30 Of The Best Colorado Adventures
mile high fun
check out 30 of the best adventures across Colorado in celebration of 303 day
1. hike devil's head
Colorado is not short of epic views or epic trails across the state. Devil's Head maybe one of the most iconic hikes because of its accessibility and amazing reward at the top. Take your crew to one of Colorado's oldest fire lookouts! This 100 year old lookout is still used and occupied today. You'll see the rangers home and views that will take your breath away. Don’t let the metal stairs intimidate you, just power through and don’t look down! Read more details in my blog post here: http://www.saltwatervibes.com/new-blog/devils-head?rq=devils%20head
Hours of Operation: sunrise - sunset
Address: Devils Head, Colorado 80135, USA
2. visit maroon bells
Welcome to Maroon Bells - one of Colorado's most photographed spots! This unreal view of the Rocky Mountains just might convince you to move to the great outdoors. This beautiful scene sits about 10 miles outside of Aspen and is open for your viewing and hiking pleasure. If you are a true adventurer and love 14er's, then this a spot for you. If your just a casual nature junky, there are lots of other small trails around the lake basin and surrounding areas. Feel free to bring a picnic and stay a while!
Hours of Operation: 8am - 5 pm [see closing dates on website below]
Address: Maroon Bells, Colorado 81654, USA
3. visit the United States Air Force Academy Cadet Chapel
This stunning chapel was named a US National Historic Landmark in 2004. Rightfully so, this beautiful building stands as a the main focus of the US Air Force Academy grounds. While church is not in service, the doors are open for your viewing pleasure. Not only is it a work of art on the outside, but the floor to ceiling stained glass ancients will truly blow your mind on the inside. Be sure to take a peek at the organ, or come to a service to hear its true beauty. The church holds many religious services of all backgrounds which you can find more about here at the bottom of the page, https://www.usafa.edu/academics/facilities/cadet-chapel/
Hours of Operation: see service schedule Website: https://www.usafa.edu/academics/facilities/cadet-chapel/
Address: 2306 Sijan Drive United States Air Force Academy, CO 80840
4. walk around echo lake
Echo lake is one of the best spots to see in Fall. Although, truly it’s a gem all year round. With lots of trails around the lake and further out into nature, it's a great spot to just come relax for the day or set out on a true Colorado adventure! You can read a few more details in this blog post, http://www.saltwatervibes.com/new-blog/echo-lake. Don’t forget to pack your picnic + clean up your trash!
Hours of Operation: sunrise - sunset
Address: CO-103 & Mt Evans Rd, Evergreen, CO 80439, USA
5. explore garden of the gods
Garden of the Gods is arguably one of the prettiest places in Colorado. The stunning red rock towering above the ground is truly something you must see for yourself. At the park you can walk along various trails, visit the museum, or chat to one of the park employees at the visitors center. You will see so many beautiful views, so don’t forget your camera!
Hours of Operation: 8am - 7pm
Address: 1805 N. 30th St., Colorado Springs, CO, 80904
6. watch a sunset
Colorado Sunsets should never be missed. Whether you're overlooking the Rocky Mountains, or out the rear view of a car mirror, each sunset proves to be unique and worth a look. From bright oranges and pinks Colorado will truly put on a show for you. Like I said, you don’t have to be in an epic spot, although it does help! Try finding a hill or somewhere with clear horizons and you will be just where you need to to see something amazing.
7. smell the flowers at denver botanical gardens
Denver Botanical Gardens is a city gem. Right in the heart of Denver, sits an amazing collection of gardens and plants that will take your breath away. The Gardens host lots of events throughout the year like summer concerts, corn mazes, dances and more. You can find a full list of events here, https://www.botanicgardens.org/events. You can purchase a membership to enjoy the gardens all year long at your own discretion, or just stop by for a day. Feel free to walk around and pack your own picnic, or try out some of the various cafes around the grounds.
