25 Famous Colorado Landmarks You Should Not Miss

12 min read
Several tall & massive red rocks surrounded by green trees under a partly cloudy sky
Colorado offers an array of wonderful outdoor adventures for everyone

Craving an escape filled with mountain air, never-ending pine forests, enchanting wildlife, and ethereal rock formations? Then a trip to the Highest State is for you!

Colorado is full of incredible outdoor adventures for families and thrill seekers alike. Whether you want to take in the famous landmarks, like one of Colorado’s many mountain ranges, or you want to ski in resort towns like Breckenridge, Colorado has you covered!

Don’t know where to start? Don't worry! Below you will find a list of 25 famous Colorado landmarks you should not miss and why you need to add these destinations to your travel bucket list.

Colorado has more than 50 mountains above 14,000 feet, making it a skier and snowboarder’s paradise. In fact, between the Rocky Mountain Range, the tundra climates, canyons, valleys, and forests, you'll never be short of things to do here! Continue reading to learn more!

  • 25 Colorado landmarks

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25 Famous Landmarks in Colorado

Colorado Landmarks Map

A map of Colorado landmarks. Use the map to explore all of the points of interest.

One of the famous Colorado landmarks to visit is Aspen
Aspen is one of the most famous Colorado landmarks to visit

Aspen

A famous landmark in Colorado known for its high-end restaurants, boutiques, and hotels, Aspen continues to allude to its history as a silver mine boomtown. A great place for the arts and a favorite destination of many celebrities, Aspen also hosts several annual film festivals.

Book a tour at the Wheeler-Stallard House; a Queen Anne-style Victorian mansion turned museum that houses beautiful art exhibits throughout the year. At her core, Aspen is still a ski town, boasting some of the most skied slopes in all of Colorado!

A lookout on a rocky surface, looking out a cliff under a cloudy sky
Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park is the best place to visit for stargazing

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

The Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park is one of the most famous places to visit in Colorado for stargazing. It is an International Dark Sky Spot, meaning you get an amazing nighttime sky show!

After witnessing the immense beauty inside the park, it will be easy to see why Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park is one of the best national parks in the Western United States.

Brown Canyon National Monument

A visit to Brown Canyon National Monument is a must for those seeking an adrenaline rush. Brown Canyon National Monument is one of the famous attractions in Colorado for its unmatched white water rafting tours with class IV and V rapids!

If you would rather stay on land, Brown Canyon National Monument has many walking and hiking trails that allow you to get up close and personal with wildlife. If you are lucky, you may just spot eagles, bighorn sheep, black bears, and falcons!

A highway surrounded by green vegetation, against a rugged and dry hilly landscape
Canyons of the Ancients houses a variety of archeological sites within its borders

Canyon of the Ancients National Monument

Canyon of the Ancients National Monument is one of the most famous places in Colorado, thanks to the amount of archeological sites within its borders. In fact, this National Monument is home to more archeological sites than any other park located in the United States!

Canyon of the Ancients Visitor Center and Museum offers interactive exhibits and information about the surrounding area. Stop by to see why this is one of the most important places in Colorado history!

A leafless tree on green grass against a fairly cloudy sky
Chatfield State Park is home to beautiful landscapes and the Chatfield Reservoir

Chatfield State Park

Chatfield State Park is one of the more famous tourist attractions in Colorado. Home to the Chatfield Reservoir, this state park draws crowds looking for a place to cool off in the summer months. Set up your piece of paradise on the sprawling sandy beach and enjoy a picnic near the water.

Fishing for walleye, rainbow trout, perch, or catfish off of the shore is another favorite pastime at this park. Chatfield State Park has your furry friends in mind as well, with a large dog park complete with places for your pups to take a dip!

Chimney Rock National Monument

Chimney Rock National Monument is one of the many historic sites in Colorado. Once a booming civilization of the Pueblo II community, this site was recognized in 2012 by then-President Barack Obama as a national monument.

