Colorado is a state bursting with an unbelievable amount of stunning natural beauty.
From the jaw-dropping cliffs of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park to the iconic snow-capped landscape in Telluride, every corner you turn is a feast for the eyes.
This list of the most beautiful places in Colorado will help you come up with some great ideas for your next adventure in this amazing state.
1. Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
This park’s astonishing blend of towering dark rock walls, serene environment, and diverse wildlife truly sets it apart as one of Colorado’s prettiest places.
Nestled in Montrose County, it’s home to the Painted Wall (Colorado’s largest cliff) and a striking narrow gorge adorned with black mountain walls.
What’s more, it’s not your typical crowded tourist spot. Here, you can enjoy the park’s tranquility and have a more intimate encounter with nature.
Take a leisurely hike on accessible trails, feast your eyes on breathtaking views from overlooks like Chasm View or Sunset View, or marvel at the sight of golden eagles soaring above.
This park’s unique qualities make it a must-visit if you’re in the state.
2. Maroon Bells
The moment you set foot in Maroon Bells you’re greeted by an awe-inspiring blend of towering peaks, serene alpine lakes, and vibrant meadows, making it one of Colorado’s most beautiful places.
The reflection of the snow-capped peaks in Maroon Lake offers picturesque views that are hard to forget. You can’t miss the unique, maroon color of the mountains, which is caused by the weathering of hematite.
Visit in the fall and you’ll see a mesmerizing display of golden aspen groves against a backdrop of blue skies. If you’re an outdoor adventurer, the easy loop trail and backcountry camping opportunities will be right up your alley.
3. Hanging Lake
If you’re seeking a unique and breathtaking natural spectacle, look no further than Hanging Lake. This geological gem is nestled near Glenwood Springs and is renowned for its turquoise-blue water and cascading waterfalls. The lake’s surreal beauty is amplified by mossy rocks that emit a mystical green glow. Formed by travertine deposition, it’s a rare sight indeed.
The steep 1.2-mile trail to the lake is considered one of the most picturesque hikes in the state. It’s often crowded, so an early morning weekday hike is recommended. Remember that this is a delicate ecosystem, so respect the rules and don’t swim in the lake.
After your hike, you can unwind at the nearby Glenwood Hot Springs.
4. Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve
The Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve is where you can stand on the tallest sand dunes in North America with the Sangre de Cristo mountains in the background. It’s an otherworldly spectacle that’s one of the most scenic views in Colorado.
Here you’re surrounded by a sea of sand, a sight that’s both surreal and breathtaking. You can hike the dunes, look at the stars, or sandboard down the vast slopes.
Pro Tip: At night, the park transforms into an International Dark Sky Park, offering a mesmerizing view of the cosmos.
You’ll find yourself enamored by the snow-capped charm of Breckenridge, a place where natural beauty, outdoor adventures, and a vibrant art scene can all be found.
Just 80 miles southwest of Denver, Breckenridge offers world-class skiing, scenic gondola rides, and alpine slides. There are hundreds of miles of hiking trails, and in winter you can enjoy activities like snowshoeing and dog-sledding.
Take in the mountain views from Boreas Pass Road, and don’t miss the 15-foot-tall wooden sculpture, Isak Heartstone. Immerse yourself in the local culture with art workshops, or explore the town’s gold mining history.
6. The Flatirons
The Boulder Flatirons are breathtaking features that easily rank among the state’s most beautiful places.
Formed about 290 million years ago, these monumental slabs of sedimentary rock were lifted and tilted during the Rocky Mountains’ formation, creating a unique and stunning landscape.
You’ll love the variety of hikes and rock climbing routes, especially the famous Royal Arch Trail that leads to an awe-inspiring natural arch. The view between the first and second flatiron is simply fantastic.
7. Potato Lake
When you see it in person, you’ll agree that Potato Lake is one of the most beautiful places in Colorado. The area is renowned for its pristine waters, lush greenery, and stunning mountain backdrop.
Nestled in the San Juan National Forest, it’s a peaceful haven offering breathtaking views of Potato Hill and the dramatic Needle Mountains.
