- Hiking the Colorado Trail: For some 500 miles, this trail winds from Denver to Durango, through some of the state's most spectacular and rugged terrain, crossing the Continental Divide, eight mountain ranges, and six wilderness areas. Just to the west of Leadville, the trail passes through the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness with a view of some of Colorado's most prominent "fourteeners" (mountains at least 14,000 ft. high) and fields of wildflowers. The hardier might take a side trip up Mount Elbert, the state's tallest peak, at 14,433 feet.
- Hiking in the Maroon Bells National Wilderness Area: With a number of fourteeners, including the namesake Maroon Bells, this is one of the most scenic mountainscapes in the West. A vision of glaciated rock and lush greenery, the trails here are popular with backpackers, but there are plenty of good day hikes; if you're feeling energetic, you can hike from Aspen to Crested Butte.
- Rafting Glenwood Canyon or the Arkansas River: Running the rapids on the Colorado and Arkansas rivers is one of the best and surely most exciting ways to see one of the most beautiful canyons in the West. Although a bit too popular to provide a genuine wilderness experience, these stretches of river both have sections rated for experts during the high spring runoff, as well as quieter areas appropriate for everyone.
- Skiing as Many Different Slopes as You Can: Colorado gets twice as many skier-days as any other state at its nearly 30 resorts. Ranging from mom-and-pop operations to some of the most fabled places in ski country, Colorado is just the place for a week, or even a month, on the slopes.
- Exploring the Cities on the Front Range: There is plenty of mountain scenery between Fort Collins and Pueblo, and the majority of the top museums, hotels, and restaurants are found here. Spend a few days in Denver, Boulder, Colorado Springs, and elsewhere before ascending the Rockies.
- Biking, Rafting, or Driving through Glenwood Canyon: This masterwork of geology between Eagle and Glenwood Springs is home to an engineering marvel in I-70, but bike trails and the Colorado River provide alternate methods to see the stunning views.
- Gaping at the Views in Telluride: There are no shortage of incredible views in Colorado, but for my money, the most beautiful town is Telluride. Waterfalls, forests, red rock, and jagged peaks comprise a picture-perfect landscape that begs for snapshot after snapshot.
- Experiencing Alpine Tundra in the Northern Rockies: Once you pass timberline in places like Rocky Mountain National Park, the ecosystem changes dramatically, and winter conditions persist for most of the year. No state in the lower 48 has as much alpine tundra as Colorado, so a trip to the high country is a must.
- Driving the Million Dollar Highway to Durango: This is the chunk of the famed San Juan Skyway that connects Ouray and Durango. Two great tourist towns, two stunning mountain passes, and tiny, historic Silverton in between make this a superlative scenic drive.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.