When you fly into Denver, Colorado, you don’t just get Denver. You also get everything around it.
There are so many places within an hour of the city that are beyond beautiful!
Here are 37 of the most Instagrammable places within about an hour of Denver!
I’ve split them up into five regions. Below is a table of contents in case there’s a specific area you’re looking for!
And if you’re looking for a Denver travel itinerary, check out this post that includes my favorite hidden gems in the area!
Map of Locations
Here is a full map of locations.
I’ve divided the map by area (the same regions mentioned in this post) and have coded the pins by color:
- Red: hotels/places of interest
- Yellow: scenic drives
- Green: hikes
- Blue: pretty view (no hike needed)
- Purple: murals and colorful urban places
Denver & Morrison
1. Union Station
This has to be the prettiest train station I’ve ever seen!
Both inside and out- the architecture and interior design are both jaw-dropping. And when you step inside you’re greeted by a little flower shop!
2. Red rocks amphitheater archway
Most people head straight to the Amphitheater and drive right under this arch without even noticing how Instagrammable this archway is!
I recommend going during the early hours of sunlight; that’s when you’ll capture some beautiful colors here.
Also, please be careful!
This is an active road, so make sure you’re keeping a watchful eye out for cars!
If you want to get a photo here, visit when there aren’t going to be many cars (the earlier in the day, the better!).
3. Red Rocks Amphitheater
The best photography here is at sunrise, in my opinion!
Try to arrive at least 20 minutes before sunrise because Denver has some incredible dawn colors, most of which show up best before the sun actually peeks out!
We didn’t take that into account, and saw the stunning purple/pink sky from our car as we were driving to the Amphitheater! So don’t make the same mistake we did!
Also, check the Red Rocks’ event calendar here to make sure there isn’t an event going on when you’re planning on visiting!
Access to the amphitheater is free when there is no concert going on.
4. Morrison, Colorado
Morrison has the cutest little downtown and is right next to the Red Rocks Amphitheater.
The downtown lines Bear Creek Avenue (the main road), so you literally can’t miss it if you’re driving through.
This little cactus mural is right on the side of the Morrison Inn, where Bear Creek Avenue meets Stone Street.
When you’re here, be sure to stop into the little stores downtown and #shoplocal!
5. Downtown Denver
You can get some architectural shots of Denver featuring some cool downtown buildings just by wandering around the city.
You can also walk along the South Platte River Trail for the photo on the left!
6. The DENVER mural
Nothing says Instagrammable spot in Denver like a big ‘ol mural with DENVER scrawled across it!
7. The “Denver… You’re So Cool” mural
Or how about a comic-strip-esque mural with “Denver… you’re so cool” in the speech bubble?
This is located right behind the 11th Avenue Hostel.
8. The pastel houses on Colfax Ave
I love finding colorful places to photograph, and these pastel houses on Colfax Avenue offer exactly that!
9. Denver’s Rainbow Street Crossing
This cute rainbow sidewalk is located in the River North Arts District. Be sure to look both ways before crossing and snap your photo really quickly!
Or go and visit when there aren’t many cars out- sunrise photoshoot, anyone?
10. RiNo, the River North Arts District
Most of the murals listed in the Denver section have been in the RiNo, or the River North Arts District, but there are so many more all throughout this area!
Honestly your best bet is to just wander around until you find a mural that you love, then photograph it!
11. Pearl Street Mall
Pearl Street Mall is an extremely walkable area in downtown Boulder.
Surrounded by fun local stores to explore, food to munch on, and hotels to stay in, there is plenty to do in Pearl Street Mall.
Bring a zoom lens with you to capture the mountains in the distance in your shot!
12. Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse
The Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse could possibly be the prettiest restaurant in the whole state! With food as yummy as the restaurant is pretty!
Did you know that Dushanbe, Tajikistan gifted the teahouse to Boulder, their sister city?
It was crafted in Tajikistan and brought over to Boulder where it was then assembled.
Check out the stunningly intricate tile work and the beautiful oriental details!
13. Hotel Boulderado- especially at Christmastime!
If you happen to be visited during the winter, stop into Hotel Boulderado for some festive Christmas decor.
Their tree spans the two floors and is framed by a rounded glass ceiling!
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14. Mount Sanitas
This hike takes a lot of time (I’m talking 4-5 hours depending on how fast you hike), but offers some incredible views of Boulder and the surrounding areas.
15. Sunshine Canyon
Sunshine Canyon is another great place for hiking, with a 2.3 mile narrow trail that often has wildflowers in the spring.
It also connects to the back side of Mount Sanitas if you want to check out both at the same time!
16. Flagstaff Mountain
If you prefer to drive to scenic viewpoints instead of hiking, taking the road from Baseline all the way up Flagstaff Mountain is the perfect route to take.
It does require a parking permit, but you can bring $5 cash with you to leave at the pay station in exchange for a permit.
When we did this drive, we pulled off at any stop that looked promising and hopped out of the car to explore a bit and take some photos before heading to the next stop.
17. Walker Ranch
Walker Ranch is located on Flagstaff Mountain, and has some great, open hiking trails with views of the hills.
18. Gross Reservoir
Gross Reservoir is also on Flagstaff Mountain, about a 45 minute drive from Downtown Boulder.
19. Boulder Canyon Drive
There are multiple vantage points of the reservoir; we just drove around the southeastern side of it until we found a spot we liked!
Another scenic drive in Boulder is Boulder Canyon Drive, which takes you due West out of Boulder.
If you’re in the mood for a VERY short hike (I’m talking about an eighth of a mile from the parking lot), the Boulder Falls trail takes you to a 70-foot waterfall. (Note: no swimming or climbing is allowed here).
Please keep in mind that both Boulder Canyon Drive and its surrounding trails have a tendency to being closed due to construction, so check the CDOT website for closure information before visiting.
