Red Rocks Amphitheater
From the parking area at Buffalo Bills Grave
Downtown Golden riverwalk
Downtown Boulder
Water fountains outside the Natural History Museum in Denver
Pikes Peak from Rampart Ridge
Garden of the Gods

Denver

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Rocks at the Red Rocks Amphitheater
Garden of the Gods
Garden of the Gods
Garden of the Gods
2 climbers Eldorado Canyon
Mount Evans - Highest Paved Road in North America
Pikes Peak Highway
Rocky Mountain National Park
Rocky Mountain National Park
View to Denver from Buffalo Bills Grave
This is a fun day trip from Denver or excursion off I-70 if you are on a long road trip just reaching the Rocky Mountains. With little effort, immerse yourself in high alpine country. At 12,800 feet is Summit Lake with Mount Evans and Mount Spalding rising above. Park here after the summit and take photos. Near the lake is the only known area of permafrost located in the U.S. outside Alaska.
Pikes Peak is one of the most famous mountains in the United States and the most visited summit with half a million visitors every year. Because of its height and location on the eastern edge of the Rocky Mountains, you can look out over the plains to Kansas. You can hike the Burr Trail up, drive the Pikes Peak Highway or take the Pikes Peak Cog Railway.
Denver is a popular vacation spot for people on road trips from the nation’s heartland and should be looked at as a hub for adventurous day trips into the Rocky Mountains. The city has a few interesting sights but the real places to see are in the nearby mountains. Three specific roads are amazing drives worth going visiting, see below. On your next vacation to Denver, be sure to check out these sights.

U.S. Mint

With a reservation through their website, you can get a free tour of the U.S. Mint. This is a fascinating tour watching the coin-making process. The Mint also has exhibits on money and the nation’s second-largest stock of gold. I did the tour around 20 years ago and you could look at a crate of gold. Fourteen billion coins are minted yearly!

Denver Museum of Nature and Science

City of Golden

Just 10 miles west of Denver, Golden is a small city probably most known for the Coors factory. The downtown is a nice stroll among shops and along Clear Creek, a river front park. At the river, you can watch the kayakers challenge the rapids in Clear Creek Whitewater Park; a unique site in the middle of a city.

Buffalo Bills Grave

William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody requested to be buried on Lookout Mountain sitting above the town of Golden. From his summit grave at the edge of the Rocky Mountains, you can look out to Denver and the Great Plains. This is a nice area for a picnic lunch. There are several picnic areas among the Pine trees on Lookout Mountain, all sights are free.

Red Rocks Amphitheater

Red Rocks Amphitheatre is a music amphitheater set inside two 300-foot tall natural rocks allowing for one of the most scenic concert locations anywhere. One of the rocks is tilted; both have layered colors in the rock. The open-air amphitheatre can hold 9,450 people. The first concerts here were in 1906 before the place was really developed. In 1927, it was purchased by the City of Denver so this is a county park…Red Rocks Park is free (except during concerts). Nearby are many hiking trails, one of which goes to the top of Mount Morrison…but I haven’t done it yet.

City of Boulder

Boulder is about 1 hour NW of Denver in the foothills of the Rockies. Boulder is the jumping off location for Rocky Mountain National Park so you will be going though this city if that is your plans from Denver. Boulder is often awarded outdoors town of the year as it sits so close to so many outdoor activities. Public hiking and biking trails are all over town leading into the mountains where endless wondering exists.

Downtown Boulder Historic District

On the National Register of Historic Places, Pearl Street is closed to traffic and is a pedestrian only street for eating at restaurants and shopping.

Eldorado Canyon State Park

Near Boulder is Eldorado Canyon, a mecca for rock climbers with over 500 technical routes. Several viewing areas allow the rest of us to watch people spider up the walls. There are also picnic areas along the creeks and hiking and bike trails as well.

Rocky Mountain National Park

Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park is the big attraction. This road climbs well above tree line, staying up there for many miles, getting as high as 12,000 feet. Trail Ridge Road is the highest continuous highway in the United States. As the road contours around the mountains, there are scenic vistas and overlooks for visitors to stop and gawk. There are over 60 mountains in the Park over 12,000 feet including 14,259 foot Longs Peak. Hiking is popular of course, with 355 miles of trails to explore.

Garden of the Gods

The Garden of the Gods is in Colorado Springs (70 miles south of Denver), on the way to Pikes Peak. The city park is full of amazing geological rock formations. A road completely circles area and paved trails wind around the rocks so the access is easy. There are also hiking, horse and mountain bike trails in the area. A visitor’s center gives presentations and everything is free. The land was donated to the city of Colorado Springs in 1909 with implicit instructions there was never to be a fee charged to the public to visit.
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National Mining Hall of Fame
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Pikes Peak Road
This is the largest natural history museum in the western U.S. There exhibits cover anthropology, geology, health science, paleontology, space science and zoology. Next to the museum is the Denver City Park and the Denver Zoo. Denver museums like the Denver Museum of Nature and Science and the Denver Art Museum are recognized nationally for the importance of their collections and exhibits and are a major point of interest for visiting tourists.