Bailey, Colorado: A Year-Round Mountain Getaway


Surrounded by national forests, alpine lakes, and lofty peaks, Bailey offers visitors a serene mountain retreat brimming with natural beauty and outdoor adventure. From exploring historic sites like the Dinosaur Diamond Prehistoric Highway to embarking on scenic drives along Boreas Pass Road, Bailey satisfies travelers craving magnificent vistas and small-town hospitality.


  • Bailey, Colorado charms visitors with its natural splendor, outdoor recreation, and glimpses into the region's frontier past.
  • Must-see attractions include scenic byways threading through the mountains, hiking trails showcasing wildflower meadows and wildlife, and historical landmarks like Frontier Pathways.
  • The changing seasons paint different pictures, from winter snow sports to golden aspen leaves in fall and wildflowers carpeting summer meadows.
  • Family-friendly activities, cozy mountain lodging, and local dining spots round out Bailey's appeal as a year-round getaway destination.

Breathing in Bailey’s Mountain Splendor

Flanked by the Roosevelt National Forest and Pike National Forest, Bailey serves as a gateway to some of Colorado’s most magnificent high country. The Collegiate Peaks Scenic Byway winds past alpine lakes and the state’s highest mountains, while the Gold Belt Tour Scenic Byway tours old mining country. Radiating out from Bailey’s walkable downtown are trails tracing colorful meadows and pine forests.

Postcard-Worthy Scenic Drives

Linking Bailey to historic Park County towns like Alma and Fairplay, the narrow and winding Boreas Pass Road reaches elevations over 11,000 feet. Alpine tundra wildflowers and panoramic views unfurl at scenic overlooks. Meanwhile, the Collegiate Peaks Scenic Byway affords jaw-dropping vistas of the Sawatch Range’s fourteeners. Careening over Cottonwood and Independence Passes, sightseers may spot bighorn sheep grazing. The drive through Kenosha Pass is also a must for visitors, rewarding travelers with breathtaking sights.

Hiking and Biking Through Mountain Majesty

Countless hiking and biking trails let visitors immerse themselves in Bailey’s natural beauty. Blooming wildflowers carpet the meadows along the Colorado Trail and Segment 1 of the Continental Divide Trail. For wildlife watching, the Sisters of Saint Francis Trail ambles through pine forests and wetland habitats, where birdwatchers may spy species like hairy woodpeckers and northern flickers. Mountain bikers can test their legs on the Peaks Trail, a 15-mile ride along the South Platte River through pine forest and across flower-speckled meadows.

Stepping Into Bailey’s Past at Historical Landmarks

Beyond its wealth of outdoor recreation, Bailey gives visitors glimpses into Colorado’s frontier history. Several historical sites transport travelers back in time, from an 1864 log cabin to the remains of mining settlements. Interpretive displays recount tales of early homesteaders and prospectors who flocked to the area during Colorado’s gold rush era.

Frontier Pathways

The 1864 Entriken Cabin stands as one of the oldest log structures in Colorado. Outfitted as a primitive homestead, the cabin shows what daily life was like for those who carved community from the wilderness. The Eastbrook Historic District also connects visitors to Colorado’s frontier past, including an original railroad bridge from the Denver South Park & Pacific Railway.

Ghosts of the Gold Rush

Stark mill foundations, mine shafts, and rusted equipment litter the winding dirt road to Saints John, an abandoned mining town dating from 1859. Interpretive signs chronicle Saints John’s boom and bust story. Meanwhile, the Dinosaur Diamond Prehistoric Highway transports travelers back to another era, when stegosauruses and apatosauruses roamed the region. Dinosaur tracks etched into stone reveal that Bailey’s spectacular scenery has been turning heads for eons.

Experiencing Bailey’s Seasonal Delights

Bailey dazzles visitors year-round with its seasonal offerings. When winter blankets the Rocky Mountains in snow, Bailey morphs into a winter wonderland perfect for playing in powder. As spring thaws the icy landscape, wildflowers burst into bloom, signaling the start of hiking and biking season. By mid-summer, Bailey brims with recreational opportunities for families and outdoor enthusiasts alike. When fall arrives, the blazing golden aspen trees beckon leaf peepers.