Chimney Rock National Monument is over 4,500 acres large and includes a natural, seasonal calendar, an ancient celestial observatory, and over 200 historical homes and ceremonial buildings.

Be sure to book a tour with a qualified historian or park ranger so you do not miss a thing at one of the most important historical sites in Colorado!

A tall sandstone tower surrounded by red rock formations under a partly cloudy sky
Colorado National Monument is home to sandstone towers, red-rock formations, & more

Colorado National Monument

Colorado National Monument is a national park just outside of Grand Junction, Colorado. Enjoy scenic views of major geological landmarks like sandstone towers, red rock formations, deep canyons, and more from your car on the scenic loop drive. This 23-mile-long road is paved for accessibility.

Colorado National Monument is a true “must ride” location for road and mountain bikers as well. Whether you are driving or riding, the views in the area will leave you breathless!

An aerial of a horseshoe-shaped canyon with a river meandering through it
Colorado River runs through many states, including the Horseshoe Bend in Arizona

Colorado River

The Colorado River is one of the most famous sights in Colorado. It runs through parts of seven U.S. states and even two Mexican states.

The Colorado River is known for carving the amazing canyons you can see within one of the eleven National Parks the river runs through.

Book a white water rafting tour to experience the Colorado River’s power for yourself, or enjoy kayaking on some of the river’s more peaceful stretches.

An aerial of a river winding through rocky mountains covered with trees & vegetation
A view of the Green River in Dinosaur National Monument

Dinosaur National Monument

Have you ever wanted to explore, touch, and see dinosaur bones right where archeologists and paleontologists have found them? Then Dinosaur National Monument is the perfect park for you! This park spans from Colorado into Utah and has an impressive lineup of things to enjoy.

Visitors may come for the dinosaur bones, but they stay for the beautiful wilderness. Whether you want to enjoy a day on the lake with swimming and kayaking or camp out under the stars, Dinosaur National Monument is a great option!

© mkopka via Depositphotos
"Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument" signboard against trees & a cloudy sky
Florissant Fossil Beds is home to fossils that are around 34 million years old

Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument

Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument is one of the many national landmarks in the Colorado region. Known for its impressive collection of insect and plant fossils, this Colorado National Monument is located near the town of Florissant in central Colorado.

These fossils have been dated to be around 34 million years old! In addition to the fossils, Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument also has a large prettified forest drawing tens of thousands of visitors a year.

Several tall & massive red rock stacks surrounded by green trees under a clear sky
Garden of the Gods is home to many giant red rock formations

Garden of the Gods

Garden of the Gods is a famous landmark in Colorado. This natural park is home to awe-inspiring and massive towering red rock formations that are the result of millennia of rainfall.

Walk amongst these stone giants on one of the many trails found throughout the park, ride the bike trails, or stroll through the welcome center museum to learn more about the region's history.

Garden of the Gods is located just 6 miles from Colorado Springs, making it a wonderful day trip for those staying in the area.

Garden Park Fossil Area

Garden Park Fossil Area is known as one of the most predominant areas for dinosaur bones and fossils in the United States. You can see the dinosaur fossils and bones found at Garden Park Fossil Area on display at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science in Denver, Colorado.

In addition to its impressive history, Garden Park Fossil Area is home to many beautiful hiking and biking trails. Book a campsite at the park’s campground to fully enjoy your experience at Garden Park Fossil Area!

Looking at a blue lake surrounded by mountains covered with green trees
Grand Lake makes a great place to swim in the summer heat, so don't forget a swimsuit

Grand Lake

Grand Lake is known as the snowmobiling capital of Colorado. With its picturesque mountaintop views, wildlife, and forests, this area of Colorado makes for the perfect winter getaway. You can also cross country ski or snowshoe on one of Grand Lake’s many trails.

