Daytripping in Denver, CO & The Rockies
Our Guide Of Must-See Spots In The Mile-High City
Daytripping in Denver
Dust off your hiking boots and pack your sense of adventure: this summer is the perfect time to visit Denver, Colorado, a city with effortless grandeur and unique flair of the Old West. Teeming with mountain vistas, epic trails, lush national parks, and vibrant metropolitan areas, the Mile-High City is a four-season destination. A weekend getaway to Denver often teeters on the edge of an outdoor enthusiast's fantasy.
With the 2023 Rocky Mountain Pickleball Championships coming this week to Littleton, just south of Denver, now is as great a time as any to visit the Centennial State. The USA Pickleball-sanctioned tournament welcomes everyone between 3.0 to 5.0 skill levels and runs Wednesday, July 26 through Sunday, July 30, 2023 in Clement Park Pickleball Complex.
Whether you're a nature enthusiast, adventure seeker, culture aficionado, or pickleball pro, the Denver area has something to captivate every traveler. Let’s explore some of the best things to do, places to visit, and sights to see on a whirlwind two-day tour of the town with Gold Rush glory. Buckle up!
Day 1: Out on the Town
Places to Stay
Ramble Hotel ($-$$) - Situated in the heart of RiNo, the city’s most artistic enclave, The Ramble offers a sultry tribute to the art of hospitality. With rooms starting at around $180 per night, it's an ideal destination for the creatively-inclined traveler. 1280 25th St, Denver, CO 80205
The Brown Palace Hotel ($$$) - A Denver icon since 1892, The Brown Palace oozes history and elegance. With its unique triangular shape, distinctive sandstone exterior, and grand atrium lobby, the hotel has hosted numerous notable figures from Teddy Roosevelt to the Beatles. 321 17th St, Denver, CO 80202
Silver Lake Lodge ($$) - This laid-back, adults-only lodge is located within a wood-crafted structure, just a mile from the Saint Mary's Glacier, and a mere four miles from the exhilarating hiking trails on James Peak. 336 Crest Dr, Idaho Springs, CO 80452
Where to Eat & Drink
Cooper Lounge - where sofas offer great perches for admiring the grand 1914 station.701 Wynkoop St, Denver, CO 80202
Linger – Housed in a repurposed mortuary, The Linger provides guests a vibrant dining experience with panoramic city views and globally-inspired plates. 2030 W 30th Ave, Denver, CO 80211
Denver Beer Trail - A comprehensive tour of local breweries through downtown Denver, RiNO & Five Points, Highland, Sunnyside, and more.
Larimer Square - This vibrant area features well-preserved buildings dating back to the 19th century, housing an array of boutiques, restaurants, and cafes. Enjoy a delightful brunch at one of the charming eateries in the square. 1430 Larimer St, Denver, CO 80202
Dark Side of Denver Ghost Tours - Unveiling the city's eerie past, the Dark Side of Denver Ghost Tours offer a chilling journey into the haunted history of Denver's spectral spots, all served up with a thrilling blend of storytelling, history, and paranormal intrigue. 1701 Wynkoop St, Denver, CO 80202
Buffalo Bill Museum and Grave - Old West exploration at Lookout Mountain where William F. "Buffalo Bill" Cody was laid to rest. An icon of the Old West, this museum houses memorabilia from Buffalo Bill's Wild West shows, Native American artifacts, and vintage firearms – plus breathtaking views. 987 1/2 Lookout Mountain Rd, Golden, CO 80401
Arts & Culture
Denver Art Museum - Home to an extensive collection of American Indian, Western, and contemporary art.100 W 14th Ave Pkwy, Denver, CO 80204
Golden Triangle Creative District - where you'll find numerous galleries and public art installations. Speer Boulevard, Colfax Avenue, and Lincoln Street
Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre - Awe-inspiring natural amphitheater carved out of ancient red rocks. If there's a concert or event taking place, consider attending to experience the unique acoustics and breathtaking surroundings.
Day 2: Get Outdoors
Rocky Mountain National Park - This park is Denver's outdoor crown jewel. Explore over 300 miles of hiking trails that cater to both novices and seasoned explorers. Conquer iconic hikes like the Emerald Lake Trail and the Longs Peak Trail, or engage a ranger-led program to dive deeper into the park's flora and fauna. This is nature at its rawest
Mesa Verde National Park - The park hosts an impressive collection of ancient Anasazi cliff dwellings, offering a window into an ancient culture that once thrived in these lands.
Great Sand Dunes National Park - Embodying nature's grandeur, the Great Sand Dunes in Colorado serve as a captivating natural playground, where vast, wind-sculpted dunes rise dramatically against the backdrop of rugged alpine peaks, offering a striking spectacle of desert meets mountains.
Bear Lake, a serene alpine lake surrounded by majestic peaks. The Emerald Lake hike, accessible from Bear Lake, is a moderate trail that rewards hikers with stunning scenery of glacial valleys and lush greenery.
Estes Park – This charming mountain town is nestled at the eastern entrance of Rocky Mountain National Park. Stroll along the main street, filled with quaint shops, art galleries, and eateries. Don't miss a visit to the Stanley Hotel, known for its historical significance and as the inspiration for Stephen King's "The Shining."
Camping at Moraine Park Campground – Nestled in Rocky Mountain National Park, Moraine Park Campground offers an exceptional camping experience. With generously spaced sites that offer a degree of privacy and respite, fall asleep beneath a blanket of stars and wake up to the melody of native birdsong. It's an idyllic basecamp for all of your Rocky Mountain adventures.
Mount Evans Scenic Byway – Start your journey with a drive on the highest paved road in North America. The Mount Evans Scenic Byway provides a thrilling introduction to Colorado's high country. Ascend above the tree line, pausing along the way for glimpses of bighorn sheep and mountain goats, until reaching the summit where an invigorating hike to the peak unveils a panorama of rugged peaks, alpine lakes, and open sky.
Paddling at Grand Lake – Just outside the western entrance of Rocky Mountain National Park, Grand Lake is Colorado's largest and deepest natural lake. Rent a kayak or paddleboard and glide across the tranquil waters, encircled by mountains and forests. It's a great way to cool down after a day's hike and offers a different perspective of the Rockies' majesty.
Biking in Garden of the Gods – An hour and a half drive from Denver, this National Natural Landmark offers an unforgettable biking experience. Navigate through towering sandstone rock formations set against the snow-capped Pikes Peak. With various trails to choose from, bikers of all skill levels can enjoy the surreal landscapes, and even catch sight of the area's wild residents like deer and birds of prey.
A two-day trip to Colorado may be brief, but it can leave a lasting impression. From the majestic peaks of the Rocky Mountains to the artistic and cultural gems in Denver and Boulder, there's an abundance of experiences waiting to be embraced. Whether you're a nature lover, history buff, or art enthusiast, Colorado's diverse offerings cater to all interests. So, pack your bags, hit the road, and embark on an unforgettable journey through the heart of the Centennial State.
So, take a leap and let the Centennial State bewitch you with its rugged charm and vibrant cities. After all, if not now, when you can delve into the heart of the American West and experience the grandeur of Colorado, then when? This weekend, channel your inner adventurer and answer Colorado's call of the wild.