The Centennial State is a mecca for outdoor enthusiasts, adventure seekers, and nature lovers. Colorado is a true gem of the American West, home to towering peaks, stunning vistas, and an abundance of natural wonders. While well-known attractions like Rocky Mountain National Park and Aspen draw countless visitors, many hidden gems in Colorado scattered throughout the state are just waiting to be discovered. In this guide, we’ll explore some of the most intriguing hidden gems in Colorado. We’ll take you on a journey through Colorado’s lesser-known destinations. So pack your bags, grab your hiking boots, and get ready to discover some of the best-kept secrets in the Centennial State.
Best hidden gems in Colorado
Located outside of Alamosa in the San Luis Valley, Zapata Falls is a hidden gem in Colorado that’s often overlooked by visitors to the area. This stunning waterfall is situated at the base of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. It is accessed via a short hike through a rocky canyon. The falls themselves are about 25 feet high and flow into a small pool at the base. This provides a peaceful and serene setting. What makes this place one of the best hidden gems in Colorado is the unique experience it offers visitors. During the winter months, the falls freeze over. This creates a breathtaking ice formation that attracts ice climbers from around the world.
While Hanging Lake is no longer a “hidden” gem due to its popularity in recent years, it’s still worth a mention on this list. Located in Glenwood Canyon near Glenwood Springs, this natural wonder is a turquoise-colored lake suspended high up in the cliffs above the Colorado River. The lake can be reached via a short but steep trail. It offers breathtaking views of the surrounding canyon. Due to its fragile ecosystem, visitors need to get a permit to visit Hanging Lake. The permits are available online. They must be purchased in advance, as the number of visitors is limited to protect the delicate environment. Hanging Lake is one of the best hidden gems in Colorado. It offers a unique and unforgettable experience. The next time you’re planning a trip, be sure to add this hidden gem in Colorado to your list of must-see attractions. You won’t be disappointed!
Conundrum Hot Springs
For those willing to go off the beaten path, Conundrum Hot Springs is a hidden gem worth seeking out. Located near Aspen, this natural hot spring can only be accessed via a 8.5-mile hike through the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness. The journey is challenging but well worth it, as visitors are rewarded with stunning views of the surrounding mountains and a relaxing soak in the hot springs.
One of the most extraordinary hidden gems in Colorado. The castle is a massive structure that was built by one man, Jim Bishop, over the course of several decades. The castle is made entirely of local materials, including rocks, stones, and metal. The castle is a testament to Bishop’s creativity and determination, as he worked tirelessly on the project for over 40 years. Today, Bishop Castle is a tourist attraction that offers a unique experience for visitors. Bishop Castle is one of the hidden gems in Colorado that is worth exploring. It is a true statement of the power of one person’s creativity and dedication. Visitors will be amazed by its size and intricacy. They will leave with a newfound appreciation for the power of imagination.
Paint Mines Interpretive Park
Located near the town of Calhan on the eastern plains of Colorado, Paint Mines Interpretive Park is a unique destination that’s often overlooked by visitors to the state. The park is home to a series of hoodoos (rock formations) that have been eroded over time to reveal layers of colorful sandstone. Visitors can hike a series of trails through the park to explore the hoodoos and learn about the area’s geological history.
Rifle Falls State Park
Located near the town of Rifle in western Colorado, Rifle Falls State Park is a hidden gem that’s perfect for nature lovers. The park is home to a stunning triple waterfall that cascades over a limestone cliff, as well as numerous hiking trails that wind through the surrounding forests and canyons. Visitors can also explore the nearby Rifle Arch, a natural sandstone arch that’s a popular destination for rock climbers.
St. Elmo Ghost Town
For history buffs, the St. Elmo Ghost Town is a hidden gem in Colorado worth visiting. The ghost town is located near the town of Buena Vista, this abandoned mining town was once a bustling hub for gold and silver miners. It date back to the late 1800s, and it is a testament of the state’s rich mining history. One of the most popular attractions in St. Elmo is the Mary Murphy Mine, which is located just outside of town. The mine was one of the most productive in the area and produced millions of dollars worth of silver and gold. Visitors can take a tour of the mine and learn about the mining process and the lives of the miners who worked there. It is also a great place for outdoor enthusiasts. The town is surrounded by stunning mountain scenery, and visitors can hike, bike, or horseback ride on the nearby trails.
