Ahhh, Colorado, so many fun things to do, so little time. So I’ve narrowed it down to 21 eye-popping, fun, quirky, and interesting things to do in Colorado in 2021! And, all of these are pandemic-friendly, with plenty of space for social distancing. So, put on your mask, and enjoy. Here we go…
#1 Self-Tour the Beautiful Red Rocks Amphitheatre
Red Rocks isn’t just for concerts! This spectacular venue is a geologically formed, open-air amphitheater not duplicated anywhere in the world. With Mother Nature as the architect, the design of the Amphitheatre consists of two 300 foot monoliths (Ship Rock and Creation Rock) that provide a stunning setting for any performance. The dramatic sandstone monoliths serve as a history book of animal and plant life in the area for the past 250 million years. Kids will enjoy exploring the park and singing from the stage! Red Rocks Park is open every day from one hour before sunrise to one hour after sunset, unless there is an event being held, in which case visitors are asked to leave around 2 PM (please check the calendar here). Admission is free to the public.
#2 Check Out Denver’s Vibrant Murals
Denver’s art scene has been blooming for years, and is now covering buildings all over the city. For an (incomplete) list of murals and a map to help find them, click here.
#3 Walk Garden of the Gods
Looking for things to do in Colorado in 2021 that are free and but not too difficult to enjoy? Step into an otherworldly landscape of stunning rock formations and breathtaking colors at Garden of the Gods. Admission is always free.
#4 Take a Guided Audio Tour at Dinosaur Ridge
Take a walk along a path that the dinosaurs themselves traveled 100 million years ago at Dinosaur Ridge. This is the very spot where the first stegosaurus was discovered in 1877! The hike, just over two miles, is an easy, paved stroll with over 300 dinosaur tracks on view. In addition to the famous dinosaur tracks, visitors have the chance to see dozens of dinosaur bones from the Jurassic period, still nestled in the layers of sandstone along the trail. The site will have you imagining the Morrison ridge as it was millions of years ago, a coastal beach on the edge of an ancient ocean. COVID-friendly, contactless audio tours have been made available. Purchase your audio tour here for $6, then start your walk through prehistoric times! More info here.
Dinosaur Ridge, one of our favorite Colorado dinosaur destinations, is FREE to do the walking tour, and is a two-mile round trip walk (the road is paved, so weather-permitting it is stroller & wheelchair-friendly). Audio tour downloads available here for $6. Dinosaur Ridge is located at 16831 W Alameda Pkwy, Morrison, CO 80465. Museum admittance and bus tours available with a fee.
#5 Drive to the Top of the Divide via Trail Ridge Road
Take a drive to the top of the Continental Divide where you will stand at a thin-aired 12,183 ft in elevation to witness the glory of the Rocky Mountains. This white-knuckle summer drive is sure to thrill, with its highest point well above tree line.
#6 Play at the Great Sand Dunes
Visit the tallest dunes in North America at the Great Sand Dunes National Park. There are a ton of fun ways to enjoy the dunes, including sandboarding, hiking and sledding. After a hot day in the sand, enjoy a relaxing splash in the cool water of Medano Creek at the base of the dunes.
#7 Climb a Fourteener
Looking for a challenge? Try climbing one of Colorado’s famous fourteeners. Even the “easiest” 14ers are worthy of bragging rights.
#8 Creep Yourself Out at the Stanley Hotel
Walk the halls of Estes Park’s historic Stanley Hotel, setting of the popular horror film, The Shining. The hotel offers a night tour, a chance to encounter one of the active spirits on the property.
#9 Caribou Ranch
Located in Boulder County up in the hills near Nederland, Caribou Ranch has beautiful trails, meadows and wetlands, as well as a historic mining complex. Note: Caribou Ranch is closed between April 1 – June 30 to protect migratory birds and to support elk during calving season.
#10 Catch a Glimpse of Denver’s Buffalo Herd
The city of Denver maintains a herd of buffalo in a natural setting, in the mountains just West of Denver. The buffalo are direct descendants of the last wild buffalo herd left in America. There is an overlook for viewing just off I-70, take Exit 254.
#11 See a Moose at Brainard Lake
The best place to spot a moose in Colorado is at Brainard Lake. These creatures are so magnificent that even the most apathetic human with stand in awe.
#12 Explore Archaeological Sites at Mesa Verde
Mesa Verde National Park offers a remarkable glimpse into the lives of the Ancestral Pueblo people of Southwestern Colorado, who made Mesa Verde their home for over 700 years (AD 550 to 1300). Mesa Verde National Park protects nearly 5,000 known archaeological sites, including 600 cliff dwellings. Many of these beautifully preserved dwellings are available only for observation during the spring season. Want to learn more about Colorado’s National Parks? Click here.
#13 Chase that Waterfall (Frozen or Not)
There are so many amazing waterfalls in Colorado, each one worth chasing!
#14 See Magnificent Animals at Wild Animal Sanctuary
The Wild Animal Sanctuary in Keenesburg, Colorado is home to 460 animals who have been rescued from various captive environments. These magnificent animals are now free to roam in sprawling habitats that can be observed on the lifted walkway. Animals include wolves, lions, tigers, grizzly bears, black bears, lynx and many more.
#15 Crush (or be Crushed by) the Manitou Incline
The extremely challenging Manitou Incline climbs over 2,000 feet in less than a mile! That view of Colorado Springs is quite the reward.
#16 Go Stand Up Paddle Boarding at Gorgeous Grand Lake
Stand up paddle boards are a fun and relaxing way to play on the lakes of Colorado! Grand Lake is the the largest natural lake in the state, with beautiful sweeping views and plenty of space. With as little as a board and a paddle, you can glide across the tranquil lakes amidst the beauty of the Rocky Mountains and get up close and personal with nature and wildlife. Although relaxing, SUP is still a sport, so you will be getting a full-body workout. Definitely on the top of our list of things to do in Colorado in 2021!
#17 Brave the Suspension Bridge at Royal Gorge
Look down nearly 1,000 feet to the depths of Royal Gorge from the highest suspension bridge in the country. More info here.
#18 Take a Break at the YMCA of the Rockies
Rent a cabin and snuggle up with the family in front of the fireplace, you can even bring your dog! The YMCA of the Rockies offers tons of space for social distancing, outdoor activities, and beautiful scenery.
#19 Witness Epic Scenes at Colorado National Monument
Colorado National Monument preserves one of the grand landscapes of the American West and is one of the most Colorado things you can do in Colorado! Much more than a monument, witness towering monoliths existing within a vast plateau and canyon panorama. Experience sheer-walled, red rock canyons along the twists and turns of Rim Rock Drive, where majestic bighorn sheep and soaring eagles call home.
#20 See the Sunrise from a Mountaintop
Pick a mountain, any mountain. Climb it in the dark (bring a headlamp!) and witness the glory of the sunrise. This is a fun, free activity that is sure to inspire.
#21 Hike to One of Colorado’s Abandoned Railroad Tunnels
Colorado has a handful of old railroad tunnels that you can hike to, including Alpine Tunnel and Hagerman Tunnel. An interesting and historic destination, but we highly advise that you do not enter the tunnels as they are not maintained and are considered very dangerous.
That’s it, 21 things to do in Colorado in 2021! What would you add to the list?