Hours of operation: 9am - 5pm
Address: 1007 York Street Denver, CO 80206
8. go white water rafting
White Water Rafting should be on everyone's bucket list, especially here in Colorado! This epic adventure is not for the faint of heart, but it a great activity to get out of your comfort zone! I went with White Water Rafting LLC in Glenwood Springs Colorado which takes you down the Colorado River! It is so much fun to paddle through the rapids and feel the freezing water splash on your face! At the very end of the tour you can jump in and swim while all the rafts float around! Check out more on my blog post here, http://www.saltwatervibes.com/new-blog/2015/9/13/white-water-rafting?rq=white%20water%20rafting. Make sure you know what to wear whitewater rafting too!
Hours of operation: see tour times on website
Address: 2000 Devereux Rd. Glenwood Springs, CO 81601
9. Go off roading
Are you looking to push your adventure limits? Off roading is truly an adventure for the brave, but there are also lots of other roads for those who are looking for a smaller thrill. Cinnamon pass is probably one of the most beautiful passes to go off roading, you can read more about it here http://www.saltwatervibes.com/new-blog/2015/10/5/off-roading?rq=off%20roading. But like I said, there are drives all across the state that will fit your needs. My best advice is to rent a 4WD car and take your time. These adventures are meant to take time and showcase some of the most beautiful parts of the state. Lots of times these roads will take you to old mining towns!
10. hit the slopes
Colorado is home to some of the best ski slopes in the World! From Vail to Loveland, and every mountain in between, you will surely find a run you like. Whether you are a long time skier, or trying to snowboard for the first time, Colorado will help you have the experience you always dreamed of. Often time day passes can be a bit pricey so it is advised to go for a weekend. But, you can have plenty of fun with just a day too! Check out some of Colorado's best resorts here: https://www.coloradoski.com/
11. learn about an old mining town
Mining was very popular in Colorado's abundant land. Back in the day, whole towns were built in mountain sides and deep valleys for mining. Today, these landmarks are being preserved as best the can by the Colorado Mining Association. Lots of times these sites are located on off roading routes, but places like Georgetown make some mining history easily accessible. Check out sites and information on the CMA website here, http://www.coloradomining.org/
12. play outside
There is nothing like the great outdoors! Colorado is a very outdoorsy state full of all kinds of adventures in nature. Go on a new hike, find a waterfall, go ATVing, or even look at flowers or for wildlife. All kinds of free fun can be found outside. With a state this pretty, you're sure to find a new adventure in your own backyard!
13. check out rocky mountain national park
As if Colorado couldn’t be cooler, it is also home to four National Parks! Rocky Mountain National Park is the more popular of all National Parks as it showcases some of the most beautiful parts of our Rocky Mountains. With tons of hiking, camping, walking, and sightseeing - it is the perfect place to spend one day or one week! Trail Ridge Road, or Highway to the Sky, is not to be missed! You may run into some pretty cool wildlife or plants on your visit so don’t forget that camera at home! Their website and visitors center will provide you with all the information you need on the best stay possible.
Hours of operation: 24 hours a day 365 days a year
Address: 1000 US Hwy 36 Estes Park, CO 80517
14. or great sand dunes national park
Great Sand Dune National Park will bring out the kid in all of us! Giant hills of Sand as far as the eye can see make for some great sledding and photos. This National Park is kind of in the middle of nowhere which makes the experience that much better. But because it is a bit of a drive from the nearest town, most people plan their visit to be more than a day. With lodging available on the park, or tons of campsites, you can easily find an accommodation that fits your needs. The sand here gets HOT so it is very important to remember the right socks and footwear. You can read some more helpful tips in my post here, http://www.saltwatervibes.com/new-blog/2016/8/22/sand-dunes?rq=colorado
Hours of operation: 24 hours a day 365 days a year
Address: 11999 State Highway 150 Mosca, CO 81146
15. go free rafting
Boulder Colorado is hippy town! From walking down Pearl Street, to touring CU, a trip cannot be complete without floating down Boulder Creek. Even though this adventure is only around in the summer due to freezing water temperatures, it is still not one to miss! You can rent gear from White Water Tubing & Recreation like me, or bring your own! Walk up the river a ways so you can freely float down back into town. If you rent, it comes with a free shuttle service so you don’t have to waste adventure time walking!
