Stunning mountains, breathtaking hikes, and lovely ski towns make Colorado one of the prettiest states in America! And this is the post for you if you’re looking for the most beautiful places in Colorado!
Harrison and I have visited Colorado many times over the years.
It’s so beautiful!
Also, Harrison’s brother lived in Boulder for a while, and so we visited him several times.
Colorado is an obvious location for scouting beautiful places.
But hopefully, there will be some spots on this list you’ve never heard of that you can add to your list to visit!
Map of the Most Beautiful Places in Colorado
You can open the map to interact with it through Google Maps. I’ve color-coded the pins on the map to match the categories listed on this article:
- Red: Cities & Towns
- Dark blue: Lakes & Waterfalls
- Light blue: Mountains & Hikes
- Green: Parks, National Parks, & Monuments
- Yellow: Scenic Drives & Other Points of Interest
These cities are some of the most beautiful places in Colorado! See which ones made the list!
Denver is large enough that it has everything you expect from a big city like good restaurants, an international airport, and plenty of things to do. It also has a stunning train station, which you should stop into regardless of whether you’re catching a train!
I also recommend visiting City Park: a 330-acre part of downtown Denver featuring a large green space with picnic spots, walking trails, and playgrounds. The park also contains a zoo, planetarium, concert venue, museum, and theater, as well as plenty of restaurants and bars.
This up and coming part of town has both natural beauty and several activities making it the place to see when visiting Denver.
Denver also has what so many cities lack: amazing natural beauty right near town as you can tell from the stunning mountains behind its cityscape and places in town like Denver’s botanic gardens!
One of the coolest places to snag a photo in Denver is the 16th street clock tower because you can actually take a picture within the tower behind the clock face!
This event location where you can host weddings, receptions, and more is a great place to see whether you’re hosting an event or just paying a quick visit!
Get in touch with the event staff here to schedule your visit!
Planning a visit to Denver? See my favorite hidden gems near Denver here!
Harrison and I got to stay in his boss’s Aspen condo one winter, and it was truly luxurious!
This beautiful mountain town boasts excellent skiing, plenty of beautiful hiking and biking trails, and a quaint town square with great restaurants and shopping.
The natural beauty of Aspen is spectacular, and if you have the opportunity, I highly recommend you visit!
Harrison and I have visited Breckenridge a couple of times and have loved it!
This adorable ski town has plenty of shopping, restaurants, and colorful buildings in the town square.
The town itself is very photogenic, and, of course, the Rocky Mountains make for an absolutely beautiful backdrop.
4. Colorado Springs (& Garden of the Gods)
Colorado Springs is a beautiful town that Harrison and I have visited several times!
Unfortunately, we visited before I became a travel blogger, and we don’t have great photos taken in this city, so we’ll need to return someday.
With the iconic Pikes Peak nearby in Pike National Forest as well as The Garden of the Gods (pictured above) with stunning mountain views and red-rock formations, this is a beautiful Colorado city you don’t want to miss!
5. Crested Butte
Crested Butte, Colorado is a gorgeous ski resort town with plenty of slopes and mountain bike trails.
It’s quaint, small (only about 2,000 people), and has an elevation of nearly 9,000 feet!
Besides great skiing, you’ll see the stunning snow-capped peaks of the Colorado Rockies when you’re in Crested Butte.
The town of Crestone is a tiny village with a population of around 150.
Even though it’s small, it boasts breathtaking mountain views, nestled at the foot of the Sangre de Cristo Mountain Range.
This town overlooks the San Luis Valley and is about an hour to the Great Sand Dunes National Park (more about that later!).
As such, there are beautiful sites to see both in and around town.
7. Estes Park, Colorado
Harrison and I visited Estes Park in November of 2018.
It was beautiful!
We stayed at The Stanley, the hotel that inspired The Shining (yes, kind of creepy but a wonderful hotel). In fact, the photo above is from the patio of The Stanley Hotel.
And we also visited Rocky Mountain National Park, but more about that later!