A leisurely one-mile hike up the Potato Lake Trail (which is accessible most of the year) rewards you with this scenic panorama. You’ll be able to experience the vibrant seasonal colors and the lake’s clear waters, perfect for a refreshing swim if you’ve worked up a sweat.
Plus, there are a number of great spots to camp in the area, offering views of the Twilight Peaks.
8. Estes Park
If you’re searching for a mountain getaway, Estes Park is hard to beat with its awe-inspiring natural beauty, abundant wildlife, and thrilling outdoor activities. Just 70 miles from Denver, it’s a gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park.
You can hike, bike, rock climb, enjoy water sports, or do some winter activities. And don’t miss the chance to see majestic elk or drive up Trail Ridge Road, the highest continuous paved highway in America.
The charming downtown area has a lot to offer as well, with local breweries and a scenic riverwalk. There are also a number of seasonal events that you can check out when you’re in the area as well.
9. Garden of the Gods
When you’re looking for a unique and pretty spot to visit, Garden of the Gods should be high on your list. This National Natural Landmark (located in Colorado Springs) is known for its towering red rock formations, shaped by the same forces that formed the Rocky Mountains.
As you traverse the park’s 1,367 acres, you’ll encounter a range of trails, from wheelchair-friendly paths to challenging hikes. Check out the “kissing camels” and “praying hands” rocks, and take in the breathtaking backdrop of Pikes Peak in the distance. Whether you’re hiking, horseback riding, or rock climbing, you’ll be awestruck by the park’s beauty.
And remember, it’s best to visit on a weekday if you want to avoid the crowds.
10. Twin Lakes
Because of its stunning glacial lakes and majestic mountain views, Twin Lakes is a must-see. Located just a short drive from Denver, you’ll be in awe of the vistas of Mount Elbert, the tallest peak in the Rockies, and the Collegiate Peaks.
Twin Lakes offers breathtaking views year-round, especially during autumn. Embark on a kayak tour, hike the trails surrounding Mt. Elbert, or explore the historic ghost town of Interlaken. The area isn’t just about natural beauty, it also has a rich history that adds to its charm.
11. Rocky Mountain National Park
The breathtaking beauty of Rocky Mountain National Park is hard to match, with its stunning vistas, diverse landscapes, and extensive hiking trails. A mere 90-minute drive from Denver, this national park is easily accessible and features Trail Ridge Road.
Whether it’s the postcard-like views or the vibrant colors of autumn drives, the park is captivating. It’s a hiker’s paradise with 355 miles of trails, including the challenging ascent to Longs Peak.
As one of the most visited national parks in the United States, it’s a good idea to reserve your visit in advance. The last thing you want is to show up and find out that your campground or hotel is all booked up!
12. Red Rocks Amphitheater
While you might think of Colorado as just mountains and wilderness, once you visit the Red Rocks Amphitheater, you’ll quickly realize there’s a lot more to it than that.
Nestled among red sandstone formations, this unique venue’s natural structure creates unmatched acoustics, offering a musical experience like no other. The east-facing seating area affords expansive views of Denver as well.
It’s not just about the music either, with hiking trails and a museum to explore, it’s a place that everyone can appreciate. Despite its secluded feel, it’s conveniently located only 20 minutes from downtown Denver.
You’ll find yourself spellbound by Telluride’s natural beauty, tucked away in a canyon with breathtaking mountain views enveloping the charming downtown area.
Telluride’s unique transportation system, a free ski gondola, will whisk you between downtown and Mountain Village, offering stunning vistas along the way. Or you can stroll down Main Street, savoring coffee or a meal while soaking in the unforgettable charm.
Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast or a festival-goer, you’ll never be bored. With over 30 hiking trails and a host of endurance events, there’s always an adventure waiting.
And when the snow falls, the iconic ski slopes await!
14. Roxborough State Park
Roxborough State Park, with its dramatic red-rock formations and abundant wildlife, is easily one of the most beautiful places in Colorado. Just a 40-minute drive from Denver, the park sprawls across nearly 4000 acres!
