25+ Adventure-Filled Colorado Bucket List Ideas & Activities

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Colorado is a stunning state filled with mountains, alpine scenery, activities for every season, and fun things to do for the whole family. This is one reason why the state is an excellent destination to put on your bucket list. There are so many things to do and see that you might just discover you want to stay!

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If you’re interested in adding Colorado destinations to your travel bucket list, you’re in the right spot. Here are some of the best places to visit, things to do, and foods to eat in the great state of Colorado.

Spring and Summer Colorado Bucket List Ideas

If you’re getting ready to make a travel bucket list, be sure to include activities for each season of the year. Here are some of the best things to do in Colorado for spring and summer.

1. Take in a show at Red Rocks

Red Rocks is, hands down, one of the best music venues worldwide. Some of the best artists around make this a stop on their tour schedule and if you visit, you’ll see why. The unique amphitheater is carved into the hillside with seats for everyone, a view that will take your breath away, and acoustics that will leave you begging for more.

2. Swim in the World’s largest hot springs pool

Glenwood Springs was built around the world’s largest natural hot springs. Today, the springs feed into a pool that provides summer fun for the whole family. 

3. Check out a ghost town

St. Elmo Ghost Town is one of the best-preserved ghost towns in Colorado. As soon as you step outside of your car, you’ll feel like you’re walking onto a movie set. There are over 43 buildings to view and look into, including a courthouse, jail, saloon, and many private homes.

4. Drive the Continental Divide

Drive up the Continental Divide, and when you get to the top, stop and pull over. You’ll be at the point where all water that hits the ridge will either flow to the west coast or to the east.

Fall and Winter Colorado Bucket List Ideas

Fall and winter in Colorado are stunning. From fall foliage to snowy slopes, we think you’ll fall in love with traveling here during the colder months.

5. Hike the Maroon Bells

The Maroon Bells are part of a mountain range that is as iconic as it is majestic. Visit any time of year for spectacular scenery and picture-perfect photo opportunities. However, if you want to see Colorado’s stunning fall foliage, go during the fall months. Winter is equally stunning when the Bells become covered in snow.

6. Try cross-country skiing

If you’ve never gone cross-country skiing before, Colorado is the place to try it out. Ski into remote areas and access hiking trails that are usually crowded with tourists during the summer months. Plan your trip and expect cold temps, stunning scenery, and abundant wildlife.

7. Hike Pikes Peak

Pikes Peak is the mountain that inspired the line, “Purple mountain majesties” in the song America the Beautiful. It’s a good 14,000-foot hike to the top if you’re adventurous, or you can take the Pikes Peak Cog Railway for a scenic but less strenuous time up the mountain.

Pro tip: While beautiful in the summer, it’s stunning in the fall and winter.

8. Ski in Aspen

Aspen is a resort area known for some of the best slopes in Colorado. You can ski, snowboard, or simply enjoy a cup of hot cocoa while admiring the views.

Bucket List Parks, Hikes, and Outdoor Activities in Colorado

There are so many national parks in Colorado that it’s hard not to list them all! Here are some of the best.

9. Check out Great Sand Dunes National Park

There are sand dunes in Colorado? Yep! And the area is designated as a national park to make sure they’re preserved. You can walk, hike, go sand sledding, and camp in and around the dunes. If you want to explore even more, the surrounding natural area is made up of grasslands, wetlands, alpine lakes, forests, and tundra.

Pro tip: The park is open 24/7, and no reservations are needed to visit. 

10. Take pictures at Mesa Verde National Park

Walk around and view the cliff houses of the Pueblo people who called Mesa Verde their home. The houses are built into the cliffs and are a feat of engineering. Stunning up close or when viewed from a distance, there are plenty of opportunities to hike and walk through the acres of National Park land.

11. Hike to a waterfall in Glenwood Springs

Hanging Lake Falls in Glenwood Springs is a must-see waterfall and is worth the hike. Aqua waters, cascading falls, and stunning scenery await you. 

Pro tip: Summer is the high season for this area, so if you want a quieter hike, go in the fall.

12. Visit the Black Canyon of the Gunnison

Often called the Grand Canyon of Colorado, the Black Canyon of the Gunnison comprises hundreds of acres of steep cliffs, jagged rocks, and spires that point to the sky. Hiking trails abound around the rim and into the interior of the canyon, making this an appropriate stop for every adventure level.

