Top Colorado Tourist Attractions Worth Exploring


Colorado is a year-round destination with stunning natural landscapes, exciting outdoor adventures, and vibrant cultural attractions. From majestic mountains and national parks to charming small towns and cosmopolitan cities, there are Colorado tourist attractions for every type of traveler. This guide explores the highlights and hidden gems that make the Centennial State an unforgettable vacation spot.


  • Colorado offers unmatched outdoor recreation with hiking, skiing, rafting, and mountain biking across its diverse terrain.
  • Historical and cultural attractions like Mesa Verde National Park and the cities of Denver and Boulder showcase Colorado's heritage.
  • Seasonal activities range from top-ranked ski resorts in winter to summer music festivals and fall foliage tours.
  • Lesser-known destinations like scenic byways, ghost towns, and natural hot springs reveal Colorado's hidden side.

Sweeping Natural Landscapes

Colorado’s landscapes astound with their beauty and diversity, from the soaring Rocky Mountains to the plunging Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. The state has 58 mountain peaks over 14,000 feet, raging rivers perfect for rafting, and more than 20 national parks and monuments to explore.

Popular national parks like Rocky Mountain and Mesa Verde protect stunning mountain scenery and archaeological wonders. Rocky Mountain National Park is home to herds of elk and bighorn sheep, while Mesa Verde National Park safeguards 600 cliff dwellings left by ancestral Puebloan peoples. Colorado also has the largest dunes in North America at Great Sand Dunes National Park.

For more isolated backcountry adventures, hikers traverse the colossal Maroon Bells peaks or seek cascading waterfalls in the Rawah Wilderness. The state has over 1,600 trails ranging from easy nature walks to expert mountain climbs.

Cultural Cities and Mountain Towns

Beyond its natural assets, Colorado offers cultural vibrancy in Denver and Boulder and Old West charm in places like Durango.

As the Mile High City, Denver blends urban energy with outdoor flair. Cultural institutions like the Denver Art Museum and the Black American West Museum explore regional heritage, while Larimer Square and the 16th Street Mall offer premier shopping and dining. The Denver Zoo is a popular family-friendly destination.

Just 30 minutes away, the mountain town of Golden has a historic downtown centered around Clear Creek and the Coors Brewery. Colorado Springs, a short drive south of Denver, offers its own awe-inspiring experiences, from Pikes Peak to the Garden of the Gods. You can fly directly into the Colorado Springs Airport for faster access.

Meanwhile, Boulder balances high-tech innovation with a passion for nature and wellness. Outdoor gear shops and farm-to-table restaurants line the pedestrian-friendly Pearl Street Mall. Just outside town, the Flatirons offer iconic mountain vistas and rock climbing.

Durango, in southern Colorado, is an idyllic basecamp for exploring the San Juan Mountains. Visitors can ride the historic Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad past wildflower meadows and cascading waterfalls. Durango also offers a thriving arts scene and delectable Southwest cuisine. The Grand Junction area is a stone’s throw from the Colorado National Monument and its jaw-dropping views.

Action and Adventure

Colorado delivers nonstop adventure across its varied terrain, from skiing and snowboarding to mountain biking and whitewater rafting.

World-class ski resorts like Vail, Aspen, and Telluride offer 5,000+ acres of skiable terrain, state-of-the-art facilities, and charming mountain villages. Expert runs challenge the most intrepid skiers, while beginner areas cater to all abilities. Summertime ushers in hiking, mountain biking, and festivals.

Colorado has eight national whitewater rafting areas for water lovers, including the Arkansas and Colorado Rivers. Families and novice rafters tackle mellow floats while adventurers brave Class IV rapids on the Royal Gorge stretch.

Mountain bikers pedal over 500 miles of singletrack in Winter Park and 650 miles of trails around Crested Butte. The Grand Junction area, just 20 miles from Moab, Utah, is another popular destination for mountain biking fans. From steep descents to gentle groomed paths, there’s a trail for every skill level.

