Colorado is a year-round destination offering unparalleled adventure and recreational activities, an abundant arts scene, Western heritage, distinctive cuisine and 26 renowned ski resort areas.
The state's diverse landscape boasts natural hot springs, the headwaters of four major rivers, numerous peaceful lakes and reservoirs, 11 national parks and monuments and 58 mountain peaks that top 14,000 feet, known as ‘Fourteeners’.
We round up five of the best and most beautiful big open spaces to explore in the state, from national parks to peaceful lakes...
Rocky Mountain National Park
Located just 90 minutes outside of state capital Denver, Rocky Mountain National Park encompasses over 250,000 acres of beautiful mountainous scenery. There are more than 300 miles of hiking trails to explore, providing opportunities to enjoy wildflowers, wildlife and pristine lakes. Not to be missed is Trail Ridge Road, the highest continuous road in North America, which offers scenic viewpoints and plenty of photo-worthy locations.
Colorado National Monument
The Colorado National Monument, is a spectacular canyon with deep drops, sandstone towers, narrow tunnels and hours of hiking opportunities. Covering 31 square miles, the vast landscape stretches into the distance with rock formations dating back as far as 1.5 billion years. Eagle-eyed visitors also have a chance of spotting coyotes, bighorn sheep and lizards.
Maroon Bells, Aspen
Two towering mountains and a blissful blue lake make up the scenic Maroon Bells spot in Aspen. One of the most photographed peaks in North America, Maroon Bells changes regularly with the seasons; during spring, bright flowers bloom in the meadow while from September onwards, the landscape is transformed with deep orange and yellow tones. The lake reflects the surrounding scene, resulting in a colourful and awe-inspiring view.
Hanging Lake, Glenwood Springs
Hanging Lake, just outside Glenwood Springs, is like something out of a fairytale, with emerald green water framed by wispy waterfalls and lush, hanging branches. The lake demonstrates a geographical rarity - it was formed by years of travertine deposition, and these natural geological and hydrological processes continue to operate in the same way. The result is a crystal-clear lake, rocky cliff faces and one of the most treasured outdoor spaces in Colorado.
Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve
A desert landscape isn’t usually something people would associate with Colorado but the Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve provides exactly that. There are over 40,000 acres of sand dunes at the park, which are framed by contrasting, snow-capped mountains in the distance. Thrill-seekers can try their hand at sandboarding on the dunes, the highest of which reaches an impressive 750 feet. After a day sandboarding, the dunes are a great place to watch the sunset.