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When heading out west, you’re gonna wanna use this Colorado bucket list! Whether you’re visiting for the first time or you’re a local, you’ll want to check out this list of best things to do in Colorado.
From hiking to beautiful lakes to sandboarding on sand dunes (yes, Colorado has those), Colorado is filled with tons of fun activities. Plus, a lot of the fun things to do in this state are actually completely free or low-cost, making this list the perfect way to travel to Colorado on a budget!
Keep reading to start fueling your Colorado bucket list!
Hike to the Hanging Lake
The hike to Hanging Lake in Glenwood Canyon might just be one of the “can’t miss” hikes and adventures in Colorado! After a year of being shut down due to mudslides, the trail is OPEN again.
If you wish to hike to Hanging Lake, you will need a reservation for each person in your party. The reservations are $12 per person. Please note: your reservation will be confirmed at the entrance gate and then rechecked at the trailhead.
The hike to Hanging Lake is rigorous and involves climbing steps, rocky sections, and large boulders along the path that goes up and up and up—1200 feet of elevation in just over one mile. There are only a few level parts along the way—and seven or eight bridges to cross.
Hiking with trekking poles (especially on the descent) is highly recommended.
As you arrive at the lake after a strenuous climb, you will marvel at the teal blue of the lake surrounded by waterfalls and likely say, “That was totally worth it!”
Contributed by Jolayne from Simply Jolayne
Go on a Food Tour in Denver
Many people don’t know this, but Colorado has some of the absolute best food that you can get in the southwest. You can try local beers at breweries, ice cream at fun ice cream shops, and even amazing green chile burritos and tacos at a lot of the Mexican restaurants.
If you’re visiting Colorado with a short amount of time, the best way to try all of the best food in Denver is to go on a food tour. Luckily, there are tons of different food tours in the city, depending on your budget and the type of food that you want to try during your trip.
Some of the most popular food tours that you can go on in Denver have to do with the breweries. There are some tours that will bring you to a few different breweries during the day while also educating you and the rest of the group about Denver’s history. This is one of the most fun ways to learn more about the city!
When on a food tour, be sure to ask your tour guide lots of questions. They love answering, and because they’re locals, they may even be able to give you more great tips and tricks during your visit so that you can make the most out of your Colorado trip.
Hike in Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
Even though it’s one of the least-visited national parks in the United States, Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park is a must-visit. Because it’s a hidden gem, it’s one of the parks that you’ll most only see locals at, making it easy to have a personal experience without the crowds.
This park has super dark canyons with a turquoise river that flows through the bottom. The canyon walls are so tall that if you were to stick the Empire State Building at the bottom of it, the canyon walls would be slightly taller than it!
When visiting Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, be sure to go on some of the incredible hikes that are there. Keep in mind that there are different hikes depending on skill level, and some of the more difficult ones to require guests to get a permit in order to go down. This is mostly true for the hikes that go down deep into the canyon floor.
Some of the easier trails include the Uplands Trail, Pulpit Rock Overlook, and the Painted Wall View Trail. If hiking isn’t you’re thing or you’re worried about the heights, don’t worry. A lot of the best views in this park can be seen just from viewpoints that are a short walk from the parking lots!
Take in the View from Pikes Peak
Pikes Peak is a beautiful mountain vista and a Bucket List site in the Rocky Mountains in the middle of Colorado. The city of Manitou Spring is located at its base, only a few miles from Colorado Springs and an hour south of Denver.
It is one of Colorado’s fourteeners, mountains that are more than 14,000 feet above sea level, and part of an elite club of rare fourteeners where you can actually drive to the summit and the view from the top does not disappoint.
There is a Pikes Peak Cog Railway that you can take to the top of the mountain. However, you will have more fun driving to the peak of Pikes Peak since there are numerous rest stops with magnificent outlooks and scenic views of the surrounding Colorado landscape.
Perhaps you will even stop the elusive Big Foot, who has been spotted in many locations around Pikes Peak.
Pikes Peak is open all year, weather permitting. You can check the current status of the weather conditions by calling the information line. Updated road conditions are recorded as they change. The rangers frequently clear the roads to keep the highway free of snow and ice all the way to the top.
There is an admission charge to pass through and drive on Pikes Peak Highway. You will be charged depending on the season. The summer carload rate for adults up to 5 people is $50. Otherwise, it is $15 per adult, but the views will be worth every penny.