20. Along South Boulder Creek
South Boulder Creek runs from Gross Dam right through Eldorado Canyon State Park, all the way to Boulder! There are two scenic drives: the first is the Eldorado Canyon State Park drive, which goes down Eldorado Springs Drive. Here you are surrounded by sandstone cliffs and gorgeous pines.
But my favorite stretch of the South Boulder Creek is right by Gross Reservoir. Though it doesn’t follow the whole river, I love the drive from Gross Dam Road to Coal Creek Canyon Road.
21. South Beaver Creek Road, near Pinecliff, CO
Yet another scenic road near Boulder is South Beaver Creek Road.
We took it from Coal Creek Canyon Road until it hits the 119 and found this pretty view of the mountains!
22. Washington Avenue
Golden, Colorado is just a short 25 minute drive from Downtown Denver.
It has the cutest main street (Washington Avenue) that is the perfect place for capturing the Denver sunrise.
Just be careful and watch for cars! We would go out as soon as the lights turned red, to make sure that there would be no cars crossing.
Like I mentioned earlier for the Red Rocks Amphitheater, make sure you arrive well before sunrise so that you can capture the soft colors of dawn.
And if you’re around Golden at night in the winter, the whole street lights up!
23. Table Mountain Inn
We stayed a night at the Table Mountain Inn, which made for the perfect sunrise location.
Since we were just capturing our photo from the balcony, all we had to do was step outside for a minute.
Also, since it is located right on Washington Avenue, dashing out for a photo on the road very convenient!
24. Windy Saddle Park
Windy Saddle Park has some incredible mountain views. To get to the trail head, you’ll drive up the mountain until you reach the parking lot. From there, there are two main trails that you can do!
We did the Chimney Gulch Trail (5 miles round trip), but you can opt to do the 2.6 mile Lookout Mountain Trail if you’re looking for a quicker hike.
25. The peak behind Dream Lake
You’ll find this spot after you follow the path along Dream Lake. Turn right after you pass the lake instead of going straight; you’ll see a narrow hill to climb!
I’m not sure what this place looks like when it isn’t covered with snow, but I bet it’ll still be a stunner!
26. Off the side of the road
As you drive through Rocky Mountain National Park, you’ll see a lot of pull offs throughout the park on the main road. This was the view from one of them!
So keep an eye out for good Instagrammable spots as you’re driving through, you’re bound to find a few!
27. By the Estes Park entrance
This is right at the Estes Park entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park! You just drive down a bit and you’ll see this spectacular view!
We pulled off on the side of the road for a *very* quick photo shoot. (Harrison literally took these photos from the car because it was FREEZING outside!).
28. Bear Lake
Bear Lake is one of the easiest lakes to get to in Rocky Mountain National Park. It is a short hike from the parking lot.
By the way- I had this skirt bundled up inside my jacket while we were hiking! Once we got to our destination, I just took my jacket off and voila!
29. Sprague Lake
Sprague Lake is another easy lake to reach in Rocky Mountain National Park; it is basically right off of the parking lot!
You’ll find that generally the lakes in Rocky Mountain National Park are prettier when they aren’t covered in snow.
But if some wintry weather is going to affect your trip, you can just turn your Instagram photos into fun snow photo shoots!
30. The Stanley Hotel
The Stanley Hotel is most famous for being the inspiration to Stephen King’s The Shining.
If you’re not afraid of a bit of spookiness, head to The Stanley for a glimpse at some antique interiors and a chill or two!
We stayed overnight and the only spooky thing I experienced was getting shocked by static electricity every time I went into the elevator!
Due West of Denver
This area near Denver has some beautiful mountain views. We spoke to a local who pointed us to this location; it is at Rockland Community Church.
We parked there, grabbed the photo on the right, and then we walked to Buffalo Overlook to scout out a good photo location with mountains in the distance.
32. Golden Gate Canyon State Park
Golden Gate Canyon State Park has the prettiest view at the Panorama Point on Gap Rd.
We got the photo on the right as we were driving through the park.
33. The road to Saint Mary’s Glacier
As you drive to Saint Mary’s Glacier from Denver, once you get close to the lake you’ll notice some incredible stretches of road and epic views as you drive up the mountain.
34. Saint Mary’s Glacier
Bring $5 cash for parking! If you’re visiting in the summer, I’d recommend coming early to ensure you get a parking spot.
The hike is about 1.5 miles round trip if you hike to the top, and one mile round trip if you just want to hike to the lake and back.
35. Three Sisters/Aldefer Park
Three Sisters/Aldefer Park is a lovely place for a hike.
Located in Evergreen, Colorado, there are 15.3 miles of trails throughout the gorgeous 1,128 acres of terrain.
We chose to do the Mountain Muhly Trail. As you hike, there are boulders, pine trees, and hills all around you.
36. Devil’s Head Lookout
We ran out of time to do the Devil’s Head Lookout hike but it is on my list the next time we make it to Denver!
Even though we’ve visited Denver 3 times now, we just keep missing this gem!
It is known for its epic sunrises- that is the hike I want to do someday! You can do the sunset hike as well, but I just get weary about hiking in the dark! (I feel like hiking in the dark of pre-dawn isn’t quite as scary as after dusk.)
It is a 2.8 mile round trip hike on a steep trail, and you hike 143 steps to the Fire Tower Lookout (it’s the only operational fire tower in Colorado!).
From there you get 360 degree panoramic views of layers and layers of mountains, rocks, and trees. It is stunning!
37. Lost Creek Wilderness
Located in the Pike National Forest, this area is known for its rock formations, natural arches, and granite domes. Visit at golden hour for the best lighting on the rocks!
Do you have more favorite Instagrammable places around Denver? Comment them below!
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