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One of the state’s best kept secrets are the plethora of gondolas in Colorado that offer stunning scenic views.
In addition to showing off the epic Colorado landscape, a gondola is also very practical. Ride up the mountain, or use it for your morning commute.
Many Colorado mountain towns have a gondola, or two, for both tourists and locals to enjoy. Some of them are free to ride while others require visitors to purchase tickets.
From gorgeous autumn rides to stunning spring trails, these Colorado gondolas do not disappoint.
Most gondolas in the state run continuously from Memorial Day through Labor Day, after which their hours become more limited.
As a local native, I’ve tried and tested many of the top gondolas in Colorado and have narrowed it down to the best ones for this list.
1. Silver Queen Gondola, Aspen Mountain
One of the most popular gondolas in Colorado has to be the Silver Queen Gondola in Aspen.
Load up at the base of the mountain, starting at 7,945 feet and then ride the Silver Queen to the top at 11,212 feet above sea level.
If you’re an advanced skier or snowboarder, there are lots of terrain options, from intermediate blues to double black diamond runs.
But newbies and non-skiers can still enjoy the panoramic views of the Aspen Gondola.
Plus, there’s plenty to do in the summer like hiking trails, disc golf, a giant chess and checkers board, corn hole and live music on the weekends.
Or enjoy a delicious meal or snack at the Sundeck restaurant’s gourmet cafeteria.
Snack on a yummy bit to eat while taking in the incredible views of the surrounding mountains, including several popular Colorado fourteeners.
2. Glenwood Gondola, Glenwood Springs
Previously called the Iron Mountain Tramway, the Glenwood Gondola was revamped in 2019 to offer a more modern ride up the mountain.
The gondola cabins soar over the town of Glenwood Springs with breathtaking views of the city and giant peaks like Mount Sopris.
Once at the top, you can tour the entire Adventure Park, grab a bite to eat, take some fun photos, or ride one of the heart-pounding attractions.
The Glenwood Gondola is large enough to fix six people comfortably. It’s also wheel-chair accessible with plenty of room for strollers too.
The slow but steady ride up Iron Mountain takes approximately 5-6 minutes one-way. The path up was built without cutting down any trees in order to preserve the natural mountain environment.
Since the Glenwood Gondola is part of the Glenwood Springs Adventure Park, there is a fee to enter and ride the gondola.
But as someone who has done this in the past, the fee is totally worth the views and experience.
3. BreckConnect Gondola, Breckenridge
Another gondola in Colorado that’s a must-visit is the free BreckConnect in Breckenridge.
While it may not be as glamorous as some of the other gondolas on this list, it’s a completely free ride that’s worth your time.
Along the ride, you’ll pass over the Cucumber Gulch Wildlife Preserve which is home to bald eagles, moose, deer and foxes.
The goal of the BreckConnect is simply to transport skiers and hikers from the town’s base to the summit of Peak 8.
This 26-minute round-trip ride covers 7,592 feet and stops at three different boarding stations.
Peak 7 is a great place for locals or tourists seeking a comfortable stay near the slopes. Here you’ll find the Grand Lodge resort which offers great food and entertainment options.
The final, and most popular stop, is Peak 8 which features the Epic Discovery Center in the summer, as well as the Grand Colorado ski resort.
During the busy winter ski season the Breckenridge Gondola can transport nearly 3,000 people per hour.
There are no tickets to purchase or reservations to make. Simply walk up to the gondola and jump in an open cab.
4. Mountain Village Gondola, Telluride
Not only is the Mountain Village Gondola in Telluride one of the most scenic gondola rides in the state, it’s one of the best commutes in North America.
Yep, this is one of the town’s primary forms of public transportation. In fact, the Telluride Gondola is the first and free public transportation of its kind in America.
Locals use the Telluride Village Gondola to commute from the historic town of Telluride to the ski resort at Mountain Village.
Station St. Sophia is located 10,540 feet in elevation, just behind the mountain ridge. You will still need a lift ticket to ride, even if it is completely free.
This awe-inspiring ride takes 13 minutes from station to station, and offers jaw-dropping views of the town’s famous box canyon. It’s perfect for hikers in the summer season or snowshoers in the winter.
Along the way you can expect to see lots of wildlife too. Keep an eye out for elk, deer, and lots of ground animals.
5. Royal Gorge Gondola, Canon City
If you’re a thrill seeker searching for a heart-pounding gondola in Colorado, then look no further than the Royal Gorge Aerial Gondola in Canon City.
While most tourists and locals visit the Gorge to see the world’s highest suspension bridge, it’s the gondola that steals the show.
This fire-red gondola takes you 2,200 feet across the stunning Royal Gorge and 1,200 feet above the canyon floor below.
And with a glass bottom, trust us when you say it will get your blood flowing and your heart pumping.
When we rode the gondola and crossed over the large gorge we were both in awe and pretty freaked out.
