40 Must-See Colorado Hotspots [Part 1]

Maroon Lake, Maroon Bells - OutThere Colorado

Colorado is arguably the most beautiful state in the lower 48, so it was particularly difficult to choose which destinations topped the charts. Colorado is packed full of gorgeous lakes, peaks, parks, venues, scenic drives, trails, and more. We finally narrowed it down to our top 40 favorite Colorado destinations. Which ones have you visited? Which do you need to add to your bucket list? Click on the hyperlinked titles to find maps and to learn more about each destination.

RELATED: 27 Stunning Colorado Waterfall Photographs

1. Hanging Lake

Hanging Lake - OutThere Colorado

This pristine, magical lake is sits above Glenwood Canyon up a short, heavily trafficked trail.

RELATED: [READ] Top 7 Hot Springs in Colorado!

2. Bridal Veil Falls- Telluride

Bridal Veil Falls Uncompahgre National Forest Photo Credit Terry Foote - OutThere Colorado
Photo Credit: Terry Foote.

Plummeting an astonishing 365 feet, Telluride’s Bridal Veil Falls is the tallest free-falling waterfall in Colorado.

3. Piney Lake

Lily Lake - OutThere Colorado

Located just outside of Vail, Piney Lake is a beautiful destination to watch the Colorado fall colors, catch gorgeous vistas of the Gore Range, and for outdoor enthusiasts to enjoy.

RELATED: 27 Stunning Colorado Waterfall Photographs

4. Paint Mines Interpretive Park

Paint Mines Interpretive Park - OutThere Colorado
Paint Mines Interpretive Park, Calhan, Colorado.

A must see natural wonder—the Paint Mines feature beautiful colorful clay spires and hoodoos shaped over millions of years.

RELATED: 29 Stunning Mountain Pass Pictures

5. Garden of the Gods

Garden of the Gods 5 - OutThere Colorado
Garden of the Gods with Pikes Peak in the background.

Garden of the Gods is a geological spectacle that attracts millions of visitors each year to its looming ruby red and white rock formations.

6. Red Rocks Amphitheatre

Red Rocks Amphitheater - OutThere Colorado
Red Rocks Amphitheatre, Morrison, Colorado.

This world-famous outdoor music venue’s perfect acoustics come from the towering red rock walls that surround the natural amphitheatre. The venue is a popular summer destination for concerts, movie nights, and outdoor recreation activities.

RELATED: 27 Stunning Colorado Waterfall Photographs

7. Dream Lake

Dream Lake Rocky Mountain National Park - OutThere Colorado

Located in Rocky Mountain National Park, this subalpine lake opens up to stunning views of Hallett Peak and Flattop Mountain.

8. Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve

Great Sand Dunes 1 - OutThere Colorado
Sun illuminates the Great Sand Dunes National Park.

The stark contrast between the largest sand dunes in North America and the the looming Sangre de Cristo Mountains in the distance makes this National Park’s landscape one of the most dramatic in the United States.

9. Manitou Incline Trail

Manitou Incline - OutThere Colorado
Manitou Incline, Manitou Springs, Colorado.

Not for the faint of heart, this one-mile trail in Manitou Springs climbs hundreds of steps and gains 2,000 feet of elevation as it ascends the side of Pikes Peak.

10. Black Canyon of the Gunnison

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park - OutThere Colorado
Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, Colorado.

The daunting steep, looming canyon walls of the Black Canyon overlook the Gunnison River and lure thousands of curious tourists, climbers, hikers, campers, and outdoor enthusiasts each year.

11. Ouray Ice Park

Elaina Arenz on a Wall - OutThere Colorado
Elaina Arenz keeps a steady pace up a massive wall of ice.

Manmade ice flows fill the Uncompahgre Gorge, transforming it into a frozen winter wonderland with over 200 mixed and ice climbs.

RELATED: 29 Stunning Mountain Pass Pictures

12. Mount Princeton Hot Springs

Mount Princeton Hot Springs - Matthew Saunders - OutThere Colorado
Mount Princeton Hot Springs, Colorado. Photo Credit: Matthew Saunders.

Amid the massive Collegiate Peaks, this family-friendly hot springs offers a soaking pool, exercise pool, and several natural hot pools for relaxing along Chalk Creek.

RELATED: [READ] Top 7 Hot Springs in Colorado!

13. Colorado National Monument

Colorado National Monument - OutThere Colorado
Colorado National Monument, Colorado.

This beautiful protected land has red cliff walls, deep canyons, sandstone towers and is home to the iconic and scenic 23-mile Rim Rock Road drive.

14. Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Photo Credit Brandi Korte - OutThere Colorado
Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, Colorado Springs. Photo Credit: Brandi Korte.

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, America’s only mountainside zoo, offers a unique zoo experience where you can hand-feed giraffes, see over 30 species of endangered animals, and take a chairlift ride over the zoo overlooking Colorado Springs in the distance.

15. Mount Evans Scenic Byway

Mount Evans - OutThere Colorado
Mount Evans, Colorado. Photo Credit: Shogun_X.

This beautiful 15-mile drive, the highest paved scenic roadway in the United States, ascends 9,000 feet from the entrance to the summit and passes incredible panoramas, Summit Lake Mountain Park, and likely a herd or two of mountain goats.

RELATED: 27 Stunning Colorado Waterfall Photographs

16. Mesa Verde National Park



Mesa Verde National Park - OutThere Colorado
Mesa Verde National Park – OutThere Colorado

Mesa Verde is an astonishing National Park that protects thousands of archaeological sites, including hundreds of native Ancestral Puebloan cliff dwellings.

17. The Flatirons

Boulder Flatirons - OutThere Colorado
Boulder Flatirons, Boulder, Colorado.

The Flatirons are an iconic geological feature located in Boulder. The five slanted conglomerate sandstone rock formations line the eastern slope of Green Mountain and are a popular destination for hikers and climbers.

18. Blue Lakes

Blue Lakes - OutThere Colorado.
Blue Lakes – OutThere Colorado.

Aptly named, these stunning lakes, situated in the Mount Sneffels Wilderness, are a beautiful piercing blue color.

19. Maroon Lake Scenic Trail

Maroon Lake - OutThere Colorado
Maroon Lake, Colorado.

This highly trafficked trail ends at one of the most photographed landscapes in the state. It passes by Maroon Lake and offers picturesque views of the jagged Maroon peaks in the distance.

RELATED: 29 Stunning Mountain Pass Pictures

20. Steamboat Lake State Park

Steamboat Lake State Park. Photo Credit: Brent G. Lounsbury - OutThere Colorado.
Steamboat Lake State Park. Photo Credit: Brent G. Lounsbury – OutThere Colorado.

This stunning 2,820-acre state park is packed full of year-round activities from unbeatable fishing, hiking, and swimming during the summer months to sled-dog racing and nordic skiing in the winter.

To keep exploring, click here for destinations 21-40!

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