And it’s not just about the views though; this park is a hub for outdoor activity. Hiking trails weave through the heart of the red rocks, and it’s a hotspot for wildlife viewing and bird watching. If you get up early to catch the sunrise, you’ll be rewarded with a breathtaking sight.
The park’s popularity means it can get busy, so try to arrive a bit on the early side if you want to beat the crowds.
Leadville is a captivating high-altitude treasure with its well-preserved Victorian buildings, easy access to towering 14ers, and diverse outdoor opportunities. As the highest incorporated city in the U.S., it’s a unique blend of history and height.
Stroll through seventy blocks of silver boom-era architecture and take in the National Historic Landmark District’s vibrant 1870s churches. Just two hours from Denver, Leadville’s location near Mount Massive and Mount Elbert provides a convenient base for climbing and hiking.
It’s not just about peaks, though. You can explore mountain bike trails, dine at Treeline Kitchen, or camp for free at scenic spots like Twin Lakes. Leadville’s rich heritage and natural beauty make it a standout in Colorado’s stunning landscape.
16. Pikes Peak
Once you set foot on Pikes Peak, one of Colorado’s most famous peaks, you’re instantly swept up by its breathtaking panoramic views and easy accessibility. Located close to Colorado Springs, it’s a short trip from the city.
You can drive up the paved road to the summit, or for a unique experience, take the world’s highest cog train. At the top, you’re treated to a sight to behold. You can see the Rocky Mountains, eastern plains, and on clear days even as far as Kansas! It’s wheelchair friendly too, just let the Ticket Office know ahead.
And don’t forget to explore nearby gems like the Garden of the God when you’re in the area.
17. Mill Castle Trail
Colorado’s allure doesn’t stop at Pikes Peak; your next stop should be the Mill Castle Trail in the West Elk Wilderness.
This trail is a hidden gem, offering solitude amid canyon walls, vast aspen forests, and imposing pinnacles. It’s not for the faint-hearted though; you’ll navigate steep, rocky switchbacks and cross Mill Creek (which can be tricky when the conditions aren’t great). But don’t let that deter you.
The rewards are worth it. As you traverse Strom Pass and continue to Castle Creek, you’re treated to beautiful views of the Castles and the Elk Range. It’s these outstanding vistas that make Mill Castle Trail one of the most scenic journeys in Colorado.
18. Curecanti National Recreation Area
In your journey through Colorado, don’t miss out on the Curecanti National Recreation Area, a breathtaking destination that’s one of the state’s most scenic spots. Nestled on the western slope of the Rockies, this area boasts craggy mesas towering over serene reservoirs, an awe-inspiring view you’ll love.
You can take part in a myriad of activities, whether you’re into hiking, boating, or wildlife watching. The diversity of habitats, from steep canyons to sagebrush hillsides, adds to the area’s allure. And the climate is quite pleasant, with summer temperatures in the 70s to 80s.
At night, low light pollution gives you the opportunity to view a star-studded sky, enhancing the already stunning landscape.
19. Bridal Veil Falls
Your Colorado adventure wouldn’t be complete without witnessing the awe-inspiring majesty of Bridal Veil Falls. Nestled near Telluride, it’s the state’s tallest waterfall, cascading a breathtaking 365 feet.
It’s accessible by either a moderate hike or a thrilling four-wheel-drive journey, catering to all levels of adventure-seekers. And your camera won’t do justice to the panoramic views of the falls and surrounding forest trails.
Close by, the charming town of Telluride offers excellent skiing in the winter, ensuring year-round allure. Whether you’re an intrepid explorer, an avid photographer, or simply a lover of natural beauty, Bridal Veil Falls is one of the most beautiful and fun places to visit in Colorado.
20. San Juan Mountains
Once you set foot in the San Juan Mountains, you’ll immediately understand why they’re often hailed as the “American Alps.” These towering peaks were formed by volcanic activity, and offer year-round scenic landscapes.
The mountains’ jagged peaks, alpine lakes, and waterfalls create an awe-inspiring backdrop that’s hard to match. The San Juans are also rich in history, with remnants of the mining era waiting to be explored.