Estes Park is a beautiful town in its own right, and the nearby Rocky Mountain National Park makes it an obvious choice for one of the most beautiful places in Colorado!
8. Frisco, Colorado.
Frisco, Colorado is a skiers dream!
There are four major ski resorts near Frisco including Breckenridge, Arapahoe Basin, Keystone, and Copper Mountain besides its own ski resort called Frisco Center.
Plus, Frisco itself has plenty of activities and places to enjoy the surrounding beauty like Frisco Adventure Park, Lily Pad Lake Trail, and the Frisco Historic Park and Museum.
9. Grand Junction
Did you know that Colorado has wine country?
And apparently Grand Junction is the hub of Colorado’s wine country!
So if you love wine, you’ll have plenty of wineries and tasting rooms to visit in Grand Junction.
Plus, this city features the James M. Robb – Colorado River State Park as well the Colorado National Monument pictured above!
The Colorado River State Park has lake access, as well as plenty of scenic hiking and biking trails.
And the Colorado National Monument features stunning canyons of red sandstone.
Book Cliffs Viewpoint is near Grand Junction as well. It offers stunning panoramic views of Grand Mesa, Fruita, Grand Junction, Book Cliffs, and the Monument and Wedding Canyons.
The viewpoint area also features an amphitheater, gift shop, campsites, hiking trails, and nearby parking so you can literally drive right up to this beautiful view!
If you’re in or around Grand Junction, definitely make this pit-stop!
In other words, there are so many beautiful places in and around Grand Junction that it definitely made my list of the most beautiful places in Colorado!
10. Steamboat Springs
Steamboat Springs is a city in Yampa Valley that contains the Steamboat Ski Resort and the Howelsen Hill ski area.
Besides skiing, this city is famous for Old Town Hot Springs featuring soaking and swimming pools as well as water slides fed by the city’s natural, underground, geothermal springs.
This quaint town nestled under the mountains has beautiful scenic views and plenty do!
Check it out if you’re in the area!
Also, if you’re in the area, check out Rabbit Ears Pass!
Rabbit Ears Pass has a summit with two large rock formations that look like bunny ears.
You can hike or drive the 4-mile trail to the pass with a four-wheel-drive SUV.
This trail and surrounding area offer plenty of camping, hiking, and fishing in the warmer months, and snowmobiling, snowshoeing, and cross country skiing in the colder months.
If you have the vehicle to access this pass or are willing to make the hike, add this to your list of beautiful places to see in Colorado!
Telluride is such a gorgeous part of Colorado, with two main things I want to highlight: the San Miguel River and Prospect Trail.
If you’re looking to do some white water rafting near Telluride, you’ll probably do it on the San Miguel River.
This gorgeous 80-mile waterway goes from an Alpine tree setting of Telluride to the deserty sandstone environment around the Dolores River.
Following this river allows you to watch this transition and see Colorado’s two most famously beautiful sceneries.
Also in Telluride, check out Prospect Trail. This 8.4-mile trail gaining just under 1,000 feet in elevation near Telluride features a beautiful river and amazing scenery.
Many trail rating websites rank Prospect Trail as an intermediate hike.
So if you’re for a challenge, definitely check out this hike!
Vail is a lovely ski town within White River National Forest.
It has cute, European architecture and plenty of fun activities to enjoy in any season like skiing and snowboarding in the winter and golfing and fly fishing in the summer.
Harrison and I actually visited Vail before I was a travel blogger (so unfortunately I don’t have any photos from our trip).
We loved the cute boutique shops and mom-and-pop stores!
However, if you’re not staying in Vail and you don’t have a parking spot, it can be very challenging to find a place to park.
Once you do find a parking space, the town is very walkable!
Lakes & Waterfalls
Here are the lakes and waterfalls that I think are some of the most beautiful places in Colorado!
13. Gross Reservoir
Gross Reservoir is located in a scenic canyon in Boulder County.
This 440-acre reservoir and the surrounding area feature picnic areas, fishing, seasonal camping, and hiking and biking trails.
