We live in arguably the most beautiful state in the lower 48, so it was particularly difficult to choose which Colorado 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: [PART 2] 40 Must-See Colorado Hotspots (21-40)

1. Hanging Lake

Hanging Lake - OutThere Colorado
Hanging Lakes, 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 - Terry Foote - OutThere Colorado
Bridal Veil Falls, Telluride, 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

Piney Lake - OutThere Colorado
Piney Lake, 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: 14 Reasons to Fall in Love with Colorado!

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: [WATCH] Ride the Pikes Peak Cog Railway in 360° Virtual Reality

5. Garden of the Gods

Garden of the Gods - OutThere Colorado
Garden of the Gods, Colorado Springs, Colorado. 

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: [READ] Your Guide to ALL Colorado Ski Resorts

7. Dream Lake

Dream Lake - OutThere Colorado
Dream Lake, 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 National Park - OutThere Colorado
Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado. 

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

Ouray Ice Park - OutThere Colorado
Elaina Arenz climbs an ice wall at Ouray Ice Park. Photo Credit: Stephen Martin. 

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

RELATED: [READ] Your Guide to ALL Colorado Ski Resorts

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 - Brandi Korte - OutThere Colorado
Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, Colorado Springs, Colorado. 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: [WATCH] Ride the Pikes Peak Cog Railway in 360° Virtual Reality

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, 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: 14 Reasons to Fall in Love with Colorado!

20. Steamboat Lake State Park

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

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!