Colorado boasts a beautiful, diverse landscape that is ideal for a fun-filled weekend escape. Whether you prefer to relax by the flowing rivers, hike through the snow-capped Rocky Mountains, or enjoy the comfort and warmth of the arid deserts, there is something for everyone. And the best part? No matter what small town you choose to peruse, the gorgeous landscapes will earn a spot in your photo album.
Famed for the vibrant downtown of Denver, over 26 scenic byways, and gorgeous skiing spots and hot springs, the opportunities are endless. That said, if you are looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, along with the crowds of other tourists, one of these small towns might be the place for you.
A historic mining town and popular ski resort, Telluride is the best place to enjoy a weekend in the mountains. Attractive year-round, a winter visit promises endless skiing and family-friendly winter activities, including dog sledding and hot springs, surrounded by the most 13,000- and 14,000-foot peaks in North America.
Telluride is also a former silver mining camp, situated along the San Miguel River in the western San Juan Mountains. While you might not find any silver, you'll hit gold when you take in the beauty of the town. Take a scenic drive along the winding mining roads, hike through Arches National Park, Basin Trail, or Bear Creek trail, or watch the sun go down, sinking into the mountainscape in Bilk Creek Basin.
Paonia earns a spot on the list of one of the most underrated towns in Colorado, chock full of agricultural resources that are as functional as they are beautiful, including apple trees and peony flowers. There are numerous wineries and orchards throughout the area, perfect for spending a fall weekend. Popular spots for a weekend getaway include Eagle Butte Ranch, Berg Harvest, and Excelsior Orchards.
Fishing, hiking, and river floating are also great ways to spend a weekend in Paonia as the Paonia State Park offers gorgeous waterways and attractive trails. In the downtown area, you'll find plenty of restaurants, boutiques, and cafes, perfect to spend an afternoon wandering after a busy day in the gorgeous outdoors.
Situated at the bottom of the San Juan Mountains and the San Juan River, Pagosa Springs is home to the world's deepest hot spring, ideal for pure relaxation. While in the water, take in the breathtaking views of the Rocky Mountains and the Chimney Rock National Monument. While you are there, be sure to visit the Springs Resort and Spa, which will treat you like royalty. There are also a number of breweries with beverages brewed locally, ideal for quenching your thirst. Enjoy a hot air balloon ride, taking in the bird's eye view of Pagosa Springs, especially during ColorFest, the hot air balloon festival. Skiing and snowmobiling are popular activities, but dog sledding and sleigh rides are some of the more unique options for an evening well-spent.
Breckenridge is one of the most beautiful ski towns in Colorado, though it boasts year-round outdoor fun. In winter, Nordic and cross country skiing are the most popular activities, as well as snowshoeing and dog sledding. In summer, hike or bike through one of the hundreds of trails, head towards the Blue River and fish, or go whitewater rafting for an even bigger adventure. You can even zipline through the trees and enjoy the astounding scenery!
Stroll through the historic main street, enjoying over 200 buildings from the mining era, visit Boreas Pass Road and take in the scenic views, or take a historic or ghost tour (your choice!) through the famous gold mines. There are also many museums documenting Breckenridge's history, with options for a guided tour or interactive visit.
Only 45 minutes away from the popular spots of Denver, Estes Park, and Boulder respectively, Loveland is sure to earn a spot in your heart. Cycling, horseback riding, golfing, and water activities will fill your weekend up with fun. The small town is home to plenty of popular activities, including ax throwing, laser tag, and escape rooms.
There are lots of art galleries and museums, as well as sculptures scattered throughout the town, and exciting boutiques and restaurants to visit. The Love Lock sculpture is an extra special spot, where lovers can attach a lock engraved with their initials and keep the key as a souvenir. Extend your stay in one of the many hotels, motels, or gorgeous suites, ideal for family vacations or romantic getaways.
Carbondale is the perfect place to "Take it easy" and enjoy life at a slower pace. The town sits at the base of Mount Supris where the Crystal and Roaring Fork Rivers meet. The town boasts easy access to Aspen, so you can take a 30 mile ride and enjoy the day skiing down the Rocky Mountains, but head back to town in the evening to avoid the tourists.
