From the Rocky Mountains, epic scenery, active outdoor lifestyle, the state’s rich history, wildlife galore, and a mix of major cities and quaint mountain towns, there’s a lot to experience in Colorado.
Whether you want to simply take in the sights or do something that will get your heart pumping, this Colorado bucket list serves as the perfect guide for travelers.
12 Once-in-a-Lifetime Things To Do in Colorado
Here are 12 of the top places to visit in Colorado on your next trip to this gorgeous state.
1. Colorado’s 58 Fourteeners
Colorado has a whopping 58 “fourteeners” –– mountains at least 14,000 feet tall. To put that into perspective, even Alaska only has 19! Hike some of the more accessible ones, like Grays Peak or Mount Elbert if you’re up for a challenge. If hiking isn’t really your thing, you can also drive to the summit of some fourteeners, the most famous being Pikes Peak.
2. Colorado National Parks
Rocky Mountain National Park is a top place to visit in Colorado, but the other three lesser-known parks have plenty to offer also. Great Sand Dunes has the tallest dunes in North America, while Black Canyon of the Gunnison is home to one of the most awe-inspiring Colorado nature attractions, the “Grand Canyon of Colorado.”
3. Royal Gorge Suspension Bridge
At 956 feet above the Arkansas River, you’ll find the Royal Gorge suspension bridge, one of the highest in the world. You can (slowly!) walk across it, but if you’re really looking for once-in-a-lifetime things to do in Colorado, consider riding the aerial gondola or ziplining across the canyon! Talk about exhilarating!
4. Mount Evans Road
Wondering why a road should be on your Colorado bucket list? Mount Evans Road is the highest paved road in America, reaching 14,130 feet above sea level. That’s above the treeline AND cloudline! There are no guardrails toward the top and there’s snow on the road most of the year, so drive with extreme caution.
5. Soak in a Natural Hot Spring
Some of the most spectacular Colorado nature attractions are hot springs. All over the state, you’ll find both developed, spa-like hot spring pools like those at Glenwood Springs and rustic, undeveloped springs such as Radium Hot Spring near Kremmling. Soaking in a natural spring is one of those once-in-a-lifetime things to do in Colorado!
6. Garden of the Gods
As one of the state’s most photographed sites, Garden of the Gods is a top place to visit in Colorado. The contrast of the red rock formations against snow-capped Pikes Peak is magnificent! Enjoy the park by hiking, biking, taking a scenic drive, or a guided tour. Best of all, Garden of the Gods is totally free!
7. World-class Ski Resorts
One of the ultimate Colorado bucket list experiences is skiing, snowboarding, or tubing down a steep hill in the winter. Colorado has several dozen world-class ski resorts including Vail and Breckenridge, but there are plenty of smaller resorts with unique offerings too. Echo Mountain is just 36 miles from Denver and Howelsen Hill is Colorado’s oldest ski resort.
8. Million Dollar Highway
The stretch of Highway 550 that runs between Silverton and Ouray, Colorado, is known as the Million Dollar Highway. The scenery is jaw-dropping, but the drive itself, full of hairpin turns and “S” curves, makes this one of those once-in-a-lifetime things to do in Colorado. Be sure to spend some time in Ouray, too, known as the “Switzerland of America.”
9. Ghost Towns
Colorado was established during the Gold Rush in the late 1800s. Mining camps and towns were built practically overnight — and abandoned just as quickly when the boom turned to a bust. Today, visiting some of these ghost towns should be on your Colorado bucket list. Check out St. Elmo, Independence, or Animas Forks.
10. Manitou Springs
Next to Garden of the Gods at the base of Pikes Peak, this historic, eclectic former mining town is a top place to visit in Colorado. Visit the famous penny arcade, drink from eight natural mineral springs around town, hike the Manitou Incline, and go see the Manitou Cliff Dwellings.
11. Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad
Riding on this historic train is truly one of those once-in-a-lifetime things to do in Colorado. There are several scenic trains in the state, but the D&SNG has been continuously operating since 1882! Year-round, the train offers scenic rides along the Animas River and through Cascade Canyon.
12. Red Rocks Amphitheatre
Just outside Denver in Morrison, lies one of the most stunning concert venues in the world: Red Rocks. The amphitheater is naturally formed from red sandstone, making it not only incredibly scenic but lending amazing acoustics as well. Catch a concert here if you get the chance. We promise it’s worth it!
That wraps up our 12 can’t-miss destinations in Colorado. We hope this guide gave you the inspiration you needed to create your Colorado bucket list!
Check Off Your Colorado Bucket List on a Road Trip
Which of these top places to visit in Colorado will you head to first? Whichever it is, consider renting a Cruise America RV rental to make your trip comfortable, convenient, and memorable. Simply pick up your RV from one of our Colorado rental locations, then start adventuring!