Garden of the Gods: There's nothing like sunrise at Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs, with its fantastic and sometimes fanciful red-sandstone formations sculpted by wind and water over hundreds of thousands of years. It's worth spending some foot power to get away from the crowds on one of the park's many trails, to listen to the wind and imagine the gods cavorting among the formations.
Trail Ridge Road: Transversing Rocky Mountain National Park, Trail Ridge affords expansive and sometimes dizzying views in all directions. There are a dozen stops where you can take a short hike, possibly glimpse the unofficial mascots of the park (bighorn sheep), and get a close-up look at tundra. The drive rises above 12,000 feet and crosses the Continental Divide.
The Black Canyon of the Gunnison: Among the steepest and most narrow canyons in North America, the Black Canyon of the Gunnison, near Montrose, offers breathtaking and sometimes eerie views into the darkness below or, for ambitious hikers, from the canyon depths to daylight above. The sheerness of its 2,500-foot-high walls, the narrowness of its 40-foot-wide base, and the resulting darkness at its core evoke a somber, almost religious mood.
Colorado National Monument: Just west of Grand Junction are stunning vistas of red-rock canyons and sandstone monoliths. The monument's 23-mile Rim Rock Drive offers incredible views, and short walks and backcountry trails afford more solitude. You'll get the best light in the early morning or late afternoon, when the rocks glow red and shadows dance among the stone sculptures.
The San Juan Skyway: This 233-mile circle drive that goes through Durango, Telluride, and Ouray is among the most beautiful scenic drives in America, passing through five mountain passes, historic mining camps, fields of wildflowers, stately forests, snowcapped peaks, and cascading waterfalls. It's not advisable for those who have difficulty with high elevation (Red Mountain Pass has an 11,008-ft. elevation) or steep, winding roads. Except in summer, it's wise to be sure the passes are open before heading out.
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.