Hitting the Slopes and Snowy Trails

When the snow starts falling, Bailey transforms into a winter lover’s paradise. Alpine and Nordic ski areas like Loveland Basin and Arapahoe Basin offer prime powder just 20 minutes up the road. Backcountry skiers and snowboarders flock to Berthoud Pass’ steep tree runs and bowl. Snowmobilers rev up their engines on the extensive trail network around Guanella Pass. For more low-key snowshoeing and cross-country skiing, visitors can glide through the hushed winter woods on trails right in Bailey proper.

Summer Family Fun

The sunny days of summer find families flocking to Bailey to boat on Lake Wellington, saddle up at Sombrero Ranches, and explore mountain trails on horseback. When the afternoon heat kicks in, tubing and swimming in the Platte River’s lazy waters cool families off. To top off adventure-packed days, visitors can grab a scoop of ice cream at Knotty Pine on Main Street in downtown Bailey.

Fall Foliage and Festivals

Fall showcases Colorado’s riotous golden aspen trees. Leaf peepers traverse Guanella Pass Scenic Byway, ogling yellow hillsides that glow like torches in the autumn light. Elk bugles echo through the crisp air as the rutting season commences. Locals celebrate the vivid foliage with festivals like the Evergreen Music Festival. Area farms host pumpkin patches and corn mazes, while harvest markets brim with apples and squash.

Satisfying Food, Drink and Lodging

To fuel active days, Bailey boasts locally sourced dining options from brunch to happy hour. Quench your thirst at local breweries, or bed down in cozy cabins and resorts settled in the pines. Bailey’s hospitality will have you resting easy as you plan the next day’s Rocky Mountain adventures.

Bellying Up to Bailey Eats and Sips

Start the day with a hearty breakfast burrito and coffee from Off the Rails before hitting the trails. For picnic provisions or a trailside bite, grab a sandwich at Rosalie’s Market. Après hike, reward yourself with a craft beer at Mad Jack’s Mountain Brewery or a glass of wine at Aspen Peak Cellars. For a fun family dining option, grab a hot dog at the South Park Coney Island Boardwalk.

Resting Your Head

The Bailey Lodge offers a comfy stay with a fishing pond and easy access to hiking trails. Just down the road, Glen Isle Resort provides cozy cabin rentals, complete with fireplaces and rustic furnishings. For a budget-friendly stay, consider camping in the Lost Creek Wilderness Area.


What is the best time of year to visit Bailey, Colorado?

Bailey offers spectacular scenery and outdoor recreation year-round. Summer showcases wildflowers, fall features golden aspen leaves, winter offers snow sports, and spring means less crowded trails. Pick a season that matches your interests.

What is there to do in Bailey with kids?

Families enjoy activities like horseback riding, swimming, fishing, summer camps, farm visits, winter sledding, or a trip up a local hiking trail. Destinations like Evergreen Lake and Treehouse Adventure Park cater to children.

Where are the best places to see fall colors around Bailey?

Some of the best fall foliage viewing routes near Bailey include Guanella Pass Scenic Byway, Boreas Pass Road, and Collegiate Peaks Scenic Byway. Plan a drive or hike in September or early October.

What should I pack for a summer trip to Bailey?

Pack lightweight, breathable layers, hiking shoes or sandals, sun protection like hats and sunglasses, bug spray, backpack, water bottle, swimsuit if visiting lakes, and a camera to capture those scenic views.

Are pets allowed in lodging and attractions around Bailey?

Some accommodations and outdoor areas allow pets, while others do not. Contact individual businesses ahead of time to check pet policies. Keep dogs leashed and pick up after them when on trails.


About the author

Ransom Patterson

My expertise in Colorado life extends beyond just residing here; it’s also about living actively within the community. I spend my time cycling through Denver’s trails, experimenting with local cuisines, and immersing myself in the local music scene. These activities give me a unique perspective on the cultural and outdoor offerings of Colorado. This hands-on approach allows me to provide insider tips and personal recommendations that resonate with both locals and visitors alike.