15 Best Weekend Trips from Denver for the Colorado Adventurer
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If you’re looking for the best weekend trips from Denver, then look no further! As a Colorado local, born and raised, I’m listing my favorite getaway locations.
The Mile High City is an amazing place to live, but it’s always nice to escape the hustle and bustle on a weekend trip from Denver.
In less than a handful of hours you can be on a road trip across the state to some of the most scenic and stunning towns in the United States.
From the majestic Rocky Mountains to all of the activities available in nearby tourist hotspots, there are plenty of places to explore and sights to see.
Here is a list of my favorite weekend getaways that are sure to please any Colorado-bound adventurer.
1. Rocky Mountain National Park
One of the best weekend trips from Denver is an escape to Rocky Mountain National Park.
In less than an hour and a half from Denver, this stunning national park offers breathtaking views and endless opportunities for outdoor adventure.
By booking a private tour, you’ll have the flexibility to customize your itinerary to your interests and pace. Take in the stunning scenery as you hike along gorgeous trails and photograph diverse wildlife.
This natural wonderland is filled with towering peaks over 14,000 feet tall. The landscape is full of glimmering alpine lakes, lush wildflower-filled meadows, and a wealth of wildlife.
Inside RMNP there are over 350 miles of hiking trails, not to mention scenic drives boasting stunning mountain vistas. From June to October, take a leisurely drive along Trail Ridge Road for some of the park’s best views.
Although the summer months bring the warmest weather, the park is a must-visit destination any time of year.
Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or a nature lover, this destination has something for everyone. Don’t miss out on this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to discover the beauty of Rocky Mountain National Park.
Distance from Denver: 66 miles
Time from Denver: 1 hour 23 minutes
Discover Rocky Mountain National Park from Denver
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2. Garden of the Gods & Pikes Peak
Colorado Springs is home to some of the most epic destinations in all of North America, including Garden of the Gods and Pikes Peak.
And you can explore two of Colorado’s most breathtaking natural wonders on a small-group trip from Denver. First, marvel at the stunning views from the top of Pikes Peak, one of the state’s most famous mountains.
Then, immerse yourself in the beauty of the Garden of the Gods. This unique and awe-inspiring park features towering sandstone formations and breathtaking vistas.
Join a knowledgeable guide who will provide fascinating insights into the history and geology of the area. Plus, find out tips for the best spots to take in the breathtaking views.
This is a truly once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see two of Colorado’s most stunning natural wonders in one day.
Add a tour of Garden of the Gods and Pikes Peak to your weekend trip from Denver and get ready for an unforgettable adventure.
Distance from Denver: 70 miles
Time from Denver: 1 hour 25 minutes
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3. The Continental Divide
Another stunning destination to add to your list of weekend trips from Denver is the Continental Divide.
In Colorado, the Continental Divide runs along the Rocky Mountains and separates the eastern and western parts of the state.
It offers some of the most incredible landscape in the country and is well-known for stunning views of the Colorado Rockies.
The Continental Divide is also a popular destination for outdoor recreation, including hiking, camping, and fishing.
Start your day by exploring Red Rocks Park, known for its incredible natural amphitheater and towering red rock formations.
Next, take in the stunning views from the Continental Divide, where the mighty Rocky Mountains soar high into the sky.
This small group tour allows you to fully immerse yourself in the beauty of Colorado, with a knowledgeable guide to show you the way.
From rugged mountains to picturesque towns, a tour along the Continental Divide has something for everyone.
Distance from Denver: 251 miles
Time from Denver: 5 hours 16 minutes
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The town of Breckenridge is an absolute favorite of mine, and one of the best weekend trips from Denver. It makes for an epic weekend trip with historic architecture, boutique shops, and local restaurants.
Plus, it’s close to famous ski resorts like Breckenridge Resort, Keystone, and Arapahoe Basin. Regardless of what time of year you visit, there are tons of things to do.
I recommend visiting the Breckenridge Troll, or taking a ride on the free BreckConnect gondola.
The ride up to Peak 8 takes you over the Cucumber Gulch Wildlife Preserve where you can expect to see bald eagles, foxes, and moose.
