The Ultimate Colorado Bucket List

Written by Ben Sack, 07.24.2019

Are you new to Colorado? Or have you lived here your whole life, and you’ve decided that it’s time to take advantage of what our gorgeous state has to offer? We’ve put together the ultimate Colorado bucket list, with food, drinks, outdoor adventures, sports games, and more. If you check all of these off, you’re a Coloradan, through and through.

1. Drive to the Top of Pikes Peak

Pikes Peak Highway view from summitDid you know that Pikes Peak is the most visited peak in all of North America? With a road that takes you all the way up, sweeping views, and tasty donuts once you reach the top, it’s one of the must-do outdoor activities in Colorado.

2. Go SandBoarding at the Great Sand Dunes

Colorado is home to the tallest sand dunes in North America found in the Great Sand Dunes National Park. Nestled at the foot of lush green mountains, this fine sand is waiting for the adventurous souls to come and sandboard its steep, sandy slopes. 

3. See a Show at Red Rocks

Concert at Red Rocks AmphitheatreRed Rocks is undoubtedly one of the most well-known venues in the world, with musicians and fans traveling far and wide to experience the beauty and sound quality that this unique venue offers. Don’t miss your opportunity to see one of your favorite artists at one of the best outdoor music venues there is.

4. Eat Rocky Mountain Oysters

Rocky Mountain oysters are a tasty treat for those willing to try something a bit different. These oysters don’t come from the sea; they’re actually made from cow or bison testicles. Rocky Mountain oysters can be found at restaurants throughout the state, or you can have them when you visit Coors Field for a baseball game.

5. Visit Mesa Verde National Park

Mesa Verde National ParkLocated in Southwest Colorado is Mesa Verde National Park, home to hundreds of cliff dwellings of the Ancestral Pueblo people. Walking around these dwellings gives you a real sense of what it was like to live in this area of Colorado over one thousand years ago.

6. Climb a Fourteener

Fourteeners are peaks that reach above 14,000 feet. Colorado boasts 58 fourteeners, some that are great for beginners, and some that require overnight backpacking to reach the summit. Climbing a 14er is a quintessential Colorado activity.

7. Walk Across the Royal Gorge Bridge

Aerial view of the Royal Gorge BridgeThe Royal Gorge Bridge and Park is one of the most visited parks in Colorado. People come here to walk across America’s highest suspension bridge where they can watch the raging Arkansas river flow below them and take in the beautiful views.

8. See a Broncos Game

If you’re a sports fanatic, hit up a game at the Broncos Stadium at Mile High, where you can see the orange and blue compete on their home turf.

9. Stay at the Stanley Hotel

Stanley Hotel in Estes ParkOne of the nicest hotels in the state is the historic Stanley Hotel in Estes Park. With a view of Rocky Mountain National Park, guests enjoy the best of both worlds: luxury and nature. This is a great base for exploring the gorgeous Rocky Mountains.

10. Visit the Molly Brown House

The Titanic is a story that most of us know well. The Molly Brown House was home to the Titanic heroine Margaret Brown. After surviving the Titanic, she spent her years dedicated to philanthropy and activism. Located in Denver, the Molly Brown House is one of the more unique museums in Colorado.

11. Hike the Garden of the Gods

Garden of the Gods is a national landmark made up of over 1,000 acres of sandstone formations. Hiking, rock climbing, and mountain biking are all fun activities to do here. As it’s located in Colorado Springs, only an hour south of Denver, it’s a great place to spend a day exploring with your family.Garden of the Gods 

12. Try Some Local Food Trucks

There are no shortage of food truck options in our beautiful state. You can find healthy, deep fried, vegan, seafood, and Indian food, amongst many others. There are food truck events throughout the year, or you can do a search and find a food truck near you.

13. Go to a Rockies Game at Coors Field

baseball gameCoors Field is located in the heart of downtown Denver. It’s a great place to enjoy a Rockies baseball game and the best that downtown has to offer all in one day. There are delicious dinner spots and bars within a short walking distance of the stadium.

14. Ride Roller Coasters at Elitch Gardens

Elitch Gardens has been a staple in Colorado for many years. Come on a hot day and cool off at the water park early in the day, and end the evening riding one roller coaster after another.

15. Take a Train from Union Station

Union Station in Denver, ColoradoDenver’s main train station for the past 100+ years is Union Station. Here you can find tasty restaurants, refreshing drinks, and Amtrak trains to take you far and wide. Have you ever considered taking a train to cities as far as Chicago or Oakland? For your next trip, head out of Union Station rather than DIA and take a tour of the country.

16. Take the Coors Brewery Tour

The Coors Brewery is one of the coolest breweries around. It’s located at the foot of the Rocky Mountains and has been producing quality beer for nearly 150 years. For only $5 for residents and $10 for other visitors, you can enjoy three 8-ounce beer samples along with a commemorative glass. And it’s not just Coors and Coors Light that they brew; you’ll find Blue Moon, Colorado Native, and Crispin Cider, among others.

17. Climb the Manitou Incline

Manitou Sorings Incline TrailClimb up 2,744 steps made up of railroad tied at the Manitou Incline. Also known as the incline, this trek ends with sweeping views after ascending 2,000 feet in elevation. It’s an extremely challenging hike, so prepare accordingly!

19. Try Out Cross-Country Skiing or Snowshoeing

Whether or not you’re a skier or snowboarder, you can try cross-country skiing or snowshoeing. They’re both great workouts and they give you the opportunity to explore some of the less-traveled trails in Colorado during wintertime. 

18. Go Whitewater Rafting

paddle crew prepares to enter the first rapid of the dayColorado has amazing whitewater rafting for beginners and thrill-seekers alike. Try rafting the Royal Gorge if you’re new to rafting but up for some adventure, or Bighorn Sheep Canyon if you’re looking for something a bit calmer for the whole family.

20. Have Some Craft Beer at the Great American Beer Festival

Colorado is home to many craft breweries. Head to the Great American Beer Festival October 3-5, 2019 to try some of the best beers and ciders that our state has to offer.

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About the Author

Ben Sack is the General Manager of Echo Canyon River Expeditions, Colorado's largest white water rafting outfitter. He's also a raft guide, a photographer, and he loves exploring Colorado and beyond with his wife and two boys.
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