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Things To Do In Western Colorado

Soak Up The History Of Denver

The Western Town of Durango Colorado Hotel Tour – USA Road Trip

Why not start your trip to Colorado by understanding the history of its capital, Denver? This city is pretty famous for its Old West feel and is full of old architecture and known for tales of gunfighters, crime families and conmen. Go and admire the frontier town atmosphere, take in views of Union Station and other landmark buildings, see whats going on.

Wed say that taking a Denver tour is best place to start when you want to see what makes a city tick is to see what you can discover when you simply wander around using the power of your own two legs.

Mt Princeton Hot Springs Resort

Cold outside, warm in the water!

Map It: 15870 County Road 162, Nathrop, Colorado 81236 | Phone: 395-2447 | Website | Hours: 9 am 9 pm daily | Entrance: $30-35, adults, $25-30 under 16

Mt. Princeton Hot Springs Resort is near Buena Vista and has a soaking pool and bathhouse along with creekside hot spring pools that feel more natural. There are also some upper pools, and a waterslide, and everywhere you look there are views of the Rocky Mountains .

Canyons Of The Ancients

Traveller70 / Shutterstock

Another great site for seeing how the Puebloans lived is the Canyons of the Ancients.

Its one of the best places to go for learning about other cultures and witnessing beauty.

If youre traveling to Colorado this weekend, you should absolutely try to see the Canyons of the Ancients.

This is the most densely populated archaeological area in the United States.

Its more than 170,000 acres of unspoiled beauty.

Some of the best things to try here including hiking and horseback riding.

The Canyons of the Ancients lets you feel the wonder of the world in a way that might change your life.

The visitor center and museum have different hours depending on the time of year.

Admission is free from November to February, and always free for guests 17 years old and younger.

Address: 9651 Rd N, Cortez, CO 81321, United States

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Buffalo Bill Museum & Grave

Distance from Denver: 25 miles One of the most famous cowboys to ever ride the range, William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody epitomized the Old West. Upon his request, he was buried atop Lookout Mountain, a site boasting one of the best views in all of Colorado. The Buffalo Bill Museum & Grave, which opened in 1921, offers a look into life in the Old West, with exhibits on Buffalo Bill’s life, the Wild West shows, Indian artifacts including Sitting Bull’s bows and arrows, Western art, and firearms.

Mesa Verde National Park

10 TOP Things to Do in Colorado Western Slope (2020 Attraction ...

Dont expect incredible vistas in Mesa Verde National Park. Located in Montezuma County in southern Colorado this World Heritage Site offers more of a cultural immersion and historical significance. Exploring the park allows you to take a peek into the lives of Ancestral Pueblo people who made it their home for over 700 years, from AD 600 to 1300. Luckily for me and my poor mobility, Mesas Verde was easily accessible by car with many of the viewpoints located just a short walk away from the road.

We only spent a week exploring Colorados western slope, given my limited ability to hike and explore, but we felt that was ample time to get a feel for the area. With that said, if you are well and eager to explore each one of these attractions in depth , allocate at least a day or 2 for each destination above.

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Benson Park Sculpture Garden

One of the most cherished attractions in Loveland, Colorado is the Benson Park Sculpture Garden.

A great display of sculptures in various forms can be seen here.

This could have been one of the hidden gems in Colorado, but its too good to go overlooked.

Benson Park Sculpture Garden is full of amazing designs.

Besides the 100-plus sculptures, this attraction is also very well maintained, with aesthetic value to its groundskeeping.

Accessibility matters to Benson Park Sculpture Garden as well, with great surfaces for wheelchairs.

Your experience at Benson Park Sculpture Garden can be a very uplifting one.

Its open every day from 6 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.

Admission is free except for the second weekend of August, when the Sculpture in the Park show and sale occurs.

Address: 1125 W 29th St, Loveland, CO 80538, United States

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For information about COVID-19 requirements for land travel, visit the U.S. Department of Homeland Securitys Fact Sheet: Guidance for Travelers to Enter the U.S. at Land Ports of Entry and Ferry Terminals.external icon

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Go On A Scavenger Hunt Hike

This is something I’ve done recently with my kids, to keep things interesting for them. When we hike, we set a scavenger hunt of things we want to try to see. For instance, we might say an orange flower, a blue flower, a small bird, red ants, etc. Different types of wild life, plant life, rocks, etc. Come up with your own as a family, or group, and have a blast. Here is a list of some of the hiking trails in the Grand Junction area.

Top 10 Things To Do In Gunnison Colorado

Things to do Around Grand Junction Colorado

Gunnison, Colorado is a town for adventurers. Home to gorgeous trails, historical spaces and an active college community, it has plenty of exciting things to do year-round. At Western Colorado University, students have access to experiences that make Mountaineers some of the most active and involved students in the state. If youre considering a trip to Western, check out these exciting things to do in Gunnison.