The Welcome Center near the Blue River offers a wealth of information, maps, and history about the town and surrounding area.
Take time for lunch with snacks and beverages included, then as you travel back to Denver you’ll pass through Eisenhower Tunnel. It’s the longest, highest, passenger car tunnel in the world.
If you’re looking for a weekend trip to Breckenridge, immerse yourself in the scenery and adventure of this full day mountain town tour.
Distance from Denver: 80 miles
Time from Denver: 1 hour 28 minutes
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🤩 5/5 stars (160+ reviews)
5. Central City
If you’re looking to explore the history of the Colorado Gold Rush, then a stroll through the historic town of Central City is a must.
Located a quick 45-minute drive from Denver, Central City, and its sister city Black Hawk, are unlike any other destinations in Colorado.
They are both known for being one of the few cities in the state to host fully operational casinos and gaming resorts. Not to mention Central City offers a unique blend of history, entertainment, and outdoor activities.
Take a stroll through the city center and explore its historical landmarks, quirky local businesses, and unique architecture. Learn about the history of the 1859 gold rush and take a tour of a real gold mine.
You and your family can experience what it was really like to be a Colorado gold miner back in the 1860s.
During the peak gold rush days, the historic streets of Central City were once considered to be the richest square mile on earth.
Book a tour of this historic Colorado Gold Rush town and add it to your weekend trip from Denver.
Distance from Denver: 38 miles
Time from Denver: 46 minutes
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🤩 5/5 stars (likely to sell out)
6. Idaho Springs
After a quick 30-minute drive from Denver you’ll come to the lovely town of Idaho Springs.
This former mining town is home to outdoor activities like white water rafting, hiking, and shopping down main street. But the main thing the city is known for is the Indian Hot Springs Resort.
This facility was built into the side of the mountain between 1903 and 1911. And it’s considered one of the best hot springs near Denver.
Experience the soothing effects of naturally hot mineral water in the walk-in hot tubs and caves.
Each cave is gender specific, so bathing suits are optional if you choose. And the naturally hot mineral water is kept at temperatures ranging from 104 to 112 degrees.
Another popular activity in Idaho Springs is glacier hiking at Saint Mary’s Glacier and exploring geothermal cave pools. These natural attractions offer incredible panoramic views all year long.
All expenses, including parking, water, snacks, admission to the hot springs, equipment, and transportation, are fully covered and included in your tour package.
Take a quick break from the city and join a tour of Idaho Springs and St Mary’s Glacier, just a short hour drive from Denver.
Distance from Denver: 33 miles
Time from Denver: 38 minutes
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🤩 5/5 stars (100+ reviews)
7. Estes Park
The charming mountain town of Estes Park is nestled in the north central region of Colorado at an altitude of 7,500 feet.
It’s known for being on the doorstep of Rocky Mountain National Park as well as the home to the famous Stanley Hotel. This haunted landmark is both full of history and ghostly sightings.
Aside from this, Estes Park boasts a variety of other must-see attractions, including the picturesque Lake Estes.
In the summer, the Lake Estes Marina offers rentals for kayaks, paddle boards, and motorized fishing boats.
The charming downtown district is full of shops and restaurants, including the famous Riverwalk. In the fall, you’ll see a remarkable sight of hundreds of elk roaming the city during their rutting season.
With a small population of just 6,000 residents, Estes Park offers a tranquil escape and the chance to be surrounded by nature.
And with its convenient location near the Front Range, reaching Estes Park is a breeze.
Distance from Denver: 38 miles
Time from Denver: 46 minutes
8. Glenwood Springs
It’s no secret that the town of Glenwood Springs is one of my favorite small mountain towns in Colorado.
Located just 4 hours from Denver, Glenwood Springs is a charming small town with lots of fun things to do. The city is surrounded by the rugged Rocky Mountains and the White River National Forest.
This affordable destination is the perfect escape for those looking for relaxation, adventure, and natural beauty.
Relax day or night in a soothing soak at Glenwood Hot Springs Pool, the world’s largest hot springs pool, and enjoy the stunning mountain views.
Take a scenic walk along the Rio Grande Trail, explore the rugged terrain of Glenwood Canyon, or hike to the famous Hanging Lake.