You’ll find historic towns like Silverton and Ouray nestled within these mountains, adding to their charm. Take a drive down the Million Dollar Highway or the San Juan Skyway for unforgettable views.
Vail is a gem nestled high in the Rocky Mountains, and it’s one of Colorado’s most stunning destinations. Just two hours from Denver, this posh mountain town is an oasis for both adventure seekers and relaxation enthusiasts.
Here you can carve down the slopes of the renowned Vail Ski Resort or hike the scenic trails to Gore Lake in the summer. Then, unwind with a drink at Root and Flower, or indulge in contemporary mountain fare at the Slope Room.
You’ll also love the convenience of Gore Creek, a fly fishing hotspot, running right through the town. Whether you’re a nature lover or a luxury seeker, Vail’s breathtaking beauty, outdoor activities, and upscale amenities make it a must-visit spot in the state.
22. Arapaho Glacier Trail
Exploring the Arapaho Glacier Trail, you’re treated to some breathtaking views and diverse terrains, making it an absolute must-see.
As the trail winds through dense forests of pines and aspens, and over spruce, fir, and bristlecone pines, it reveals panoramic vistas of the Continental Divide and the towering Arapaho Peaks.
And the beauty doesn’t stop there. Open tundra landscapes give way to a stunning overlook of the Arapaho Glacier (Colorado’s largest glacier).
Adding a thrill to your hike, the trail offers challenging ascents to South and North Arapaho Peaks. It’s not just a hike, it’s an experience of Colorado’s diverse beauty in a nutshell.
23. Rio Grande Trail
This 42-mile path, stretching from Glenwood Springs to Aspen, was built on the former Aspen railroad corridor, adding a touch of historical significance to your journey.
It’s not just history that’ll captivate you. The trail follows the Roaring Fork River, offering stunning vistas of meadows, ranch buildings, and Mount Sopris. It’s accessible via RFTA buses equipped with bike racks, so you can easily get to various trailheads. There’s a small fee for transporting bikes, but it’s worth it if you like to explore trails on two wheels.
Just remember, there’s no potable water available, so pack accordingly.
24. Seven Falls
You’re bound to be mesmerized by the majestic Seven Falls, considered by many to be Colorado’s most famous waterfall. Located within the luxurious Broadmoor resort, there’s even a bus you can take to this natural marvel.
Here, you can witness seven spectacular waterfalls cascading 181 feet down from South Cheyenne Creek, a sight that’s sure to take your breath away. But the beauty doesn’t stop there. Turn your gaze to the surrounding landscape, and you’ll see the flat prairie on one side and steep-walled canyons on the other, crowned by the towering Pillars of Hercules.
25. Royal Gorge
It’s quite a thrill to stand on the highest suspension bridge in the U.S., gazing at the breathtaking beauty of Royal Gorge. This area is only an hour’s drive from Colorado Springs, easily accessible, and loaded with adventure.
You can ride the gondola for a panoramic view, or go white-water rafting on the Arkansas River for a different perspective. If you want a little more adrenaline, try a zipline or doing a swing from the rim. Or, take a peaceful train journey along the canyon bed. There are also free hiking trails along the rim, offering glimpses of vast granite cliffs.
26. Mesa Verde National Park
Mesa Verde National Park is one of the most beautiful places in Colorado due to its unique blend of preserved ancient history, stunning geological features, and breathtaking panoramic views.
Nestled in southern Colorado, it’s a treasure trove of Ancestral Puebloan heritage. You’ll marvel at the well-preserved cliff dwellings, like the Cliff Palace and Balcony House, built into the mountainsides.
It’s not just the human history that’s interesting; the natural beauty is astounding. Think panoramic vistas stretching across plateaus and deep into valleys. Plus, it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a Dark Sky Park.
27. Colorado National Monument
If you’re searching for the epitome of Colorado’s natural grandeur, look no further than the Colorado National Monument.
High on the Colorado Plateau, it’s home to sheer-walled, red rock canyons and towering monoliths. It’s the classic American West.
There’s never a dull moment here, with year-round camping, hiking, and biking trails to explore. You’ll be amazed by the diverse wildlife, from herds of bighorn sheep to soaring eagles.
