Colorado’s mountains, lakes, canyons, grasslands and endless sky allow visitors to tap into nature along with the western state’s history. Set out on adventures such as ziplining, hiking and skiing, or for a more low-key trip, unwind at a world-class spa and historic hotel. Better yet, combine the two for the ultimate Centennial State vacation.
From Aspen to Telluride, here are 10 amazing ways to experience Colorado to the fullest.
Go Glamping in Vail
Forget the rugged camping trips of childhood and, instead, go glamping with Collective Retreats. Sleep amid nature under the star-filled night sky without sacrificing the comforts of a king-sized bed, running water and Wi-Fi. Located on 4 Eagle Ranch, the property is surrounded by 1,000 pristine acres, and each private tent provides an unobstructed view of the mountains and a horse pasture. In fact, take advantage of the beautiful horse ranch and ride through the trails with a guide.
Also, partake in the Friday- and Sunday-night chef’s tasting menu. The multi-course dinner gets served alfresco at Three Peaks Lodge and features fresh local produce and proteins.
Have a Soaring Adventure in Colorado Springs
There are a lot of reasons to put The Broadmoor on any Colorado bucket list. The stunning Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star hotel offers great food, numerous outdoor activities and the best pool in Colorado Springs. It also boasts one of the most celebrated zipline tracks in the country. Two courses in the secluded South Cheyenne Canyon have ziplines ranging from 250 to 1,800 feet off the ground, all with gorgeous views that can only be seen from this vantage point.
The Woods-Fins combination course begins with a ziplining introduction. You gradually build up from a few feet off the ground to the highest line for an exhilarating thrill that’s unique to the area. The adventure concludes at Seven Falls Waterfall and Restaurant 1858, a scenic spot to mark the occasion with a cocktail, lunch or dinner.
Ski in Aspen
Colorado is known for its skiing, and one of the best places to do it is Aspen. While not a ski-in, ski-out property, The St. Regis Aspen Resort sits at the base of the slopes and has a ski concierge to assist guests to the lift. Even better, once done on the slopes, you can sit back in the hotel’s outdoor hot pools and watch others on the snowy mountain. Book a trip during the holiday season for even more winter magic as the Four-Star hotel lights up a glorious tree and decks its halls.
Find the Perfect Colorado Hat
It only takes one visit to Colorado’s mountains to notice the Centennial State’s must-have accessory: a jaunty adventure hat. Get one of your own at Kemo Sabe, a luxury Western wear shop with locations in Aspen and Vail. This quaint boutique plies shoppers with shots of tequila while getting custom-designed hats fitted.
Another option is Wallaroo’s line of SPF and UPF hats to keep the harsh high-altitude sun at bay. Since 1999 this business has made hats in the state, and there are plenty of designs. Find them at shops and outfitters such as Christy Sports all around the area.
Dive into Denver
One of the best places to stay in the city is The Ritz-Carlton, Denver in the heart of downtown. The elegant Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star hotel offers a full spa, a huge fitness center, 400-thread-count Frette linens in the rooms and plenty of space to relax. Book a Club Level room to enjoy the exclusive lounge’s all-day dining. But don’t skip out on dinner at Elway’s Downtown, the steakhouse named after the famed Denver Broncos quarterback. Football aside, the real winner of the meal is whomever scores the last bite of lobster mac and cheese.
Hike the Rocky Mountains
With so many trails available year-round, narrowing them down can be difficult. Make a reservation for the Maroon Bells and see one of Colorado’s most iconic visages. Hanging Lake Hike also needs a reservation, though it’s easier to get. The trek consists of a moderate, 1.2-mile jaunt up the mountain to see a stunning lake and waterfall, which are social media perfect. Those looking for an easier hike should try the Fountain Valley Trail in Colorado’s Roxborough State Park for a low-impact climb and impressive pink and orange rock. It’s similar to Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs, a free and easy-to-do trail among beautiful orange sandstone towers.
Golf at The Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch
With so much to do at this Forbes Travel Guide Recommended resort in Beaver Creek, golf may be overlooked. But during the warm, non-skiing months, the Red Sky Golf Club’s two 18-hole championship courses should be a priority. After tee time, relax in the 19-room The Ritz-Carlton Spa, Bachelor Gulch with a massage or soak in the hot tub. Stay for dinner and enjoy Colorado’s culinary bounty at Wyld or flown-in-fresh fish at Sakaba, the contemporary Japanese sushi lounge.
Take a Dip at a Beer Spa
Craft beer has long been a staple beverage in Colorado, and the Oakwell Beer Spa not only offers pours but uses beer in spa services. Soak in hops and other botanicals inspired by the monthly featured brewery. For example, Left Hand Brewing Co. from Longmont recently took over the taps with Milk Stout Nitro, Peanut Butter Milk Stout Nitro, Pumpkin Spice Latte Nitro and other beers. The two-person bath was infused with the brewery’s comet hops, crystal malt and juniper berries. Use beer-infused products in the private treatment room and enjoy the infrared sauna and rain shower while the on-call staff stands ready to refill your cup with beer or wine on demand.
Find Yourself at The Inn at Lost Creek in Telluride
It’s easy to feel cozy and comfortable at this Forbes Travel Guide Recommended property. The Inn at Lost Creek is tucked away in the San Juan Mountains with rooms that feel homey and elegant. To add to the serene and intimate setting, most of the 32 accommodations in this boutique hotel face the ski slopes, meaning you have a stunning view in the winter, spring, summer and fall. Make sure to also book a treatment at the nearby The Spa at The Peaks Resort — The Inn at Lost Creek guests have free access to Colorado’s largest spa.
Tap into Aspen History
Hotel Jerome, Auberge Resorts Collection opened in 1889 during Aspen’s silver boom, and it remains the place for locals and visitors to gather. Hang out in the Four-Star hotel’s Living Room for a light bite and layered art and design. Enjoy a libation at Bad Harriet, named after the wife of the property’s original developer and proprietor, Jerome B. Wheeler, before tucking into a meal of American bistro fare with a focus on local ingredients from the Roaring Fork Valley at the hotel’s Prospect restaurant.