Four Stunning Seasons

Spring wildflowers, summer festivals, fall foliage, and winter snow – Colorado earns its “Four Corners of Sports” nickname with year-round activities.

Each summer, beach lovers converge in landlocked Colorado for the Hot Springs Loop Byway, accessing natural mineral hot springs in Pagosa Springs, Ouray, Manitou Springs, and Glenwood Springs. Hikers admire wildflowers and waterfalls among greenery in Rocky Mountain National Park. Wellness retreats and music festivals take over mountain towns like Telluride and Steamboat.

Come fall, the Aspens display golden hues during the elk mating season. Crimson and copper colors streak across mountains near Crested Butte, Durango, Colorado Springs, and Breckenridge. Wine lovers harvest grapes in the West Elks AVA countryside near Paonia and Hotchkiss.

As snow blankets high-altitude peaks, skiers and snowboarders flock to Summit County and resorts like Vail and Breckenridge. These resorts offer some of the best powder skiing and boarding in the United States. Families snuggle in cabins, snowshoe to backcountry hot springs, and shop local holiday markets.

Off the Beaten Path

Amidst the ski slopes and national parks, Colorado still holds hidden depths for travelers longing to get off the beaten path.

Adventurous road-trippers traverse the 236-mile San Juan Skyway. This scenic drive winds past Victorian buildings in Silverton, the rust-colored canyons of the Million Dollar Highway, and Mesa Verde’s archaeological sites. Eccentric outposts like Bishop Castle and the UFO Watchtower also reward those who venture outside tourist hotspots.

Colorado’s ghost towns offer a direct portal into the 1800s Gold Rush era. Stroll the wooden sidewalks of St. Elmo, dubbed the best-preserved ghost town in Colorado. Visit the defunct silver mining town of Ashcroft near Aspen. Or see a historic gold mill and train rides in Victor near Cripple Creek.

Finally, tuck into lesser-visited pockets of public lands like Browns Canyon National Monument, Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Area, Dinosaur National Monument, and McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area. Find dinosaur fossils, traverse canyons, explore Royal Gorge Bridge, and soak in natural hot springs surrounded by the West’s iconic wilderness.


What is the best time of year to visit Colorado?

Colorado offers stunning scenery and activities year-round. Summer (June-August) provides warm weather for hiking, rafting, and music festivals, while winter (December-March) showcases world-class skiing and snowboarding. Fall (September-October) is best for leaf peeping, and spring (April-May) offers wildflowers and whitewater.

What are the top 5 destinations in Colorado?

Rocky Mountain National Park, Aspen, Vail, Mesa Verde National Park, and Denver/Boulder are Colorado’s top 5 destinations. They encapsulate the state’s diverse natural and cultural offerings.

Where are the best ski resorts in Colorado?

Vail, Aspen Snowmass, Telluride, Breckenridge, Beaver Creek, Steamboat, Winter Park, Copper Mountain, and Crested Butte rank among the best ski resorts in Colorado. Each offers stellar terrain, high-altitude powder, and charming mountain towns.

What is there to do in Denver?

As Colorado’s capital and largest city, Denver offers top art museums, chef-driven dining, craft breweries, pro sports, and outdoor festivals, all with a laidback vibe. Top attractions include Union Station, Larimer Square, RiNo Art District, and Red Rocks Park.

What is the best way to experience Colorado’s mountain towns?

Colorado’s mountain towns celebrate their natural surroundings with local flair, from skiing and hiking to brewery hopping and gallery browsing. Breckenridge, Telluride, Crested Butte, and Steamboat Springs have unique cultures, festivals, and outdoor offerings. Slow travel between towns allows the flexibility to follow your bliss.

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About the author

Simone Weisman

My deep appreciation for nature and active living strongly aligns with the vibrant outdoor culture of Colorado. My enjoyment of yoga, hiking, and exploring scenic trails provides me with a unique perspective that I bring to This personal passion enriches my ability to connect with and inspire our audience, whether they’re local residents or visitors seeking to explore all that Colorado has to offer.