Denver has lots of exciting tourist attractions, but sometimes residents just need a change of scenery. Luckily, there are plenty of day trips from Denver, each with gorgeous sights and fun activities. You don’t have to travel far to have an exciting trip. Sometimes the most charming locations are closer than you think!
So, here are 10 exciting day trips from Denver that you should consider.
#1 – Rocky Mountain National Park
The Rocky Mountain National Park is one of the most beautiful areas in Colorado. It’s under two hours from Denver, and it has scenery that seems almost too good to be true. It has over 300 miles of hiking trails, surrounded by trees, water, and mountains. It even has a road that reaches an altitude of 12,000 feet. Plus, if you love animals, you’ll likely find lots of wildlife, such as beavers and bears. It’s an excellent change of pace from city life, and it has some of the most breathtaking photo opportunities.
#2 – Red Rocks Park and Ampitheatre
It’s hard to believe that the Red Rocks Park is only a half hour away from Denver! It’s known as one of the best music venues in the world. Yet, this place is about so much more than just concerts. The amphitheatre is carved from rock formations, and the surrounding area is a park with incredible sights. Many visitors come to hike on the trails and witness some amazing wildlife. You can view many one-of-a-kind landscapes and possibly even see animals like deer, coyotes, and bobcats. Of course, you should see if there are any fun concerts or events during your visit too.
#3 – Garden of the Gods
This Colorado Springs attraction is full of amazing outdoor activities, and it’s only an hour and a half away from Denver. Hiking, biking, and horseback riding are just some of the many things that visitors enjoy. In this park, you’ll find a series of tall red rock formations unlike any other. These rocks spread across over 1,000 acres of land. You can explore the trails on your own, but also be sure to check out the visitor center, where you can learn more about this unique outdoor space.
#4 – Boulder
If you’re looking for some less specific day trips from Denver, then Boulder might be an interesting city to check out. It’s only about 40 minutes from Denver, and it has both indoor and outdoor activities. This gorgeous city has over 31,000 acres of hiking trails and 200 miles of trails. Of course, you’ll find many mountains and rock formations, which is how this city got its name. Yet, if you’re looking for indoor activities too, then Boulder has lots of breweries, which offer tours to visitors.
#5 – Mount Evans Scenic Byway
The Mount Evans Scenic Byway involves lots of driving, but it’s worth it for the incredible views. It’s the highest paved road in the country, which starts about 40 minutes from Denver. It’s a 14-mile road that runs up Mount Evans. The mountains rise over 14,000 feet, so this location is certainly not for those who are queasy around heights. The road was built in 1927, and it has been famous ever since thanks to its gorgeous views. At the top, you’ll find plenty of attractions, including live music, hiking trails, and ice skating rinks in the winter months.
#6 – Central City and Black Hawk
Central City and Black Hawk are two former mining towns, but now, they’re home to resorts with lots of casinos. They’re just under an hour away from Denver, and they’re popular getaways for couples. On top of gambling, there are also lots of dining options that you’re sure to love. These cities are like the closer, more affordable alternatives to Las Vegas. If you’re looking to visit for more than just a day, there’s plenty of overnight lodging as well.
#7 – Royal Gorge Bridge and Park
The Royal Gorge Bridge and Park is breathtaking in photos, so just imagine how cool it looks in person! It’s about a two-hour drive from downtown Denver. In fact, the Royal Gorge Bridge from 1930 is the highest suspension bridge in the United States, raised 956 feet above the Arkansas River. So, if heights scare you, then don’t look down. The bridge isn’t the only thrilling attraction in this area because you can also take a gondola or zipline across the gorge for a scenic ride. No matter what route you take, your heart is sure to be racing by the end.
#8 – White River National Forest
This beautiful forest area is located only an hour away from Denver. It’s a popular spot for skiing and hiking. Many even consider it one of the most popular national parks in the entire country. It’s a massive forest that covers over 2,285,970 acres. It also has 1,900 miles of roads and 2,500 miles of hiking trails. Some popular activities in this park are horseback riding, wildlife watching, and camping. If you’re feeling adventurous, then this place has endless amounts of outdoor space to explore.
#9 – Buffalo Overlook
The Buffalo Overlook is a nice short drive from Denver, only about a half hour. It’s an area inside of the state’s Genesee Park, where guests can view lots of wild bison. There’s no guarantee that you’ll see bison in this area, but you have pretty good odds. Plus, the covered observation deck still offers excellent views even without wild animals there. This location became famous for bison sightings because it’s where the first North American bison herds were reestablished, and these amazing creatures continue to return here to this day.
#10 – Fort Collins
Fort Collins is about an hour and a half from Denver, and it’s considered one of the best places to live in the United States. It’s mostly known as a college town since it’s home to the Colorado State University. Yet, it’s popular for all visitors, not just college students. It has lots of outdoor spaces for hiking and swimming if the weather is nice. Fort Collins also has lots of excellent local beer, so many tourists grab a drink after a long day of exploring the great outdoors.
Are you looking to get away from your home city? If so, all 10 of these day trips from Denver are excellent options. Even just a day away from where you live can give you peace of mind. At least one of these locations is sure to be the perfect destination for you and your family.