Everyone loves an adventure and you know what makes that adventure better…when it’s free. Here’s a road trip around Colorado that won’t cost you a dime (with exception of food, gas, and the essentials you need along the way).
1. Red Rocks Amphitheatre
One of the country’s most iconic music venues, Red Rocks Amphitheatre is a great place to start your “free things” road trip down the Front Range. As long as there’s not an event happening (most occur at night), there’s no charge to walk around this stunning venue. As you’re there, imagine how epic it would be to see your favorite artist on the stage. This spot is located in Morrison, just outside of Denver.
2. City Park
In the heart of Denver, City Park provides a relief of green space amidst a concrete jungle. It’s 330 acres and includes the Denver Zoo (there’s a fee), the Denver Museum of Nature and Science (another fee), and the Ferril and Duck Lakes. It’s a great spot for a picnic.
3. Devil’s Head Lookout (Currently closed due to safety concerns)
Located off of Rampart Range Road between Denver and Colorado Springs, this lookout tower is a functioning fire-watch station. It’s a steep hike of a mile or so to get there, but the views are so worth it.
4. Paint Mines Interpretive Park
One of the most unique geological locations in the country, the Paint Mines Interpretive Park in Calhan, Colorado is a great place to spend a few hours. If you visit, make sure you follow all posted rules and don’t climb on the rocks. They’re quite fragile.
5. Garden of the Gods
Often recognized as one of the best city parks in the world, Garden of the Gods offers an amazing glance into the geological history of the area beneath a backdrop of Pikes Peak. It’s hard to visit Colorado Springs without spotting this view. You’ll find hiking trails here, but you’ll also find a paved path around the main loop of the space.
6. The Manitou Incline
If you’re looking for a work-out, check out the Manitou Incline. It’s 2,000 feet of elevation gain in roughly 3,000 steps over the course of a mile. Even if you’re in great shape, this hike can be strenuous. Be warned, parking directly at the base of the route can get pricy. If you’re looking to take advantage of this destination for free, utilize the free parking lot at the main entrance into Manitou Springs and take the free shuttle.
7. The Historic Arkansas Riverwalk
Inspired by the riverwalk found in San Antonio, this Pueblo attraction is perfect for a sunny day or warm summer night. Lined with shops and restaurants, this is the perfect mid-road trip place to kick back and relax.
8. Bishop Castle
Near Rye you’ll find the largest one-man construction project in the country – Bishop Castle. It looks like something out of a fairy tale. Reaching a whopping height of 165 feet, climb the steps up the tallest tower if you dare. Be warned, the nature of the welding and lack of safety features can sketch some people out. This might not be a great stop for small children due to big drops and lack of guard rails.
Here’s a map of the full road trip: