The Most Beautiful Towns in Colorado, USA

The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park was the inspiration behind Stephen King horror novel 'The Shining'
The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park was the inspiration behind Stephen King horror novel 'The Shining' | © Jeff Zehnder / Alamy Stock Photo

Colorado is an underrated hotspot when it comes to natural beauty in the US. It’s home to not only a varied landscape, but a rich history that’ll bring out the inner photographer in anyone. From popular skiing destinations to former mining towns, picturesque communities abound in The Centennial State.

Breckenridge

Natural Feature
Map View
Breckenridge Town, Colorado
Breckenridge Town, Colorado | © welcomia/Shutterstock

A beautiful mountain town nestled in the Rocky Mountains, Breckenridge is surrounded by scenic beauty. Founded in 1859, this lovely community has roots in mining. Now, it’s home to a large historic district: stroll the charming, historic Main Street to discover fine eateries and quaint shops. History buffs also will enjoy the Barney Ford Victorian Home. Meanwhile, 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.

Creede

Architectural Landmark, Historical Landmark
Map View
Creede, Colorado
Creede, Colorado | © Robert Bohrer/Shutterstock

Before becoming a booming silver-mining town in the 19th century, Creede was a hunting ground for the Native American Ute people. Today, it’s more a wonderful place to explore history and partake in recreational activities, thanks 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. Outdoor adventurers can hike, kayak, fish and go wildlife-watching to pass the time. 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.

Crested Butte

Historical Landmark
Map View
Crested Butte, Colorado
Crested Butte, Colorado | © Sean Xu/Shutterstock

Another former mining town, Crested Butte is a lovely place brimming with historic charm. Often referred to as the Wildflower Capital of Colorado, the snow-covered land of winter turns into a colorful display as the weather warms. An adventure-seeker’s paradise, it’s a playground if you love skiing, mountain biking, climbing and hiking. Crested Butte also hosts a music festival and an arts festival.

Cripple Creek

Architectural Landmark, Historical Landmark
Map View
Cripple Creek, Colorado
Cripple Creek, Colorado | © Erik Patton/Shutterstock

Sat on the southwest slopes of Pikes Peak, Cripple Creek is a popular tourist destination for both history lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. Restored turn-of-the-century buildings are all over the place, now home to unique shops, antique stores and restaurants. The Cripple Creek District Museum and The Old Homestead House Museum are two spots 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 1,000ft (305m) underground. The town’s also surrounded by the Pike National Forest, so there are plenty of outdoor adventures to take part in.

Estes Park

Park
Map View
Estes Park - An autumn afternoon at Downtown Estes Park, with The Stanley Hotel and Rocky Mountains in background. Colorado, USA.
© Sean Xu / Alamy Stock Photo
Estes Park is an ideal location from which to explore the Rocky Mountain National Park. Since the mid-1800s, Estes Park has been great place for outdoor lovers, offering horseback-riding and skiing. The main street is a charming place where you will find Victorian lights, flowers, and benches to sit on while taking in the stunning vistas. Nearby is the Riverwalk, a gorgeous park with a sculpture garden. You movie buffs should visit The Stanley Hotel: it’s what inspired Stephen King’s horror classic The Shining(1974).

Georgetown

Architectural Landmark, Historical Landmark
Map View
Winter in downtown of Georgetown, Colorado
Winter in downtown of Georgetown, Colorado | © Arina P Habich/Shutterstock

Known as the Silver Queen of the Rockies, Georgetown is another mountain idyll 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 and eateries. The Hamill House Museum gives insight into 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 and a visit to the Hotel de Paris Museum. The scenic Georgetown Lake is also nearby for fun outdoor adventures.

Manitou Springs

Natural Feature
Map View
Manitou Springs, Colorado
Manitou Springs, Colorado | © John Hoffman/Shutterstock

Home to eight natural fountains, Manitou Springs draws many tourists looking to improve their health and wellness. The town attracts art lovers far and wide with galleries, sculpture displays, music and theater. For history buffs, architectural gems abound, including the historic Miramont Castle. The castle is a Victorian museum with nine different architectural styles. For those seeking good eats and treasures, the Historic District is a must-visit. It’s got stunningly restored buildings housing galleries, boutiques, restaurants and more.

Ouray

Park
Map View
Ouray Colorado also known as "the Switzerland of America" is a former mining town in the San Juan mountains of southern Colorado. Image shot 2012. Exact date unknown.
Ouray, Colorado | © Richard Broadwell / Alamy Stock Photo
Named after Ouray – a chief of the Ute people – this town is surrounded by gorgeous scenery. The mountain community is known not only for breathtaking vistas, but also sulfur-free hot springs where you can soak and relax. There’s also an incredible ice park where you can go climbing. Around town, discover picturesque Victorian architecture that’s been beautifully restored.

Telluride

Natural Feature
Map View
Telluride, Colorado
Telluride, Colorado | © Katie Mortensen/Shutterstock

A hotspot for year-round recreational activities and world-class skiing, Telluride is nestled in a canyon surrounded by rising mountains. The area is a former mining camp full of colorful Victorian homes. Other historical buildings include an 1896 miners’ hospital that now houses the Telluride Historical Museum. Downtown is perfect for strolling, since it features many galleries, bars, stores and restaurants in clapboard storefronts.

Trinidad

Architectural Landmark, Historical Landmark
Map View
Main Street in Trinidad, Colorado, USA
© Witold Skrypczak / Alamy Stock Photo

Once a popular trading post on the Santa Fe Trail, Trinidad is a historic charmer in southeastern Colorado. The town was established in 1876. So, not only is it a history buff’s paradise; it’s a great spot for art aficionados. 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. Plus there’s the Trinidad History Museum, which includes the breathtaking Bloom Mansion.

These recommendations were updated on May 6, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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