Hanging Lake is one of Colorado’s most famous natural wonders. It’s renowned for its striking blue-green color which is the result of minerals that have dissolved in the lake over time.
Be sure to plan ahead, as permits and reservations are required to enter this breathtaking destination.
Distance from Denver: 157 miles
Time from Denver: 2 hours 35 minutes
Nestled in the heart of the San Juan Mountains, Telluride is everyone’s favorite mountain town for good reason.
This Colorado mountain town is situated inside of a box canyon, making it look as if it’s something out of postcard.
From upscale shopping and dining to skiing in the winter or waterfall hiking in the summer, Telluride has it all. Enjoy a relaxing day out at any one of the top notch spas.
Or spend time strolling along main street viewing the stately buildings and historic architecture. Then, take the free gondola to Mountain Village for even more shopping and gourmet eating options.
The popular Bridal Veil Falls near the town is Colorado’s highest free-falling waterfall. Any time of year this destination makes for an incredibly beautiful photo opportunity.
A visit to Telluride makes for a long weekend getaway from Denver that’s not to be missed.
Distance from Denver: 362 miles
Time from Denver: 6 hours 10 minutes
Just two hours west of Denver lies the glitzy ski resort town of Aspen. Although the town is known for world-class skiing, there’s so much more to explore in this small town.
Whether you’re seeking outdoor adventure or cultural enrichment, Aspen is a charming and picturesque mountain town that’s perfect for a weekend trip.
Take a stroll down the historic streets and check out the beautiful Victorian architecture.
Take an art tour through downtown Aspen where you can find charming shops and galleries showcasing local artwork, such as the Aspen Art Museum.
For those who love the outdoors, Aspen has plenty of hiking trails and nature walks to choose from. This includes the Maroon Bells, which is often regarded as one of the most beautiful spots in Colorado.
You can even try your hand at fly-fishing or take a hot air balloon ride for a bird’s eye view of the town and surrounding mountains.
Aspen is also a foodie’s paradise, with plenty of amazing restaurants to choose from. If you’re looking for something more casual, try one of the many food trucks located around town.
No matter what your interests are, Aspen, Colorado is a great weekend trip destination from Denver.
Distance from Denver: 198 miles
Time from Denver: 3 hours 42 minutes
11. Fort Collins
Enjoy a relaxing weekend trip from Denver in the heart of Colorado’s craft beer scene: Fort Collins.
This charming city is home to some of the largest and most renowned breweries in the country, including New Belgium Brewing and Odell Brewing Company.
For those seeking a smaller, more intimate experience, there are also plenty of local microbreweries to choose from.
Located just over an hour from Denver, Fort Collins is a hub of outdoor adventure. The town’s crowning jewels are Colorado State University and its thriving downtown area.
From the city’s small business shops, restaurants, and coffeehouses to the many outdoor activities in the surrounding areas, there’s always something to keep you entertained.
Near Fort Collins, you’ll find Poudre Canyon or Arapahoe and Roosevelt National Forest. Both offer whitewater rafting, kayaking, hiking, and camping as incredible outdoor activities.
And if you’re traveling with your furry best friend, Fort Collins has you covered. As one of Colorado’s most dog-friendly cities, Fort Collins features numerous fenced-in dog parks for your pet to run, play, and socialize.
For those seeking outdoor thrills, Fort Collins is the place to be.
Distance from Denver: 65 miles
Time from Denver: 1 hour 7 minutes
For a quick weekend trip from Denver, look no further than the charming town of Gunnison, Colorado.
Located just over 200 miles southwest of Denver, Gunnison is surrounded by the stunning Rocky Mountains. Because of this, the city is an ideal destination for outdoor enthusiasts.
During the winter months, visitors can hit the slopes at nearby Crested Butte Mountain Resort or take part in activities such as snowshoeing and ice fishing.
In the summer, hiking and biking trails abound thanks to the gorgeous Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. The Gunnison River also provides opportunities for fishing and rafting.
Beyond its natural beauty, the city of Gunnison also offers a variety of cultural attractions.
