Where Will Colorado Take You Today?
Along with climbing 14ers, hitting the slopes, and sipping seasonal craft beers, there’s a lot to see and do in Colorado! Whether you're a thrill-seeker or more of a laid-back nature lover, Colorado has something just for you. It’s the perfect state for adventurers from all walks of life.
Check out these “colorful” Colorado bucket list suggestions:
1. Take a scenic steam train ride on the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad
One of the last in the U.S. to still be powered by steam locomotives, the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad journeys through the San Juan Mountains in southwest Colorado. The train travels through canyons, over bridges, and along rivers—all while providing you with an interesting historical perspective on the area. You'll also get some great views of wildlife!
479 Main Avenue
Durango, CO 81301
2. Visit The Great Stupa of Dharmakaya for its magnificent, sacred Buddhist architecture
The Great Stupa of Dharmakaya is located in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. One of the largest stupas (dome-shaped structures, often shrines) in the world, it was built by monks in honor of their monastery that was destroyed in Tibet. Since it opened its doors to visitors in 2017, The Great Stupa has been visited by thousands of people who come to pay homage, as well as learn more about Buddhism's history and teachings through guided tours.
151 Shambhala Way
Red Feather Lakes, CO 80545
3. Take a gondola, zip line, or walk the Royal Gorge Bridge 1,200 feet above the Arkansas River
If you're looking for an adventurous, spine-tingling way to see Colorado, look no further than the Royal Gorge—the world's highest suspension bridge. No matter how you decide to traverse it, you’ll be able to see all the way down to the river below. In addition, Royal Gorge offers plenty of other ways to get your adrenaline pumping, including rock climbing and white water rafting.
4218 Co Rd 3A
Cañon City, CO 81212
4. Tour Stranahan's Whiskey Distillery and stick around to enjoy the cocktail bar
It’s hard to find a place that embodies the spirit of adventure like Stranahan’s. The distillery is in an old horse barn, and the tasting room is in an old theater—both of which were saved thanks to this Roucy Mountain distillery. The tour itself is interesting and informative, but you can also enjoy whiskey-based cocktails afterward—just ask the mixologists for their recommendations.
200 S Kalamath Street
Denver, CO 80223
5. Experience Frozen Dead Guy Days in Nederland
Experience a unique weekend-long festival that honors Grandpa Bredo Morstoel, cryogenically frozen in a Tuff Shed above the town. You read that correctly. One of the most unique festivals you will ever experience, Nederland treats festival guests to a wide range of activities including concerts, parades, parties and fun competitions. A highlight of this festival is the coffin races featuring teams racing their coffins down a hill in hopes of winning the coveted trophy.
6. Hike Mount Sanitas, Chautauqua or the Flatirons then get dumplings at Zoe Ma Ma in Boulder
If you're looking for a way to get your adrenaline pumping, look no further than the many hikes that make Boulder such a desirable place to call home. Mount Sanitas, Chautauqua, and the Flatirons are great places to start. After taking in the stunning views, head over to Zoe Ma Ma Dumpling House (Boulder) to restore your energy. This place has been voted "Best Dumpling House" by 5280 Magazine 9 years in a row. One bite, and you’ll know exactly why!
7. Go sandboarding or sledding at the Great Sand Dunes
If you're looking for a new adventure, check out the tallest sand dunes in North America where you can experience the rush of sandboarding or sledding. Be sure to stop at the Oasis Store a few miles from this National Park to rent a board or sled—snow equipment will just get bogged down in the sand. The park also offers a diversity of landscapes to explore, as well as the ability to camp, hike, stargaze, or simply enjoy a post-boarding picnic.
11999 State Highway 150
Mosca, CO 81146
8. Take a night tour at The Stanley Hotel, inspiration for Stephen King’s The Shining
Perched on a hill overlooking Estes Park, this iconic hotel has a presence. From its Colonial Revival architecture to the distinctive red roof, The Stanley is gorgeous. Of course, it’s more well known as the inspiration for Stephen King's novel, The Shining—all it took was the author spending one night in the hotel. Now, you can experience The Stanley firsthand with a spirited night tour that will take you through the dark edges of the hotel. If you dare!
333 Wonderview Avenue
Estes Park, CO 80517
9. Tour the Mesa Verde National Park’s well-preserved Ancestral Puebloan cliff dwellings
Established in 1906, this spectacular window into the past has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Biosphere Reserve. When visiting, you can take a guided tour or explore on your own. And options range from easy walks to strenuous hikes that require climbing ladders or ropes. The park also offers hiking, stargazing, bird watching, and other guided programs.
34879 Highway 160
Mancos, CO 81328
10. Drive the Peak to Peak Scenic and Historic Byway for autumn leaf-peeping
Established in 1918, Colorado's oldest scenic byway is a must for fall leaf-peeping. It stretches for 55 miles from Estes Park to Blackhawk and Central City, passing through the mountain towns of Allenspark, Ward and Nederland. Along with taking in the mesmerizing gold leaves of changing Aspens, you can explore side roads that branch off from this scenic route. You'll find high-country lakes, trailheads, old mining sites, and even ghost towns along the back roads!
11. Check out “First Friday” Art Walks, Denver's Santa Fe Art District’s Signature Event
The signature event of Denver's Art District on Santa Fe, First Friday Art Walks take place every month from 5:30-9:30 pm. It's a great way to get to know some of our local artists by exploring the many galleries and shops where you can buy original art or pick up some cool accessories. You'll also find restaurants, bars, and even food trucks if you want to make a full night of it.
Prime Area: 5th through 11th Avenue
Denver, CO, 80204
12. Enjoy an easy hike through the Paint Mines for a display of vividly colored rock formations
One of El Paso County’s most unique open spaces, Paint Mines Interpretive Park features clay rock formations where oxidized iron compounds have created brightly colored bands. This clay was once collected and used by American Indians to make paint! The best time of year to visit is during the spring and summer when it's not too hot, and it’s perfect for both families as well as adults who might not want a lot of physical exertion but are still up for an adventure.
29950 Paint Mines Road
Calhan, CO 80808
Even More Colorful Colorado Bucket List Ideas
There’s absolutely no shortage of adventure if you’re up for it. Check out these options, too:
- Explore Colorado’s many ghost towns, including Saint Elmo and Carson
- Hit the slopes at Colorado’s best ski spots—Vail, Steamboat, Crested Butte and more
- Pull on your cowboy boots for the National Western Stock Show
- Soak in hot springs—Iron Mountain, Strawberry Park, Mount Princeton and more
- Tour Boulder craft breweries, including Avery, Upslope, Oskar Blues and Left Hand
- Attend a concert or movie at Red Rocks Amphitheatre
- Catch a Broncos, Avalanche, or a Rockies game depending on the time of year
- Hike, climb, fish, camp, bike and view wildlife (safely) in Rocky Mountain National Park
- Feed the giraffes and view all the animals at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo
- Hike a 14er or ride the Pikes Peak Cog Railway and climb to 14,115 feet
- Attend the Great American Beer Festival—if you can grab tickets in time
- Enjoy a steak and other delicacies at the historic Buckhorn Exchange in Denver
- Skydive and catch some amazing views in Longmont
- Attend the Telluride Bluegrass Festival