Denver, the capital of Colorado, is nestled at the foot of the Rocky Mountains and is not only a top destination in the United States, but also a great vacation destination with a variety of activities for those who love the city and the city. nature.
People here love to be outdoors, are huge sports fans, have a drink with a view (extra points if it’s one of the many local beers), and are generally polite and hospitable.
But what if you want to see more of Colorado than Denver has to offer?
You’ll be happy to know that some of Colorado’s top attractions are conveniently located near Denver.
While there are plenty of options, this list will help you narrow them down to just 11 of the greatest day trips from Denver, Colorado.
Best Day Trips from Denver, CO
It’s arguably the “strangest” place on the list, but what is life without dipping your toes in the weird?
Bishop Castle, named after its builder, is a sole proprietorship that has become a renowned Colorado roadside attraction. This will undoubtedly be one of your most memorable visits!
There are no guided tours available here; the castle is always open and free to guests, who are encouraged to explore at their leisure.
The castle has a huge ballroom, odd architecture, and a fire-breathing dragon for good measure. The castle has tall stone and iron towers with fantastic views (you can see over 100 miles), a grand ballroom, eerie architecture, and a fire-breathing dragon thrown in for good measure.
Glenwood Springs, Colorado
Okay, 2 hours and 30 minutes might be pushing the boundaries of a “day trip”, but a trip to Glenwood Springs is well worth it!
Take a beautiful walk in the mountains from Denver to start your day. The landscape is breathtaking!
Next, head to Hanging Lake Trail, one of Colorado’s most popular treks, just outside of Glenwood Springs (but be sure to plan and get a permit).
It’s a short hike (about a mile), but it gains a lot of elevation during this time making it quite difficult.
After that, head to Glenwood to soak your muscles after the hike in the wonderful hot springs.
Estes Park, Colorado
Estes Park is a beautiful alpine town located just northwest of Denver, Colorado.
Visitors to Rocky Mountain National Park typically stay here due to the range of activities available and the proximity to the park entrance.
The Estes Park aerial tramway offers breathtaking views over the valley. A visit to the Stanley Hotel, which featured in Stephen King’s film “The Shining” and which happens to be one of Colorado’s most haunted hotels, will delight (and immediately recognize) horror lovers.
And, of course, Estes Park offers a wide range of outdoor activities – it’s Colorado so much!
Red Rocks Park and Amphitheater
The region’s vast sandstone formations give its name to the Red Rocks Park and Amphitheater. It is located just west of Denver in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains.
There is a lot to do here during the day as it is a National Historic Landmark.
Red Rocks Park is the ideal location for high quality outdoor recreation. Hiking, running, and mountain biking are all possible in the beautiful surroundings, which include views of downtown Denver to the east.
Visitors can also use the steps of the amphitheater to increase the intensity of their workout – but beware: it is difficult, especially at higher altitudes!
However, attending a play at Red Rocks in the evening is the best solution! Each year, the concert program presents the best of the greatest.
They host unique activities like standing comedians, large group workouts, and a weekly summer movie series.
Breckenridge, located at the foot of the Rocky Mountains, is home to a thriving ski resort (aptly named Breckenridge Ski Resort) as well as a small historic town with alpine charm.
It’s a fantastic winter vacation destination, with activities focused on all things snow, including skiing, snowboarding, tubing, and other winter sports.
Biking, hiking and alpine activities take priority on tours outside of the winter months.
But, no matter what time you arrive, there are plenty of fantastic restaurants to try, little shops to browse, and fun residents to meet.
Rocky Mountain National Park
Rocky Mountain National Park is one of Colorado’s most popular tourist destinations. In fact, the park attracts over four million people annually who come to explore over 400 square miles of breathtaking alpine scenery.
Visitors can enjoy scenic driving, fishing, horseback riding, animal watching and more throughout the park.
Trail Ridge Road is particularly popular, and it’s also the highest continuously paved road in the country! This makes sense when you consider that it is also known as the ‘Highway to Heaven’.
And it doesn’t matter when you go to RMNP! Throughout the year, many activities are offered. The RMNP is a short day trip from Denver with plenty of activities for the whole family.
Georgetown Loop Railroad and Mining Park
The Georgetown Loop Railroad and Mining Park, located 45 miles west of Denver, is a historically immersive experience. You can board the train and travel back in time to the 1800s.
The trains on the track are steam behemoths that have been preserved and maintained for nearly 120 years. The circle connects travelers between Georgetown and Silver Plume, two mountain mining villages.
Bring the whole family for a fun day on the train, a visit to a silver mine or an apprenticeship in gold panning.
Garden of the Gods
The Garden of the Gods is a National Natural Landmark located just a short drive south of Denver.
With nearly 1,300 acres to explore and breathtaking views of towering red rock formations, it’s easy to see why this is such a popular Denver destination.
There are several ways to see what the park has to offer. It is ideal for biking, hiking, horseback riding and rock climbing.
To end your day trip from Denver, make your way to adjacent Manitou Cliff Dwellings and Cave of the Winds Mountain Park.
Blackhawk / Central City, Colorado
A trip to Blackhawk / Central City is like taking a trip back in time. Back to the Old West, and what Colorado would have been like when the first inhabitants arrived and settled down.
Today, however, these modest historic towns are better known as Colorado’s premier gambling destination! There is a good mix of high end casinos and small local establishments to enjoy.
And no matter where you end up, you’ll have access to the best game Colorado has to offer.
Although Boulder is only a short drive from Denver, it feels like another world when you arrive.
Boulder has a small town feel, with an odd mix of chic and hippie vibes. Boulder is an ideal destination for city dwellers to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
In Boulder, you can climb Chautauqua Park, see the historic Pearl Street Pedestrian Mall, sample some of Colorado’s best beers, and dine at one of the city’s thriving restaurants.
There is so much to do in Boulder that a day trip could easily be filled with new, unforgettable experiences. So be sure to add a little more time to your agenda to allow for more exploration!
The Coors Brewery, located just outside of Denver in Golden, Colorado, is the world’s largest brewery.
Golden produces more beer per capita than any other city on the planet, thanks in large part to Coors! They also offer free 30-minute tours of their facilities every day.
During the brewery tour, visitors get a glimpse of what goes on behind the scenes. The malting, brewing and packaging procedures used to get Coors beers to the end customer can all be seen here.
You’ll also receive plenty of beer samples along the way, of course.
But don’t think there is nothing else to see here! There is so much to do in Golden that you could easily spend an entire day or more visiting one of the closest mountain towns to Denver.
Despite its status as a college town (home to Colorado State University), Fort Collins has become a beer lover’s dream. There are over two dozen breweries in the city, several of which have tasting rooms and offer brewery tours.
When you’re not keen on the city’s craft beer scene, take a stroll through the Old Town district, home to local shops, restaurants, and museums.
Visit 80’s Pizza for a flashback and the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery to learn more about the city’s history.
Enjoy beautiful walks, picnics, whitewater rafting and hikes in the nearby Cache la Poudre River canyon, or go fishing, boating and kayaking at Horsetooth Reservoir.