Also, don’t miss the scenic Rim Rock Drive. This is a 23-mile journey that twists through the stunning canyons, offering awe-inspiring views.
It’s these vistas that make the Colorado National Monument a favorite among travelers and undeniably one of the prettiest places in the state.
Dive into the enchanting charm of Durango, Colorado, where the rugged beauty of the Old West merges with the vibrant energy of a thriving college town. You’ll be captivated by the picturesque and historic architecture lining Main Ave, and you might even recognize some spots from classic western films.
Durango’s location, where mountains meet desert, delivers a diverse landscape perfect for outdoor adventures. In summer, you can hike or ride the 19th-century railroad, while winter invites you to the nearly 100 trails of Purgatory Resort. The Animas River, running through town, offers rafting, kayaking, and tubing.
Plus, the culinary scene is excellent with an extremely high number of restaurants per capita, you’re guaranteed fantastic meals.
29. Pagosa Springs
Pagosa Springs is a gem nestled in the heart of Colorado’s San Juan Mountains.
You can’t beat the natural hot springs that this area is known for, particularly at The Springs Resort & Spa. Here, you can soak in the world’s deepest geothermal spring, or perhaps try the free “hippy dip” across the river.
Pagosa Springs isn’t just about relaxation though. You can also hike in the San Juans, fish for trout, and visit the Chimney Rock National Monument. In winter, there’s skiing at Wolf Creek, while summer beckons horseback riding, biking, and camping.
There are also ancient Puebloan houses and a long tradition of Native American habitation for you to appreciate and explore.
30. Trail Ridge Road
If you find yourself craving a scenic drive, and there’s no better place than Trail Ridge Road. Spanning 48 miles through Rocky Mountain National Park, it’s the highest continuous paved road in North America.
On this road you’ll get to enjoy panoramic views from 12,000 feet that look like you’re on the edge of the planet! Wildlife sightings and blooming wildflowers add to the charm. As a historical gem, it’s fondly called the “Highway to the Sky.”
Open from late May through October, the best time to visit is from mid-June. And remember, you will need a park pass or pay a fee.
31. Crested Butte
Crested Butte’s stunning natural beauty and rich history will surely capture your heart.
Nestled at the base of its namesake mountain, this southwestern Colorado gem is a well-preserved piece of the past with its Victorian facades and mining history.
It’s also perfect for anyone who wants an outdoor adventure, offering world-class skiing and a buzzing mountain biking scene. Come summer, the town transforms into a riot of color with wildflower blooms, while fall sets the aspen groves ablaze with color.
32. Lookout Mountain
The majestic Lookout Mountain, standing over 7,300 feet above Golden, Colorado, is an exquisite blend of natural beauty, historical significance, and diverse outdoor activities. Its breathtaking views of the Rocky Mountains and Denver’s distant skyline will leave you in awe.
It was once used as a lookout point by the Ute Indian Tribe. The mountain is perfect for outdoor enthusiasts, offering challenging hikes and bike rides, or a scenic drive up for those who prefer it. The thriving wildlife and backcountry hiking on the Chimney Gulch/Lookout Mountain Trail add to its appeal. On the summit you’ll find the Buffalo Bill Museum and Grave, commemorating the famous performer.
33. Independence Pass
As one of the most scenic views in Colorado, Independence Pass offers you a stunning opportunity to see the mountains and a variety of outdoor activities. This seasonal road (climbing to a breathtaking 12,095 feet above sea level) links Twin Lakes to Aspen and crosses the Continental Divide.
You’ll navigate a steep, narrow path, winding through aspen groves and along the Roaring Fork River. There are also a number of camping opportunities and numerous hiking trails off the pass.
If you plan on checking this out, the pass is open from May to October.
34. Rifle Falls State Park
With its breathtaking triple waterfall cascading over a 70-foot travertine wall and lush vegetation, Rifle Falls State Park is definitely one of the most beautiful places in Colorado.
It’s just a short 20-minute drive from the town of Rifle, and the parking area is conveniently close to the falls. Here you can explore the park’s trails, offering up-close encounters with the falls and access to small caves.