Nestled in San Juan Mountains, Silverton is a historic mining town that has retained much of its Old West charm. A hidden gem in Colorado that is often overlooked by visitors. Despite it’s small size, Silverton is rich in history and natural beauty. This makes it an ideal destination for those looking for a unique experience. Originally a mining town funded in the late 1800s, Silverton is now a National Historic Landmark District, with many original Victorian-era buildings still standing. Visitors can tame a self-guided walking tour of the town’s historic district to learn about its rich history and architecture. If you’re looking to explore the town’s history, soaked in the natural hot springs, or tackle the challenging terrain of the surrounding mountains, Silverton is one of the hidden gems in Colorado that is well worth visiting. With its unique blend of history, culture, and natural beauty, this small town is a true gem of Colorado.
Hidden gem ski resorts in Colorado
Colorado is renowned for its world-class ski resorts, attracting millions of visitors each year to hit the slopes and enjoy the breathtaking mountain scenery. While the state is home to several well-known ski destinations such as Vail, Breckenridge, and Aspen, there are also plenty of hidden gem ski resorts that offer a quieter, more authentic experience. Here are some of the hidden gem ski resorts in Colorado that are worth considering for your next winter getaway.
Wolf Creek Ski Area
Located in southern Colorado near the town of Pagosa Springs, Wolf Creek Ski Area is a hidden gem that’s often overlooked by visitors to the state. With an average annual snowfall of over 400 inches, it’s one of the snowiest ski resorts in Colorado, making it a great destination for powder hounds. The resort boasts over 1,600 acres of skiable terrain, including challenging runs for advanced skiers and snowboarders as well as gentler slopes for beginners.
Powderhorn Mountain Resort
Powderhorn Mountain Resort is another hidden gem ski resort in Colorado that’s located near the town of Grand Junction. The resort is smaller than many of the more famous ski destinations in the state, but it still offers plenty of great skiing and snowboarding. With over 1,600 acres of skiable terrain, including tree runs and challenging mogul fields, Powderhorn is perfect for intermediate and advanced skiers. The resort also has a terrain park for snowboarders and freestyle skiers.
Monarch Mountain is a ski resort located near the town of Salida in central Colorado. The resort is known for its challenging terrain and spectacular views of the surrounding mountains. With over 800 acres of skiable terrain, including steep chutes, wide-open bowls, and gladed tree runs, Monarch Mountain is a great destination for advanced skiers and snowboarders. The resort also offers plenty of beginner and intermediate terrain, making it a great choice for families and mixed-ability groups.
The resort is smaller than many of the more famous ski destinations in the state, but it still offers plenty of great skiing and snowboarding. With over 400 skiable acres, Ski Cooper is perfect for families and beginners, with plenty of gentle slopes and wide-open runs. The resort also offers night skiing, making it a great option for those who want to hit the slopes after work.
Sunlight Mountain Resort
Located near the town of Glenwood Springs in western Colorado, Sunlight Mountain Resort is a hidden gem ski resort. The resort is smaller than many of the more famous ski destinations in the state, but it still offers plenty of great skiing and snowboarding. With over 700 acres of skiable terrain, including steep chutes and gladed tree runs, Sunlight Mountain is perfect for intermediate and advanced skiers. The resort also offers night skiing and snowshoe tours, making it a great option for those who want to explore the mountain after dark.
A state that is overflowing with natural beauty and adventure. The hidden gems in Colorado offer a unique and authentic way to experience this stunning state. From the historic mining town of Silverton to the secluded hot springs of Condurum, these destinations offer a glimpse into Colorado’s rich history, culture, and natural wonders. So if you’re planning a trip to Colorado, be sure to venture and discover the state’s hidden gems. With so much to see and explore, you’re sure to uncover a few surprises along the way. You’ll create unforgettable memories that will last a lifetime.