Colorado is by far my favorite place in the U.S. For me, I’ve realized that I love being in nature. It’s something about it that feels very therapeutic, and reminds me this is a big world, and anything is possible. If you haven’t been to Colorado, but looking into it, you’re probably wondering where to go. Below I’ve put together my top five favorite sights.
If you’re wondering how I developed my list, let me tell you. For my 25th birthday, my fiancé took me to visit. We flew into Denver then drove to Ouray/Telluride and back- basically making a circle around the state.
Keep in mind, there are MANY great places to visit in Colorado. The west half of the state has more mountains than the east, but the east is an up and growing popular city hub.
Starting in fifth place…
This was a town we just so happened to pass through. We thought it was so beautiful we decided to stop- twice. We wasted a lot of our drive here, but it was a great place to stop. It’s located in the heart of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado, and less than an hour from the famous Aspen. I’ve already decided that if we had to move somewhere in Colorado, that’s where it would be. It’s picturesque views and small town vibes are nothing short of a dream.
Pronounced “U”ray, this town is where we spent a good part of our trip. This town is known as the “Switzerland of America” because of its 13,000 ft peak surroundings. Nestled about 40 minutes from Telluride, it’s also known for the Million Dollar Highway that motorcyclists and thrill- junkies love. And yes, it cost a million dollars to build. It’s extremely dangerous because of it’s steep drop offs, and still a totally functioning highway. Our absolute favorite though was the Ouray Perimeter Trail. This trail was a great workout, but one to definitely plan for. Have a map, and bring some hiking sticks. (Click here for these that I highly recommend. They’re within a reasonable budget and can fold up to easily fit in your bag.) There’s beautiful views every which way you look. We actually ended up getting lost in Bear Country, but we weren’t even mad. Check out the video below. This is where we got lost.. if there was any place to be lost, I was fine with it being here.
3) Garden of the Gods
I put Garden of the Gods in third place only because it can be crowded. Otherwise, it’s an amazing site to see. These towering sandstone rocks are a redish color, and definitely stand out in it’s settings. It’s a national natural landmark, and you can hike, and even climb the rocks. Excuse our messy looks in the pictures below, but it was such a beauty to see! Located in Colorado Springs, this town has much to do- and Garden of the God’s should be a must-see on the checklist.
2) Pike’s Peak
Also located in Colorado Springs is Pike’s Peak. This mountain is 14,115 feet tall, and you can actually go all the way up to the top of it (without being an expert hiker). You can drive up a large portion of it, then after a certain point, they’ll make you park, and drive up in a group van the rest of it. I was more intimidated by the sound of driving up a mountain, but it wasn’t all that bad- just take a small car to feel better. I’ll warn you- it’s a bit chilly up top that high, but it’s a beautiful sight to see. They also have a store up top selling hot chocolate, t shirts, and souvenirs. Also has places to sit inside, or go out to take photos. How often do you get a chance to go up a mountain that high without running out of breath? Given the opportunity, you definitely should do it.
1) Estes Park – Emerald Lake
In the number one spot, I have Estes Park. This is in the heart of the Rocky Mountains an hour north of Denver. Taking a hike there is like nothing else I’ve ever seen. The hike isn’t too difficult, and you’re surrounded by beautiful views. In my opinion, it makes the world around us and nature seem like a giant. It is none the less, but living in such a developed area, you forget what that’s like. I highly recommend taking the hike to Emerald Lake. You’re sure to see some really beautiful views along the way – I promise you that. You’ll think you’ve made it to your destination about 3 or 4 times because of how breathtaking some of the sights are. Highly suggest getting their early in the morning, it get’s really crowded during the day, and parking can be difficult. Unlike Pike’s Peak, all the people don’t seem so bothersome because it’s such a large place.
Overall, Colorado is a beautiful state. It’s hard to NOT see a beautiful sight when you go. If you’re a planner like myself, you probably want to find the best places to go. Comment below if you’ve ever visited any of these places, or have additional ones you love!