Who doesn’t want a weekend away in the mountains, not having to worry about anything other than just enjoying nature (except maybe watching out for bears)?
Colorado is the BEST weekend getaway you could ask for, no matter what season it is.
Try all of the water sports in the summer. Go for a hike to admire all the colors in the fall. Try your hand at skiing or snowboarding in the winter, and check out all of the parks and patios in the spring.
This state has something to offer for everybody: backpacking, camping, hiking, offroading trails, historic mining towns, downtown areas, and the best beer you’ll ever try.
I can promise that no matter what you do here, you’ll leave feeling relaxed and rejuvenated.
Go hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park.
Go camping in Maroon Bells.
Explore all of the old mining and ghost towns off the Million Dollar Highway.
Go bar hopping in Denver.
There is an endless amount of fun to be had in Colorado! Not a single one of my friends has ever left town when they plan on it. I’ve convinced them all to stay an extra day or two (or move here if I’m lucky).
In This Post You Will Find:
- The best weekend trips to take in Colorado
- The best places to visit and things to do in each city
- Travel tips and resources for planning your trip
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ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK
Getting the most popular and well-known out of the way, Rocky Mountain National Park has 415 square miles of hiking trails to explore.
Some of the most popular trails are in the Bear Lake Corridor. Which range from a quarter mile nature walk to an epic hike depending on how far you want to go. Some notable trails to check out in the area include but definitely are not limited to:
Bear Lake Trail, Emerald Lake Trail, Loch Vale Lake, and Sky Pond.
If you’re looking for a more difficult hike, try out one of the 14ers if you’re visiting early in the fall. Including the tallest mountain in Rocky Mountain National Park, Long’s Peak.
On your way back to town, do as the locals do and stop for a post-hike burger and beer (mountain water as my friends and I refer to it) in Estes Park. My favorite brewery in Estes Park is Wapiti Pub.
RELATED: Backpacking Essentials On A Budget
Breckenridge is by far my favorite town in Colorado, especially in the summer and fall. It has the BEST camping spots, an endless amount of hiking trails and offroading trails with views of the iconic evergreens and snowy mountaintops. Breckenridge also has some of the best beer in the state, so be sure to stop by the breweries downtown.
If you have a 4×4 vehicle, try out Georgia Pass. It’s a 19.8 mile easy offroading trail that begins in Jefferson, Colorado. And ends right in between the towns of Breckenridge and Frisco. Turn left to go into the town of Breck, or turn right to head down to the Dillon Reservoir for water sports such as paddle boarding or kayaking.
My favorite campgrounds are along Boreas Pass Road. If you don’t have a four wheel drive vehicle, there are tons of pull-offs on the side of the main road that you can set up camp at. But if you can go a little further you will be rewarded with massive campgrounds with gorgeous views all to yourself.
If you’d prefer to travel by foot, there are some gorgeous hiking trails in the area ranging from easy nature walks to 14ers. Some of the more popular hikes in the area include Bald Mountain Trail. And if you’re up for a challenge check out the 14ers in the area, Quandary Peak and Grays and Torreys Peaks.
After a day in the mountains, make sure you check out the bars and restaurants in town.
Some of my favorite restaurants downtown include:
Breckenridge Brewery, which is actually my favorite brewery in all of Colorado. Some of my favorite beers are the Mango Mosaic IPA, the Nitro Vanilla Porter, and the Palisade Peach Wheat beer.
For breakfast food, Blue Moose Restaurant is my favorite. They’re located right downtown, have excellent customer service, and even better omelettes.
RELATED: Guide To Breckenridge
Colorado Springs is a very versatile city, there’s sooo much to do. If you like hiking, check out Garden of the Gods Park, the Incline in Manitou Springs if you are up for a challenge. Or visit the Paint Mines in nearby Calhan.
You can summit “America’s Mountain”, Pike’s Peak. Or drive Pike’s Peak Highway if you don’t quite feel like hiking the 14er.
Visit the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, where you can literally hand feed a lot of the animals, including giraffes.
You can visit the United States Air Force Academy, or some of the many museums in the city. Including the National Museum of World War II Aviation, or the Pioneers Museum.
Make sure you stop by Manitou Brewing Co for a beer, and Poor Richard’s Restaurant for pizza and a good time!
I have had some of the best days of my life in Telluride and Ouray. Also known as the “Switzerland of America”. After hiking in both the Swiss Alps and Telluride, I can confirm that it does in fact stand true to that nickname. Telluride is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen. Especially with all the fall colors.
My friends and I love Telluride so much that we take the 5 hour drive down south once a month just to visit and try some more things on our bucket list. There’s never enough time to fit it all in.
There is something in Telluride for absolutely everyone. Whether you love skiing, hiking, soaking in hot springs, offroading, or adventure sports.
You can read my full Weekend Guide To Telluride to learn about what hiking trails we did, where we stayed, our favorite restaurants and breweries we visited, etc.
RELATED: Weekend Guide To Telluride
If you like hiking, then the Blue Lakes absolutely must be on your bucket list. It is a moderate to difficult trail depending on how far you go. I’d highly recommend you hike up to the upper Blue Lake if you’re up for the challenge! The views are unreal.
If you like adventure sports, try the new Via Ferrata! It’s free to do, you just have to rent the equipment. Prior experience is recommended.
Another bucket list item you must do in Telluride is drive the Million Dollar Highway. And stop to explore the old mining towns along the way for stunning views and a hands-on history lesson.
If you have an offroading vehicle you absolutely MUST check out Imogene Pass. Or if you’re really skilled give the hair-raising switchbacks of Black Bear Pass a go. Stop and visit Bridal Veil Falls on your way down!
