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Day Trips from Denver

By Kyle Rutten on Jan 27, 2020

Many Colorado residents get to enjoy the convenience of city life while having access to endless adventures that are simple day trips from Denver. From lively cities to charming towns, and fourteeners to some of the highest roads in North America, Colorado has a wide variety of experiences to offer, and Denver is the perfect gateway for enjoying these destinations. If you’re wanting to get out of the hustle and bustle of the city, here are some of those locations and why they’re worth your visit, with Denver as your basecamp.

Georgetown, Colorado

A former silver mining camp, Georgetown is a unique town a few hours from Denver. Here, you can view over 200 restored late 19th century buildings that give the town its Victorian charm. Take a walk down Main Street and pay a visit to some of the restaurants or antique shops. In addition, you can board the Georgetown Loop Railroad at the Devil’s Gate boarding area for a ride you’ll never forget through forested mountains and across a bridge spanning 93 feet above Clear Creek.

Mount Evans Scenic Byway

Located about an hour and 40 minutes from Denver, the Mount Evans Scenic Byway offers the chance to travel the highest road in North America to the summit of Mount Evans. Once there, you’ll experience the peak’s tundra landscape and can take a short hike to the tip of the summit only 134 more feet upward. Only an hour and 40 minutes from Denver, this exciting day trip takes you on the highest paved road on the North American continent. The byway begins at Echo Lake and winds to a platform where the views are out of this world.

White River National Forest

Just an hour outside Denver, White River National Forest includes 8 wilderness areas, 2,500 miles of hiking trails and 1,900 miles of roadways. Drivers and outdoor enthusiasts can expect to enjoy horseback riding, camping and wildlife viewing, and in the winter, you can also spend some time at one of the many ski areas in this national forest, including Breckenridge, Snomass and Vail.

Red Rocks Park and Amphitheater

Red Rocks Park and Amphitheater, just 30 minutes from Denver, is near the town of Morrison and is a great concert venue that was carved into a rock formation. The amphitheater hosts some of the best live music in the world, but also serves in the daytime as a popular place for exercise enthusiasts. There are picnic sites available, as well as wildlife viewing.

Dinosaur Ridge

Just 23 miles from Denver and located in the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains, Dinosaur Ridge is a famous national landmark featuring famous Jurassic Period dinosaur bones like those of the Apatosaurus and Stegosaurus (discovered in 1877), as well as Cretaceous dinosaur footprints. There is a guidebook available for you to use on a self-guided tour, or you can take a guided tour through the Friends of Dinosaur Ridge.

Boulder, Colorado

Boulder, CO is just a 40-minute drive from Denver and offers access to more than 200 miles of walking and hiking trails. You can spend time in Chautauqua Park or check out the Flatirons for outdoor adventures or spend a leisurely day strolling the city and drop in at some of the city’s quirky shops, breweries or restaurants, as well as tour the Celestial Seasonings Tea Factory.

Loveland Pass

Loveland Pass is the 5th highest mountain pass in Colorado, and you can travel across it via Loveland Pass Road (Hwy 6). Not for the faint of heart, this day trip includes climbing 800 feet while taking many hairpin curves that hug dangerous dropoffs. The views are fantastic, however, so if you can muster the courage, you won’t be disappointed.

Mount Evans Scenic Byway

Located about an hour and 40 minutes from Denver, the Mount Evans Scenic Byway offers the chance to travel the highest road in North America to the summit of Mount Evans. Once there, you’ll experience the peak’s tundra landscape and can take a short hike to the tip of the summit only 134 more feet upward. Only an hour and 40 minutes from Denver, this exciting day trip takes you on the highest paved road on the North American continent. The byway begins at Echo Lake and winds to a platform where the views are out of this world.

Center City and Blackhawk

Both historic mining towns, Central City and Blackhawk are only 38 miles from Denver and have been transformed into gambling resorts. Many of the casinos there offer lodging and entertainment, and you can pop in at Dostal Alley Brewpub in Central City to enjoy pizza and craft beer. You can also tour the Gilpin Historical Society to learn about Colorado’s mining history or visit the Central City Opera House.

Colorado Springs

The second largest city in Colorado and an hour’s drive from Denver, Colorado Springs is a bustling town of culture and the arts. There are numerous museums here, as well as the US Olympic Training Center and the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. For an outdoor adventure, take a stroll through Garden of the Gods, one of the country’s most stunning city parks or enjoy the outdoors from the comfort of your car by driving up the nearby Pikes Peak.

Glenwood Springs

Traveling 2 and a half hours outside Denver will take you to the charming mountain town of Glenwood Springs, where you can enjoy the local vapor caves and hot springs, as well as the Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park. For a little more exertion with your trip, you can enjoy magnificent views by hiking to Hanging Lake. This is a one-mile trek uphill, but the views and photo opportunities are well worth it.

Rocky Mountain National Park

Taking a trip to Rocky Mountain National Park is nothing short of spectacular. One of the most popular national park destinations, the park offers countless hiking opportunities, as well as plenty of chances for wildlife watching. You’ll enjoy seeing alpine lakes and even small glaciers, and a drive up Trail Ridge Road will take you to the tundra, an unbeatable experience.

Pawnee National Grassland

Although visitors often come to Colorado for the mountain scenery, the eastern plains of the state offer a lovely grassland and are the home of the Pawnee National Grassland. A 2-hour drive from Denver, the grassland will provide you with the opportunity to explore 200,000 grassy acres. There are several hiking trails that are popular for bird-watching and overnight camping is available.

Colorado has a wide variety of experiences to offer, and Denver is an ideal gateway to many of them. These are only a few of the many day trips you can take from the city that offer anything from a treacherous mountain pass to a relaxing stay in an old mining town - and every adventure you can think of in between.