There is no doubt that Colorado is one of the most beautiful states in the US. It is home to a varied landscape and a rich history that will bring out the inner photographer in anyone. From popular skiing destinations to former mining towns to artists’ havens and more, picturesque communities abound in “The Centennial State.” We look at 10 of them.
A beautiful mountain town nestled in the Rocky Mountains, Breckenridge is surrounded by scenic beauty. Founded in 1859, this lovely community, which has its roots in mining, is home to one of the largest historic districts within Colorado, which includes the charming historic Main Street where visitors can stroll and discover fine eateries, quaint shops, and more. History buffs will enjoy the area’s historic buildings, museums, and tours, including the Barney Ford Victorian Home, while outdoor adventurers will be nothing short of amazed with all of the activities at their fingertips, such as hiking and incredible skiing. Many festivals and events, including the International Snow Sculpture Championships, take place throughout the year as well.
Before becoming a booming silver-mining town in the late 19th century, Creede was a hunting ground for the Utes. Today, this picturesque town in southern Colorado is a wonderful place to explore history and partake in recreational activities due to the beautiful mountains, forests, and streams in the area. Framed by towering volcanic cliffs, the town features historic buildings from the 1890s, many of which now house boutiques, galleries, and dining establishments. As for outdoor adventures, guests will find hiking, kayaking, fishing, and wildlife watching to name but a few. Other must-do activities include taking in a play at the Creede Repertory Theatre or visiting during one of the many events, including the Balloon Festival and Derby Race.
Another former mining town, Crested Butte is a lovely place brimming with historic charm. Often referred to as the “Wildflower Capital of Colorado,” the winter snow-covered land turns into a colorful display as the weather warms. An adventure seeker’s paradise, the natural land is a wonderful playground with activities such as skiing, mountain biking, climbing, hiking, and more. A treasured National Historic District, colorful Victorian buildings line the streets of downtown. Crested Butte also hosts a music festival and one of the top arts festivals in the country.
Situated on the southwest slopes of Pikes Peak, Cripple Creek is a popular tourist destination for both history lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. Turn-of-the-century buildings, which have been beautifully restored, can be found throughout the area and are now home to unique shops, antique stores, and restaurants. The Cripple Creek District Museum and The Old Homestead House Museum (the latter of which was once a famous brothel) are two attractions displaying the history of this scenic and colorful town. Other must-visit places include the Cripple Creek and Victor Narrow Gauge Railroad and the Mollie Kathleen Gold Mine Tour, where guests descend 1,000 feet (305 meters) underground. Surrounded by the Pike National Forest, there are also plenty of outdoor adventures to take part in.
An ideal location from which to explore the Rocky Mountain National Park, Estes Park is a lovely resort destination brimming with picturesque scenes. Since the mid 1800s, this area has been popular with those seeking a wonderful getaway. From wildlife watching to horseback riding and, when it’s colder, snowshoeing and skiing, Estes Park is great place for outdoor lovers. The main street is a charming place where visitors will find Victorian lights, flowers, and benches to sit on while taking in the stunning vistas. Nearby is the town’s Riverwalk, a gorgeous park full of natural beauty and a sculpture garden. Movie buffs may be interested in visiting The Stanley—the hotel that inspired The Shining(1980).
Known as the “Silver Queen of the Rockies,” Historic Georgetown is another beautiful mountain destination with a mining background. Nestled in the Clear Creek Canyon, this tiny Victorian village features a historic business district with red sandstone sidewalks, specialty shops, eateries, and museums such as the Hamill House Museum. As a restored home, this museum showcases residential living in 19th-century Georgetown, complete with furniture and landscaping. Other must-do activities include taking a ride on an old-time steam locomotive on the Georgetown Loop Railroad and a visit to the Hotel de Paris Museum. The scenic Georgetown Lake is also nearby providing fun outdoor adventures.
Home to eight natural mineral-spring fountains, Manitou Springs—named after a Native American word for “great spirit”—draws many tourists looking to improve their health and wellness. This town attracts art lovers far and wide with its galleries, sculpture displays, music, and theater. For history buffs, architectural gems abound, including the historic Miramont Castle. A Victorian museum, the castle itself features nine different architectural styles. For those seeking good eats and treasures, the Historic District is a must-visit with stunning restored buildings housing galleries, boutiques, restaurants, and more.
Named after Chief Ouray the Ute people, this town is surrounded by gorgeous scenery. Nestled in the Rockies in Southwest Colorado, the mountain community is known not only for its breathtaking vistas but also its sulfur-free hot springs where people can soak and relax. There is also an incredible ice park where visitors can go climbing. Around town, guests will discover picturesque Victorian architecture that has been beautifully restored.
A hotspot for year-round recreational activities, including world-class skiing, Telluride is a picturesque town nestled in a canyon surrounded by rising mountains. A former mining camp, the area is a National Historic Land District and is full of colorful Victorian homes and other historical buildings, including an 1896 miners’ hospital that now houses the Telluride Historical Museum. The downtown area, which is perfect for strolling, features many galleries, bars, stores, and restaurants in clapboard storefronts. The town also hosts many famous festivals throughout the year, including the ever-popular Telluride Jazz Festival and Telluride Film Festival.
Once a popular trading post on the old Santa Fe Trail, Trinidad is a historic charmer located in southeastern Colorado. Established in 1876, the town is not only a history buff’s paradise but also a great spot for art aficionados. Indeed, it’s designated as a Colorado Creative District having attracted talented residents, including plein air artists, for years. Beauty abounds everywhere in Trinidad, from the downtown area featuring brick-lined streets and stunning Victorian buildings to the great outdoors. Must-visit places include the A.R. Mitchell Museum, which displays over 350 paintings by western artists, as well as Native American art and artifacts and traditional Hispanic art. Plus there’s the Trinidad History Museum, which includes the breathtaking Bloom Mansion.