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Endless mountain landscapes and sunny weather, Colorado is the perfect place to pack your backs and escape to for a few days. With an abundance of natural splendor, Colorado boasts an array of exciting cities worthy of exploring. From luxury ski resorts to charming small towns and the world-famous Rocky Mountains, travelers are spoiled for choice with outdoor adventures. Get off the grid and soak in the crisp mountain air, where depending on the season, nature enthusiasts can hike through beautiful trails, go swimming in natural hot springs or hit the slopes. With cities filled with diverse wildlife and natural wonders, here are some of the best weekend getaways in Colorado.
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A home base for travelers visiting the Rocky Mountain National Park, Estes Park is a beautiful destination less than a two-hour drive from Denver. The park offers 355 miles of hiking trails paired with stunning vistas and landscapes, from snow-capped mountains to picturesque lakes and valleys, where those who crave adventure will find a variety of outdoor adventures. Estes Park itself is a great area to explore, as visitors can meander the Riverwalk in Downtown Estes Park or hop on the Estes Park Aerial Tramway to the top of a small peak. Estes Park boasts an array of shopping and dining experiences, while movie enthusiasts will want to stop by the world famous Stanley Hotel that was the inspiration behind Stephen King’s “The Shining.”
Known for both its hot springs and skiing opportunities, Steamboat Springs is popular throughout the year. Perfect for nature lovers, this quiet mountain town is one of Colorado’s most attractive areas to explore. Drive down a riverside canyon to soak in the Strawberry Hot Springs, hike to the scenic Fish Creek Falls or take a mountain bike ride through the surrounding parks and forests. The ski area’s, Steamboat Ski Resort and Howelsen Hill, are the area’s biggest draws, along with three state parks nearby, Stagecoach State Park, Pearl Lake State Park and Steamboat Lake State Park. Those who want to take in a bit of culture can visit the Steamboat Symphony Orchestra or the Steamboat Art Museum, while a gondola takes visitors to the top of Mount Werner for a panoramic mountain views of the area.
An excellent weekend destination, Telluride is a charming town wedged in a picturesque glacial canyon. Located at the base of the beautiful San Juan Mountains, this former mining area has become a mecca for an array of travelers. From artists to skiers, celebrities and hippies, travelers flock to the area to explore its restored Victorian main street and nearby attractions. A delightful shopping area, visitors can peruse the local history at the Telluride Historical Museum, browse artwork at the Telluride Arts District or indulge in its many outdoor adventures. Bear Creek Falls is a great hiking destination, while visitors can also find an array of family-friendly swimming and fishing spots throughout the area.
Colorado’s second-largest city, Colorado Springs is nestled at the foot of the majestic Pikes Peak. Filled to the brim with scenic landscapes and outdoor adventures, escape your daily stresses for a weekend away exploring the Pikes Peak and Garden of the Gods. Capture the perfect shot of the rocks framing the snow-capped splendors, or visit the area’s cultural attractions such as Pioneers Museum, American Numismatic Association Money Museum or the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. The downtown area is full of impressive art galleries, in addition to a U.S. Olympic Training Center and the U.S. Air Force Academy.
A gorgeous mountain town that is not as well-known as its counterparts, Salida offers a variety of historic attractions to fill up a weekend itinerary. Take the Monarch Scenic Tram to soak in stunning Rocky Mountain views, go for a dip in the Salida Hot Springs or explore the area’s local history and culture at the nearby Salida Museum. When the weather warms up, grab a kayak or tube and head to the Arkansas River, and active travelers can utilize one of the many scenic mountain bike trails to explore the region further. A certified Colorado Creative District, visitors can also browse the area’s abundance of impressive art studios and galleries.
Offering visitors a glimpse into Colorado’s rich history, Georgetown is a charming Victorian mining town nestled just west of Denver. Once the third-largest city in the state, Georgetown was built in 1884 to service the silver mines. Visitors can take a ride on the famous Georgetown Loop Railroad to Silver Plume and back, or visit the well-preserved Hotel de Paris to browse artifacts from the era. Learn how the wealthy locals used to live at the Hamill House Museum or simply browse the charming streets lined with Victorian-era homes and shops. Those who want to explore the area by car should drive along the Guanella Pass, a long stretch of road with picturesque views, before taking rest in one of the area’s many Victorian bed and breakfast inns.
A small town in the southwest corner of Colorado, Durango offers visitors a wealth of fun-filled activities to fill up a weekend away. Explore the downtown area to see a National Historic District lined with charming shops, eateries and hotels in 19th-century buildings. The area also boasts an array of outdoor adventures, including excellent opportunities to hike, bike, fish, while those wanting to kick it up a notch can also indulge in snowboarding, horseback riding and white water rafting. A ride on the famous Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad is a must, where visitors can soak in breathtaking mountain views from a steam-powered engine train.
The perfect blend of a picturesque main street with 2,358 acres of incredible skiing opportunities, Breckenridge is the oldest and largest town in Colorado’s famous Summit County. Take a tour of the 12-block downtown area and window shop through its quaint Main Street shops before strapping up your boots and heading to the famous Breckenridge Ski Resort. In the summer, take the ski ride lift up to find an array of hiking trails, while biking and golf are also popular activities. Host to numerous arts events throughout the year, this Certified Colorado Creative District has exciting public art spaces throughout the area in addition to a National Repertory Orchestra and Backstage Theatre.
A famous winter destination for travelers throughout the country, Aspen’s four impressive ski mountains make up its beautiful surroundings. Nestled in the heart of the White River National Forest, this area is a mecca for winter sports, popular for skiing and snowboarding. While hitting the slopes is the area’s most beloved attraction, visitors can also explore the wealth of high-end boutiques, interesting museums and wonderful hiking trails. Those who want to experience a different kind of outdoor adventure can also try cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and fly-fishing. Boasting even more activities in the summertime, visitors can go rafting, horseback riding and soar above the city in a hot-air balloon.
Beaver Creek is an alpine village peppered with an array of modern resorts, making it the perfect weekend getaway destination. A laid-back ambiance of unhurried travelers, here visitors can get away from it all with the area’s world-class skiing and resort amenities. With gorgeous Rocky Mountain views, Beaver Creek is located in the Vail Valley and offers plenty of activities to fill a weekend itinerary. Many people come to try their hand at the 1,815 acres of skiable slopes, catering to both novice and experts alike. The area has plenty of other things to do, however, as visitors can take in a show at the Vilar Performing Arts Center, or indulge in anything from golf courses to pampering spas, shops and restaurants, with the city even home to a large outdoor ice rink in its city center.
Perched on the western edge of the Rocky Mountain National Park, Grand Lake is the perfect weekend destination for outdoor enthusiasts and families traveling with kids. Providing easy access to hiking, Grand Lake is home to wildlife watching and winter activities such as skiing and snowshoeing, where visitors are spoiled for choice in how they spend their days. A picturesque marina offers boat rentals and paddle boards, while there are sandy spots that are perfect for beach-related activities. Those who want to explore the area should drive along the scenic Trail Ridge Road and venture into the park to the nearby town of Estes Park on its other side.