The Top 10 Roadside Attractions In Colorado

Embarking on a road trip through Colorado offers an unparalleled opportunity to explore the state’s diverse and captivating roadside attractions. From the architectural marvel of the Royal Gorge Bridge to the mystical allure of the Garden of the Gods, each destination presents a unique story that contributes to Colorado’s rich cultural and natural tapestry. Let’s take a closer look at these ten iconic roadside attractions and what makes them must-visit landmarks.

1. Royal Gorge Bridge: Cañon City’s Crown Jewel

The Royal Gorge Bridge in Cañon City isn’t just a bridge; it’s an adventure. As one of the highest suspension bridges in America, it offers visitors spectacular views of the Arkansas River and the gorge below. Whether you’re walking across the bridge, ziplining alongside it, or exploring the surrounding park, the Royal Gorge Bridge combines natural beauty with thrilling activities.

2. Garden of the Gods: A Geological Marvel

Colorado Springs’ Garden of the Gods is an outdoor gallery of massive red rock formations that rise majestically from the ground. These geological wonders are set against a backdrop of Pikes Peak and blue skies, offering endless photographic opportunities. Free and open to the public, the park also offers rock climbing, hiking trails, and nature walks led by knowledgeable guides.

3. Stanley Hotel: A Hauntingly Beautiful Retreat

the Stanley Hotel colorado

The Stanley Hotel, nestled in the mountain town of Estes Park, is famed for inspiring Stephen King’s chilling novel “The Shining.” Beyond its supernatural fame, this historic hotel offers elegant accommodations, beautiful architecture, and panoramic views of the Rockies. Ghost tours and paranormal investigations add an intriguing layer to your visit, whether or not you encounter the spirits said to roam its halls.

4. Dinosaur National Monument: A Prehistoric Playground

Straddling the Colorado-Utah border, Dinosaur National Monument is a paleontology lover’s dream. The park’s Quarry Exhibit Hall displays an impressive wall of dinosaur fossils embedded in rock. Beyond fossils, the monument’s rugged landscape offers scenic drives and hikes through canyons and river valleys, showcasing the Earth’s deep history.

5. World’s Largest Flat Top Mountain: The Grand Mesa

The Grand Mesa, near Grand Junction, is known as the world’s largest flat top mountain. Its expansive plateau is home to hundreds of lakes, lush meadows, and dense forests, offering recreational activities year-round. From fishing and hiking in the summer to snowmobiling and cross-country skiing in the winter, Grand Mesa is a nature lover’s paradise.

6. Colorado Gators Reptile Park: An Unexpected Oasis

Located in the San Luis Valley near Alamosa, Colorado Gators Reptile Park is a unique and educational experience where visitors can learn about and even interact with alligators and other reptiles. Originally a fish farm, the park has become a sanctuary for rescued reptiles. Hands-on experiences, such as holding a small alligator or feeding the larger ones, make for an unforgettable visit.

7. Pikes Peak: America’s Mountain

pikes peak mountain

Pikes Peak, near Colorado Springs, is one of the most accessible fourteeners (mountains over 14,000 feet) in Colorado. The journey to the summit can be made via the Pikes Peak Highway, the historic cog railway, or for the more adventurous, on foot via the Barr Trail. The summit offers stunning 360-degree views of the surrounding landscape, dubbed “America’s Mountain” for its significant beauty.

8. U.S. Air Force Academy Chapel: An Architectural Wonder

The U.S. Air Force Academy Chapel in Colorado Springs is renowned for its striking modernist architecture. The chapel’s seventeen spires reach towards the sky, creating a visually stunning landmark. Visitors are welcome to explore the chapel and the Academy grounds, gaining insight into the life and training of cadets.

9. Historic Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad

The Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad offers a step back in time with its steam-powered train journey through the Colorado wilderness. The route winds through canyons and mountainsides, offering passengers breathtaking views of the Animas River and the San Juan National Forest. This historic railroad captures the adventure and spirit of the Old West.

10. Four Corners Monument: A Unique Geographic Landmark

The Four Corners Monument marks the only point in the United States where four states (Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, and Arizona) intersect at a single point. Visitors can literally stand in four states at once, making it a popular stop for photos and a unique experience of American geography.

Each of these roadside attractions in Colorado offers a window into the state’s diverse landscapes, rich history, and cultural heritage. Whether you’re seeking adventure, natural beauty, or a glimpse into the past, Colorado’s iconic landmarks provide something for every traveler to discover and cherish.