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The Ultimate Colorado Summer Bucket List

By: Spencer McKee

Summer is the perfect time to go exploring around Colorado. Here are a few things around the state you'll have to add to your bucket list ASAP.

Kiss a Wolf
While most consider wolves to be one of the scariest carnivores in North America, the wolves are Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Sanctuary near Divide are quite tame. In fact, they’re so tame that you can purchase some one-on-one time with these fantastic creatures. You won’t forget it. Want to go for free (with a donation)? Check out the Rocky Mountain Wildlife Foundation.
Black Bear Pass - @jurassickp (Instagram) - OutThere Colorado
Try Something That Scares You
There are plenty of ways to scare yourself around Colorado, but one of our personal favorites is a trip on Black Bear Pass. One of the most dangerous roads in the state, you’ll need the proper off-road vehicle and plenty of experience driving it to tackle this one.
Photo Credit: @jurassickp (Instagram).
devils head -@mrspenceproductions
Find a New Favorite View
Whether you’re on top of a mountain checking out surrounding peaks or staring into a valley filled with wildflowers, make an effort to find a new favorite view this summer. If you’re looking for a good view of the forested front range, the Devil’s Head Lookout Tower is the perfect destination.
Photo Credit: @mrspenceproductions (Instagram).
Bridal Veil Falls HDR OutThere Colorado
Celebrate Waterfall Wednesday
At OutThere Colorado, we can’t get enough of “Waterfall Wednesday.” The challenge is simple, dedicate a random Wednesday this summer to finding one of those Colorado waterfalls you’ve been drooling over for years. The waterfall featured in this picture is Bridal Veil Falls in Telluride, Colorado’s tallest free-falling waterfall.
Picketwire Canyon Dinosaur Tracks - OutThere Colorado
Get Your Paleontologist On
Colorado used to be filled with dinosaurs, especially the Stegosaurus and the Allosaurus. Don’t believe us? You can hunt down dinosaur tracks for yourself at Picketwire Canyonlands in eastern Colorado.
Paradise Cove - OutThere Colorado
Jump Off A Cliff (Into Water, Of Course)
If you’re an adrenaline junkie, one Colorado activity you’ll love is cliff jumping. A couple places perfect to take the leap are the Devil’s Punchbowl near Aspen and Guffey Cove near Divide. Keep in mind that this is a dangerous sport and you’ll be participating at your own risk.
Photo Credit: Spencer McKee
Manitou Incline - U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command (SMDC) - OutThere Colorado
Test Your Physical Fitness
One of the most strenuous hikes in the world, the Manitou Springs Incline hike rises 2,000 feet in less than a mile. It’ll put your body to the test. Not close to Manitou? Find another steep hike to give those calves a workout.
Photo Credit: U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command (SMDC)
Llama trekking in the Wimenuche Wilderness Area - OutThere Colorado
Take Some Llamas Trekking
Yes, llamas are quite the photogenic animal. They’ll make all of your hiking photos that much better. They also have a very practical purpose though as pack animals. Planning a multi-day hike? Make them carry your stuff. Photo Credit: Mark Reis
401 Trail - OutThere Colorado
Get Lost in Wildflowers
Colorado spring and summer months are known for the huge variety of flowers that pop up around the state. While you can find a place to spot them almost anywhere, the Crested Butte area is particularly stunning. Photo Credit: Trent Bona.
Feed a Giraffe
Only a few dollars at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado Springs (plus admission) will score you some lettuce to feed members of the largest reticulated giraffe herd in North America.
Photo by James Wooldridge, The Gazette
Wheeler Geologic Area snowpeak (Flickr)
Head Somewhere Off the Beaten Path
Take the time to track down a place-less-traveled like Wheeler Geologic Area. Places like this can be difficult to get to, but that means you won’t be fighting crowds while you’re there.
Photo Credit: snowpeak (Flickr)
Telluride Via Ferrata - OutThere Colorado
Hunt Down A Crazy Hike
Whether you’re hiking to a ghost town or along a haunted trail, there are tons of unique hikes in Colorado. The hike pictured is Telluride’s Via Ferrata, a cliffside favorite.
Terror Dactyl - OutThere Colorado
Try A Colorado Thrill Ride
Whether it’s a zipline or a canyon swing, it’s not too hard to find an instance where amusement ride meets nature in Colorado. One of our team’s personal favorites is the Terror-Dactyl at Cave of the Winds in Colorado Springs. Here’s a fun fact..when we shot this 360 virtual reality video there, two brave team members had to ride it 8 times in a row. Photo Credit: Alyssa Wendt.
Shelf Road - Climbing - OutThere Colorado
Try Your Hand at Rock Climbing
With how technical rock climbing is and how much gear is involved, it’s a little hard to just test this one out on your own. Fortunately lots of climbing companies will take you to some of the best places in the state, providing the gear and instruction. One awesome place that some groups go is the pictured Shelf Road, home to nearly 1,000 sport climbing routes. Photo Credit: Stephen Martin.