The Gunnison Pioneer Museum provides a glimpse into the town’s history. While local art galleries, like Gunnison Arts Center, showcase the work of Colorado artists.
Next time you’re in need of a weekend escape, consider making the trip to Gunnison. With its breathtaking scenery and small-town charm, it’s sure to be a trip you won’t forget.
Distance from Denver: 201 miles
Time from Denver: 3 hours 35 minutes
Another popular weekend trip from Denver is Durango, which is a charming town surrounded by the staggering San Juan Mountains.
Located just over 300 miles southwest of Denver, this destination is a great option that shouldn’t be missed. It’s even one of the cheapest places to live in Colorado, if you want to live near the border.
The smaller mountain town offers incredible natural beauty as well as high quality restaurants and breweries.
In the winter, visitors can hit the slopes at the nearby Purgatory Resort or enjoy activities such as snowmobiling and snowshoeing.
In the warmer months, the Animas River provides opportunities for kayaking, rafting, and fishing. And the surrounding mountains are perfect for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding.
Beyond its natural beauty, Durango is also rich in history and culture. Visitors can ride the historic Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, which is one of the most scenic train rides in Colorado.
Or take a stroll through the town’s historic district, which boasts a variety of Victorian-era buildings. You can also spend a day exploring Mesa Verde National Park, which is a true historic wonder.
Durango is also home to a vibrant dining and nightlife scene, including the Animas Brewing Company which is a must-visit for craft beer enthusiasts.
With its combination of natural beauty, history, and culture, Durango has something for everyone.
Distance from Denver: 337 miles
Time from Denver: 6 hours 18 minutes
14. Pagosa Springs
A list of the best weekend trips from Denver isn’t complete without mentioning Pagosa Springs.
Pagosa Springs, Colorado is located just over 200 miles southwest of the city. It is perfect for anyone seeking a hot springs experience with a little more peace and quiet than Glenwood Springs offers.
The natural hot springs in the area are said to have healing properties. Visitors can soak in the hot springs at various locations throughout town, including the popular Springs Resort & Spa.
The resort also offers a variety of spa treatments, including massages and facials, for those seeking further relaxation.
Beyond the hot springs, Pagosa Springs offers plenty of opportunities for outdoor adventure. Head out into Nature Park to explore its miles of trails offering stunning views of surrounding mountainsides and valleys below.
Or check out the nearby San Juan National Forest which offers miles of hiking and mountain biking trails. In addition, there are plenty of opportunities for fishing and horseback riding.
When it gets cold, the Wolf Creek Ski Area offers some of the best skiing in Colorado, with an average of 430 inches of snowfall per year.
With its combination of natural beauty, relaxation, and adventure, Pagosa Springs is the perfect destination for a weekend getaway.
Distance from Denver: 66 miles
Time from Denver: 1 hour 20 minutes
15. Crested Butte
Looking for a weekend adventure in the mountains? Head to Crested Butte, Colorado, just over 200 miles southwest of Denver.
Crested Butte is a charming, historic town surrounded by the stunning Elk Mountains, offering endless outdoor adventure opportunities.
Hit the slopes at Crested Butte Mountain Resort, known for its challenging terrain and stunning views in the winter. The resort also offers other winter activities, such as snowmobiling and ice skating.
Then as the weather warms up, Crested Butte transforms into a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts.
The surrounding mountains offer miles of hiking and mountain biking trails, and the nearby Gunnison River provides opportunities for fishing and rafting.
Visitors can also take part in activities such as horseback riding and rock climbing.
Beyond outdoor adventure, Crested Butte also offers a variety of cultural attractions. The Crested Butte Mountain Heritage Museum provides a glimpse into the town’s mining history.
With its combination of natural beauty and cultural attractions, Crested Butte is perfect for a weekend trip from Denver.
Distance from Denver: 228 miles
Time from Denver: 4 hours 29 minutes
There are so many incredible places within driving distance from Denver that make great weekend trips.
Whether you want to relax in hot springs, go hiking in national parks, or explore charming mountain towns, Colorado has something for everyone!
I hope this list of the best weekend getaways from Denver allows you to escape the city and take in the stunning nearby mountain views.