Telluride is home to some excellent beer as well. Telluride Brewing Co makes my all time favorite stout, the Ski In Ski Stout, and the Face Down Brown Ale. Ska Brewing is made in the nearby town of Durango, and has excellent IPAs to try.
Bonus tip: If you’re coming from Denver, stop by Palisade on your way back to grab some fresh peaches. Or Elevation Beer Co for a tasting!
This German-inspired town is most well-known for its skiing. But is also a great destination to visit in the warmer months as well.
Vail is a mountain biker’s paradise. So if you like mountain biking I’d highly recommend making a summer trip out to Vail. It also has a gorgeous downtown area that is less crowded than in the winter time. And some beautiful hiking trails.
Gore Creek runs right through downtown, and you’ll see locals fly fishing and tubing down the river all summer long.
Some of the best restaurants to visit downtown are:
Pepi’s Bar and Restaurant for a burger and beer, La Nonna for incredible italian food from a Dolomite native, Red Lion or Bart and Yetis for live music and beer, or Sweet Basil for fine dining.
Aspen has plenty of well-known ski resorts to spend the weekend in the winter time. But it’s also a BEAUTIFUL destination in the summer and fall to watch the aspens change color.
You can get on a gondola straight from downtown and bike down the mountain, visit the iconic Maroon Bells, visit Snowmass Village, camp, or stroll through all the shops and restaurants downtown.
Maroon Bells is currently on a reservation only basis due to COVID-19, but you can still visit with just a little bit of planning.
Tickets are released on the first of the month for the month, so make sure you set an alarm to grab them early because they do sell out fast. I promise it’s so worth it!
My favorite hikes in this area are the Maroon Bells Scenic Loop, Crater Lake Trail. Or for a challenge do the Maroon Peak 14er for arguably the best views in the state.
If you don’t end up getting tickets, don’t worry, there are some beautiful hikes in the nearby towns of Snowmass, Basalt, and Carbondale.
My absolute favorite place to camp in Aspen is at Portal Campground off of Independence Pass. I watched a meteor shower hereover the summer and got to get in a little paddle boarding on the lake in the morning. There were also tons of people out fishing.
This campground does not do reservations, so make sure you arrive early in order to snag a spot. If you don’t though don’t worry because there is plenty of dispersed camping down the road.
Note: 4×4 vehicles are required in order to reach this campground, but there are other campgrounds at the beginning of Independence Pass that you can reach without a high clearance vehicle.
Also note that bear canisters are required when camping in the Maroon Bells/Snowmass Wilderness area per state ordinance. You can also read the most up to date information on the Forest Service website here.
If you plan on staying in town for the majority of your weekend, there are tons of things to do in downtown Aspen. There are concerts all year round, fields to play soccer, football, etc., plenty of shopping, bars and restaurants, and bike trails.
I’m making a whole separate guide on my favorite bars and restaurants in Aspen, but some of my favorites include Red Onion, Aspen Over Easy Breakfast Club, and White House Tavern.
If you’re looking for more civilization and maybe just a day trip to the mountains, Denver is a great place to visit for the weekend to enjoy some time in the city. In fact, it’s about 30 minutes to Boulder, an hour to Red Rocks. Or an hour and a half to Rocky Mountain National Park if you want to do a day hike.
If you’re sticking in the city, there are tons of neighborhoods to explore to keep you endlessly entertained whether you want to go shopping, check out some breweries, or go bar hopping.
You can check out the Denver Zoo, the Botanical Gardens, the Art Museum, go to Union Station, or spend an afternoon on Larimer Square.
I could write an entire novel on Denver breweries alone, (especially considering there are over 150) but some of the most notable and my favorite bars and breweries to visit are going to be: Great Divide Brewing Co, Denver Beer Co, Bruz Beers, and Blue Moon. Also, I really like Postino’s Wine Bar and Deep Roots Winery.
I recommend just picking a couple neighborhoods to explore (I really like LoHi and RiNo) and spend your day walking just through the streets, popping into anywhere that looks interesting.
RELATED: 10 Best Breweries in Denver
Last but certainly not least, this wouldn’t be a complete Colorado travel guide if I didn’t mention a hot spring. Glenwood Springs is a gorgeous place to visit if you want to relax in a hot spring, try water sports, go hiking, camping, or just eat some great food.
The Glenwood Hot Springs Resort is a great place to stay the night with a beautiful view of the canyon, but it’s also home to the world’s largest hot spring, and my favorite one in Colorado. The pool is open to the public to visit during the day, so make sure you check it out!
You can click here to be directed to their website, where you can purchase a pass to the pool or book a room in the resort and to view the most up to date information on pricing and COVID-19 restrictions.
The Colorado River flows right along I-70 through Glenwood Canyon, so this area is extremely popular for trying out water sports like white water rafting, kayaking, fishing, and stand up paddle boarding.
If you like hiking, there are some very unique and gorgeous hikes in the area. With a similar terrain to nearby Aspen, Glenwood Springs is known for its red colored mountains and turquoise lakes. You must make a visit to Hanging Lake while you’re here for the most scenic hike in the area.
Note: Reservations are required to visit Hanging Lake so make sure you book tickets in advance. Closures are possible in the summertime and early fall due to fire activity. You can view the most up to date information regarding closures and making reservations on their website here.
Downtown Glenwood Springs is also home to some of the best restaurants in Colorado. I’ve specifically made trips through Glenwood Springs just to stop for a burger at Glenwood Canyon Brewpub. Some other notable restaurants in the area include: The Pullman, Rocky Mountain Pizza, and the best doughnuts you’ll find in Colorado from Sweet Coloradough.