Paulette Dotson loves going on adventures with her family throughout the United States. One of her favorite places to visit is the beautiful state of Colorado.
Colorado boasts some of the most breath-taking National Parks and natural scenery that the United States has to offer. Whether you are a first-time tourist or a lifetime resident, here are some things you cannot miss out on in the Centennial State.
Things to do in Colorado for the outdoorsman and nature enthusiast
- Rocky Mountain National Park
Attracting more than 3 million visitors a year and spanning over 260,000 acres, Rocky Mountain National Park is a must visit. Paulette Dotson loves the park for its beautiful scenery which visitors can appreciate from one of the many hiking trails or from the comfort of their cars driving along the Trail Ridge Road.
- Pikes Peak
Pikes Peak is popular with motorists for the twisting mountain roads and treacherous dropping cliffs as well as adventurous hikers and runners seeking to tackle the advanced uphill trail. Paulette waited until the kids were a little older to enjoy this one but it was well worth the wait!
- Garden of the Gods
The Garden of the Gods offers an assortment of recreational activities from horseback riding to mountain biking across its natural red rock coral environment. There is also an information centre with Junior Ranger programs for younger visitors, something Paulette Dotson loves for the family aspect of the site.
- Manitou Cliff Dwellings
For an outdoor activity with an educational purpose, the cliff dwellings exude history. The outdoor museum displays artifacts and homes of the ancient Anasazi people. It is an interesting day out for the whole family.
- Cheyenne Mountain Zoo
This family-owned mountain side zoo is a non-profit organization dedicated to animal and nature preservation. With a variety of animals from monkeys to tapirs and the opportunity to feed the giraffes it is an unmissable day out for families.
- Seven Falls
Named afters it’s seven cascading waterfalls; Seven Falls provides several hiking trails through picturesque scenery. It is a hot spot for wildlife, particularly birds and provides many photograph opportunities.
- Maroon Bells
These twin peaks situated in the Elk Mountains offer a variety of hiking trails. The short and long trails guide visitors through jaw-dropping scenery. Paulette Dotson and her family enjoy camping overnight alongside the glorious Maroon Lake and waking up to the sunrise over the mountains.
In contrast to the green scenes of the other National Parks, the Great Sand Dunes in south Colorado cover over 340 square kilometers. Although as a preservation site no vehicles are permitted, hiking is allowed although visitors are warned that the sand can reach very high temperatures.
- White River National Park
For those thrill-seekers wishing for a little more adventure, White River has a lot to offer. With over 10 ski areas within its boundaries ranging from beginner to advance level there is something here for everyone. The park also offers some epic lakes for master fisherman.
- Arapaho National Forest
This National Forest is a must visit for any budding bird watcher with over 198 species of bird being spotted within the park. A large range of other wildlife calls this forest their home and you are bound to meet a few furry friends whilst walking the trails.
- Glenwood Hot Springs Pool
Looking to relax after a long day of hiking? Look no further. Glenwood has two pools of natural mineral water sourced from one of the hottest springs in the world. Cooled to 104°F, soaking in the warm waters of these springs is a healing tradition for locals.
For more travel and adventure tips be sure to follow Paulette Dotson on Quora!