In the summer, enjoy hiking, biking, and even ATV trails! Be sure to bring your swimsuit as Grand Lake makes for a wonderful place to take a dip in the summer heat.

Looking at sand dunes against a mountain at the back on a sunny day
Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve has around 30 square miles of sand dunes

Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve

Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve is home to the largest sand dunes in North America! With around 30 square miles of sand dunes, Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve is a must see Colorado landmark.

Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve is also home to alpine reserves, pine and spruce forests, grasslands, wetlands, and even six mountain peaks over 13,000 feet high. Stay at Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve in one of the campgrounds located within the park.

Indian Springs Trace Fossil Natural Area

Indian Springs Trace Fossil Natural Area is a 40-acre Colorado natural landmark in Fremont County. Considered one of the best sites to find trace fossils in North America, Indian Springs Trace Fossil Natural area has fossils that are over 450 million years old.

In 1979, Indian Springs Trace Fossil Natural Area was named a National Natural Landmark by the National Park Service due to its abundance of important Ordovician Period trace fossils located within its borders. Come explore what creatures and plants lived in the Colorado region before us!

An aerial of a cliff with ancient dwellings and tourists gathered surrounded by trees
Mesa Verde was named a World Heritage Site due to its archeological importance

Mesa Verde National Park

Mesa Verde National Park is known for its almost perfectly preserved Ancestral Puebloan cliff dwellings. Enjoy touring these ancient civilizations built right into the sides of cliffs with a ranger-guided tour, self-guided tour, or at the welcome center and museum.

Mesa Verde National Park is not just a national park but also a World Heritage Site due to its archeological importance.

After your tour, hike one of Mesa Verde’s trails, or enjoy a meal at the Metate Room Restaurant to truly enjoy your experience at one of the most famous landmarks of Colorado.

A railway track on a rugged brown surface with views of green mountains and lakes
Hitch a ride on Pikes Peak Cog Railway for a ride to the top!

Pikes Peak

Pikes Peak, located in Pike National Forest just 12 miles from downtown Colorado Springs, Colorado, is the tallest mountain summit in the southern part of the Rocky Mountains.

Drive up Pikes Peak in your own vehicle to get a bird’s eye view of the Colorado region. Book one of the many Jeep tours or hitch a ride on Pike Peaks Cog Railway - a fun activity to do if in Colorado Springs with kids! No matter which way you take to the top, the view will not disappoint!

Amphitheater steps bordered by some green trees against a giant red-rock formation
Catching a concert at Red Rocks Park & Amphitheater is a unique experience

Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre

One of the most famous of Colorado’s historical landmarks is Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre. Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre is a concert venue and park nestled amongst the red rocks that this region of Colorado is known for!

Catch a concert, symphony, or any of the other many musical events for a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre is located just 10 miles west of Denver, making it easily accessible even for visitors with only a weekend in Denver!

A lake with glaciers against a hill with alpine trees and snow-capped mountains
Rocky Mountain National Park is known for its forests and amazing mountain peaks

Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park spans 415 square miles of wilderness, alpine tundra, mountain ranges, and lakes. Situated in Estes Park, this region of Colorado is famous for picturesque mountain peaks and forested wilderness.

Estes Park offers activities like horseback riding, white water rafting, hiking, guided tours, and more through Rocky Mountain National Park. It is also one of the best places to watch a Christmas parade if here in the wintertime.

The park is located only 70 miles from Denver. Exploring this national historic landmark is an easy commute from local airports and is one of the best date ideas for couples in Denver!

Looking at two rocky cliffs connected by a white suspension bridge on a sunny day
Royal Gorge Bridge is one of the world's highest suspension bridges

Royal Gorge Bridge and Park

Royal Gorge Bridge and Park combines the awe-inspiring natural landscape of Royal Gorge, a 1,200-foot canyon on the Arkansas River, and the innovative design of the Royal Gorge Bridge - one of the world’s highest suspension bridges.

