23 Colorado Experiences to Add to Your 2023 Adventure List

by Rachel Daly
Published: Last Updated on

Are you working on your 2023 resolutions? Putting together a vision board? Here are 23 things to do in Colorado in 2023 that are sure to make your year Coloradical!

#1 Tour the Garden of the Gods

Garden of the Gods, Photo by All Things Boulder

Looking for something free and easy to enjoy? Step into an otherworldly landscape of stunning rock formations and breathtaking colors at Garden of the Gods. Admission is always free.

#2 Hike to One of Colorado’s Abandoned Railroad Tunnels

things to do in colorado in 2021
Alpine Tunnel, Photo CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=446871

Colorado has a handful of old railroad tunnels you can hike to, including Alpine Tunnel and Hagerman Tunnel. An interesting and historical destination, but we advise that you do not enter the tunnels as they are not maintained and are considered very dangerous. 

#3 Ride the Carousel of Happiness in Nederland

Things to do in Boulder in October
Photo Courtesy Carousel of Happiness

Nederland’s Carousel of Happiness is a magical menagerie featuring 56 whimsical, hand-carved animals on a restored 1910 Looff carousel! This lovely carousel turns to the music of a 1913 Wurlitzer band organ. Witness the 100-year-old gears churn by watching from the upper observation window. Wheelchair ramp available.

#4 Climb a Fourteener

Celebrating from the top of Torrey’s Peak, Photo: All Things Boulder

Looking for a challenge? Try climbing one of Colorado’s famous fourteeners. Nothing compares to the feeling of standing atop one of these giants. Even the “easiest” 14ers are worthy of bragging rights. (Just kidding, none of these hikes are easy!)

#5 Take the Self-Guided Boulder Street Wise Mural Tour

Boulder Arts Week
Photo Courtesy Street Wise Boulder

Street Wise Boulder is an annual ARTivism mural festival in the streets of Boulder, Colorado. Its mission is to amplify artist voices and use the power of public art as a means to connect, spark change, and build empathy within the community. Street Wise artists are driven by social activism and use their murals as a tool for connection. Take a self-guided mural tour – the map is provided here. To make a donation, click here.

#6 See Magnificent Animals at Wild Animal Sanctuary

Photo Courtesy Wild Animal Sanctuary

The Wild Animal Sanctuary in Keenesburg is home to 460 animals 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, lynxes, and many more.

#7 Discover Bishop Castle in Rye

fun strange and interesting things to see in Colorado
Photo Courtesy Bishop Castle

Love castles?? Check out Colorado’s Bishop Castle, made of stone and iron and built by a single man – Jim Bishop. He has been working on this incredible stone monument for 60 years. Located just West of Pueblo, Colorado, this castle stands a whopping 160 feet, complete with a grand ballroom, soaring towers, bridges, and a fire-breathing dragon! The castle welcomes visitors every day FREE of charge. For the full story of Jim Bishop and his castle, click here.

#8 Drive to the Top of the Divide via Trail Ridge Road

Things to do in Boulder in August 2021
Photo Courtesy National Park Service

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 will thrill, with its highest point well above tree line.

#9 Crush (or be Crushed by) the Manitou Incline

Photo by Mindy Williford, @superglamp

The extremely challenging Manitou Incline climbs over 2,000 feet in less than a mile! That view of Colorado Springs is quite the reward.

#10 Brave the Suspension Bridge at Royal Gorge

Things to do in Colorado in 2021
Photo Courtesy Royal Gorge Bridge & Park

Look down nearly 1,000 feet to the depths of Royal Gorge from the highest suspension bridge in the country. More info here.

#11 Take a Ghost Tour at the Stanley Hotel

Photo Courtesy The Stanley Hotel

Walk the halls of Estes Park’s historic Stanley Hotel, the setting of the popular horror film, The Shining. The hotel offers a night tour, and a chance to encounter one of the active spirits on the property.

#12 Adventure with the Family at the YMCA of the Rockies

Weekend getaway near Boulder

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.

#13 Play at the Great Sand Dunes

Photo Courtesy Great Sand Dunes National Park

Visit the tallest dunes in North America at the Great Sand Dunes National Park. There are many 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.

#14 Self-Tour the Beautiful Red Rocks Amphitheatre

Photo Courtesy Red Rocks Park Amphitheater

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 on 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.

#15 Take a Guided Audio Tour at Dinosaur Ridge

free things to do near Boulder and Denver
Dinosaur Ridge, Photo By: All Things Boulder

Take a walk along a path that the dinosaurs 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 in 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. More info here.

#16 See a Moose at Brainard Lake

Moose at Brainard Lake Recreation Area All Things Boulder
Moose at Brainard Lake Recreation Area, Photo by All Things Boulder

The best place to spot a moose in Colorado is at Brainard Lake. These creatures are so magnificent that even the most apathetic humans stand in awe.

#17 Witness Ancient History at Mesa Verde

reasons to be thankful for living in Colorado
Mesa Verde, Courtesy Mindy Williford, @Superglamp

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.

#18 Behold Spectacular Panoramas at Colorado National Monument

colorado national parks free day
Photo Courtesy Visit Grand Junction

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.

#19 Catch a Laser Show at Fiske Planetarium

Photo Courtesy Fiske Planetarium

Fiske Planetarium offers a diverse range of shows, star talks, LASER shows, and special live events in its 65-foot diameter dome (the largest between Chicago and Los Angeles!). Fiske’s 8K Sky-Skan projection system creates an immersive environment that fully surrounds audiences with dazzling visuals and fantastic sound. For the Planetarium’s show schedule, click here

#20 Climb the Steps to the Dome of the Colorado State Capitol

View From the Observation Area in the Dome, Photo by All Things Boulder

The tour at the Colorado State Capitol ends with a 99-step climb from the 3rd floor to the dome observation area, where you will enjoy a birds-eye view of Denver.

#21 Cruise Down the Alpine Slide at Purgatory Resort

Photo Courtesy Purgatory Ski Resort

During the summer, the slopes at Purgatory Ski Resort are home to a legendary Colorado alpine slide that is more than a half-mile long. More info here.

#22 Step Inside an Immersive Butterfly Habitat at Butterfly Pavilion

In the Butterfly Habitat at Butterfly Pavilion, Photo by All Things Boulder

The Butterfly Pavilion is home to over 1,600 free-flying butterflies. The pavilion also features lovely gardens and a nature trail, as well as an indoor play area and a fun gift shop.

#23 Take a Soak in One of Colorado’s Many Hot Springs

Photo Courtesy Mindy Williford, @superglamp

Need to soak those muscles after a long hike? Check out this guide to 29 Colorado Hot Springs to find one nearest you!

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