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Colorado Day Trips Near Denver

The Mile High City happens to be in close proximity to some of the best destinations for natural scenery in the country. Now that its officially summer it’s a great time of year to go hiking, fishing, camping, and numerous other popular activities Colorado has to offer. Here are a few popular day trip options that’s just a short car ride away from Denver. We hope you find one that will inspire you to go explore more of colorful Colorado.


Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park

Folks travel from around the world to experience the natural wonders of Rocky Mountain National Park, but for Denverites it’s only an hour and a half drive north. The park offers stunning year-round scenery and there are plenty of hiking and biking trails. Or you can take in the mountain views while on a scenic drive, Bear Lake Corridor and Trail Ridge Road are popular routes.

Stanley Hotel in Estes Park

Estes Park

Estes Park is recognized as the gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park, but the town itself is an excellent day trip near Denver. With whitewater rafting, golfing, and climbing options to experience and delicious restaurants to dine in, Estes Park is an idyllic Colorado mountain town. They hold various festivals and craft fairs throughout the year full of unique gifts, food, and experiences. Don’t forget to check out the iconic Stanley Hotel while in town.

Golden Colorado sign


At a mere 30 minutes away from the Mile High City, Golden is a fantastic destination for Colorado mountain recreation. For decades, locals have taken inflatable tubes down the manageable rapids of Clear Creek. Take the short drive up to Lookout Mountain for its hiking opportunities and superb views of Denver, the eastern plains, and beyond. Golden is also home to the Colorado Railroad Museum and the historical Buffalo Bill Museum and gravesite. Plus there are plenty of fine bars and restaurants to check out after a day of floating down the creek.

Garden of the gods

Garden of the Gods

Just a couple hours south of Denver in Colorado Springs sits Garden of the Gods. Enjoy dramatic views of the towering red sandstone rock formations against a backdrop of blue skies and the snow-capped tops of Pikes Peak. The park also sports several miles of hiking and biking trails, plus picnic spots galore. Stop by the Garden of the Gods Visitor & Nature Center to explore two exhibit halls featuring interactive displays on the park's history, geology, wildlife, and unique dinosaur fossil.

Glenwood Springs Hot Springs Pool

Glenwood Springs

Glenwood Springs, Colorado, is the perfect place to soak in mineral hot springs surrounded by snow-capped mountains. Activities in the area include river rafting on the Colorado River, hiking, fishing, and mountain biking. Kids and adults alike can enjoy the Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park. Or if you’re wanting more of a spa experience, try Iron Mountain Hot Springs.

Rocky Mountain Arsenal

Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge

Located between Denver and DIA, in Commerce City, the Arsenal is a vast outdoor green space and wildlife refuge that is home to more than 300 species of animals, including a herd of over 150 bison. The park offers hiking trails and fishing, but the best thing to do is to drive the 14-mile Wildlife Loop. You’ll have the chance to spot the many animals and be treated to scenic views of the downtown Denver skyline with the Rocky Mountains in the background.

This summer we hope you take the opportunity to get out and explore the beautiful state of Colorado and all it has to offer. With numerous hiking, biking, fishing opportunities and more, you are sure to find something that you’ll enjoy. Try one of these short, day trips or all of them and see which one is your favorite!


Sources and enhanced by Credit Union of Denver

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