Nicknamed the Centennial State because it became a state 100 years after the signing of the country’s Declaration of Independence, Colorado is the home of several postcard-worthy marvels. From gigantic, snow-capped mountains and breathtaking vistas to stunning, waterfall-hugging hiking trails to awe-inspiring sand dunes, this state has it all. While most destinations are amazing, not all can take your breath away at first sight. Discover some of the most beautiful places to see in Colorado!
1. Garden of the Gods
Its name speaks for itself. The Garden of the Gods is a sight to behold, featuring gigantic balanced boulders, angular stone towers, and dramatic rock piles that reach up to 300 ft. from the ground. Beautiful, distant mountains act as the backdrop of this surreal scenery. It’s every rock-climbing enthusiast’s dream to conquer the unique formation in this destination.
There are several to explore the Garden of the Gods. Book one of the park’s jeep tours, go horseback riding or follow the hiking trails and biking lanes that extend throughout the park. Don’t forget to stop by the Garden of the Gods Park Visitor & Nature Center before you leave. Relax on its cozy café that offers a beautiful view of the site, look around the comprehensive rock exhibits, ad watch the informative 20-minute video about the park’s geology.
2. Rocky Mountain Natural Park
Soaring mountains, verdant forests, clear alpine lakes, rolling meadows, rocky terrain, and thriving wildlife —the Rocky Mountain Natural Park is nature at its best. No wonder it is not only one of the most beautiful places to see in Colorado, but also one of the most famous national parks in America.
You can explore what Rocky Mountain Natural Park has to offer by foot or by car. Plan a full-day or multi-day hikes for the full wilderness experience. Aside from hiking, the park is also a popular destination for camping, mountain climbing, rock climbing, wildlife viewing, horseback riding, and fishing.
3. Maroon Bells – Snowmass Wilderness
This place is one of the many reasons why Colorado is fondly called “Colorful Colorado.” The Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness draws thousands of tourists every year thanks to its breathtaking rocky mountain landscapes, beautiful meadows, picture-perfect alpine lakes, and lush forests. The park has over 170 miles of nature trails for exploration.
There are many ways to enjoy the expansive Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness area. Enjoy the stunning views from the comfort of your car, bike through the numerous lanes throughout the park, or go backpacking to appreciate the terrain. You can also go mountain biking. Don’t forget to pack wilderness essentials if you’re planning to bike or trek your way through the park.
Fishing is a popular activity in the summer due to the surplus of streams, rivers, ponds, and lakes in Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness. Tourists enjoy skiing, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling in the winter.
4. Colorado National Monument
As one of the most beautiful places to see in Colorado, the Colorado National Monument offers more than just an average mountain scenery. Its breathtaking landscape is a combination of steep cliffs, soaring rock spires, and stunning canyons that are interspersed with small trees, scrubby undergrowth, and sandy grounds.
The Colorado National Monument is located close to the outskirts of the towns of Grand Junction. Most people enjoy its stunning sights via the road that cuts through its landscape. Some go on drives through the monument by Rim Rock Drive, stopping by overlooks to enjoy the view.
5. Mesa Verde National Park
Love exploring ruins and other historical sites? You can’t go wrong with the Mesa Verde National Park. The place is filled with thousands of well-preserved, archeological sites. The most notable location is the Cliff Palace, which is hailed as the most impressive cliff dwelling in the Southwest. Book one of the range-led tours in the area to get the chance to explore the interior of this historic location. Mesa Verde also has no shortage of overlooks, which gives users a breathtaking view of the ancient site.
6. Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve
The Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve offers some of the most stunning sights in The Centennial State. Even though most tourists visit this destination knowing it’s one of the most beautiful places to see in Colorado, few are truly prepared for the awe-inspiring view of the highest sand dunes in North America.
There are several, fun ways to explore and enjoy the towering sand dunes. You can cruise down the sand on a board or slide down the sloping, sandy hills. Cool down in the Medano Creek, which flows along the base of the dunes, if it gets too hot out. Not up for walking on the sand? Explore the hiking trails close to the edge of the dunes instead.
7. Alta Lakes
Alta Lakes are some of the most popular dispersed camping destinations in the Centennial State. These trio of glittering gems are tucked high above Telluride and nestled close to the snow-speckled San Juan Mountain peaks. They offer a fantastic alpine setting for campers.
There is no shortage of activities to enjoy when you set up camp at Alta Lakes. Fish in the picturesque lakes, explore the scenic hiking trails, or go on scenic drives. Pets are allowed in the camping sites, so there’s no need to leave your canine companions home for a vacation in this destination. Make sure not to leave any traces behind once you’re done camping.
If your interested in the supernatural, consider stopping by the mining ghost town close to Alta Lakes. Take care not to cross any lines and follow all the signs in the haunting locale when you visit.
8. Arapaho Glacier Trail
This trail may pose a challenge to the inexperienced hiker, but the sights it offers are more than worth the effort. The Arapaho Glacier Trail is a 4.5-mile hike through the Indian Peaks Wilderness. Here’s why it’s one of the most beautiful places to see in Colorado: the trail boasts colorful fields of wildflowers and a breathtaking view of the Rocky Mountain National Park and the Park and Gore ranges. It traverses through the woods and leads to the open tundra.
Finally, Colorado is a beloved state for outdoor enthusiasts and those who just love being around nature. Cross this state off your list and check out the most beautiful places to see in Colorado next time you visit!
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