Hours of Operation: Summertime 10 am - 6 pm
Address: 2709 Spruce St. Boulder CO 80302
16. swim at glenwood hot springs
Glenwood Hot Springs is an iconic spot in Colorado. With the World Largest Hot Spring right at your fingertips, it's one place that's hard to leave! Glenwood has a few different pools to choose from ranging in temperature, and activity! There is a pool for laps, play, relaxation, and some hot hot tubs of course. Soaking in the warm mineral water is just one way to relax here, with water massage chairs and a full lodge and spa, you will surely find your inner peace here.
Hours of operation: 7:30 am - 10 pm * check seasonal hours
Address: 401 North River Street Glenwood Springs, CO 81601
17. scream it out on the terror-dactyl
Perhaps one of the best adventures in Colorado is located at the Cave of the Winds in Colorado Springs. The Cave of the Winds has tons of cool adventures and learning opportunities but the Terror-Dactyl may trump them all. Free falling 150 feet at 100 miles per hour into the Colorado Canyon is as crazy as it sounds! You will literally be launched from the 200 foot cliff into the canyon. While it might sound terrifying, the amazing views inside the canyon are 100% worth it. Rashawn's reaction will truly make you LOL - watch it here and check out some other details too - http://www.saltwatervibes.com/new-blog/2015/9/13/canyon-diving?rq=colorado
Hours of operation: 10am - 5 pm
Address: 100 Cave of the Winds Rd, Manitou Springs, CO 80829
18. Hike to hanging lake
Hanging Lake has recently received a lot of attention in the media making it one of Colorado's most popular trails! So much so, the State has recently put a limit to the number of people allowed to hike it a day, so get here early! While it may be a pain to find parking and trek up the steep inclines, this hike is truly worthwhile. The stunning site of this lake and ‘hanging’ waterfall will make you appreciate Mother Nature that much more. There is no swimming allowed but definitely bring a picnic to enjoy at the top! You can read more about the hike and tips in my post here, http://www.saltwatervibes.com/new-blog/2016/2/6/hanging-lake?rq=colorado.
Hours of operation: 24 hours a day
Address: 900 Grand Avenue Glenwood Springs, CO 81601
19. see rocky mountain gold
Ready for some Rocky Mountain Gold? Fall time in Colorado is one of the most magical experiences you can have. Miles of Aspen Trees turn bright shimmery gold creating nothing but mountain magic. There are tons of places all over the state to see Aspens, so check out my guide on some of the best places to see them! You can read it here, http://www.saltwatervibes.com/new-blog/aspens?rq=colorado
20. feed a giraffe at cheyanne mountain zoo
Are you an animal lover!? Then Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is the place for you. This unique zoo will quickly become one of your favorites due to the amazing layout. With big, airy ‘cages’ you are able to see a lot of these animals up close and personal! You can even feed the giraffes, which is one of the highlights of course! Hop on the ski lift to get an overlook of the zoo and some of the animals habitats from above. You will definitely get your steps in here so wear some comfortable shoes :)
Hours of Operation: 9am - 5pm
Address: 5728, 4250 Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Rd, Colorado Springs, CO 80906, United States
21. go Stand up paddling
Ready to SUP!? This water sport has taken Colorado by storm. From lakes to rivers and even some reservoirs the State has made it very accessible to try out the new craze. There are lots of places to rent them, or grab an inflatable one from Costco! I have been quite a few places around the state, but nothing beats Lake San Cristobal. This quiet lake is one of the most beautiful places in the whole state, and because it is not well known and a bit far out, you're more than likely gonna have the whole place to yourself like me! You can check out some more pics and info in my post here, http://www.saltwatervibes.com/new-blog/2015/9/17/lake-san-cristobal?rq=colorado
22. hold on tight at telluride offroad adventures
Telluride should already be on your Colorado bucket list due to its insane beauty and small town charm. But once you arrive, taking part in Telluride Off Roading Adventures will be the cherry on top! Take an old Army tank to the top of the mountains, passing by lots of old mining towns, stunning lookouts, and a clear view of some of the most amazing 14er's. This adventure will get you heart rate up overlooking tiny roads with no safety rails, but the professional trained guides will always ensure your safety.