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Or Head To Garden Of The Gods For Prime Climbing

If a Jeep or other 4×4 just wont cut it for you, and youre actually more of an outdoors person who likes to be in it rather than just drive through it, how about climbing? Garden of the Gods also has some absolutely awesome climbing routes and makes for one of the best adventurous things to do in Colorado. We mean, how could you not get better views of this stunning location without climbing up high? Its not just for veteran climbers: people with different experience levels can get on board with this one.

Top 10 Things To Do On The Western Slope Of Colorado

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Colorado has two distinct sides to the state, split in the middle by the great Rocky Mountain Range. The Western Slope refers to everything west of the continental divide. The area is drained by the Colorado River, and its tributaries, the San Juan River and the Green River. Unlike the eastern side of the state, which receives far more moisture, the Western slope sits on the Colorado Plateau and is primarily comprised of high desert, sculpted cliffs and red rock country. That being said, the contrast between blue sky and warm stone is that much more beautiful. There are plenty of things to see and do along the Western Slope. Here are our Top 10 picks in no particular order.

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

The Black Canyon of the Gunnison in Colorado is the deepest and steepest canyon in the United States. It is even deeper and steeper than the Grand Canyon of Arizona! While the view is not quite as awe-inspiring as the Grand Canyons vast vistas, the Black Canyon is equally stunning simply because it is hard to believe something that deep can be so narrow.

Mesa Verde National Park

Colorado National Monument

The Grand Mesa

Dinosaur National Monument

Rifle Falls State Park

Curecanti National Recreation Area

Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railway

San Juan Skyway

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Hang Loose At The Tiki Bar Dillon

If you love a cocktail with a view, then this is a must-do for your trip to Dillon, CO. Pug Ryans Tiki Bar at the Lake Dillon Marina is right down the road from the Dillon Amphitheater and situated in the heart of the Dillon Marina.

With fun specialty drinks like Tiki Rita, Sapphire Point Lemonade, Kokomo and beers from Pug Ryans brewery, this is a fun spot after a day spent hiking or on the water. Oh, and they have just a few items on the menu, if you come hungry.

Grab yourself a drink and soak in the incredible views of Lake Dillon, Colorado. Watch the boats come in and out of the marina, or stay for sunset. Cocktails and vacation are the perfect combination, so plan to hop down to the Tiki Bar during your stay in Dillon.

Bents Old Fort National Historic Site

Things to do in Western Colorado

Zack Frank / Shutterstock

Bents Old Fort National Historic Site is located on the site of a trading post on the Santa Fe Trail.

It allowed for the exchange of furs and other important items.

This is one of the most important tourist spots if youre looking to learn while youre in Colorado.

Beyond its trading purposes, this fort was the one constant in terms of settlements along this trail.

Going to Bents Old Fort National Historic Site is one of the most interesting activities you can do.

This rebuilt adobe post shows how much positive influence this place had on travelers.

Many likely felt relieved beyond belief to realize that theyd be able to continue their journeys thanks to what was being offered here.

The world of commerce and trade has definitely changed since the age of this fort, but that doesnt mean its not worth learning about.

Bents Old Fort National Historic Site is open every day of the week from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. during the winter and from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. during the summer.

Theres a $3 fee for adults and a $2 one for children, ages 6 to 12.

Address: 35110 CO-194, La Junta, CO 81050, United States

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Take The Diamond Head Hike

Honolulu, Hawaii

The Diamond Head Hike on Oahu definitely needs to be added to your Hawaii bucket list. You start at the bottom of the Diamond Head crater, which is a part of the Honolulu Volcanic Series. The trail starts along a concrete walkway before moving onto the rocky trail that starts the ascent towards the top. Once you pass a historic lookout building, you climb two stairways that will take you to an old Fire Control Station. Past these climbs, you will reach the Observation Station, which gives you a phenomenal view of Honolulu and the surrounding ocean. If you come to this spot in the evening, you can catch the beginning of a spectacular sunset.

Diamond Head State Monument is open from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm every day, with the last entrance at 4:30 pm. When my friend and I arrived, we walked up right at 4:30 pm and were allowed into the park. Entrance is $1 per person or $5 per car, and is cash only. The trail path is easy to follow, with the majority of the path paved and roped off. When we completed this hike, my friend was actually in a leg brace. Even with her handicap, we were still able to complete the hike in the allotted time, and without too much physical exertion. This hike is a perfect addition to your Oahu itinerary, and is safe for even the most casual hikers.

Ride The Pikes Peak Cog Railway

A truly unique Colorado experience.

Map It: 515 Ruxton Ave, Manitou Springs, CO 80829 | Phone: 685-5401 | Website | Hours: Tour times vary | Tickets: $58, adults, $48 kids 3-12

The Pikes Peak Cog Railway is one of the most fun tourist attractions, and a great way to make it to the summit of Pikes Peak. The railway just reopened after being closed for four years for a $100 million overhaul. Its one of the only cog railways in the country, and you can take it to the summit where you can visit the newly-redone Pikes Peak Visitor Center. Its truly one of the most unique things to do in Colorado!

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Red Feather Lakes Area

| Red Feather Lakes Website | Browse Red Feather Lakes Hotels on Booking

The Red Feather Lakes area of northern Colorado is one of those less-explored places in Colorado, which makes it an attractive option if you dont want crowds!