In the winter when this reservoir freezes over, it makes for a stunningly beautiful winter landscape!
14. Alta Lakes
Alta Lakes are a series of beautiful lakes near Telluride, Colorado.
You can do a trip here to capture their spectacular beauty, or you can camp at one several camp-sites.
Non-motorized boating is allowed.
Be advised, these campsites are undeveloped and a high clearance vehicle is recommended to access them.
You can learn more about this site on the US Forest Service’s website here.
15. Blue Lakes Trail
This 7.9-mile round-trip hike gains nearly 2520 feet and takes you by three blue lakes in a glacial basin within the Mount Sneffels Wilderness.
This hike isn’t for the faint of heart.
However, the lowest lake has campgrounds available for those who want to split this hike over more than one day.
For all the difficulty of getting to these lakes, the views are stunning!
I hope you can tell by the photo why these lakes certainly deserve a spot on my list of the most beautiful places in Colorado!
16. Bridal Veil Falls
This beautiful 365-foot waterfall overlooks Telluride, Colorado.
The trail to get there is 4.8 miles roundtrip and gains nearly 1,400 feet in elevation.
You can hike or drive to the fall, but if you drive 4-wheel drive vehicles are recommended.
Regardless of how you get there, you’ll love this spectacular view complete with a beautiful waterfall!
17. Fish Creek Falls
You can reach this 283-foot waterfall near Steamboat Springs, Colorado by a 4.7-mile round-trip hike that gains 1,450 feet in elevation.
If you’re ready for the challenge, Fish Creek Falls is beautiful!!
There is actually a lower and upper section to Fish Creek Falls, and most seem to think that the lower section is prettier.
But both are worth seeing as well as the rest of the beautiful nature views on this hike.
18. Grand Lake
Grand Lake is the name of a small Colorado town next to a lake of the same name.
This lake is the deepest and largest natural lake in Colorado and a popular destination for water sports and activities.
The mountainous backdrop, crystal blue waters, and quaint town make this an obvious choice for one of the most beautiful places in Colorado!
19. Hanging Lake
Hanging Lake is a beautiful body of water with dreamy waterfalls on the White River National Forest in Glenwood Canyon near Glenwood Spring, Colorado.
You can access the lake via a 1.2-mile hiking and biking trail that is rocky and steep.
Swimming and fishing aren’t allowed at the lake for preservation purposes.
However, the beautiful views are worth the hike!
You can plan your visit and purchase your reservation on their website here.
20. Maroon Bells and Maroon Lake
The Maroon Bells are two peaks in the Elk Mountains portion of the Rockies separated by about 1,640 feet.
The Bells, Maroon Peak and North Maroon Peak, are each over 14,000 feet and are located about 12 miles from Aspen.
Some say the location of the Maroon Bells and Maroon Lake at the foot of these mountains is the most photographed place because of its amazing beauty.
As a result, you’ll need a reservation when visiting during particular times of the year.
You can make your reservation here.
21. Seven Falls
These seven cascading waterfalls are a tourist attraction on private land near Colorado Springs.
You can book your visit to these beautiful waterfalls through the Broadmoor hotel website here.
If you’re staying at the Broadmoor (which is already a treat), or if you just happen to be in the area, be sure to check out the Seven Falls!
22. Ypsilon & Chipmunk Lake Hike
If you’re visiting Rocky Mountain National Park and are up for a strenuous 9-mile roundtrip hike, you should hike to the beautiful Ypsilon Mountain.
The elevation gain on this hike is about 2180 feet, so again, it’s not for the faint of heart!
Although I don’t think I would make this hike, I admit, the beautiful views of Ypsilon reflected in Chipmunk Lake are tempting!
Mountains & Hikes
These mountains and trails are definitely among the prettiest places in Colorado!
23. Animas Mountain Trail
Animas Mountain Trail provides sweeping mountain views that are truly stunning.
However, this 6-mile loop trail gains over 1500 feet in elevation, and thus isn’t great for beginners.
That said, if you’re willing and able to make this trek, you will some of the most beautiful views of the Colorado landscape.