Contributed by Michelle from Moyer Memoirs
Shop in Downtown Estes Park
Commonly known for being the perfect home base when visiting Rocky Mountain National Park, Estes Park is one of the most scenic towns in Colorado. What makes Estes Park so great is that it’s super charming and has a traditional mountain town feel to it.
The best place to go in Estes Park is downtown. The main strip of shops is filled with tons of local-run stores that sell everything from hiking gear (because of the proximity to RMNP) to salt water taffy and everything in between. There are also tons of great souvenir shops on this strip that have affordable yet unique t-shirts and other memorabilia.
In addition, there are also many great restaurants that line the street in case you get hungry while you’re shopping. There’s everything from pizza shops to barbecue restaurants and even an Irish pub. Everything you could possibly be in the mood for can be found here.
What makes this such a great place to visit is that the people who work in these shops are so incredibly kind. Seriously, they’ll easily strike up a conversation with you, ask you where you’re from, and even sometimes provide some fun tips for hidden gem activities in the area!
Ride the Georgetown Loop
Georgetown, Colorado is a friendly and welcoming destination for visitors of all ages. This charming town in Colorado is nestled in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains and is home to friendly locals, delicious restaurants, and plenty of outdoor activities.
One bucket list item to check off your Colorado list is riding the Georgetown Railroad Loop. The railroad loop was established in the late 1800s and was one of the first visitor attractions of its kind.
The Georgetown Railroad loop takes you through some of the most beautiful scenery in Colorado, including aspen groves, forests, and mountain meadows. The train offers both open-air cars and enclosed cars so you can enjoy the views no matter what the weather is like.
Today, the train ride will take about 1.5 hours. From April through September, you’ll also have the ability to choose to do a tour of a mine and pan for gold–a great way to experience miners of our past!
Tickets for adults are $31 and $25 for children. Though you can purchase tickets online, you must pick up a printed ticket at the office in order to board.
To get to the Georgetown Railroad Loop, take I-70 W to Exit 228 to Georgetown, which is about 45 minutes from Denver.
Whether you’re a Colorado native or visiting from out of state, the Georgetown Railroad Loop is a must-do activity. You’ll experience beautiful views in Colorado and have a great way to learn about the state’s history. Be sure to add the Georgetown Railroad Loop to your Colorado bucket list!
Contributed by Pafoua at Her Wanderful World
Step Back in Time in Mesa Verde National Park
One of the more unique national parks in Colorado is Mesa Verde National Park. Located in southern Colorado, this park actually mostly features man-made attractions, which is unlike most other parks in the National Parks system! If you haven’t been, you should add it to your Colorado bucket list.
When visiting Mesa Verde National Park, the main must-see attractions are the cliff dwellings. These are thousands of years old and can be viewed from multiple viewpoints throughout the park. If you want to get even closer to the ancient dwellings, you can also go on a tour with a park ranger, though these are usually capped at just ten people and do have a small fee!
The drive up to the cliff dwelling is breathtaking. You’ll drive about 25-30 minutes up the side of a mountain while taking in incredible views along the way. Seriously, you’ll want to stop and snap a photo every few minutes because of the beauty.
Once you get up to where the cliff dwellings are, there’s a serene drive that will bring you from viewpoint to viewpoint. There are also some other spots that you can walk right up to and read about while you’re there. This is one of the lesser-visited parks, so it’s usually not that busy, especially in the fall and winter months.
Drive the Million Dollar Highway
Driving on the Million Dollar Highway is a true Colorado bucket list experience! Known as being one of the most dangerous roads in the world, the Million Dollar Highway is a 25-mile stretch of Highway 550 running from Ouray to Silverton in western Colorado.
The highway reaches 11,000 feet above sea level high up in the San Juan Mountains, and most of the drive has no guardrails or shoulders to pull off. You will experience steep cliffs, hairpin turns, and sheer drop-offs along the way.
The highway climbs over three incredibly high mountain passes and is noted to be one of the best scenic drives in the U.S. The road is open year-round, but in winter chains are likely to be required.
There are various claims about how this section of the highway got its name. Some say it was named for the million-dollar views, others claim the nickname stuck after people said they wouldn’t drive on it for a million dollars. The highway is part of the San Juan Skyway, and sections of the drive parallel the Durango and Silverton Railroad.
Driving the Million Dollar Highway is free and a great Colorado experience- if you have the courage!