13. Trek through Rocky Mountain National Park

The Rockies are a veritable playground for kids and adults alike with hiking, biking, camping, and kid-friendly learning programs at the tourist center. The park is so large and filled with incredible scenery that you could easily spend a week exploring.

Kid-Friendly Colorado Bucket List Ideas

Looking for activities to do with the little adventurers in your life? Take a look at these kid-friendly options.

14. View actual dinosaur footprints

Dinosaur Ridge is located at the foothills of the Rockies and is the site of dinosaur tracks, fossils, and a kid-friendly activity center. There are also trails for hiking, daily exhibits, and tours that take you back to the days when dinos roamed Colorado.

15. Visit Four Corners Colorado

Have you ever wanted to be in two places at once? How about four? Four Corners Colorado is the meeting place where four states touch. Stand in the right spot and you’ll be in Utah, Arizona, Colorado, and New Mexico at the same time.

16. Take the Durango to Silverton Train

Riding the rails from Durango to Silverton is sure to be an experience the whole family will enjoy and talk about for years to come. The narrow-gauge railroad travels through some of the most stunning scenery in all of Colorado. 

17. Ride the Polar Express

This activity is fun for the whole family, and especially the smaller adventurers that join you. From late November through December, the Durango and Silverton Train is transformed into a magical version of the Polar Express. Just like in the movie, golden tickets to ride are handed out, hot chocolate is passed out, and sing-alongs are enjoyed by all.

Couples Bucket List Ideas in Colorado

Get romantic and go on a date or two with these fun ideas for couples.

18. Overnight at the Stanley Hotel

Whether you and your significant other are Stephen King fans or not, you’ll love staying in this lux hotel that served as the inspiration for King’s The Shining. 

19. Take in the sunrise at Lookout Mountain

Hike on up to the top of Lookout Mountain in Golden, Colorado, for an extraordinary view of the sunrise. Give the one you love a kiss at just the right moment, or get down on a knee and pop the question. No matter how you mark your visit, it’s sure to be a spectacular one.

20. Attend the Telluride Film Festival

If you and your special other are fans of indie films from around the world, this is an event you won’t want to miss. Held annually in Telluride over Labor Day weekend, the festival typically spans five days. Film connoisseurs, producers, editors, writers, and lovers from on Telluride to watch and honor the best in film from around the world.

21. Walk across the Royal Gorge Bridge

This activity could be equally enjoyable for a couple or the whole family. Walk across the nearly 1,000-foot bridge suspended high above Royal Gorge. Look down if you dare, but be sure to look around. The scenery from the bridge is breathtaking.

Pro tip: This isn’t for the faint of heart or those with a fear of heights!

Bucket List Foods and Restaurants in Colorado

When planning a trip, you have to include a food bucket list. Here are several must-eats in Colorado.

22. Eat in a 100-year-old train station

Union Station is a 100-year-old train station and home to some of the best restaurants, bars, and ice cream shops around. If you’re traveling with a picky eater or you want everyone in the group to have their own choice at mealtime, don’t pass this up!

23. Enjoy Colorado’s fav Mexican food

If you love Mexican food, just wait ‘till you taste Colorado’s favorite stop: Rio Grande. They specialize in offering Tex Mex creations and are famous for their craft margaritas. 

24. Visit Denver’s oldest operating bar

My Brother’s Bar is the oldest operating bar in Denver and is a local favorite. Started by two brothers (naturally), the small restaurant still churns out the burgers they’ve become famous for. Their menu is family-friendly with staples like mac and cheese, burgers, craft beer, and non-alcoholic beers and drinks.

25. Get an ice cream cone at Little Man Ice Cream

A Denver institution, homemade ice cream is served to customers inside a 28-foot-tall cream can at Little Man. It’s a local favorite and a must-do on any trip to Colorado.

26. Try a Rocky Mountain Oyster

No, these aren’t oysters from the sea. Once you’ve tried it, you’ll have bragging rights. Pick any restaurant in Denver that has this on their menu and try it. You might just decide you like it!

Adventure Your Way Through Colorado 

Whether you go to Colorado to eat, play, luxuriate, or discover, there’s something for everyone to do. The state is accessible year-round and features incredible things to do during each season of the year. Whether you go on your own, with your significant other, or with your family and kids, every adventurer is sure to love their time.

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