Running Garden of the Gods Colorado Springs - OutThere Colorado
Add Trail Running To Your Workout Routine
If you’re traditionally not a fan of running, you should still give trail running a try. While most runners hit flat, predictable terrain, trail running adds a level of variety that helps keep things interesting. One great place to try it out is the Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs.
Island Lake - San Juan National Forest - OutThere Colorado
Swim to a Secret Island
Colorado doesn’t have too much water, meaning you won’t be finding too many islands. One that you can get to is the rock in the middle of Island Lake. Expect a hard hike with a big reward.
Maroon Bells
Take a Different Picture of an Iconic Colorado Destination
Find a place that’s over-photographed and figure out how to take a picture that’s unique. The one pictured is of the Maroon Bells, though most people probably wouldn’t recognize it at first glance.
Mount Evans - OutThere Colorado
Bike Up a Mountain
While you can find paved mountain passes all over the state, only two fourteeners have paved roads to the top. Head to either Mt. Evans (pictured) or Pikes Peak to tackle the endurance test of a life time.
Red Rocks Amphitheater - OutThere Colorado.
Enjoy An Unforgettable Concert
There are tons of great venues around Colorado, but none compare to the world-famous Red Rocks Amphitheatre. If you want to see a concert that will blow all other concerts out of the water, try to see one of your favorite bands here.
The Wild Animal Sanctuary. Photo Credit: The Wild Animal Sanctuary - OutThere Colorado.
Walk a Mile Into The Wild
Located in Keenesburg, the Wild Animal Sanctuary is home 350 lions, tigers, bears, and other large carnivores. Instead of letting visitors wander around various cages, this sanctuary maximizes the amount of space in each habitat and gives animals peace of mind by putting visitors on a long skywalk. Photo Credit: The Wild Animal Sanctuary.
Help Protect a Precious Ecosystem
Sadly, large amounts of tourism have put some of Colorado’s most unique and most precious ecosystems at risk. If you happen to visit somewhere like Hanging Lake, put forth the extra effort to clean up a little trash and make sure you follow all trail rules.
Photo Credit: Stephen Martin, OutThere Colorado.
Mt. Bierdstadt - OutThere Colorado
Climb a Mountain
Have you made it to the top of a Colorado fourteener using your own two feet? If not, this summer is the perfect time to do it. Climbing season really starts in June and can go through October, giving you plenty of time to conquer as many of the state’s 53 peaks over 14,000 feet as possible. The one in this picture is Mount Bierstadt.
Sky Pond - Steven Bratman - OutThere Colorado
Discover Something New in Rocky Mountain National Park
While Rocky Mountain National Park is the state’s most popular national park and one of the most visited national parks in the world, there are tons of little areas that don’t get much traffic. Hunt one of these places down and experience Colorado how it used to be before it’s popularity took off. Photo Credit: Steven Bratman.
Great Sand Dunes 2 - OutThere Colorado
Dip Your Toes in Some Sand
Believe it or not, Colorado is home to the largest sand dunes in North America. Head down to Great Sand Dunes National Park to check out this one-of-a-kind Colorado opinion.
Reservoir Eleven Mile State Park - OutThere Colorado
Explore A New State Park
Did you know Colorado is home to more than 40 State Parks? Pick one you haven’t been to yet and check it out. Make sure you tag us in your inevitably awesome Instagram post at @outtherecolorado.
Paint Mines - OutThere Colorado
Explore An Otherwordly Destination
In case you haven’t noticed yet, Colorado’s rocks rock. There are tons of unique formations all around the state to explore. One of our favorites is the Paint Mines Interpretive Park near Calhan.
Photo Credit: Michael Ciaglo
Pikes Peak Highway Turns OutThere Colorado
Do Some White-Knuckled Driving
Have a few hours to kill while you’re in Colorado Springs? Head up Pikes Peak Highway to the summit of Pikes Peak at 14,115 feet. At times you’ll feel like you’re driving into the clouds.
D&SNGRR - OutThere Colorado
Ride a Historic Railroad
Thanks to the mining community that helped build a lot of the remote areas of Colorado, several historic railroads can still be found around the state. The railroad that boasts the best views is probably Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. You’ll never forget this cliffside ride.
Black Canyon of the Gunnison - OutThere Colorado.
Stand on a Massive Cliffside
With its most famous wall consisting of a sheer drop of more than 2,000 feet, the Black Canyon of the Gunnison is a great place to test your fear of heights by standing cliffside. Can’t make it there? Another great place to get a canyon view is the Royal Gorge.

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