Contributed by Erin from Super Simple Salty Life
Go Sand Boarding in Great Sand Dunes National Park
If you can’t tell by now, the national parks are some of the must-add places for a Colorado bucket list, and Great Sand Dunes National Park is no exception. Getting there is one of the best road trips from Denver, and it can even be done in a day for those who don’t mind driving a bit.
The sand dunes are incredibly unique and are located right in front of a mountain range, so they’re seriously beautiful. One of the best things to do at the sand dunes is to go sandboarding or sand sledding. There’s a shop right by the sand dunes called the Oasis where you can rent these boards for $20 for the day!
Note that they only rent boards and sleds out until a specific time each day to make sure that you get your money’s worth. It doesn’t make sense to rent one at 3:30 and then drive to the sand dunes if it’s due back by 4!
It takes a while to get the hang of it, but sand sledding is tons of fun. When you go out into the dunes, be sure to bring a backpack with lots of water because there’s no shade out there. It can also be extremely hot to walk directly in the sand, so try to stray from wearing sandals or walking barefoot.
Hike to St Mary’s Glacier Near Idaho Springs
The hike up to St Mary’s Glacier is one of the best easy hikes that you can do in the Denver area (and it’s a perfect place for an elopement!). It’s located right near Idaho Springs, a quaint little mining town in the mountains that’s also worth a visit after the hike.
In total, this hike is only 2.5 miles round trip, but it does have an elevation gain of 1100 feet. If you’re not used to the Colorado altitude yet, then you’ll want to take it slow on your way up. It is fairly steep and rocky, but if you stay towards the right side of the trail, you’ll find that it’s a bit flatter.
Unlike other trails, this one isn’t super well-marked, so try to download a copy of the trail route on your phone just so you have it in case you wander off. Once you get to the top, it’s easy to find a place to yourself away from the crowds because of how large the lake is.
Even in the summer, it’s fairly cool at the top of this trail because it’s near a glacier. It almost feels like air conditioning, but you’re outside!
Soak in the Steamboat Springs Natural Hot Springs
One of the top Colorado bucket list items to be sure to add to your list is enjoying a soak in one of Steamboat Spring’s natural geothermal hot springs. These special spots are not only great for relaxing muscles after a summer hike or winter ski day, but the geothermal hot springs are known for their healing properties.
In fact, hot springs are a significant part of Steamboat Spring’s history. Native Americans historically enjoyed their healing and spiritual qualities. It is a must-do, especially during the winter, to relax your muscles after all of the skiing.
One of the more popular hot springs, called Old Town Hot Springs, is located right in the center of town. It has soaking pools, swimming pools, and water slides. And while this is one you will definitely enjoy, Strawberry Park Hot Springs is a natural one surrounded by the beauty of nature.
Just a short ride from the center of town, this natural hot springs area has several pools to enjoy. Being surrounded by the mountains adds a whole new level of healing as you breathe in that fresh mountain air. Changing rooms and restrooms are available, as well as a snack bar.
And, if you are feeling like you want a few days of Strawberry Park Hot Springs, you can actually lodge there in wagon lodges. There is hot spring etiquette to pay attention to (spoiler, it is clothes on during the day!)
There are companies that will shuttle you there and pick you up after a couple of hours, so not to worry if you don’t have a car to reach Strawberry Park Hot Springs. And you can enjoy the hot springs even in winter.
A trip to one of Steamboat Springs’ hot springs is definitely a Colorado bucket list item not to miss!
Contributed by Keri from Bon Voyage With Kids
Drive Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park
Taking a quick trip over to Rocky Mountain National Park is an absolute must-do when visiting Colorado. Seriously, it should be at the top of your Colorado bucket list!
Open during the summer months only due to the snow and other dangerous conditions, Trail Ridge Road is an incredibly scenic drive that you can take through the park. It will bring you above the mountains so you can see a lot of the park’s beautiful mountains from above.
Along the drive, there are many spots where you can pull over and take pictures are viewpoints. There are also many hiking spots along the drive for those who don’t mind heights and want to take in the view with some exercise.
When on Trail Ridge Road, be sure to stop at the Alpine Visitor Center. This is the highest visitor center in the United States and is the perfect spot to grab a souvenir. They also have a restaurant in case you have to get a bite to eat after all of your hiking.
Ski at Vail
Known for its gorgeous landscapes and world-class ski runs, Vail ski resort is a sought-after destination worldwide and deserves a spot on any Colorado bucket list.
