Upgrade your world. Upgrade your life. A community of experts covering technology, society, and personal development.<Paste> Upgrade your world. Upgrade your life. A community of experts covering technology, society, and personal development.<Paste>

A community of experts covering technology, society, and personal development.

Published on October 02, 2022

Top Day Trips from Denver

Nine Weekend Getaways in Colorado

colorado day trips

Photo by Arturo Rivera on Unsplash

Over the coming years, we may face continued inflation, high gasoline prices, even higher airline ticket prices, and stagnant wages. These are good reasons that we should look for weekend getaway spots closer to home. Lifehacker has a great resource that lists top trips in each state. Below we list our own top day trip destinations for Colorado, and the mileage noted by each location is calculated from Denver. Please note that these are author preferences, not compiled from other lists, so may reflect our personal tastes. Safe Travels!

0 Miles: Stay in Denver

stay in Denver

Photo by Acton Crawford on Unsplash

If you’re already in the Denver area, why not plan a staycation? Try one or more of our favorite sights and tastes below:

15 Miles: Visit Golden

visit Golden

Photo by Steven Miller on Wikimedia Commons

The town of Golden is easily accessible and provides a small town feel a short drive away from the big city. Walk along Clear Creek, dine at one of the many restaurant or bar options along the main drag, and take a tour at the Colorado School of Mines geology museum. Visit Buffalo Bill’s grave on top of the mountain so you can partake of some fudge or ice cream and the incredible views of downtown Denver. If the weather cooperates, you can kayak or tube down the town’s creek.

65 miles: Estes Park / Rocky Mountain National Park / Trailridge Road

Estes Park Rocky Mountain National Park

Photo by Sharon Adams on Unsplash

Drive up and over Trailridge road for some great views of Rocky Mountain National Park and alpine tundra (only open in the summer). This is one of the highest continuous paved roads in the USA!

Estes Park itself has become a bit of a tourist trap in recent years, but nevertheless has a few points of interest listed below:

  • The Stanley Hotel (The Shining, Dumb and Dumber, maybe it’s haunted?)
  • Microbreweries & Restaurants
  • The YMCA of the Rockies provides a summer camp atmosphere with a swimming pool, roller skating, and fun wilderness survival classes.

80 Miles: Breckenridge


Photo by Courtney Kenady on Unsplash

Breckenridge is a lovely ski resort town with a main “strip” that is chock full of curio shops, bars, restaurants, and more. Visit the Breckenridge Troll, go sailing at 9,000 feet on the Dillon Reservoir, shop at outlet malls in nearby Silverthorn, and take in the amazing views with a scenic hike or drive.

97 Miles: Pike’s Peak

Pike's Peak

Photo by Melanie Magdalena on Unsplash

Take the recently refinished Old Cog Railway to the top of Pike’s Peak. Go back down and stay in Old Colorado City to sample a few of the town’s great restaurant options and fairly walkable streets. Visit the Garden of the Gods for some stunning natural landscape, or drive a bit further to see the wild colors of the Paint Mines. Visit Colorado Springs for some more attractions including the Broadmoor Hotel, the Rodeo Hall of Fame, and other fine dining options.

129 Miles: Royal Gorge

Royal Gorge

Photo by K. Mitch Hodge on Unsplash

Walk a suspension bridge or take a cable car to traverse the gorge, 1,000 feet above the Arkansas river. Or you could take a luxurious ride on the Royal Gorge Rail. For the adventurous types, you can test your bravery on a zip line that crosses the expanse or swing out over the gorge!

135 Miles: Salida / Buena Vista

Salida and Buena Vista

Photo by Jeremiah Barnett on Unsplash

Another town on the Arkansas River, Salida / Buena Vista (pronounced, oddly byew-na) is a great destination for rafting or fishing. Among the many breweries and restaurants to choose from, we recommend Quincy’s, where they only serve one entree per night but do it well and cheaply. You can also visit the nudist (optional) Oriental Land Trust hot springs, do some four-wheeling up into nearby ghost towns, or stay up late to take in some incredible starscapes.

237 Miles: Visit the Great Sand Dunes National Park

Great Sand Dunes National Park

Photo by Mars Plex on Unsplash

The sand dunes here are amazing and can be hiked for hours. As an official “Dark Sky” site, the stars are on full display after dark. You can stay in local campsites, though these get booked up quickly. Other local activities include sandboarding, sand sledding, an alligator and reptile farm, and epic hikes to Zapata Falls, Mosca Pass, or Mount Herard (13,345 ft elevation).

333 Miles: Drive the Million Dollar Highway

Million Dollar Highway

Photo by Andreas F. Borchert via Wikimedia Commons

Colorado is full of scenic highway driving, but the Million Dollar Highway rates the highest in our book. Drive from the town of Durango to Ouray or the reverse. Visit a local hotel in Ouray that was built in the 1800’s. Ride the train from Durango up to Silverton for more old-West flavor. Take a side-trip up to the mountain getaway of Telluride.

Honorable Mentions: Idaho Springs for Tommyknockers (Bison Burgers, craft beer, and root beer), Beau Jo’s (Colorado-style Pizza), and a gold mine tour. Morrison for a tiny downtown full of food and entertainment options. The Red Rocks Amphitheater for amazing outdoor performances and views. The Rocky Mountain Arsenal to see some wild bison and other animals on top of a “mostly clean” nuclear and chemical weapons site. Blackhawk / Central City for gambling in a town cut out of a mountain gorge. Drive to the top of Mount Evans on the highest paved road in the US (over 14,000 ft elevation).

Citizen Upgrade is a community of experts covering technology, society, and personal development. Visit us at our website, on Facebook, or on Twitter. Join our mailing list to access more great content and other helpful resources.