Biking, kayaking, and fly-fishing are popular activities in Carbondale, while the rustic lodges and cabins are ideal for a relaxing getaway. Take a scenic drive along the The West Elk Loop Scenic and Historic Byway or Kebler Pass. Visit in July to enjoy the music, art, and culture celebration known as the Carbondale Mountain Fair, or visit in October for the Potato Day Parade and Festival.
Glenwood Springs earns the title of Colorado's "Land of Water," located at the confluence of the Colorado River and Roaring Fork River. The mineral hot springs are perfect for relaxing, though you can also chill out and fish or kayak in the waters of Glenwood Canyon.
Find the Hanging Lake Trail in the heart of Glenwood Canyon, home to a 1.2 mile hiking trail, flowing waterfalls, and scenic views. The historic downtown area is the perfect spot to spend an afternoon wandering, though you can also stay in a nearby resort, whether you want to head out on a ski adventure or enjoy the hot springs and a comforting spa.
Fruita sits to the west of Grand Junction, offering plenty to do in the great outdoors. The Western slope town is home to an extensive trail system, ideal for hiking and mountain biking excursions. In fact, you can bikepack the Kokopelli Trail from Fruita to Moab. Head towards the waterways and relax as you float down the Ruby and Horsethief canyons, or opt for a more exciting raft through Westwater Canyon.
Don't forget to pay a visit to the Colorado National Monument's sandstone formations. For an extra taste of adventure, climb the Independence Monument, the 350-foot high main attraction of the Colorado National Monument. If you are bringing the kids, be sure to check out the interactive excavations at the Dinosaur Journey Museum.
Crested Butte is one of the most charming towns in Colorado, offering endless outdoor adventures. Hiking, golfing, and fly-fishing are all popular activities, and skiing and snowboarding are available during the winter months. Take in the expansive beauty of the area in summer, admiring the gorgeous wildflower fields and kayaking through the flowing waters.
The town is a Registered National Historic District, with a rich history as a mining town in the 1880s. You'll find endless color in the area, from the gorgeous wildflowers painting the streets and meadows, to the colorful historic storefronts lining the downtown area. Extend your stay in the area by camping in the charming backcountry, or explore the gorgeous resorts of the area, indulging in a relaxing stay.
An underrated town in Colorado, Crestone sits in the San Luis Valley at the bottom of the Sango de Cristo Mountains. The town earned its name from the nearby peaks, which are Crestone Peak and Crestone Need. It is well known as the most spiritual town in America, home to over two dozen retreat centers and sacred landmarks. The Crestone Music Festival is one of the most popular attractions in the summer, ideal for an exciting and unique getaway.
There are numerous art galleries lining the downtown area, along with plenty of restaurants and boutiques for a simple afternoon. Lodging options are extensive, ranging from comfy cabins and campgrounds to luxurious resorts and hotels.
Situated in the mountains of Colorado, Leadville is the highest city in the United States, reaching 10,152 feet. It is home to some of the tallest mountains in the Rockies, Mount Elbert and Mount Massive, ideal for exciting hiking trips and taking in incredibly scenic views. Enjoy a drink or two at Two Mile Brewing Co., check out the Leadville, Colorado & Southern Railroad, and enjoy a day of golf at the Mount Massive Golf Course.
While you are visiting, be sure to take the Twin Lakes historic walking tour and spend your weekend in the gorgeous Interlaken Resort. You can also take a walking tour through Leadville itself, enjoying the unique history and buildings of the Victorian-era mining town.
Enjoy Your Weekend Escape
Colorado is a wonderful place to visit, full of natural beauty and plenty of activities, but these small towns offer a charm and kindness you won't find anywhere else. While there are many gorgeous and busy cities, something a little quieter and more relaxing is ideal for a weekend escape. No matter how you choose to spend your time, whether it is fishing, hiking, or simply relaxing, a weekend stop in one of these towns is sure to rejuvenate you for the week ahead.