Known for its towering snow-capped peaks, world-class winter sports, and stunning alpine lakes that look as though they came straight out of a painting, Colorado isn’t short of jaw-droppingly beautiful places to see.
Simply put, the Centennial State knows how to put on quite a show when it comes to gorgeous views and outdoor escapades. Even though we could virtually list over a thousand destinations to visit, there are a few places that simply stand out from the crowd. These are it.
7 Places in Colorado You’ve Got To Visit At Least Once in Your Life
1. Great Sand Dunes National Park
Did you know the tallest sand dunes in the United States are actually set in Colorado? Picture a sea of towering dunes backdropped by some of the world’s mightiest peaks and you’ve got enough reason to pay this unique national park a visit at least once in your life!
Another thing that makes Great Sand Dunes so special is the fact that it’s listed as a Dark Sky Territory. This means there is virtually no light pollution anywhere nearby, making it an ideal place to catch a glimpse of the Milky Way during the night.
Known as one of the most beautiful alpine towns in Colorado, Breckenridge is recognized for being one of the top ski resorts in the country. Even if you decide to go any other time of the year, though, there’s always something on the menu for visitors no matter the season.
What’s best? Breckenridge has an average of 300 days of sunshine, making it a prime destination for outdoor adventure lovers. If you visit in winter, you’ll love indulging in world-class skiing, dog sledding, and a huge array of winter sports ops. If you’re visiting any other time of the year, though, Breckenridge offers epic hiking trails, white water rafting expeditions, paddle-boarding, as well as unique activities like playing with sled dogs!
3. Lone Eagle Peak
Commonly dubbed the prettiest peak in Colorado, Lone Eagle Peak is a must for every outdoor adventure lover. Even though you can see it from many viewpoints in Indian Peaks Wilderness, there’s no better way to actually experience the mountain than by actually summiting it.
The trail is 14-miles (out and back) and it takes several hours to reach the top, but the Lone Eagle Peak hike is actually relatively easy, which makes it an easy mountain to conquer even for inexperienced hikers.
Boasting a gorgeous backdrop of the San Juan Mountains far off in the distance, Telluride is probably one of the most photogenic alpine towns in Colorado. During the winter months, this picture-perfect town offers world-class skiing and various winter sports, but the town has a ton to offer year-round, too!
One of the must-do things to truly get to experience the beautiful nature of the area is by braving the Telluride Via Ferrata, a trail where you will get to cross precarious cliff ledges in order to see some of the most awe-inspiring views Colorado has to offer. If this sounds a little too adventurous for you, Telluride’s surroundings have a ton of epic (and much less risky) hiking trails as well, including the famous Bridal Veil Falls hike, which will give you the chance to see a humongous 265-feet tall waterfall!
5. Emerald Lake
Colorado may just be the mecca for alpine lakes, and Emerald Lake is quite possibly the most stunning of them all.
Cozied up deep inside the alluring Rocky Mountain National Park, getting to Emerald Lake requires a little hiking, but the trail itself is well-marked and not very challenging. Plus, it will have you crossing paths with beautiful waterfalls, valleys, and breath-taking mountain views, so you won’t really have much to complain about along the way!
6. Mesa Verde National Park
Even though Colorado may be known for its beautiful mountains and world-class winter sports, Mesa Verde National Park is proof that the state has a lot more to offer.
If you’re keen to explore the complex native history of Colorado, Mesa Verde is the best place to get started. Thousands of years ago, the Ancestral Puebloans built a humongous dwelling structure on the cliffs of Mesa Verde. Even though no one really knows how or why this society collapsed, you can explore the incredibly well-preserved ruins they left behind and paint a pretty good picture of the way they once lived.
7. Million Dollar Highway
It may not be a destination in essence, but Colorado’s Million Dollar Highway needed to be on the list because, well, it’s absolutely stunning! Known for being one of the most scenic drives in the United States, the Million Dollar Highway is part of the San Juan Skyway and provides some of the most beautiful views in the entire state.
The road loops 233 miles across some of the most sought-after destinations in Colorado, including Durango, Telluride, Ouray, and Ridgeway. While the drive itself is just over an hour-long and absolutely stunning every mile of the way, the best way to experience this ironically gorgeous road is by making it a several day road trip with overnight stops along the way.
I hope this list of incredible destinations in Colorado helped you plot your next adventure! Even though listing all the beautiful places this gorgeous state is home to would be practically impossible, these 7 spots provide a pretty well-rounded introduction to the best the Centennial State has to offer.