Located in the middle of the Rocky Mountains, Vail is a straight shot 2 hours West of Denver on 1-70. Once you arrive, stow your keys as the town has an excellent (and free) public transportation system to get you to and from the mountain with ease.
You can experience Vail year round but the best time to visit Vail is in the winter. With over 5,000 acres of skiable terrain, 195 trails, and 31 chairlifts, Vail is one of the biggest ski resorts in the United States.
This also makes it one of the most popular ski resorts. If you’re on the fence about the terrain being too much, know that from the legendary back bowls to the bunny hill, Vail mountain offers something for every ability level.
Skiing in Vail comes with a hefty price tag though, a single-day pass costs north of $200. Vail is a part of the Epic Pass which gives you unlimited access to any of the company’s ski resorts. If you love to ski and are able to visit often, getting a season pass is your most cost-effective option.
This is a great destination for the whole family as there’s so much more to do in Vail besides skiing.
Vail Village is full of luxurious accommodations, boutique shops, fun bars, and tasty restaurants.
Contributed by Jess from I’m Jess Traveling
Go Brewery Hopping in Golden
One of the more unique places to visit near Denver is Golden, Colorado. Golden is fairly well known for being home to the Coors Brewery, but it also has tons of other local breweries and brewpubs throughout which makes for a perfect destination for brewery hopping.
There are a few ways to go brewery hopping in Golden. For one, you could just go ahead and make your own game plan and hop from brewery to brewery on your own. This can be the perfect way to explore the town’s breweries at your own pace without feeling rushed!
Another option is to book a tour that will bring you to the top breweries in the area. The great thing about this option is that you’ll be able to do it with a group and also have a tour guide with you who will introduce you to the best of the best. Plus, you may learn more about Golden as you go!
Visit Meow Wolf: Convergence Station
As one of the most picturesque spots in Denver, it’s easy to see why Meow Wolf: Convergence Station made this Colorado bucket list. It’s started by a set of artists who basically made a completely immersive museum experience that will make you feel like you’re in another world.
Throughout this museum, there are tons of places that you can actually go inside. You’re told that it’s okay to literally touch almost everything and see what opens because a lot of the rooms lead to other hidden rooms that you have to look for!
The museum is very picturesque too because there are tons of Instagram-worthy spots throughout it. One of the coolest rooms is an immersive art room that plays music while art is on the walls and floors around you. You can even touch the art on the ground by walking over it, and it’ll move!
When you’re done, be sure to stop by either one of the affordable restaurants in Denver or eat right at Meow Wolf. They serve some out-of-this-world food at their cafe.
Hike the Flatirons in Boulder
The Flatirons are one of the more well-known places to visit in Colorado! That’s because this is one of the most scenic parts of the Rocky Mountains located right in Boulder.
When visiting the Flatirons, there are quite a few different hikes that you can choose between. There are easy, flatter trails as well as trails that can become day hikes and bring you high up in elevation. A lot of the trails are interconnected too, so you can sort of be making your own path as you go while staying on one of the paths and just making connections.
Keep in mind that the Flatirons are almost always busy. It’s rare to visit and find a parking spot easily, even in December. Consider parking downtown for ease and then rent a bike up to Chautauqua Park where you can start the hike! For a trail update, be sure to chat with one of the rangers.
After your hike, be sure to head to Pearl Street and treat yourself to a meal from one of Boulder’s local restaurants! One of the best spots is Foolish Craig’s Cafe, which serves up incredible crepes and chicken and waffles.
Visit the Paint Mines Interpretive Park
Paint Mines Interpretive Park is a Colorado gem full of spires and hoodoos painted in a display of gold, purple, and pink. The park was named for colorful clays that were once collected by Native people to create paints in this region.
This is one of the most colorful places in Colorado and a wonderful place for photography. Due to its remote location, this area also attracts fewer visitors than many of the other beautiful places across the state.
The Paint Mines are free to visit and feel off the beaten path. As you approach, you will only see grasslands surrounding you. But as you get closer, the ground opens up, and you’ll see the colorful ravine full of unique wonders.
The park is located about an hour outside of Colorado Springs and just under 2 hours from Denver. It’s relatively small with a 4-mile hiking trail. Be sure to bring plenty of water; there’s very little shade.
When you visit, be sure to follow the rules to protect this special space. Damage comes easily to the fragile rocks, so climbing on hoodoos is prohibited. In addition to staying on the marked trails, pack out all your trash and keep your distance from wildlife.
