It’s no secret that Colorado is full of adventure. No matter where you go—from the peaks of incredible mountain ranges to the floors of dramatic canyons—there’s sure to be a thrill or two waiting for you. Any local or tourist with an adventurous spirit can take advantage of all the fun Colorado has to offer. Spend a day exploring some of the most exotic trails or make an entire vacation out of experiencing some of the state’s most exciting destinations. If you want to add more adrenaline to your bucket list, check out some of these top thrill-seeking adventures in Colorado.
Cliff Dive at Paradise Cove
Who doesn’t enjoy a refreshing dip in the pool? You can beat the heat this summer with a visit to Paradise Cove. Also known as Guffey Cove, this hidden gem is a popular place to spend a warm summer day. Take a steep yet short hike through a forest and along West Fourmile Creek. At the end of the trek awaits a natural pool hidden by rock walls and fed by a waterfall. It’s an iconic location for the brave of heart to go cliff jumping—at their own risk, of course. Even without the thrills, however, you can enjoy the scenery of the cove-side beach and its surrounding area.
Get Personal with the Gators
While Florida is known for its alligators, you can also get up close and personal with them in Mosca, home of the Colorado Gators Reptile Park. The park opened in 1990 when a couple of farmers—who had bought baby alligators to dispose of the dead fish on their property—gained public interest. They decided to turn their farm into a local attraction, and since then the area has turned into a sanctuary for alligators and other reptiles that used to be exotic pets. The park now offers reptile handling classes where you can learn how to properly handle various reptiles—including gators up to eight feet long! If that’s not exciting enough, you can try your hand at the alligator wrestling classes the park offers.
Climb Via Ferrata
Telluride, Colorado is known for its jaw-dropping views, and the most thrilling way to enjoy those views is easily from the Via Ferrata. The name is Italian, meaning “Road of Iron,” and the experience is one of the biggest adrenaline rushes in the area. Strap on a harness and helmet and make your way across this cliffside high above Telluride. Navigate narrow paths, small footholds, and steep drops of up to 500 feet. This experience certainly isn’t for the faint of heart. If you’re brave enough, though, the glorious views of Bridal Veil Falls and its surrounding area make the adventure more than worth it.
Take the Terror-Dactyl Canyon Swing
Near Colorado Springs, you’ll find the Cave of the Winds—an area that’s just as cool as its name suggests. In addition to exploring the elaborate cavern system there, you can also spend a day in the area’s mountain adventure park. You can find some of the best thrill-seeking adventures in Colorado here, including lantern tours through the caverns and high-ropes obstacle courses over Williams Canyon. However, one of the most notable experiences is easily the Terror-Dactyl Canyon Swing. Hop onto the swing at the edge of a 200-foot cliff before soaring down into the canyon at over 100-miles per hour. Whether you laugh or scream as you swing back and forth across the canyon, the rush will have you coming back to ride again and again.
Soar Down Sand Dunes
Colorado’s biggest claim to fame is easily the Rocky Mountains, but its massive desert is also worth a visit—or two, or three, or five. Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve is located on the edge of the San Luis Valley. Here you’ll find 40,000 acres of the tallest sand dunes in North America. Some of them even reach up to 750 feet tall! The area attracts countless visitors who simply want to hike or enjoy the view, but adrenaline junkies can get their fill by sledding down the massive dunes. If you’re really up for a challenge, rent a sandboard or skis to tackle the dunes the same way you would a snowy mountainside.
Brave the Royal Gorge Bridge
Royal Gorge Bridge in Cañon City, Colorado is the highest bridge in America, meaning there’s no end to the thrilling attractions you can find here. Simply walking across the 956-foot high bridge is enough to get your heart pumping. You can also take a gondola across the canyon to get a better view of the gorge and the Arkansas River below. For a true adrenaline rush, you can take a zip line—the highest one in the United States—across the canyon. You can also hop on a swing and let it dangle you above sheer cliff walls and a 1200-foot drop to the river below.
Trek Along Devil’s Causeway
It seems like everywhere you turn in Colorado, there’s a new thrilling hiking trail to try. What makes this loop near Yampa, Colorado stand out from the others? You can start with the stunning views of the Flat Tops Wilderness Area—which you’ll get to see from an elevation of 11,800 feet. Devil’s Causeway isn’t for anyone with a fear of heights. The trail narrows to a mere four feet in some areas. Sheer drops of several hundred feet surround the Causeway itself, making crossing a tricky yet rewarding journey.
Drive the Million Dollar Highway
If you want to experience an adrenaline rush without having to leave your car, Colorado’s Million Dollar Highway is the place to go. Experience the San Juan Mountains from the comfort—or thrill—of your own vehicle as you drive this 25-mile stretch between Silverton and Ouray. It’s best to have some mountain driving experience before taking this road. With hairpin turns, steep cliffs, and a lack of guardrails, you’ll want to be careful on the journey. However, the incredible scenery as you traverse mountains and pass waterfalls makes the trip one of the best drives in the nation.
Whether you’re packing a Colorado beanie for a mountain trip or renting a sandboard to explore the desert, every corner of Colorado is bursting with thrilling things to see and do. Jot these down on your bucket list and get ready to tell your friends about your incredible experiences the next time you visit our adventure-filled state.