Colorado is filled with amazing small towns, beautiful mountains, parks, and landmarks that are the perfect places for families to enjoy and explore. Most of these areas are the perfect day trip from Denver. Time to get some of these Denver Day Trips on your calendar.
9 Denver Day Trips For Families
Now that the kids are getting older we are really hoping to do more day trips through out our beautiful city and state. Thankfully many of the landmarks, parks, small towns and beautiful mountains are close enough for a nice scenic drive and then plenty of time to enjoy exploring once in the area. While there are probably 100 Denver Day Trip options these are some of our favorites and ones we will be making this summer with the kids.
1. Mount Evans Scenic Byway.
The Mount Evans Scenic Byway, just 60 miles west of Denver, is the highest paved road in North America. A day trip to the top is a journey that snakes and climbs through nearly 9,000 feet of elevation gain, from the high plains of Denver through five climate zones to the 14,264-foot summit of Mount Evans – one of 54 peaks in Colorado that soar to 14,000 feet and above – the famous “fourteeners.” See my Tips for visiting Mount Evans Scenic Byway after I took a friend on a thrilling mountain drive!
2. Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre.
Red Rocks Park is a naturally made amphitheater carved into a rock formation located outside the town of Morrison just a few miles from Denver. Built in 1906, the amphitheater sits nestled between several massive red stones in an open area made famous by its outstanding acoustics. This is a perfect place for the kids to run, climb and explore but also gives parents a breathtaking view with tons of photo opportunities.
3. Bent’s Old Fort National Historic Site.
Bent’s Old Fort National Historic Site is a reconstructed historical site that gives Colorado visitors a chance to experience what life was like for fur trappers out West in the 1840s. The original fort was built of adobe in 1833 as a trading post for traders and the local Cheyenne and Arapaho Plains Indian tribes. Bent’s Old Fort is located La Junta Colorado is about a 3 hour drive from Denver.
4. Hanging Lake.
Hanging Lake is located in Glenwood Springs Colorado. Glenwood Springs is about 2 hours and 30 minutes from Denver. This uphill trail, that is only one mile long is challenging because of the rocky terrain, leads up to the lake, which seems to “hang” among the Glenwood Canyon cliffs that encircle it. While this trail might have you sweating, the view of the lake is so worth it.
5. Leadville Colorado.
Leadville is the highest incorporated city in North America and sits at 10,152 feet above sea level. Leadville was also a very influential boomtown — it was almost named as Colorado’s capital city. Leadville has 70 square city blocks of Victorian buildings including the Delaware Hotel, all of these buildings are part of a designated National Historic Landmark District, along with 20 square miles of a preserved mining district. More than 50 buildings date back to the 1870s, including the Tabor Opera House. Leadville is about a 2 hour beautiful mountain drive. See our tips for things to do while visiting Leadville Colorado.
6. Garden of the Gods.
The beauty of Colorado is shown here at the Garden of the Gods. Garden of the Gods is a public park located in Colorado Springs that is located at the base of Pikes Peak, this National Natural Landmark and popular park features stunning geological formations, rock climbing, and nature trails. There are more than 15 miles of trails with a 1.5-mile trail running through the heart of the park that is paved. We enjoy stopping here to take beautiful pictures and let the kids run and explore. Even during the colder months you can stop in and enjoy the indoor activities. Those include 30 museum quality exhibits through the Visitors Center. Make sure to read this article when planning your day trip – Top 5 Things To Do As A Family In Colorado Springs.
7. Estes Park.
Like I said we have a ton of little mountain towns that are full of beautiful views, shopping and history. Estes Park might be one of our favorites to walk around when visiting the area. Estes Park is about a 90 minute drive. Stop in and enjoy lunch, visit the rock museum, see the taffy being pulled and get a sample of course, enjoy the beautiful river, and go for a long scenic drive. Things To Do In Estes Park Colorado with Kids.
8. Rocky Mountain National Park.
Rocky Mountain National Park is located in northern Colorado and is a popular location for hiking, camping, and wildlife watching. Trail Ridge Road, which runs throughout the park, allows visitors to enjoy the beauty from the comfort of their cars as well.
9. Great Sand Dunes National Park.
The Great Sand Dunes is in southern Colorado about 3 hours from Denver. The park contains the country’s tallest sand dunes, representing a surprising focal point for the surrounding area, which consists of tundra, forest, and grasslands. Guests at the Great Sand Dunes can ride a sand sled down the 750-foot dune peaks and splash in the creek at their base. Fun for all!
As I was researching this list it was really hard for me to decide on just 9 places. So many great areas we know we want to visit. I cannot wait for summer to be here. We have a few trips already planned and I know I will be sharing those travel experiences with you all.