Colorado is a four-season destination that’s packed with things to do and see from corner to corner. Our team at Corken + Company loves living in this beautiful state, but we know that sometimes people don’t know all we have to offer. Not sure where to start? The list below will get your motor running on planning a great time in Colorado.
SEE COLORADO’S NATIONAL PARKS:
National Park Service locations in the Centennial State are sure to impress: Colorado’s four national parks — Rocky Mountain, Mesa Verde, Great Sand Dunes, and Black Canyon of the Gunnison — all offer routes to adventure, as well as endless solitude for communing with nature. Take an alpine hike in Rocky Mountain National Park, see Ancestral Puebloan cliff dwellings in Mesa Verde National Park, scale America’s tallest sand dunes at Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve, and take a boat ride through the impossibly steep Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park.
TAKE A DIP IN THE HOT SPRINGS:
One of the visitors’ favorite things to do in Colorado is to soak in a steamy hot-springs pool — year-round! Twenty-nine hot springs range from luxurious and family-friendly resorts to a slice of hike-in paradise you have to work for. No matter how you get there, mineral-rich waters will soothe your body and mind. Zoom down the water slides at Glenwood Hot Springs Resort, Ouray Hot Springs, and Mount Princeton Hot Springs Resort. Get a spa treatment at Durango Hot Springs, The Springs Resort & Spa in Pagosa Springs, or Strawberry Park in Steamboat Springs. Book your own private cabin at Dunton Hot Springs, a former mining town turned luxury soaking destination near Dolores. Take in the wondrous views from Orvis Hot Springs in Ridgway, Joyful Journey in Moffat, or Iron Mountain Hot Springs in Glenwood Springs.
GO WHITEWATER RAFTING:
Some of the country’s best whitewater rafting is found in Colorado. The famous Arkansas River, the mighty Colorado River, the Wild & Scenic Cache la Poudre and historic Clear Creek are just a few options when you’re looking for a scenic or thrilling ride through our stunning canyons from late May through August and into September. Find the stretch of water that fits your comfort level, connect with an outfitter that’ll set you up with everything you need for the perfect rafting adventure and customize your trip for one of the state’s purest summertime joys.
TAKE A TRAIN RIDE ON A SCENIC RAILROAD:
Colorado’s Gold Rush past resulted in some of the country’s most scenic and historic railways, and visitors today can travel routes and see scenery glimpsed by Coloradans since the 1800s. The Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroadskirts the Animas River as it heads into the alpine wilderness. The Georgetown LoopRailroad connects two historic mining towns via high-elevation bridges. The Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad crosses the impossibly scenic Cumbres Pass with stunning views in all directions. And the Royal Gorge Route Railroad travels alongside the Arkansas River below one of the world’s highest suspension bridges. Check calendars for these and more, with special excursions for fall colors, mystery dinners and holiday celebrations.
SEEK OUT FALL COLORS:
Colorado’s aspens, cottonwoods, oaks, and other trees transform into a parade of shimmering colors each September and October. The timing depends on the elevation (earlier at higher elevations, later in the season at lower ones). The best thing to do is show up and then follow the color wherever it’s popping up.
SETTLE INTO OUR SMALL TOWNS:
Small-town life has its own charms, and the state is peppered with unique places to spend a Colorado vacation. Famed mountain towns like Lake City, Carbondale, Granby, Leadville, La Veta, Durango and Buena Vista offer a quiet respite for those seeking fresh air.
DISCOVER HIKING TRAILS & OTHER ROUTES TO FUN:
Mild, sunny days and cool nights make summers one of the best times to visit Colorado and hit the trails for hiking, horseback riding, ATVing/off-roading, camping, mountain biking and every other outdoor activity you can think of.
TASTE ALONG BREWERY, DISTILLERY & WINERY TOURS:
Colorado’s Liquid ArtsTM is on full display with tastings and tours at more than 400 craft breweries, 140 wineries, and nearly 100 distilleries, plus a growing number of cideries. There’s bound to be at least a few in nearly any town you visit during your trip: From big-name breweries like Breckenridge Brewery, Odell Brewery in Fort Collins, and Great Divide in Denver to crafty distilleries like Montanya in Crested Butte, Wood’s High Mountain Distillery in Salida and Peach Street Distillers in Palisade to scenic little wineries like Black Bridge Winery in Paonia, DeBeque Canyon Winery and Two Rivers Winery in Grand Junction.
STAY AT A DUDE RANCH:
From rustic working-ranch vacations to luxurious retreats, Colorado’s dude-ranch scene isn’t one size fits all — and that’s a good thing. Wrangle bison and camp under the starry skies of Great Sand Dunes National Park with Zapata Ranch in Mosca. Enjoy chuckwagon grub, campfires, and kids’ rodeos at Granby’s Drowsy Water Ranch. Indulge in Western-styled pampering — think indoor hot springs, stunning mountain views, and duck-breast dinners — with upscale options like 4 UR Ranch in Creede. There’s a Colorado dude ranch experience for everyone, whether you’re planning a hands-on family vacation or a romantic getaway.
Contributions from: https://www.colorado.com/articles/best-things-to-do-in-colorado