40 Must-See Colorado Hotspots [Part 1]
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
This pristine, magical lake is sits above Glenwood Canyon up a short, heavily trafficked trail.
Plummeting an astonishing 365 feet, Telluride’s Bridal Veil Falls is the tallest free-falling waterfall in Colorado.
3. Piney Lake
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.
A must see natural wonder—the Paint Mines feature beautiful colorful clay spires and hoodoos shaped over millions of years.
Garden of the Gods is a geological spectacle that attracts millions of visitors each year to its looming ruby red and white rock formations.
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.
7. Dream Lake
Located in Rocky Mountain National Park, this subalpine lake opens up to stunning views of Hallett Peak and Flattop Mountain.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Mesa Verde is an astonishing National Park that protects thousands of archaeological sites, including hundreds of native Ancestral Puebloan cliff dwellings.
17. The Flatirons
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
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.
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!
Alyssa is an intern at OutThere Colorado. She is a full-time snacker, and when she isn't running for the University of Colorado Colorado Springs, you can find her outside hiking, SUPing, skiing, biking and climbing.