The Most Gorgeous Places in Colorado

I moved to Colorado three years ago because of its wild beauty and to experience life on the west coast. If you didn’t know, I’m originally from Upstate NY (which it’s beautiful) but the mountains aren’t the same as Colorado mountains.

Since I’ll be ending my time in Colorado as I head back to the east coast (Florida this time!) I want to put together a list of my favorite places I’ve visited while I’ve lived here.

To be 100% honest, I was hesitant to put together this list. I get nervous about recommending places and having more and more people go, increasing the amount of littering and so forth. PLEASE be considerate if visiting any of these places- pick up after yourself and be mindful of the surrounding wildlife. 

That being said- here are my favorite places to visit in Colorado, most of them being reasonably close to Denver! 

Roxborough State Park

One of my favorite places close to Denver is Roxborough State Park. Whenever I’ve posted photos to my Instagram account of this place it’s often mistaken for Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs. I personally prefer Roxborough because it’s less crowded. How stunning are these red rocks?! 

The Most Gorgeous Places in Colorado
  • Distance (from central Denver): 50 Mins
  • Know before you go- During the hotter months rattlesnakes are very present here. Be extra cautious 

Brainard Lake

Brainard Lake is one of my go-to places for photos because it makes for a beautiful backdrop. Being only 50 minutes away from Boulder and 1 hour 30 minutes away from Denver, it makes for a great day trip. If you get lucky you might even spot a Moose here (please don’t approach it though)!  

  • Distance (from central Denver): 1 hour 30 minutes 
  • Know before you go- You can hike up to Lake Isabelle from Brainard Lake. It’s 4.4 miles roundtrip. 

Piney Lake

As much as I love all these places on this list, Piney Lake is my favorite. It’s incredibly peaceful and offers incredible views. It’s actually a ranch where they hold wedding ceremonies, so if you’re looking for that special spot I highly recommend here! 

  • Distance (from central Denver): 2 hour 30 minutes
  • Know before you go- 
    • You will need a high clearance vehicle to drive down the road to get to this lake. I don’t recommend driving this in a low clearance car. 
    • Since they hold wedding ceremonies, they’re often closed to the public on the weekends. Call before you go.

Mount Evans

The Mount Evans Scenic Byway is the highest paved road in America and is located in Idaho Springs. This place is not for the faint of heart. If you’re afraid of driving next to cliffs I don’t recommend this place. Also, because it’s at such high elevation you risk altitude sickness. Even me being accustomed to the elevation I still feel nauseous and light headed when I go all the way to the top. The views are incredible though! 

  • Distance (from central Denver): 2 hours 30 mins 
  • Know before you go- Huge drop offs next to road, be careful about altitude sickness

Lookout Mountain Park

One of the best spots close to Denver for a gorgeous day in the mountains. There’s lots of pullovers for spectacular views, hiking, and mountain biking. End the day by eating some pizza at Woody’s- an amazing pizza shop in Golden, CO! 

The Most Gorgeous Places in Colorado
  • Distance (from central Denver): 30 mins 
  • Know before you go- Road is pretty twisty, be cautious if you get motion sickness. Also gets really busy on the weekends. 

Great Sand Dunes National Park 

If you want feel like you’re in the Sahara Desert without traveling out of country, you need to see this place. It’s about 4 hours from Denver but well worth the drive. It is actually a random (but huge) sand dune area on the side of a mountain. Who would have thought this exists in Colorado?!

The Most Gorgeous Places in Colorado
  • Distance (from central Denver): 4 hours
  • Know before you go- This place can get very windy. Just a heads up.

Crested Butte

Ah, Crested Butte. It’s tied with Piney Lake for being one of my favorite places in Colorado. I always visit during wildflower season (it’s the wildflower capital of Colorado)! The town is also very quaint and it’s very enjoyable to spend time there.

The Most Gorgeous Places in Colorado
  • Distance (from central Denver): 4 hours
  • Know before you go-
    • The wildflowers typically are at peak early July
    • A high clearance vehicle is needed if you want to explore the scenery around Crested Butte. You can drive to Crested Butte in your normal vehicle, and rent a jeep from Alpen Glow Rentals.
The Most Gorgeous Places in Colorado

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