Things to do in Southwest Colorado


Colorado is best known for its spectacular scenery and mountainous landscape. The Southwest part of the state has three national parks, waterfalls, geothermal wells, rafting opportunities, and Native American monuments and landmarks. Colorado Springs is a perfect starting point for southwest Colorado adventures.

Foreign visitors need travel authorization to get into the US. If you come from 39 countries in the Visa Waiver Program, you can ask for ESTA approval. Passport requirements for USA state your passport have to be valid for at least six months after the planned return. Before booking your flight for Denver, Colorado, check your documents.

Best of Southeast Colorado

Some 70 miles from Denver, the biggest town in Colorado, you can reach Colorado Springs. The first stop after you settle down can be Great Dunes National Park. It is home to the tallest dunes in North America. Rent a sandboard and slide from the towering dunes. Afterward, you can cool off the hot desert air in Medano creek. National Park offers numerous trails through a diverse landscape, and Zapata Falls Trailhead takes you on a short half-mile walk to beautiful falls.

Durango is a significant historic site, a place where you can experience the Old West culture. A scenic ride on the train to Silverton is a must-experience attraction. It’s one of the most impressive train rides you’ll ever see. Other interests include Purgatory ski resort if you decide to come in winter. Narrow Gauge Railway Museum is also a huge crowd-pleaser.

Explore incredible ancient remains of cliff dwellings from Native Puebloans in Mesa Verde National Park. After a sneak peeks into pre-Colombian Americans’ lives, you can try Cliff Palace or Balcony House tour.

Head to the Mountain Village and hop on a free gondola to the mountain. You can explore beautiful sights and then go down to the Telluride. Besides breathtaking gondola ride, this location offers a slew of summer activities like hiking and mountain biking and great ski and snowboard areas for a winter visit.

The town of Ouray is a well-known destination because of the incredible surrounding landscape that is dubbed as Switzerland of America. High dramatic scenery, waterfalls, and hot springs in the town can keep you occupied for days. Climb up to Imogene Pass at 13,114 feet for 360 views.

Gunnison National Park hides incredible Black Canyon with cliffs over 2,700 feet at some spots. Gunnison River offers Class V rapids for advanced kayakers. There are numerous viewpoints to observe the majestic beauty of the canyon. You can take pictures from Gunnison Point, Devil’s Lookout, Cedar Point, Warner Point, and others.

Day trips from Colorado Springs

Colorado is full of fourteeners, mountains over 14,000 feet. Snowy Pikes Peak stands at 14,115 feet in Pike National Forest. The best way to see the second most visited mountain globally is with a scenic ride on Pikes Peak Cog Railway.

Garden of Gods is another natural landmark near Colorado Springs. Rock climbing, horseback riding, and jeep tours are popular activities among jagged rock formations that climb up to 300 feet over the diverse landscape.

Another great adventure is Million Dollar Highway, a 46-kilometer road with spectacular views between Silverthorn and Ouray in the mighty Colorado mountains.

Colorado highlights

Once you see all Southwest Colorado attractions, take your time and explore the other parts of this beautiful state.

Rocky Mountain National Park is among the most visited in America. Alpine glacial lakes, high mountain peaks, lush forests, and abundant wildlife are the best invitation. The Trail Ridge Road is a scenic highway through the park that has numerous hiking trails.

Colorado is among the best ski destinations in the US, and alpine skiers acknowledge Vail as a top destination. Beaver Creek, Fisco, and Avon are small towns near the resort.

Another famous ski destination in the state is Aspen. A high-end ski destination with lots of summer activities options is just a three-hour drive from Denver.

To cap off the natural wonders, you can visit the Colorado National Monument. Unlike Alps-like mountainous landscape, here you can find Rock Spires, cliff walls, canyons, and classic western terrain.

Colorado is not only known for its natural landmarks. There are many small towns and Denver if you want to catch a city break. Although the state is relatively safe, you can avoid some of the most dangerous cities in Colorado. Denver suburbs like Glendale, Sheridan, and Federal Heights have an above-average crime rate. Consider avoiding Pueblo and Alamosa on your Colorado road trip if you can.

Bottom line

You could argue Southwest Colorado hides the best attractions, but the whole state’s geography with the Rocky Mountains and high prairie can keep you in awe. Regardless of the season, Colorado has plenty of natural attractions and activities for active visitors. Whether you take Instagram photos of majestic nature, for hiking or skiing vacation, Colorado has excellent options for all visitors.

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