Are you looking for an exciting, adventurous, or relaxing Colorado weekend adventure? Look no further! The Centennial State offers a plethora of opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts, from hiking in the Rocky Mountains to Colorado white water rafting, to enjoying music under the wild night sky. Whether you’re a thrill-seeker or just looking to relax and enjoy nature or local culture, Colorado has something for everyone. Here are some of the best Colorado adventures to experience this year.
Top 5 Best Colorado Weekend Adventures
- Arkansas River Rafting & Fishing
- Rocky Mountain National Park
- Mesa Verde National Park
- Hot Air Balloon Ride
- Red Rocks Park & Amphitheater
Arkansas River Rafting & Fishing
The glorious months of spring and summer are a supreme time to be out on the water, whether that be rafting through rapids, fishing flatwater, or simply enjoying a cold dip. For a refreshing Colorado weekend, check out one or many of the activities available on the Arkansas River. Upstream from Canon City, the Arkansas is a waterway primed for river runners and anglers alike. Whitewater enthusiasts should set their sights on stretches like Browns Canyon rafting or, for the experts among us, the fabled Royal Gorge rafting. Looking to play a fish instead? Tie on a fly and head to one of the many access sights to try your hand at an elusive brown or a feisty rainbow. For a plush guided experience, check out Arkansas River Tours. From half-day Arkansas River fly fishing to multi-day fishing floats, their Colorado rafting packages are as diverse as the river itself. Through them, you’re sure to find a trip that’ll satisfy a one-of-a-kind water weekend in one of the most beautiful parts of the state. Be sure to check out ART’s offerings for Arkansas River rafting trip or fly fishing trip that suits you and your group.
Rocky Mountain National Park
There’s a reason why Rocky Mountain National Park consistently ranks among the most popular national parks in the country. It’s flat out spectacular! Sure, the mountain vistas look good from the windshield, but to truly appreciate the beauty of this place, one ought to leave the car behind and use their feet to travel. Take a hike!
For a short out-and-back, head to the Glacier Gorge Junction Trailhead and walk west no more than a half mile to Bear Lake. Or, head south for about a mile to witness the majestic Alberta Falls. Both of these hikes are flat, easy walking, and can be completed in an hour. However, we recommend starting early as the parking lot can fill up quick during the busy season.
If you’re looking to cover a bit more trail, but still keep your hike under a half-day, head north of Estes Park to the Lumpy Ridge Trailhead. Climb 1,000 ft. and just under two miles to Gem Lake. This is a great turnaround spot, but if you have the energy and time, continue walking for another couple miles to one of the most unique geologic features in the state: Balanced Rock. You’ll know it when you see it.
There are many options for full-day adventures in the park, but one of the very best is Sky Pond, accessed via the Glacier Gorge Junction Trailhead. This hike is no doubt demanding and will test your muscles as you scramble over rocks and roots, but the views are immense and well worth the effort. Pristine alpine lakes, cold clear waterfalls, and high-altitude air. It doesn’t get better than that.
Mesa Verde National Park
If you’ve never been to the four-corners region before, put it on the list, and close to the top! For a trip back in time, spend your Colorado weekend exploring Mesa Verde National Park. This part of the southwest is home to more than 5,000 archeological sites dating back 2,000 years and further. Over two dozen indigenous tribes lived in and around Mesa Verde, leading experts to believe this area was a cultural center for ancient Puebloans. During your visit, make sure to check out Cliff Palace. Renowned for its whopping 217 rooms, this dwelling is the largest ruin in North America. Other structures like Balcony House and Long House are equally as impressive, while trails like the Point Lookout Trail and the Petroglyph Point Trail offer supreme views into the heart of this magical place.
Hot Air Balloon Ride
Have you ever wondered what life is like from a bird’s eye view? Let that wonder become a reality with a hot air balloon ride over the one and only Colorado Rockies. Of all the weekend activities you can do in the Centennial State, this one is sure to grant you a perspective you will never forget. There are numerous locations to launch from year-round including Winter Park, Estes Park, Boulder, and the Denver area. Note that ballooning depends on specific weather and conditions and because of this, most flights take off early in the morning when those conditions are stable. Check out companies like Grand Adventure, Fair Winds, and Rocky Mountain Hot Air to book a trip of a lifetime!
Red Rocks Park & Amphitheater
On the western outskirts of Denver, nestled in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, exists one of the most impressive outdoor venues in the world. For those looking to add some entertainment to their weekend, check out Red Rocks Park & Amphitheater. Open in 1941, Red Rocks is a historic locale, but remains one of the state’s most coveted pieces of architecture today. With a capacity hovering around 9,500 people and wielding over 2.5 miles of seating, the outdoor arena is one of the largest and most popular in the country. The stage has seen the Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, and many more. Check for upcoming events at redrocksonline.com to reserve your ticket and see your favorite artist in absolute amazing fashion.
So there you have it, from the bottom of the Arkansas River to the tops of the peaks and into the sky above, Colorado offers something to every sort of weekend warrior. Grab your pen and fill in the calendar. It’s time to start planning some epic Colorado adventures!