The Cache La Poudre River has plenty of rafting, fishing, kayaking and more water activities and the Shambhala Mountain Center is a unique Buddhist retreat where you can meditate in the midst of all this beauty.

Garden Park Fossil Area

The Summit of Adventure in Colorado Springs and the Pikes Peak region

Before the land known as Colorado was known by even one human, it was teeming with dinosaurs.

Weve learned about these extinct creatures through the tireless efforts of paleontologists at places like the Garden Park Fossil Area in Cañon City, Colorado.

However, theres a very unique history to this area, one that shows just how much desire for recognition can damage.

A competition between paleontologists Othniel Charles Marsh and Edward Drinker Cope at the end of the 19th century led to the Dinosaur Wars.

With so many specimens being discovered here, these men did all they could to sabotage one another.

Despite all this mud-slinging, the likes of tyrannosaurus and stegosaurus remains, among others, were found.

Who would think that millions of years after these creatures roamed the earth, there would be such ferocious battles over their remains?

The Garden Park Fossil Area might not have rival paleontologists vying for finds, but its still an incredible part of this state and of the world.

You can take tours of this area to learn more about it.

Thinking of all the amazing beasts that once lived here is absolutely incredible.

Address: 3501-3767 Garden Park Rd, Cañon City, CO 81212, United States

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Gawp At The Cathedral Basilica Of The Immaculate Conception

Sharon Mollerus

The International Church of Cannabis is one thing, but the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception is another level entirely. Conceived in the mid-19th century and finished by 1911 and costing a cool half a million dollars, this impressive cathedral is a pretty impressive place to visit. Its the kind of thing you might expect, well, not in the USA, but here it is in all its Catholic glory.

When it comes to free stuff to do in Colorado, coming to gaze at the impressive marble altar, stained glass window, and sheer scale of this awesome cathedral is definitely up there. Its one of the coolest, least touristy things to do in Denver. Take loads of snaps.

Go Salmon Fishing On The Kenai River

South central Alaska

Salmon Fishing on the Kenai River is one of Alaskas epic adventures! Even if you are not a fisherman you will be telling stories of catching the big one for years. For serious fishermen this is a trip of a lifetime.

Almost all summer, salmon run on the Kenai River with different species prominent at different times. We split our July day fishing for King Salmon in the morning and Sockeye in the afternoon. When you catch a King, you are in for quite the adrenaline rush fighting it into your boat. While King fishing is a game of patience, Sockeye fishing is fast and furious. Using specialized rods, you are continuously casting from shore or a sandbar. We laughed with excitement as we reeled in fish after fish.

Salmon fishing is best if you have the right boat and equipment. That means using a guide. Most guides are either associated with a lodge or independent. Friends stayed at a fishing lodge and they took care of all the scheduling. However, it is so easy to plan this yourself. I was surprised how easy it was to find guides by searching salmon fishing guides Kenai Alaska. Make sure you read all their reviews and then reach out to a couple to check availability. Not only was our guide awesome, we observed many other guides that were really invested in their clients experience.

By Ladona from Walking the Parks

If you want to book a Kenai fishing tour in advance, you can also make reservations through Viator.

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San Juan Skyway Scenic Byway And Million Dollar Highway

Map It: | Website | Hours: Open year-round but check weather conditions

The San Juan Skyway is a drive through some of the most gorgeous scenery in southwestern Colorado. Youll begin in Durango, and drive through Silverton, Ouray, Telluride, and more beautiful areas in the mountains. You can do the drive in one day, or take a more leisurely pace and stay in some of these mountain towns along the way.

Visit The Iconic Hoover Dam

Things to do in Western Colorado

Nevada-Arizona state line

The Hoover Dam is one of the most iconic man-made marvels in the United States and it just happens to be a short drive from Las Vegas, Nevada. Completed in 1936, it was the largest concrete structure to be built at that time. Not only is it incredible to see, but it also serves an important purpose. The Hoover Dam generates power for public and private utilities all over California, Nevada, and Arizona. To reach the Hoover Dam from Las Vegas, its best to rent a car for the day. As a bonus, youll be able to see a few other sites near the Hoover Dam once youve completed your visit.

Its important to note you cannot pre-purchase tour tickets for the Hoover Dam. All tours are first-come-first-serve, so arriving early is the key to getting the coveted Power Plant Tour tickets. Pricing for Power Plant Tour tickets as well as the visitors center can be found on the Hoover Dam website.

On your way out of the Hoover Dam, dont forget to stop by the Mike OCallaghanPat Tillman Memorial Bridge to get an incredible view of the Dam from above. There is a small parking lot for the bridge right outside the Hoover Dam exit. Once youve parked, follow the path up to the pedestrian walkway. If youre brave enough, walk to the center of the bridge for the most stunning view of the Hoover Dam. For those with a fear of heights, this might be a challenge for you. The bridge sits at 890 feet above the Colorado River, so it is not for the faint of heart.

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