Creating a list of 10 best views in one of America’s most scenic states is a tough task. There are countless views of Colorado’s breath-taking scenery that are worth a trip! Here’s a collection of hikes, drives, and lookouts that make for the 10 best views in Colorado.
Venture out to one of these locations for unforgettable landscapes of waterfalls, lakes, monuments, mountains, and valleys. Then, join us at The Grizzly Rose afterward for a beer and some tales about your adventures. Here are the 10 best views in Colorado:
Crystal Lake is a breathtaking alpine lake nestled in a valley between forested mountains in the White River National Forest. There are actually two lakes on the trail, Lower Crystal Lake, and Upper Crystal Lake. While the trail is easy to get to Lower Crystal Lake and the water is beautiful, the truly gorgeous vista is to be found at Upper Crystal Lake. Here you will understand how the lake got its name and be able to admire the soaring mountains, sloping valleys and dramatic cliffs that surround this destination.
Crystal Lake is two and a half hours to the southwest of The Grizzly Rose in Denver.
Royal Gorge Bridge
The Royal Gorge Bridge stretches 955 feet above the Arkansas River in Canon City, Colorado. It is the highest suspension bridge in the United States and stretches across a breathtaking gorge that was carved into the earth by the Arkansas River over thousands of years. Dinosaur fossils have been found less than three miles from the bridge, and the gorge also features a rich history of Native American tribes both hunting in its’ meadows and bunkering down for winter.
While you can enjoy the jaw-dropping canyon while walking across the suspension bridge, there is another way to immerse yourself in the view. Brave adventurers are able to bungee jump off the bridge and plummet towards the distant waters below.
Bridal Veil Falls
Bridal Veil Falls in Telluride, Colorado are another site to see. Falling 365 feet in total, Bridal Veil Falls is the tallest free-falling waterfall in Colorado. The journey to the top of the falls from the trailhead is only about 1.8 miles. The falls overlook the gorgeous scenery of Telluride and sit at the end of a box canyon surrounded by densely wooded forests, snow-capped mountain peaks, and craggy cliffs.
Hanging Lake is a popular destination outside of Glenwood Springs. This unique geological site is nestled in Glenwood Canyon among the cliffs carved by the Colorado River. In fact, it’s cliff-hanging location is how it got its name. Tiny waterfalls drop into the bowl-like basin and water the lush natural hanging gardens around the lake. The water is a brilliant green and incredibly clear. You can see the trout swimming along the bottom. The lush greenery and otherworldly color of the water make this one of the most gorgeous views to be found in Colorado, especially against the panoramic vista of Glenwood Canyon.
This trail is best enjoyed in the fall when the aspen trees turn to gold and yellow. The Blue Lakes are located in a glacial basin, and the trail takes you through several meadows and vistas that are cupped by glacier-capped peaks. At the lower lake, you will pause to take in the first of the turquoise colored lakes that reflects looming Mt. Sneffels. However, you’ll want to continue on to the summit of Mt. Sneffels to really see the scenic view that you came for. From the summit, the turquoise lakes will wink cheerily at you from where they are surrounded by sharply-cut peaks. You’ll also see out for hundreds of miles into the hazy blue landscape of Colorado’s natural beauty.
Garden of the Gods
Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs, CO is another part of the state where you will see unbelievable views. It is titled Garden of the Gods for the 300-foot sandstone rock formations that jut out of the landscape. Behind the monuments are brilliant blue skies, lush Colorado greenery and the snow-capped Pikes Peak in the background.
The fossil of a brand new, previously undiscovered dinosaur was found here and put on display. Many dinosaur fossils, footprints and more have been found in this prehistoric vista. You can enjoy the jaw-dropping views by walking, mountain biking or even rock climbing.
Devil’s Head Fire Lookout
The only fire lookout staffed by the National Fores Service is on the summit of Devil’s Head near Sedalia in the Pike National Forest. Although the trail is nothing to write home about, with trees and rocky outcroppings, the actual fire lookout offers views of the Rocky Mountain Range for 100 miles in every direction. The hike to the lookout is approximately 1.3 miles, but you will encounter 143 steep stairs up to the lookout at the end. However, the view is well worth it.
Trail Ridge Road
Trail Ridge Road spans the Rocky Mountain National Park from east to west between Estes Park and Grand Lake. Trail Ridge is the highest paved road in the United States and winds through alpine tundras, mountain peaks and panoramic views of some of the Rocky Mountain Range’s highest peaks. Nearly every part of the “Highway to the Sky” is a scenic one.
The Sawtooth Traverse stretches between the peaks of Mt. Bierstadt and Mt. Evans in a narrow saddle. While we recommend that more proficient hikers attempt to hike the Sawtooth, the views between the two peaks are worth it, especially at sunrise. Standing on the summit of one of the two mountains as the first rays of pink and gold stretch across the sky is a site you will not soon forget.
Chautauqua Park gets pretty busy because of tourists and residents from nearby Boulder, but the scenery of the park is well worth it. Considered a jumping-off point for hiking, the trails around the park offer panoramas of the best natural beauty Colorado has to offer.