, so if you don’t want to go that far make sure you find a suitable stop to jump off at. During your ride, you will see the beautiful countryside, including the sites of Carson and Rio Grande National Forests.
10 – Red Rocks Amphitheatre
Finally, don’t forget to catch a show in the Red Rock Amphitheatre before you leave. Near the town of Morrison (not too far from Denver) the rock formations surrounding the stage are said to provide amazing acoustics, but beyond that, the setting itself creates an atmosphere like no other. There are also gardens you can take a walk around while you wait for your show to start.
Colorado has a lot to offer and its beautiful national parks and nature reserves are just part of the amazing culture and experience. For your next trip, seriously consider visiting this state for a vacation you’ll never forget.