It’s also a great spot for picnicking too, with well-equipped campsites available for longer stays.
35. Steamboat Springs
Steamboat Springs is another gem in Colorado’s crown of beauty.
Just a scenic three hour drive from Denver, Steamboat Springs is a breathtaking mountain oasis. Its Strawberry Park Hot Springs, one of the state’s finest, is perfect for a soothing soak after a day of outdoor fun. You’ll be awestruck by the views on Buffalo Pass drive and the area’s majestic hiking trails.
And, if you’re a winter sports enthusiast, Steamboat Springs’ aspen glades and two ski areas are a dream come true. The town’s unique blend of cowboy culture and outdoor recreation adds a distinct charm, making Steamboat Springs an unforgettable Colorado beauty.
36. Lone Eagle Peak
Lone Eagle Peak is a dramatic natural spectacle that stands out as one of Colorado’s most stunning locales. Often called the prettiest mountain in Colorado, its unique, rugged granite face and dominant skyline presence make it a sight to behold.
The 14-mile hike to reach it, albeit mellow, is filled with picturesque waterfalls like Cascade Falls that keep you captivated. You can even opt for a backpacking adventure, with daily permits available for a more immersive wilderness experience.
Despite not being the tallest, it’s the star of the Indian Peaks Wilderness, overlooking Mirror Lake and offering breathtaking views. Lone Eagle Peak is truly the epitome of Colorado’s mountainous splendor.
37. Crystal Mill
After you’ve marveled at the majestic beauty of Lone Eagle Peak, your next stop should be Crystal Mill, a wonderful spot that embodies everything there is to love about this state.
This mill lies near Crystal which is a ghost town north of Crested Butte. Its 1892 wooden powerhouse ruins are a testament to Colorado’s mining past.
You’ll need a high-clearance 4-wheel drive vehicle to navigate the bumpy road, but once there, you’re rewarded with stunning views of the mill, cliffside, mountains, and woods. It’s a photographer’s paradise (especially during the fall).
Hike, bike, or off-road drive in the surrounding area, but remember to respect any private property you come across!
38. Jones Pass
Anyone who has been to Jones Pass can speak to its breathtaking beauty and serene wilderness.
This spot, known for its stunning alpine views, is a piece of heaven for nature lovers. You can do some boondock camping, watch a sunset, or hike through the Arapaho National Forest, all for free!
The area’s mining history adds a unique touch to its allure, with the operational Henderson molybdenum mine close by. However, the road to this paradise is often closed seasonally due to weather, so plan your trip wisely. You’ll need a vehicle with good ground clearance, preferably an SUV or truck.
39. Mount Evans Scenic Byway
Mount Evans Scenic Byway offers a tremendous opportunity to experience Colorado’s natural beauty, taking you on a journey through diverse landscapes.
You’ll traverse five climate zones, each with its unique flora and fauna. It’s not uncommon to spot pikas, marmots, and even majestic bighorn sheep.
A quick walk from the parking lot leads you to the summit, standing at a breathtaking 14,264 feet. From here, you’re rewarded with sweeping views of wildflowers, lichens, grasses, and alpine lakes.
Be prepared though, since the weather can change rapidly. But don’t let this deter you. This is undoubtedly one of Colorado’s most beautiful places, so it’s worth it!
40. Paint Mines Interpretive Park
In Colorado’s treasure trove of natural beauty, Paint Mines Interpretive Park holds its own as one of the most stunning and unique destinations you’re likely to encounter.
Just outside of Calhan, this 750-acre park showcases vibrant, ore-stained rock formations, providing an almost surreal, Dr. Seuss-like landscape. It’s not only the rainbow of colors that’ll amaze you, it’s the convergence of badlands, prairies, and wetlands that adds to the park’s allure.
As you explore the walking trails, you’ll understand why Native Americans used this spot to make paint. Ideal for photography, the formations are brightest around mid-day, presenting a spectacle you won’t want to miss.
As you can see, there are an incredible number of beautiful places in Colorado. That’s why it’s easily one of our favorite states.
But don’t just take our word for it, get out there and see them for yourself. And when you do, share your pictures with us!