You can read more about the trail here.
24. Boulder Flatirons
Like I mentioned in the introduction, Harrison and I have visited Boulder several times because his brother used to live there.
Boulder is a beautiful city with stunning nature views all around it- my favorite is the Boulder Flatirons!
What we discovered about this city is that you don’t even need to visit a particular landmark (although there are plenty).
You can just start hiking up the nearby mountains and find beautiful nature trails and views almost wherever you go.
There’s also a cute town square and plenty to see and do in Boulder.
25. Chalk Cliffs
The Chalk Cliffs are located about eight miles southwest of Buena Vista, CO.
The US government has research equipment on these cliffs, and they are registered as a landslide hazard so don’t venture onto the cliffs!
However, you can view them from a distance and see their amazing natural beauty!
26. Dallas Divide
The Dallas Divide is a beautifully scenic mountain pass in the San Juan mountain range of the Colorado Rockies north of Telluride.
Regardless of the season and whether there’s snow on the ground, this area provides breathtaking scenery for anyone in search of beauty in Colorado.
Make a pit stop here if you’re in the area!
27. Independence Pass Summit
Independence Pass is a 32-mile stretch of State Highway 82, the highest state highway over Colorado’s Continental Divide, that winds through steep, mountainous terrain.
The summit, or highest part, of Independence Pass reaches an altitude of over 12,000 feet!
You can park at the summit and check out all sorts of attractions including mountain reservoirs ghost towns, scenic overlooks, hiking and biking trails, grottos, and the Devil Punch Bowl.
Also, depending on when you visit, this area features stunning autumn colors!
The summit closes at various times during the winter so be sure to check their website before visiting.
28. Kebler Pass
Kebler Pass (AKA Gunnison County Road 12) is a 30-mile stretch of scenic mountain highway near Crested Butte and Paonia State Park that leads into Gunnison National Forest.
The road is only accessible via snowmobile in the winter, but its stunning spring wildflowers and autumn foliage make for gorgeous scenic views that you can see as you drive along the highway any other time of year!
There are also plenty of scenic viewpoints, pull-off areas, trailheads, and camping spots along this drive.
29. Longs Peak
Longs Peak is the only mountain over 14,000 feet in Rocky Mountain National Park.
It is also one of the most famous and gorgeous sites in the park!
However, going up Longs Peak requires mountaineering and climbing experience.
For that reason, I’ll probably never climb this mountain.
But I’m perfectly satisfied to stand in awe of its beauty on the ground 🙂
If you visit Rocky Mountain National Park, make sure to go see Longs Peak when you’re there!
And if you have the skills to make the climb, you can learn more about it on the national park website here.
30. Mount Evans
Mount Evans is the highest mountain in the Mount Evans Wilderness.
It’s also stunningly beautiful.
If you’re not up for hiking and climbing to the summit of this majestic peak, don’t worry!
You can use the Mount Evans scenic byway to get to the summit by car, at least if you make the drive between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
To plan your trip here, make sure you check this website to ensure driving access and other amenities are available.
31. Pawnee Buttes
The Pawnee Buttes are two beautiful and striking buttes in the northeastern part of Colorado just 13 miles south of the Wyoming border.
Only the western butte in the Pawnee National Grassland is accessible to the public.
The eastern butte is on private property.
You can take a 1.5-mile trail to the publicly accessible butte.
The sweeping landscape only disrupted by these striking buttes is why this location made my list of the most beautiful places in Colorado!
If you’re in the area, Check out these beauts’ 😉
32. Rim Trail
Rim Trail offers stunning views of Snowmass!
This 7.4-mile roundtrip hike gains about 1500 feet in elevation and is best enjoyed between May and November according to All Trails.
33. Shrine Pass
This mountain pass with an elevation of 11,000 feet is in the Sawatch Range of the Rockies within White River National Forest.
Mountain views in a national forest basically guarantee beautiful scenery, and Shrine Pass certainly delivers.
To reach Shrine Pass, you can take the 43-mile Shrine Pass Road that features a nearby river and is open to hikers, bikers, and drivers.
