Colorado-I was fascinated with its role in the American industrial growth by way of its coal mines. When I read Ayn Rand’s ‘Atlas Shrugged’ for the first time in the mid-70s, I came across Colorado’s coal mines, rail network, and Denver’s severe snow.
It painted a picture of drab buildings, tiring and uncheerful working class and cheap roadside food. Little I knew that the Colorado state has more wonders to see and appreciate than any other states in America.
Canyons, waterfalls, snowy mountains, hot springs, and lakes attract year-round tourists from other states of America. However, I doubt tourists from other countries ever bother to visit Colorado. In fact, I am skeptic whether they are aware of such a naturally beautiful state in America.
For them, America means New York, California, and Washington DC.
In this blog post, you will come across some very attractive places in Colorado for sightseeing. In addition, I will tell you a little about Colorado’s unique foods that not even many American’s may not be aware. I hope this article will drive hordes of tourists to Colorado.
Here are 11 most incredible places to see in Colorado
Hanging Lake, Glenwood Springs
The water appears very clear. The lake is located on the fringes of travertine (rock formation in Colorado Canyon). This excellent tourist spot is located in Glenwood Springs, Colorado. It is here that two beautiful rivers named Roaring Fork and the Colorado River meet and flow as one through the Roaring Fork Valley.
Over 100 thousand tourists visit Hanging Lake in Colorado. The majority of them hit the walking trail behind the lakes that measures nearly 6 km. Enroute, the hikers also come across a hidden waterfall called Spouting Rock.
We have to go up on a steep staircase comprising nearly 1000 steps to see this lovely green lake with the steep travertine wall on one side that gives the impression of a hanging lake.
Box Canyon Waterfall & Park, Ouray, Colorado.
Oh, I think I should have placed it on top of the natural wonders of Colorado. What a striking waterfall! The water is roaring down the walls of the box canyon with such force that the water sprays are flying all over the place. The water dropping from 285 feet will naturally create fine water mist that we love.
The skywalk itself is thrilling. The sharp edges of the rocks barely touching our head, the deep rocky gorge and the faint sound of waterfalls will greet us as we begin our walk on the precarious-looking sky bridge.
Yankee Boy Basin
Yankee Boy Basin is another natural beauty in Ouray, Colorado. It is included in the list of attractions to see in Colorado by all the tourist brochures. Your tour guide will not skip visiting this beauty in Colorado.
Situated at an elevation of above 12,000 feet, this alpine basin is a place of extreme natural beauty. Meadows that extend beyond our eyesight will linger in our memory for long.
The Yankee Boy Basin is enshrouded with wildflowers during the spring. Waterfalls and wildlife sighting are the attraction factors of Yankee Boy Basin, Colorado.
Rocky Mountains, Colorado
Similar to the popularity of the Grand Canyon, the Rockies of Colorado also attracts thousands of visitors every year.
While the Grand Canyon can be threadbare, the Rockies of Colorado is not so. You can find thick green cover over this pretty long mountain range that extends up to the British Columbia Province in Canada.
The Rocky Mountain range goes through several states of America that include New Mexico, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming.
Oh man, this means the Rockies run for as many as 4800 km! Have you heard of a mountain width measuring in km? Well, the width of the Rocky Mountains measures up to a maximum of 480 km!
OMG! That’s really wide!
The Rocky Mountains’ highest point is called Mount Elbert; its elevation is 14,400 feet!
Can’t take your eyes off this gorgeous natural wonder-right? The cliff behind the Dream Lake (an appropriate name considering the stunning view) is called Hallett’s Peak.
This alpine lake (9900 feet) is located inside the Rocky Mountain national park. Hiking up to the Dream Lake in the Rockies is passionately pursued by fitness freaks.
During this energetic trek up the Rockies, you can see two other lakes called the Bear Lake and the Nymph Lake.
Mesa Verde National Park
So, it is all cliffs, canyons, and rocks over there. Don’t be disappointed, buddy. It is a place that Americans like very much because it is where they find the ancient cliff dwellings of Ancestral Puebloans, the native Americans’ culture that can be witnessed in parts of the states of Colorado, Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico.
In addition, it attracts botanists and nature enthusiasts with it’s a large range of plants and bush species such as fungi, moss, vascular plants and even lichen, a rare plant of fungus and an alga.
If you enjoy seeing ancient archeological ruins and a range of rare plant life, you require a full day going around the Mesa Verde National Park. It is a gem of a Colorado wonder that is not to be missed.
This part of Colorado, the Aspen will be like that only, snow, snow, and more snow from December till March. It is the peak skiing season in Aspen.
Being a ski destination, it attracts quite a lot of rich and elite crowd and to cater to their sophisticated tastes, there are swanky and posh hotels and restaurants.
If you don’t like to bind your legs on timbers, you can enjoy a stint of white water rafting in White River itself that is located inside the White River National Forest.
The Maroon Bells are two mountain peaks in Elk Mountains, Aspen, Colorado.
Both the peaks stand at an elevation of over 14,000 feet, thus falling under the category of ‘Fourteener’. In Colorado alone, there are 53 fourteener peaks of the total of 96 fourteeners in the entire United States.
The lake that you see in the above image is also called Maroon Lake.
Garden of the Gods, Colorado Springs
Lovely! The towering red rocks among a vast wilderness of bushes, trees, and mountains; this is truly a Garden of the Gods. This natural wonder is located in Colorado Springs, a very beautiful city and a very large one too in Colorado.
The rock towers comprise the rich-looking red stone and pink stone. The natural phenomenon was said to have taken place somewhere around 250 BC, a pre-historic period.
More than two million people visit the Garden of Rocks every year. Apart from seeing around, many adventure enthusiasts indulge in rock climbing. There are a handful of walking trails too measuring nearly 25 km.
Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve
This is a different kind of wilderness; sand dunes stretch far and wide comprising an area of over 41,600 acres. Such a vast area of sand dunes must have taken years to form naturally-eh? Can you guess the number of years? It is as many as 440 thousand years ago that this large sand dune formation began.
One single sand dune reaches up to a height of 750 feet!
Don’t think this vast area of sand dunes is devoid of any plant and animal life. On the contrary, the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve is habitat to hundreds of species of rare flora. The fauna too doesn’t lack behind, mate! Some of the animals and birds that live in the vast area of the sand park are:
- Yellow-bellied Marmot
- Black Bear
- Bighorn sheep
- Mountain Bluebird
- Brown-capped Rosy-Finch
- Peregrine Falcon
- Golden eagle
- American Avocet
- Great Blue Heron
OMG! That’s quite a lot of wildlife to watch out for in this part of Colorado.
Cave of the Winds
Nothing attractive for all of us but still, it is an important sightseeing wonder in Colorado, near Colorado Springs. Inside the cave, rock formations called ‘Speleothems’, in crystalline form with jagged edges.
Foods that must eat when you go to Colorado:
- Palisade Peaches-one of the juiciest peaches you can eat.
- Rocky Mountain Oysters-no they are not real oysters but the food is named thus. It is said to be made of bison’s testicles! OMG! Can’t imagine how it will taste. I have no stomach for it.
Ask your tour guide where you can you lay your hands on Olathe Sweet Corn and Colorado lamb roast. They are supposed to be specialties of Colorado.
Hello Jane , thanks for sharing this wonderful information about Colorado. Liked the reference to Ayn Rand’s Atlas shrugged , my favorite book