A visit to the Paint Mines is definitely worth a day trip from Colorado Springs or Denver. You’ll be left in awe of this colorful and unique place.
Contributed by Lydia from Lost With Lydia
Hike to the Ice Lakes Near Silverton
Located in the Southwest corner of the state, Ice Lakes is one of the most incredible natural sights in the area.
The lakes attract plenty of outdoor enthusiasts but don’t expect it to be an easy ride: this is a challenging trail with over 2,500 feet of elevation gain and a steep ascent with many switchbacks.
The round trip hike is 7.0 miles to Ice Lake; and 8.4 miles to Island Lake where you can see a small rocky island in the middle of stunning aquamarine water.
This is a tough hike, and you should come fully prepared. Bring at least one gallon of water and a water filter to fill up your bottle in streams and creeks along the way. Snacks are also a good idea, as you will want to refuel when you get to the lake.
And don’t forget about good hiking shoes and sunscreen. Even on a cloudy day, you can get a sunburn at a high elevation when you least expect it. Wear layers as you will get hot hiking uphill, and when you reach the lakes, it can be windier.
The Ice Lakes Basin Trail begins near the parking lot across from South Mineral Campground. Many people who hike Ice Lakes spend the night either in South Mineral Campground or choose dispersed camping spots in the area.
This way you can start your hike early and avoid afternoon storms which are not uncommon in Colorado during summer.
The easiest way to get to Ice Lakes is from Silverton. Take U.S. 550 aka Million Dollar Highway north and after 2 miles, turn on First Road 585. Follow the dirt road for 4.4 miles until you get to South Mineral Campground. This road is suitable for two-wheel drives, but make sure to avoid potholes.
Contributed by Daria from The Discovery Nut
Climb the Manitou Incline
Hike up 2,744 steps in Manitou Springs, Colorado! The Manitou Incline is a must-do in Colorado for any adventure lovers. It is well known for its large elevation change, as it gains over 2,000 feet in just under a mile.
Manitou is free to hike, but you need to make reservations in advance. Because it is a strenuous hike, it’s best to do it at sunrise or sunset, when the weather is mild.
When you make it to the top, you’ll find stunning views of Pikes Peak and the surrounding area. Because of its length and elevation gain, the hike is considered to be challenging. However, the hike can be completed by most people with a reasonable level of fitness.
Going up, you’ll take the never-ending staircase. Plan for about 90 minutes to two hours going up, depending on your level. Going down, you’ll take the Barr Trail, which will take approximately another hour. If you’re looking for something even more strenuous, you can take this incline to the Pikes Peak summit!
This unique hike offers incredible panoramic views and will make for an awesome day trip. For anyone who loves a challenge, Manitou Incline is definitely worth checking out!
Conributed by Rachel of Caribbean Uncovered
Climb Ouray Via Ferrata
Looking to add massive amounts of fun and excitement to your next trip to Colorado?
If so then the Ouray Via Ferrata should be at the very top of your Colorado bucket list.
However, just in case you’re not exactly sure what a via ferrata is, it’s an Italian phrase that translates to “iron path” in English.
Therefore, think of it as a protected climbing route that will take you across a variety of different obstacles as you make your way along a designated rock climbing path.
In particular, though, this via ferrata is special because it’s easily accessible from downtown Ouray and is totally free to the public – unless you need to rent some gear or hire a pro guide to show you the ropes.
In fact, you’ll find it at the Ice Park Loop Trail which is just a short, 2-minute drive outside town.
Then, upon arrival, you have two unique routes to choose from, both of which are super fun and include exciting obstacles like a cable bridge and the jusssst past vertical Sky Climb.
Both routes also have 4,000 feet of cable protecting the trail, giving you ample opportunity to test out your technical climbing skills.
And if you’re a little bit nervous, not to worry because a special Via Ferrata-designed safety system will keep you locked in at all times.
Also, do be aware that you’ll need special gear to be allowed onto this Via Ferrata.
Therefore, the gear you’ll need includes a climbing-specific helmet, A-rated climbing harness, closed-toed shoes, and an A-rated via ferrata tether system.
Contributed by Meg of Fox in the Forest
Attend the Stock Show in Denver
If you’ve ever been curious about Colorado’s history and western heritage, visit the National Western Stock Show in Denver, an annual event held each January. The event takes place each year in the National Western Complex, a set of buildings to the east of downtown but within the city limits.