You’ll see the picturesque Red Cliff Bridge pictured above.
To learn more about this pass and when you can access it, check out the National Forest’s page about it here.
34. The Spanish Peaks
These gorgeous and geologically unique mountains in south central Colorado are well worth visiting if you’re in the area.
With local trails, a water park, a farmers’ market, and plenty more, you won’t be wanting for things to do when visiting the Spanish Peaks.
Check out this website to learn more about what you can do there!
35. Wilson Peak
Wilson Peak is a beautiful 14er within the Uncompahgre National Forest in southwest Colorado.
You can access this peak via the Rock of Ages Trail, a 9.8-mile roundtrip hike gaining about 3,658 feet in elevation.
This hike is too intense for me, but if you’re willing, you can see some epic views from Wilson Peak!
Parks, National Parks, & National Monuments
Hands down, these parks are some of the most beautiful places in Colorado!
36. Rocky Mountain National Park
I’ve mentioned Rocky Mountain National Park several times already, but it deserves its own spot on this list.
One of the most popular views is Sprague Lake, an absolutely beautiful lake in Rocky Mountain National Park.
The lake has bridges and boardwalks allowing visitors to make the half-mile trek around it with stunning views of Hallet Peak and Flattop Mountain.
You’ll see the view in my photo above right by the Estes Park entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park.
37. Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
This national park is often forgotten compared to Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park.
But its views and natural beauty are no less stunning than Rocky Mountain National Park!
Black canyon surrounds a steep, deep-walled gorge carved by the Gunnison River with dramatic views of the Painted Wall cliff.
With plenty of wildlife, campsites, and hiking trails, this stunning site is one you don’t want to miss.
Also, bring your telescope to explore the vividly night sky if you pay this park a visit!
Visit this park’s website to further plan your trip here.
38. Chimney Rock National Monument
This 4,700+ acre U.S. National Monument is located in the San Juan National Forest.
The US government established this monument to preserve the archaeological buildings and artifacts of ancestral Puebloans of the Chaco Canyon, a civilization that existed over 1000 years ago!
Chimney Rock has 200 preserved, ancient houses and ceremonial structures, some of which have been excavated for viewing and exploration!
The stunning views and fascinating history of this national monument make it a clear addition to this list of most beautiful places in Colorado.
39. Cliff Palace and Mesa Verde National Park
Ancestral Puebloans built this massive cliff dwelling known today as Cliff Palace nearly 1000 years ago, and it is a sight to see!
Like something out of an Indiana Jones movie, these sandstone abodes carved into the side of a cliff are like nothing you’ve ever seen.
To visit Cliff Palace in Mesa Verde National Park and learn more about this amazing place, check the park’s website.
40. Dinosaur National Monument
Dinosaur National Monument has everything you would expect from a national park like hiking and biking trails, rafting, camping, and more.
But what makes it so amazing is its quarry filled with dinosaur fossils including a nearly complete dinosaur skull.
I can just imagine dinosaurs roaming around in the photo above!
The area is absolutely beautiful even if dinosaur fossils don’t particularly interest you.
So definitely add it to your list of beautiful places to see in Colorado!
41. Great Sand Dunes National Park
Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve is known for its massive sand dunes where you can sled and sandboard.
This national park features hiking and biking trails, and the beautiful Medano Lake, an excellent place for trout fishing.
Another cool aspect of this park is that it is open all day and night, year-round!
So you can experience the beauty of the dunes day or night.
Check out their website to plan your visit.
42. Red Rock Canyon Open Space
Many consider this an equally beautiful but less touristy version of the Garden of the Gods.
This 1474-acre open space features hiking and biking trails as well as places to rock climb and is actually bordered by the Garden of the Gods park.
Red Rock Canyon’s stunning views make it an obvious choice for one of the most beautiful places in Colorado.
Make sure to check it out if you’re near Colorado Springs!
43. Weminuche Wilderness
The Weminuche Wilderness is the largest Wilderness area in Colorado!
