Trying to determine what to visit when you go to Colorado can be a tough decision. There are a lot of different parks, places, and experiences waiting to be had in Colorado, so you should consider getting into the most important one for you and your loved ones.
Below is a list of some of the most famous landmarks in Colorado that are essential to your visit. Keep reading to determine which one or two of these you are ready to tackle first on your next Colorado trip.
Famous Landmarks in Colorado
1. Rocky Mountain National Park
One of the most frequented parks in the nation, the Rocky Mountain National Park has some of the most splendid views and outdoor options for visitors to choose from.
When you visit the Rocky Mountains, you have to invest in a good pair of hiking boots and pick out a few trails that work for you.
Because of the size of the park, you will need more than one day to explore and see all the different areas available in the Rockies. Make sure you purchase a day pass from the gate so that your car isn’t towed.
Enjoy lots of places to stop for pictures and make sure you pack a lunch and snacks before you get into the park. Food is limited and options outside of the park are not always available.
2. Garden of the Gods Visitor & Nature Center
Located in Colorado Springs is the Garden of the Gods. When you visit this location, make sure you stop in at the visitor center and the nature center to get the most efficient experience.
You can choose to take one of the various tours that are available and catch some of the best views you will find of the Rockies. Give yourself time, at least a half day or the whole day to get through this park and then get back to Denver where you may be staying.
Garden of the Gods was founded in 1907 by the children of Charles Perkins who wanted to protect this area and preserve its natural beauty. Whether you are local to the area or you are just visiting, there are some rules to keep in mind.
It is important to keep the preservation this area, you are not to leave behind any trash in the park or take anything from the park that could impact the economic system.
3. Mesa Verde National Park
This park is one that is also protected at the federal level. You can purchase an annual pass or daily pass for your car to visit. There is rustic camping available in the park, which makes for a great trip and adventure for families in the area.
If you want to stay busy in the park, there are lots of paved and unpaved hiking trails that will get you to different areas so that you can take in the views.
Because Mesa Verde National Park experiences all four seasons, you need to be careful when planning a trip and take into consideration that you may be limited on what you can do in the park.
You also need to dress comfortably for these experiences. If you visit at the right times throughout the year, you may stumble across one of the local events celebrating the Pueblo tribes from this area.
4. Red Rocks Park and Amphitheater
If you want a great view of the Rockies but also want some great music, book an event at the Red Rocks Park and Amphitheater. Throughout the year when the weather s cooperating, there are lots of major events happening in the desert.
The big sky of Colorado can be seen from all angles with thousands of people all in one place in Red Rock Park. This amphitheater was designed by Burnham Hoyt who was an infamous architect in the area.
Since 1936 when the amphitheater was discussed and started under construction, it has had to undergo construction a few times due to the steady exposure that happens with the weather and the elements. However, it has continued to improve and can hold some of the largest names in music for concerts.
5. Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve
If you want to get an up close look at sand dunes that have been preserved in the desert, then Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve has a few sights for you to visit.
You can take hiking trails to these locations and see some of the largest and most unique in the area. There is an advisory in the summer to keep in mind about hiking. The sand has the potential to be hotter in direct sunlight.
Thousands of visitors come to the Grand Sand Dunes each year when they are visiting Colorado for other experiences. This is a large property of over 100,000 acres.
6. Royal Gorge Bridge & Park
If you are near Canon City on your visit to Colorado, you have to stop by the Royal Gorge Bridge and Park to experience the Skycoaster and walk the bridge.
This is a great stop for those who are adrenaline junkies and want to walk the Gorge Bridge over 955 ft. The gorge below the bridge is a deposit for the Arkansas River that runs through the area.
In 2013, the Royal Gorge Bridge and Park experienced a severe wildfire that left damage to the theme park attached to the bridge.
Fortunately, the bridge was spared significant damage but there was some replacing that had to be done in order to get the park reopened.
7. Black Canyon of the Gunnison
The Black Canyon of the Gunnison is one of the youngest national parks, only being founded in 1999. In order to protect the rocks in this area, a national park was required before they were rolled away for other uses.
Today, these rocks are preserved and left alone in the safety of the park. When you visit this park, you can choose to go rock climbing at one of the many cliffs and mountains in the park, hike on some of the back-country trails, or enjoy a quiet afternoon in nature.
It is important to note that all the different activities you can do at Black Canyon are strenuous, so if you have small children or are not in the most ideal fitness regimen, then you may not want to choose more casual activities like camping and working on your wildlife photography skills.
8. Dinosaur National Monument
Have you ever seen a rock that looked like a dinosaur? In Dinosaur, CO you will find a monument that you walk up to and then once you get inside, you can find various fossils.
The fossils within the monument are reminiscent of dinosaurs that once roamed the area and were prevalent. While at Dinosaur National Monument, grab a tour guide and take on the river in some fun and exciting river rafting.
If you need a few days to explore the monument, pick a site at one of the six campgrounds available. There are over 200,000 acres in this park so you have lots of ground to cover during your visit.
Before you visit, however, you need to check on weather conditions that can change and limit your access.
9. Pikes Peak
When you are overlooking the Front Range, you will see Pikes Peak as the highest summit, coming in above 14,000 above sea level.
If you want to take on the summit and conquer it, you can go through Barr Trail or the Manitou and Pike’s Peak Railway, with the latter being the most popular. This is a granite mountain, and you could stumble on pink granite during your climb.
When you make it to the summit of Pikes Peak, enjoy a nice meal of altitude donuts to restore your energy. Because the altitude is so different, water boils at different temperatures and so does the bread rising.
Once you take these items with you, and you start to head back down the mountain, you will notice a completely different texture.
10. Denver Art Museum
If you want to experience some of the finest art in Colorado, with various sculptures and paintings, the Denver Art Museum will help you get your art fix while you are in Colorado.
There are some paintings that are native to the area, and they tell a small story about Colorado, aiding in its history.
Before you visit the Denver Art Museum, make sure you purchase visits ahead of time to ensure there is space for your party.
Also, if you move to the area or live a short distance away, there are various events happening at the Denver Art Museum, and many of them offer something for local children to enjoy.