The famous Great Sand Dunes National Park had to make this list.
The Centennial State has got some of the most amazing natural landscapes across the entire country, and we couldn’t be more excited to explore them all. Ranked one of the top 10 most beautiful states in The U.S., you’ve got to wonder just why it got such a top spot in such a big country? Well Colorado is filled with unique natural landscapes, beautiful small towns, and national parks that are out of this world. We’ve rounded up a list of 7 incredible, natural wonders that are perfect for photos, hikes, or exploring what makes this state beautiful.
1. Rocky Mountain National Park
The Rocky Mountain National Park is one of the country’s tallest national parks and one of the most diverse. Encompassing 415 square miles of mountains, alpine, and trails, this is also one of the U.S.’s most visited parks. Not only does it include one of the longest and tallest winding trails, where hikers climb 4,000 feet in minutes. Nearly 25,000 acres of the Rocky Mountain National Park was declared by Congress as wilderness, keeping its wildlife protected like elk, bighorn sheep, and moose. The park is an amazing winter or summer destination, with a ton of hiking trails, water sports, restaurants nearby, and recreational winter sports to engage in, depending on the season.
2. Maroon Bells
Near Aspen are the lovely Maroon Bells peaks, one of Colorado’s most photogenic spots. But don’t let the photos fool you. This spot is absolutely stunning in person and deserves a real in-person visit to appreciate how stunning and serene this lake and mountain view really is. This spot is just 10 miles west of Aspen and reservations are required if you come via a personal vehicle or shuttle. Go hiking or set up a tent and get ready for a stunning hiking spot.
3. Hanging Lake (currently closed)
The future of tourism in Hanging Lake remains unclear after a devastating mudslide that happened on August 3rd, but we’re hoping that the lakes will be opened again as soon as safely possible. The mudslide left the normally crystal clear blue lake a troubling shade of brown, which hasn’t been seen before. We’re hoping that this stunning lake trail returns to the Denver canon soon enough because it’s quite a beauty and a must-not-miss spot in Glenwood Canyon.
4. Crested Butte
Crested Butte is a mountain town that remains one of the most stunning snowy villages of all time, and though it’s not exactly a natural wonder, it still remains the only great Colorado ski town left and is surrounded by stunning mountains. And it’s not too bad looking in the summer either if the photo above shows even a fraction of its real-life beauty. This little town makes the perfect winter destination, but there’s an abundance of mountains and trails surrounding it to offer a nice summer reprieve from the big city as well. Fun fact: did you know that Colorado’s best rum is made by Montanya’s Distillers here in Crested Butte?
5. Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve
These otherworldly dunes are one of the most interesting and beautiful spots in Colorado. You can participate in one of the most popular park activities, Hiking The Dunes, in which you can climb one of the highest dunes in the country. You can even do a few after dark activities which we would highly recommend checking out. In 2019, the park officially became a Dark Sky Park which means it’s a prime spot for getting a great view of of the Milky Way without light pollution.
6. Red Rocks Amphitheatre
If you live in Denver (or even partially near it) we’re assuming you’ve been to the Red Rocks Amphitheatre, one of the most famed theaters in the country. One of the most unique outdoor venues there is, this stunning space was turned into a concert venue by John Walker, the visionary behind Red Rocks. Since then, in 1906, some of the most famous bands have played here such as the Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, and U2 (rock music was actually banned for five years after a Jethro Tull concert went wrong). Check out the calendar, which is always releasing amazing concerts and even fitness classes.
7. Crystal Mill
One of the most photographed spots in Colorado is Crystal Mill in the small town of Marble, Colorado, which is a 90 minute drive from Aspen. Crystal Mill is not a working mill but a powerhouse that was operating in 1892. While inactive today, the Crystal Mill is a sought out destination for hikers and photographers. Get a guided tour to the Crystal Mill, set up your tripod, and get that perfect shot.
[Featured Image by Rich Martello on Unsplash]