Its nearly 500,000 acres make it about 75% of the size of Rhode Island!
This beautiful forest near Silverton, Colorado features plenty of activities including hiking, camping, and much more.
If you’re looking for gorgeous views and beautiful nature, check out the Weminuche Wilderness!
Other Beautiful Points of Interest
I couldn’t think of a category name that would fit the rest of these places, so decided to just lump them together as “Beautiful Points of Interest.” These spots are definitely worth visiting!
44. Red Rocks Amphitheater
Red Rocks Amphitheater is an awesome place to see a live show!
This open-air amphitheater carved out of the red rock is about ten miles from Denver.
But if there isn’t a show here you want to see or can’t make it for a show, this amphitheater is still worth a visit.
Harrison and I visited the amphitheater at sunrise, and we got to see spectacular views. In fact, I think sunrise is the best time to photograph this place!
Add this gorgeous locale to your list of beautiful places to see the next time you’re in or around Denver!
45. Crystal Mill
The Crystal Mill is an old wooden building located on the edge of the Crystal River.
It might not sound like much, but it’s actually quite beautiful!
The mill is accessible with a 4×4, or you can take a 9-mile round-trip hike gaining about 1400 feet of altitude.
Sharing the road with vehicles makes the hike less pleasant for walkers. However, the view is worth the trouble.
Regardless of how you get there, make sure you add this to your list of beautiful places to visit in Colorado!
46. Durango and Silverton Railroad
If you want to ride a historic train through the canyons and mountains in Durango and Silverton in Colorado, check out the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad!
This 45 mile railroad experience features beautiful views of the surrounding area as well as period-dressed narrators guiding your experience!
This activity is great for the whole family.
Just be sure to check their website to book a reservation.
47. Phil’s World
Phil’s World probably doesn’t sound like the most promising location to find abundant beauty.
But it’s actually the name of a mountain bike trail system with amazing, scenic views on a desert mesa near Cortez, Colorado.
If you’re a mountain biker looking to experience the beauty of Colorado while enjoying some excellent biking trails, this place is for you!
48. Rifle Mountain Ice Caves
Rifle Mountain Park, owned and maintained by the City of Rifle, features camping, hiking, and world-renown rock-climbing.
But what makes this park an obvious addition to my list of the most beautiful places in Colorado is its ice caves.
These spectacular ice formations look like something from an exotic, international location.
But for those who live in the US, these ice caves are in our backyard!
You can access the two most popular ice caves by a .75-mile roundtrip hike called Koper’s Trail.
The best time to visit the caves is from December to February.
But if you can’t manage to visit then, Rifle Mountain Park still has plenty of natural beauty to see year-round!
You can learn more about the park here.
49. Royal Gorge Bridge
Royal Gorge Bridge park is a 360-acre amusement park located about 60 miles southwest of Colorado Springs that features gondola rides, ziplining, rock-climbing, and more! But that’s not what I want to highlight.
The main attraction is the Royal Gorge Bridge, the highest suspension bridge in the US.
This bridge provides amazing views over a 1,250-foot deep gorge!
Add this spot to your list to visit the next time you’re in southern Colorado!
50. Million Dollar Highway
U.S. Route 550 is a 305-mile portion of Highway 50 running from Bernalillo, New Mexico to Montrose in western Colorado.
This highway provides amazingly scenic views, and you should absolutely drive it if it makes sense given your destination.
However, be careful when you drive it because portions of the road don’t have guardrails!
51. Trail Ridge Road
Trail Ridge Road, also known as the highway to the sky, is a 48-mile stretch of road in Rocky Mountain National Park offering absolutely gorgeous views of the surrounding area.
Also, many report seeing wildlife on this drive!
With plenty of turnoffs and a road safe enough for most vehicles, this is a drive you don’t want to miss if you’re in the area.
Check out the park’s website for this road to learn more.
There you have it: my list of the most beautiful places in Colorado!
If you know of any spots that didn’t make my list, but deserve to be on it, please comment them below!
And if you’re heading to Colorado, check out these articles:
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