But you’ll land safely on the side where you and your family can check out the other forms of entertainment the park has to offer.
In order to ride the Royal Gorge Gondola you need to buy a ticket to the bridge which starts at $25 for adults.
6. Estes Park Aerial Tramway, Estes Park
Estes Park has so many things to do in both the summer or winter, making it one of my favorite places to visit.
Not only is it close to Rocky Mountain National Park, but you can see extraordinary views of the city on the Estes Park Aerial Tramway.
Adults and kids will enjoy taking some of the most epic photos around or hiking the family-friendly trails at the summit.
The spot even makes a great place for an engagement, or in one case, a wedding!
The Estes Park Aerial Tramway is still in operation by the original owners today, the Heron family.
Since its installation in 1955 it has transported over 3 million people to the summit of Prospect Mountain.
The Tramway is open daily from May to early September, then it’s mostly only open on weekends during the winter. Check out their website for exact details of times of operation.
7. Gondola One, Vail
From baby-blue columbines to pink fairy slippers, Vail has some of the most diverse wildflower populations in the state.
Plus, Vail is home to the largest ski resort in the state, with nearly 5,300 skiable acres. For these reasons, of course the city has an amazing gondola!
In fact, Vail is home to two epic gondola rides: the Gondola One and the Eagle Bahn Gondola.
If you’re looking for the fastest way to the top of Vail Mountain, then Gondola One is the quickest route.
During the summer, both of the Vail gondolas offer free rides for kids 12 and under.
Gondola One takes out of Vail Village, which is the primary base of the village’s two areas.
8. Steamboat Gondola, Steamboat Springs
Located 3 hours northwest of Denver is the quaint town of Steamboat Springs. It’s known for the cute downtown area and hidden hot springs called Strawberry Park.
There are so many amazing things to do in Steamboat Springs, both in the summer or winter. It’s a great destination for any season but it’s especially popular in the winter.
The Steamboat Springs village spans an impressive 3,000 acres, making it one of the largest ski resorts in Colorado.
The Steamboat Springs’ Gondola holds up to 8 passengers and climbs from 6,900 feet to 9,080 feet up Mount Werner. At the top of the mountain, you can enjoy expansive views of the Yampa Valley below.
During the summer the Steamboat Scenic Gondola is perfect for hikers and mountain bikers.
The price to ride the gondola is not free so you will need a ticket. However, you will save a lot compared to purchasing traditional lift tickets.
9. The Gondola, Winter Park
The Winter Park Gondola opened in 2018 and has become a cornerstone of the resort.
This scenic gondola holds 10 people comfortably and replaced the Zephyr chairlift, which only carried 4 people at a time.
Step onto the Winter Park Gondola from the village base area and ride up to Sunspot Lodge at 10,700 feet.
Once at the top you will see dreamy views in nearly every direction. Enjoy a short hike or stop for a break at the Lodge for refreshing drinks and yummy snacks.
There is a cost to ride the Winter Park Gondola and summer passes are available for a fee. Or check out the Gondola Group Pass for a discount.
Or if you’re looking for a free gondola ride in Winter Park, check out the smaller Village Cabriolet. This mini-gondola offers free scenic rides from the resort parking area down to the base village.
Known for its open-air design, the Village Cabriolet gondola is best enjoyed during the warmer summer months.
10. River Run Gondola, Keystone
Keystone’s River Run Gondola takes you to the summit of Dercum Mountain, an impressive 3,000+ foot climb from the base of the peak.
Along the way, check out the gorgeous alpine lakes and sun-drenched mountain peaks. Locals regard this as one of the grandest in Colorado featuring nature’s best afternoon light shows.
The Summit House restaurant is a favorite stop at the top of the mountain, as it features the Overlook Grill.
Dine on delicious barbecue, burges and local beer. And in the summer enjoy a wildflower hike back to the bottom.
Plus, the River Run Gondola is open in both the summer or winter months. So, you can enjoy stunning views as the leaves change color in fall, or watch a white winter set in.
11. Elk Camp Gondola, Snowmass Village
The Snowmass Village area covers more than 3,000 skiable acres and much larger than the nearby Aspen, Colorado.
Use the Elk Camp Gondola to ride up to the summit for some world-class skiing or hike/bike on many of the well-maintained trails.
Then enjoy a bite to eat at the Elk Camp Restaurant, which features delicious hand-tossed pizzas made from scratch. In the summer there is a large deck for eating outside and taking in the gorgeous views.
You can even see awe-inspiring views of the famous Maroon Bells from this vantage point.
Tickets for the Elk Camp Gondola are available in multiple options, including Sightseeing bundles. Combine your tickets with the Silver Queen Gondola in Aspen to unlimited gondola and chairlift rides over three days.
We hope this guide helps you narrow down the most scenic gondola ride for the whole family to enjoy in the Rocky Mountains.
No matter which gondola in Colorado you choose, you can expect to see dreamy views and stunning scenery.