A view of Main Avenue in Durango, featuring the oldest bank building in Colorado, via WorldPictures / Shutterstock.com

6 of the Most Walkable Towns in Colorado

Think of Colorado and no doubt you’ll picture stunning mountain landscapes and mighty rivers that together provide some of the best outdoor adventures in the United States. But scratch the surface just a little and you’ll find “The Centennial State” has so much more to offer than just its stunning scenery.

A well-established travel destination that attracts 90 million tourists every year, Colorado’s fascinating history, along with its most impressive scenery, can be enjoyed simply by taking a stroll around some of its most charming small towns. And with over 300 days of sunshine a year, Colorado's most walkable towns are great to visit in any season. For ideas and inspiration of great places to put on those walking shoes, take a look through these six most walkable towns in Colorado.

Estes Park

Downtown Estes Park, Colorado
Downtown Estes Park, Colorado. Editorial credit: Melissamn / Shutterstock.com

Located at the eastern entrance of Rocky Mountain National Park and just a 90-minute drive from downtown Denver, Estes Park is a great base from which to explore Colorado's most attractive scenery. Lace up the sneakers and head for Elkhorn Avenue, the main drag. After checking out its quaint shops and scrummy local eateries, it’s a leisurely stroll down to River Walk Park, which follows the Big Thompson River and winds up at the Estes Park Visitor Center (you can also do it in reverse, making use of the center’s parking garage).

For those seeking a longer route, the trail loops around Lake Estes, a total distance of about five miles. Other highlights of a walking visit to Estes Park include seeing top attractions like the historic Stanley Hotel, known for inspiring Stephen King's The Shining; and the Estes Park Aerial Tramway which provides fun rides up to Prospect Mountain's summit for spectacular views of the Rockies.

Manitou Springs

Beautiful street view in Manitou Springs, Colorado
Beautiful street view in Manitou Springs, Colorado

Being only a hop, skip, and a jump away from downtown Colorado Springs (the larger city is just six miles to the east), as well as its location at the base of Pikes Peak, makes Manitou Springs an ideal place to visit. The town's walkability is enhanced by its charming historic downtown, an area filled with galleries like the Manitou Art Center, unique boutique shops, and great cafés. Manitou Springs Heritage Center and Museum is a good place to start for those needing ideas about other things to do, along with interesting exhibits relating to the town.

Other highlights of a walk around Manitou Springs include Soda Springs Park, home to Fountain Creek and a place where the town’s famous mineral waters can be sampled (it’s also the location of the town’s farmers market). Those with energy left for a more challenging experience should head to the historic Manitou Incline, a steep, mile-long hike that follows an old cable tram route to an elevation of 2,000 feet. Though the hike isn’t for the faint-hearted, the views from the top are spectacular.

Glenwood Springs

Historic buildings lining a street in Glenwood Springs, Colorado
Historic buildings lining a street in Glenwood Springs, Colorado. Editorial credit: Kristi Blokhin / Shutterstock.com

Situated on the mighty Colorado River, Glenwood Springs is another destination made popular for its abundant hot springs. Downtown Glenwood Springs is highly strollable, with attractions like Glenwood Hot Springs Pool a great target for a pedestrian adventure. This long, coffin-shaped swim area was built in 1888 and is open to the public, so pack a swimsuit so you can soak those weary feet.

Want to explore the surrounding countryside? Check out the Glenwood Springs River Trail, a scenic route for walking, running, or biking that follows the Roaring Fork River. Another sightseeing must-do is the Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park. This unique experience includes thrilling rides including rollercoasters located at an altitude of 7,100 feet and overlooking the town far below.


The Main Avenue in Durango, Colorado
The Main Avenue in Durango, Colorado. Editorial credit: WorldPictures / Shutterstock.com.

Durango’s one place that will definitely require comfortable walking shoes. Located in southwestern Colorado near the border with New Mexico, it’s situated on the Animas River Trail, a seven-mile scenic pathway along the Animas River that’s ideal for walking as well as biking and is close to Durango's downtown. This historic area is also fun to explore with plenty of eye-candy architecture, including many well-preserved Victorian-era buildings, some of them now charming inns or B&Bs like historic Gable House Bed and Breakfast.

Those weary feet can rest awhile aboard the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, a historic steam train that operates scenic rides along more than 40 miles of track through the San Juan Mountains. The railroad also hosts the annual Durango Blues Train, set to return in summer 2024 and offering fun excursions made all the more memorable thanks to its live music performances. Another top attraction is the Animas Museum, a history museum set in a school dating from 1904 (it is, however, located two miles from the town center, so you’ll need a car for this one).


Golden, Colorado, Main Street with an inscription
Golden, Colorado, Main Street with an inscription. Editorial credit: Framalicious / Shutterstock.com

Golden is situated in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains and is easy to get to via the I-70 interstate or direct from downtown Denver via Colfax Avenue. A highlight for those who enjoy a good walk is the Clear Creek Trail, a picturesque 19-mile path along the creek with ample parks, picnic areas, and scenic views to enjoy along the way. The path is easy to access from the historic downtown area, where popular attractions like the Golden History Museum & Park and the Golden Welcome Center are to be found.

Other top attractions in and around Golden include the Colorado Railroad Museum with its vintage engines and rolling stock, and the Buffalo Bill Museum and Grave near the summit of Lookout Mountain with its incredible views of Denver and the Front Range. While just a few minutes’ drive from Golden, Chimney Gulch Trail is a five-mile hilly climb that only serious hikers will wish to consider.


Salida Downtown Historic District in Salida, Colorado.
Salida Downtown Historic District in Salida, Colorado. By Jeffrey Beall, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

Situated in the Arkansas River Valley in central Colorado, Salida’s historic downtown is a delight to explore on foot. This designated “Creative District” is pedestrian-friendly and filled with galleries, shops, and cafés, and provides access to the Arkansas Riverwalk, a scenic trail along the river.

One of the best times for a visit is during the Salida Art Walk, a popular weekend event held each fall that showcases the work of local artists with live music and performances. Another great tie-in for a visit is the FIBArk Festival. Established in the 1930s, it’s one of the country’s oldest whitewater festivals and features kayaking, rafting, and other river events. And yes, this is one occasion you won’t want to wear those good walking shoes.

The Final Word

The best of Colorado's small towns offer plenty of great excuses for visitors to put their best foot forward and go for a stroll. From the majestic Rockies surrounding Estes Park to the creativity on display in Salida, these lovely communities provide a welcoming environment for visitors to explore on foot. For a truly memorable visit, these six of the most walkable towns in Colorado are waiting to be explored.

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