Colorado is a state renowned for its stunning landscapes, abundant outdoor recreation possibilities, and some unique hidden gems. If you’re an adventure seeker looking to discover the best of what Colorado has to offer, you’ve come to the right place. In this ultimate guide to Colorado adventure seeking, we will explore some of the best opportunities in Colorado for beginner adventurers and experienced thrill-seekers alike. Check out must-see bucket list locations, exciting hidden gems, and tips and best practices for making the most out of every destination you visit.
Outdoor Activities for Everyone
With diverse ecosystems, pristine lakes, lush green forests, and snow-capped peaks, the state of Colorado boasts some of the most stunning landscapes in the nation. At every turn, you’re greeted with breathtaking views and endless opportunities to explore the great outdoors. This means there’s an endless array of fantastic outdoor opportunities just waiting for you.
If you’re not sure where to start, we recommend checking out the state’s thousands of miles of hiking trails. From easy, relaxing treks through wildflower fields to thrilling climbs on one of Colorado’s 14ers, hiking opportunities exist for every kind of adventurer. And if you want to explore the trails but are looking for a more thrilling experience, mountain biking might be perfect for you.
For winter lovers, Colorado’s abundant mountainsides are a haven for skiers and snowboarders. You can also enjoy the slopes on sleds, snowmobiles, snowshoes, or even horse-drawn sleighs. Like the idea of soaring down the slopes but aren’t a fan of the cold? Head to Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve and take your skis or snowboard (or is it a sandboard?) down the massive dunes there.
If you’re new to the Colorado outdoor scene, there are a few bucket list destinations you’ll want to cross off your list. World-famous locations like Rocky Mountain National Park, the resorts in Telluride, and Colorado Springs’s Garden of the Gods are overflowing with breathtaking scenery and thrilling adventure.
Rocky Mountain National Park
This iconic national park is in the northern part of Colorado and draws millions of visitors every year. It’s home to spectacular mountainous landscapes, pristine lakes, and abundant wildlife. Take a stunning drive to the top of Trail Ridge Road, which offers breathtaking views of the Continental Divide. Or take a leisurely stroll around one of the many stunning lakes, such as Bear Lake or Sprague Lake. Rocky Mountain National Park also offers opportunities for camping, rock climbing, and fishing.
Telluride, a charming mountain town located in southwestern Colorado, is an iconic destination for skiers, hikers, and outdoor enthusiasts. Dramatic mountain peaks surround this town, which is home to some of the best skiing in the country. You can also take a scenic gondola ride to the Mountain Village, where you’ll find a variety of restaurants, shops, and outdoor activities.
Garden of the Gods
Located in Colorado Springs, Garden of the Gods is a unique geological wonder that features towering sandstone formations that are millions of years old. The park offers stunning views of Pikes Peak and has numerous hiking trails that cater to all skill levels.
Colorado’s Best-Kept Secrets
Colorado’s most popular locations are iconic for a reason, but there’s also plenty to explore off the beaten path. The Centennial State is full of hidden gems for you to visit whenever you want to escape the crowds and discover something new.
One of the most picturesque sites in Colorado, Crystal Mill is an old wooden power station situated above the Crystal River. It powered the Sheep Mountain Tunnel—a silver mine—from 1893 until the mine closed in 1917. Today, it’s a charming historical landmark set within a picturesque landscape outside the town of Marble. You can either hike or take an off-road vehicle to this well-preserved, 19th-century structure. Be sure to bring your camera along for some fantastic photo opportunities.
This offbeat attraction is a must-see on any Colorado road trip. Bishop Castle is a quirky, three-story mansion built by one man, Jim Bishop, over the course of 40 years. The castle’s unique architecture and whimsical touches are a delight to explore. Explore bridges, towers, and a dragon’s head that breathes fire!
Paint Mines Interpretive Park
The Paint Mines Interpretive Park is another hidden gem in Colorado. This unique park features brightly colored hoodoos, spires, ridges, and other rock formations that erosion and a mineral-rich earth created. The park’s vibrant rock formations make it a photographer’s dream destination.
Tips for Making the Most of Your Adventure
Now that you have plenty of ideas for where to go and what to do, let’s review some guidelines that will help you make the most of your visit. From planning ahead to preserving the natural beauty of the land, these tips will help conclude the ultimate guide to Colorado adventure seeking.
Book in Advance
If you’re going anywhere that requires a reservation—including campgrounds, ski lodges, or certain attractions—be sure to plan far in advance. Many of Colorado’s iconic destinations fill up fast, so you want to iron out the details of your trip as early as possible to get the best options available.
Prepare for Altitude
Colorado is situated at an average altitude of 6,800 feet above sea level. Altitude sickness is a common occurrence for visitors who aren’t used to such heights. Before embarking on your Colorado adventure, give yourself time to acclimate to the altitude. Drink plenty of water, avoid alcohol for your first day or two, and give yourself time to rest when you need to.
Respect the Wilderness
One of the biggest draws of Colorado is its natural beauty. Help make sure that beauty sticks around by treating the places you explore with respect. Follow park rules, pick up after yourself wherever you go, and always respect the wildlife.
Gear Up With YoColorado
Before you venture into the glorious Centennial State, make sure you grab some stylish Colorado apparel from YoColorado. Explore clothing, accessories, and other pieces the whole family will love. Be sure to check out our adorable kids’ Colorado hats and other great gear when you visit us online or at our Golden location.