Walk 1,053 feet on the bridge above the Arkansas River or enjoy a peaceful ride and views from the inside of one of the gondolas that go across the gorge.

If you are feeling adventurous, get your adrenaline going with America’s tallest zipline! Royal Gorge Bridge and Park is easily accessible with a location close to Colorado Springs, Colorado.

A pedestrian bridge over a stream surrounded by mountains with alpine trees
San Isabel National Forest covers over 30 million acres from Kansas to Colorado

San Isabel National Forest

San Isabel National Forest is a great getaway location for those craving a true mountain experience. Covering over 30 million acres from western Kansas to central Colorado, San Isabel National Forest is home to 19 mountain peaks over 14,000 feet high, including Mount Elbert, the highest peak in Colorado.

Rent a cabin and enjoy the wilderness with some comforts of home and a picturesque view. Spend your daytime hiking one of the many trails within the forest, and maybe even spot some local wildlife!

Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site

Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site is one of the most well known historic places in Colorado. The site of an attack by the Colorado Calvary on a village of 700 Southern Cheyenne and Arapaho people on November 29, 1864, that left over 200 people dead, became a National Historic Site in 2007.

Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site remains mainly undeveloped prairie land but does offer guided tours, a small bookstore, and brochures on the history of the area.

A lake between two mountain slopes with some snow patches under a partly-cloudy sky
Summit Lake Park is over 150 acres of wilderness located along Mt. Evans Scenic Byway

Summit Lake Park

Summit Lake Park, located along Mount Evans Scenic Byway, is one landmark that absolutely should not be missed! This park is the highest city in North America and is home to one of the best examples of Arctic Tundras in the United States.

Summit Lake Park is over 150 acres of sprawling wildlife and wilderness, making it an excellent place for hiking and animal watching. But do not think you have to travel too far from civilization to enjoy all this park offers, as Summit Lake Park is only about 60 miles from Denver, Colorado!

© AndreyKr via Depositphotos
A triangular concrete structure with glass in the middle surrounded by green glass
The United States Air Force Academy offers guided tours, exhibits, trails & more

United States Air Force Academy

The United States Air Force Academy is located just north of Colorado Springs, literally! With an elevation ranging from 2,500 feet to 9,000 feet throughout the United States Air Force Academy campus, you will truly feel in the clouds while visiting.

Once arriving, stop by the visitor center to get all the information you need. Book guided tours, explore the nature trails, visit the Cadet Chapel, or one of the many exhibits on campus.

© CaptureLight via Depositphotos
Looking up at buildings with old-vernacular architecture against a partly cloudy sky
Vail is a small picturesque town offering many fun winter activities

Vail

Vail, Colorado, is a picturesque small town at the base of Vail Mountain in the Rocky Mountain range. This small town is known for the impressive Vail Ski Resort, making it an excellent destination for skiers of all levels!

In addition to skiing, Vail offers many other outdoor winter activities, such as snowshoeing, snowmobiling, and ice fishing. During the summer months, try your hand at fly fishing in Gore Creek.

In Summary

Colorado is the perfect destination for those seeking an out-of-the-ordinary walk in nature. Experience the elements up close and personal by hiking or biking through the many trails of Rocky Mountain National Park or skiing down mountain trails in Aspen or Vail.

Visit International Dark Sky Parks, like Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, to try your hand at night sky photography. Planning your trip to any of Colorado’s natural monuments is easy and fun, with most of them within driving distance from bigger cities like Colorado Springs, Denver, or Grand Junction.

Now that you know 25 Colorado landmarks and attractions that you shouldn't miss, you are ready to get out and explore all that Colorado has to offer!

This article was edited by Loredana Elena.

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Written by Sara Sabharwal

SaraSabharwal WRITER Sara Sabharwal is a poetess, writer, and avid traveler. Whether she is traveling locally or globally, her ambition is to collect and tell the world's stories one location at a time.


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