Best Adventures in Colorado

The Centennial state is a hotspot for travel and adventure – here's how to make the most memorable trip.

By Kevin Litwin on Mon, 08/21/2017 - 08:13

Huge sand dunes and the Rocky Mountains. The Colorado River, deep canyons and lush forests.

Colorado is a beautiful state with a variety of outdoor adventure opportunities, whether it’s climbing granite rock formations or enjoying the 50 percent of land that is flat throughout The Centennial State.

Here are some adventurous ideas:

View from the Top

PikesPeakCO.jpg

Courtesy of nigelmenzies under a CC 2.0 license.

Ascend to 14,115 feet (wow!) by driving the 19-mile road that takes you to the summit of Pikes Peak, which along the way features attractions like North Slope Recreation Area, Summit House and Crystal Reservoir Gift Shop. Hiking trails, wildlife sightings (deer, elk, bighorn sheep) and Meet the Ranger programs are all part of the enjoyment.

Go Snowmobiling

Colorado adventure.jpg

Courtesy of Photolibrium under a CC 4.0 license.

Family-friendly snowmobiling excursions for all ages is available through Steamboat Snowmobile Tours, located in Steamboat Springs and known for its adventure routes through the Routt National Forest on the Continental Divide. A brief orientation is followed by you enjoying trips along mountain meadows and groomed trails.


Ready to Make Colorado Your Home? Here are the Best Places to Live in the Centennial State


Battle the Rapids

ArkansasRiverCO.jpg

Courtesy of Zaskoda under a CC 2.0 license.

Colorado’s most visited whitewater rapids destination is along the Arkansas River in Buena Vista, where 12 miles of rapids passes through canyons and mountains. Rafters from around the world travel here to experience Zoom Flume, which stretches for a half-mile and provides amazing thrills throughout its raucous ride.

Fish the Hog Trough

FishingCO.jpg

Courtesy of Erik Meldrum under a CC 2.0 license.

Rainbow trout as large as 15 pounds can be caught in Gunnison on the Taylor River, especially below Taylor Park Dam in an area known as the Hog Trough. The biggest trout found in Colorado are here along 12 miles of public waterway downstream. Fly fishing seems to be the most popular way to catch these trophy trout.

Hail Vail

SkiingCO.jpg

Courtesy of Snow Snow under a CC 2.0 license.

Outdoor adventurers will be in their snow-powder glory with all the skiing and snowboarding opportunities available at Vail Mountain Resort. The vacation destination features about 350 inches of annually snowfall and has 31 ski lifts and more than 5,000 acres of accessible terrain. Great restaurants and cocktail bars are within easy walking distance.


Discover the Most Affordable Cities in Colorado


Ride in a Jeep

garden_of_the_gods.jpg

Courtesy of John Fowler under a CC 2.0 license.

An interesting 2 1/2-hour driving excursion called the Colorado Springs Foothills and Garden of the Gods Jeep Tour features guide drivers who showcase sites like Pikes Peak, Colorado waterfalls, the Southern Rocky Mountains and Garden of the Gods. The Jeep trip also passes through two high-elevation railroad tunnels that offer spectacular vistas of incredible landscapes below.

Zip Right Along

RoyalGorgeCO.jpg

Courtesy of Kent Kanouse under a CC 2.0 license.

In Canon City is Royal Gorge Zip Line Tours, which offers 20 zip lines along two courses that each stretch more than a mile. The zip lines range from beginner to expert, and the views below are amazing. Also on site is a half-mile of hiking trails, Royal Gorge rafting and a White Water Bar & Grill.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kevin Litwin is the author of Crazy Lucky Dead and a freelance feature writer with a career spanning more than 20 years. He was previously an editor for a small-town newspaper for 10 years, and is now...