With its diverse landscapes, stunning scenery, and plethora of outdoor activities, Colorado is a popular summer destination for adventure-seekers and nature enthusiasts alike. In this article, we’ll explore the best places to visit in Colorado in summer, offering something for everyone.
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Rocky Mountain National Park
Trail Ridge Road
One of the most iconic drives in the United States, Trail Ridge Road offers visitors breathtaking panoramic views of the majestic Rocky Mountains, being the highest paved road in the US. Along the way, you’ll have the chance to spot wildlife, such as elk and bighorn sheep, and explore numerous hiking trails.
A must-see destination within Rocky Mountain National Park, Bear Lake is a picturesque alpine lake surrounded by dense forests and towering peaks. The area offers various hiking trails suitable for all skill levels, including the family-friendly Bear Lake Loop and the more challenging hike to Emerald Lake.
Known as the most photographed peaks in North America, the Maroon Bells are a stunning sight to behold. These towering 14,000-foot mountains are surrounded by glacial lakes, wildflower meadows, and dense forests, creating a picture-perfect landscape. Visitors can access the Maroon Bells via a shuttle bus from Aspen Highlands during the summer months, and there are several hiking trails to explore in the area.
Another must-see destination in Aspen, Independence Pass is a scenic mountain pass that reaches an elevation of 12,095 feet. The pass provides access to numerous hiking trails, mountain biking routes, and picturesque viewpoints. Keep in mind that the pass is only open during the summer months due to heavy snowfall in winter.
Great Sand Dunes National Park
Hiking in the Dunes
In this spot, visitors can hike the tallest dunes in all North America dunes, slide down them on a sandboard, or simply enjoy the surreal landscape. Keep in mind that temperatures can reach over 150°F on the sand during summer, so it’s essential to bring plenty of water and protection from the sun.
A hidden gem located just outside Great Sand Dunes National Park, Zapata Falls is a scenic waterfall tucked away in a narrow canyon. The short but adventurous hike to the falls involves wading through a shallow stream, so be prepared to get your feet wet!
Garden of the Gods
This stunning city park is home to towering red rock formations and offers a variety of hiking and biking trails suitable for all skill levels. With its unique geological features and breathtaking views of Pikes Peak, Garden of the Gods is a must-visit destination in Colorado Springs.
One of Colorado’s most famous 14ers, Pikes Peak, offers visitors a variety of ways to reach its summit. You can drive up the scenic Pikes Peak Highway, take the historic Pikes Peak Cog Railway, or hike the challenging Barr Trail. No matter how you choose to ascend, the views from the top are well worth the effort.
Pearl Street Mall
This vibrant pedestrian mall in downtown Boulder is home to a variety of shops, restaurants, and street performers. Stroll through the mall and enjoy the lively atmosphere while browsing local boutiques or grabbing a bite to eat at one of the many outdoor patios.
Located at the base of the iconic Flatirons, Chautauqua Park is a popular destination for hiking, picnicking, and enjoying the stunning mountain views. There are numerous trails to choose from, ranging from easy, family-friendly hikes to more challenging routes for experienced hikers. Don’t forget your camera, as the scenery is truly breathtaking.
Glenwood Hot Springs Pool
After a long day of exploring Colorado’s natural wonders, there’s nothing better than soaking in the soothing waters of Glenwood Hot Springs Pool. The world’s largest hot springs pool offers visitors the chance to relax and rejuvenate in the mineral-rich waters while enjoying the stunning mountain views that surround the pool.
One of Colorado’s most picturesque hiking destinations, Hanging Lake, is a must-visit spot in Glenwood Springs. The hike to the lake is moderately challenging, with steep and rocky terrain, but the reward is well worth the effort. The crystal-clear turquoise waters of Hanging Lake are surrounded by lush vegetation and cascading waterfalls, creating a truly magical atmosphere.
In conclusion, Colorado offers an incredible variety of destinations and activities for travelers seeking a summer adventure. From the stunning landscapes of Rocky Mountain National Park to the charming towns of Aspen and Boulder, there’s something for everyone in the Centennial State. Don’t forget to pack your sunscreen, hiking boots, and sense of adventure as you explore the best places to visit in Colorado this summer!
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best time to visit Colorado?
The best time to visit Colorado depends on your interests and activities you plan on doing. For summer activities like hiking, mountain biking, and exploring national parks, the ideal time is from June to September when the weather is warm and most roads and trails are open.
Are there any must-see attractions in Colorado that are not mentioned in this article?
Yes, Colorado has countless attractions and natural wonders that are worth visiting. Some other notable destinations include Mesa Verde National Park, Telluride, Vail, Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, and the historic town of Georgetown.
How many days do I need to visit Colorado?
The number of days needed to visit Colorado depends on the activities you want to do and the destinations you want to visit. To experience a variety of attractions, it is recommended to spend at least 7-10 days exploring the state.
What are some recommended activities for families in Colorado?
Colorado offers numerous family-friendly activities, such as visiting the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, exploring the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado Springs, taking a scenic train ride on the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, or rafting down the Colorado River.
What should I pack for a summer trip to Colorado?
For a summer trip to Colorado, be sure to pack sunscreen, a hat, sunglasses, insect repellent, comfortable clothing for outdoor activities, sturdy hiking shoes, a reusable water bottle, a lightweight rain jacket, and any necessary camping or outdoor gear if you plan on camping or participating in other outdoor activities.