23. make a new friend
Colorado is home to all kinds of wildlife from bears to chipmunks. So it's more than likely you'll make at least one new friend every time you hop on a trail. It is very important to know what to do when you come in contact with a bear, mountain lion, bobcat, or even just a deer. Check out the National Park Service website for helpful articles like this, https://www.nps.gov/subjects/bears/safety.htm. It is so important to be educated before you set out because you never know who you could run into! Also please never feed or touch the wildlife.
24. chase waterfalls
Are you a water lover or waterfall chaser? While swimming in these falls is usually not advised, seeing some of these beauties is truly enough. Colorado has amazing falls all across the state. Some you can drive up and see, while others require some deep tracks through the mountains. Regardless how you get there, the powerful cascading falls always give me chills, no matter how small.
25. get a scoop of the iconic bonnie brae ice cream
Bonnie Brae Ice Cream is a staple to being a true Coloradan. With lines out the door almost all year long, it's almost impossible to pass by without stopping. All the deliciousness is made daily from scratch in house, and you can tell they only serve the best of the best. From flavors ranging from chocolate to sweet combos like Mocha Chip and Lemon Custard - you'll find just about everything in between. Bonnie Brae promises to serve up something everyone can enjoy. My favorite is the Cinnamon - you can thank me later :)
Hours of Operation: Sunday - Thursday 11 am - 9:30 pm Friday + Saturday: 11 am - 10 pm
Address: 799 S University Blvd Denver, CO 80209
26. visit colorado's most unique castle
Welcome to the most unique castle you will ever visit! This entire building was made by one man and his own two hands. Jim Bishop has been crafting this castle for over 60 years. He started it to show people to never give up on their dreams. He has added bridges and a fire breathing dragon! The castle has been operating as a non profit since he started, encouraging people from all over to come see, explore, and enjoy his creation free of charge. He does have donation bins and an online donation platform to help finance maintenance and new additions. Jim will continue to keep building until he can’t any longer! Definitely add this castle to your bucket list.
Hours of operation: 24 hours a day 365 days a year
Address: 12705 State Highway 165 Rye, Colorado 81069
27. go to a rockies game
Welcome to the Mile High! Coors Field is home to the Colorado Rockies and good times. Nothing quite beats an evening game here with a cold Coors in hand and peanuts in the other. The atmosphere is always fun and the food is always delicious! You can score great seats pretty easily online, or you can always opt in for the Rock Pile! These bleacher seats only run $5 a seat, making this adventure easy on the pocket book! You're also allowed to bring in your own food and water, just make sure the water has not been opened yet! Coors field recently got some new rooftops bars and restaurants so it is always a good time here!
28. take a tour of the pepsi center
The Pepsi Center is home to Colorado’s best events. From Nuggets games, to watching the Avalanche and Mammoth, or singing to Beyonce, Pepsi Center can do it all. Take an all exclusive tour to learn all about the teams, the facility, and of course see behind the scenes up close in personal. You’ll get to shoot baskets like the Nuggets, sit in the box office like the top dogs, walk through a locker room, and see where all the announcing happens.
Hours of Operation: see openings here: http://www.pepsicenter.com/fan-guide/guest-info/tours/walk-in-tours/
Address: Pepsi Center 1000 Chopper Circle Denver, CO 80204
29. go star gazing
Have you ever dreamed of seeing the Milky Way with your naked eye? Well come on down to Colorado and make those dreams come true! The Rocky Mountains provides some of the best stargazing in all of the West. With low light pollution, as soon as the sun sets the stars come out to play! You can truly see so many stars all over the state, but the higher up and darker you go, the better it will be!
30. take a mountain road trip
The wide open road can be the key to a good adventure! Colorado is full of tons of fun day trip road trips! The mountains are a perfect getaway destination and full of so much to do. Whether you have just a few hours, or a whole week, pack the car and head to the mountains. The drive alone has tons of stunning pull offs and photo ops. Depending on the time of year you can ski, tube, hike, shop, or participate in a festival! There are tons of mountain towns to choose from so you’re guaranteed to find something up your alley!