Drawing crowds of 700,000+ people each year, the Stock Show is the sort of place you should visit at least once–it’s a perfect item for your Colorado bucket list. This massive event brings together people from all walks of life, with many people traveling from all across the west–places like Nebraska, Wyoming, and Montana–to attend.
One of the best parts of the Stock Show is getting to see all of the animals. In a typical year, you’ll see miniature horses, piglets, bison, goats, sheep, and cows, along with many others. If you’re a dog lover, there are several events featuring working dogs (including agility, herding, and service dogs).
While you’re planning your visit, you can choose from a number of interesting events like rodeos, horse shows, cattle dog demonstrations, sheep herding, and lasso making. There’s an educational floor for kids that contains a petting zoo, art gallery, pony rides, and fun activities like making colorful sand bottles. If you don’t have time to spend a full day at the Stock Show, there’s a parade through Downtown Denver every year that you can catch instead.
Entrance fees to the Stock Show start at $17 per person.
Contributed by Amber from Amber Everywhere
Explore the Trails in Garden of the Gods
Most of what you’ll see in Colorado is beautiful mountain landscapes with snow-capped mountains.
But at Garden of the Gods, you’ll experience something completely different and unique, which is what makes this such a special bucket list item.
It’s the perfect place for beginner hikers, those on a budget, and adventure seekers to visit.
As you stroll through Garden of the Gods, you’ll be surrounded by tall, 300-foot, red sandstone rock formations.
In the distance, you may catch a glimpse of Pikes Peak, one of the state’s 14-ers.
The red rocks that jut out of the ground in this beautiful location will have you feeling like you’re in Utah, rather than Colorado.
While you’re visiting, hike around on some of the trails, all of them are beautiful! Or, join a guided nature walk to learn more about the history of the park.
Most of the trails in the park are paved, so it’s accessible for most people to enjoy.
Many people also enjoy rock climbing. You can even take the entire family on a rock climbing tour.
Aside from the beautiful outdoors, you can also tour the Visitor Center, where you can learn more about how the rocks got there, the history of the area, and more.
Garden of the Gods is located in Colorado Springs, just over an hour south of Denver.
There is no cost to visit, making this one of the cheapest ways to experience the beauty of Colorado!
Contributed by Kassidy from The Hiking Helper
Ride the Alpine Coaster in Breckenridge
Your Colorado bucket list absolutely must include riding the alpine coaster in Breckenridge! While you might think Breckenridge is a winter snow destination – it’s just as great in the summertime!
The ski resort in winter turns into a fun park in the summer, as Epic Discovery at Breckenridge offers visitors tons of mountain fun. Bungee trampolines, a climbing wall, mini golf, and an alpine roller coaster, the fun never ends in the summer in Breckenridge on the mountain!
Enjoy the ride on the alpine coaster as you descend 2500 feet with insane mountain views and the town of Breckenridge. Kids and adults will love this adventure as it’s fun for all ages! Afterward, consider a ride down the alpine slide or the leisurely scenic chair lift.
The cost for the roller coaster varies depending on if you’re riding solo or paired with a child. Prices start at $20+ per ride, with package deals for 3+ rides or all-day fun passes.
After you leave the resort, be sure to check out downtown Breckenridge for shopping and dining. If you’re looking for adventure, hike to Mohawk Lakes, take a bike and brews tour, or enjoy the family-friendly panning for gold. There are so many things to do in Breckenridge, you won’t get bored!
Contributed by Nikki of She Saves She Travels
Hike & Take in the View at Colorado National Monument
Colorado National Monument is a hidden gem tucked away near Fruita and Grand Junction. The sprawling monument is popular for hiking and rock climbing, and if you’re there in the spring, it’s great for seeing wildflowers blooming. It is also home to the colorful blue and yellow collared lizards. The entrance fee is $25 per vehicle, but if you have a national park pass, that will get you in.
The beautiful scenic drive through the park is 23 miles and is entirely paved. One entrance is in Fruita the other is in Grand Junction, and it can be driven in either direction. There are a number of hiking trails along the drive to get out and stretch your legs like the Coke Ovens Trail or the Devil’s Kitchen Trail. There are tons of overlooks along the entire drive to get out and enjoy the scenery.
This is a great place for photographers, thanks to the impressive rock formations seen from the rim, the blooming cactus, and the Bookcliffs off in the distance. It would be particularly beautiful, dusted with snow in the winter. Consider timing your visit, so you are in the park for sunset.
Contributed by Megan from Red Around the World
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