Beautiful street view in Manitou Springs, Colorado

7 Small Towns in The Rockies to Visit for a Weekend Getaway

The Rocky Mountains (also branded the Rockies) run from British Columbia, Canada, through central New Mexico, including states such as Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, and Idaho. The mountainscape covers a distance of 3,000 miles, boasting a number of interesting stops along the way.

The towns within the depths of the Rockies offer an escape unlike any other, encompassing a diverse landscape of mountains, prairies, dense forests, massive glaciers, and an endless collection of lakes and rivers. Aside from their unforgettable adventures and scenic views, each town offers a glimpse into a unique history, community, and atmosphere, making them ideal for a weekend getaway.

Jackson, Wyoming

Western town of Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
Western town of Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Image credit EQRoy via

The town of Jackson is one of the best getaway destinations in Wyoming, nestled in Jackson Hole valley. It is home to three exciting ski areas, ideal for a weekend chock full of winter sports: Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, Snow King Mountain Resort, and Grand Targhee Resort. Some of the area's top attractions include a trip to Grand Teton National Park, the National Elk Refuge, and Yellowstone National Park. After a day admiring the town's natural beauty, ee sure to wander the town's square, home to must-visit events and festivals such as the Elk Antler Auction, Old West Days, and the Fall Arts Festival.

Manitou Springs, Colorado

Eclectic Victorian Architecture in Manitou Springs Colorado
Eclectic Victorian Architecture in Manitou Springs Colorado, via SWKrullImaging /

Manitou Springs is one of the most welcoming towns in Colorado, overflowing with natural histories and present-day marvels. Top spots to visit include the Garden of the Gods, which houses sandstone rock formations reaching 300 feet in height, the Manitou Cliff Dwellings, which displays architecture from ancient cliff dwellers, and Cave of the Winds, where visitors may tour and learn the geology of caves. The downtown area of Manitou Springs offers visitors a chance to shop local businesses such as Anna's Apothecary, Rocky Mountain Beignets, and Skye Candle. Enjoy a weekend in charming locations such as Blue Skies Inn, Eagle Fire Lodge & Cabin, or Outlook Lodge.

Taos, New Mexico

Buildings in Taos, New Mexico
Buildings in Taos, New Mexico

Taos sits in the high desert of New Mexico bordered by the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. The landmarks of the area share a glimpse into its past, such as Taos Pueblo, the only living Native American community, marked both a Heritage Site and a National Historic Landmark. The San Francisco de Asis Church and the  Rio Grande Gorge Bridge also share insight into the town's historic architecture. In terms of outdoor adventure, the town is well known for having at least 300 days of sunshine, perfect for exploring the beautiful Rio Grande River. For a weekend getaway, consider cozy spots like La Dona Luz Inn, Touchstone Inn, and Dreamcatcher Bed & Breakfast.

Park City, Utah

Park Silly Sunday Market in Park City, Utah, as seen on Aug 27, 2017. It is an eco-friendly open air market, street festival & community forum
Park Silly Sunday Market in Park City, Utah, an eco-friendly open air market, street festival & community forum, via Ritu Manoj Jethani /

Park City is one of Utah's most charming towns, well known as the home of The Deer Valley Resort, Park City Mountain resort, and the Wasatch Mountain Range. The town is just east of the metropolis of Salt Lake City, offering a sweet mountain escape, featuring adventures such as skiing the sparkly white slopes, catching a film at the Egyptian Theatre, and exploring the Swaner Preserve and EcoCenter. The town's historic main street overflows with local shops and restaurants, including Burns Cowboy Shop, Deer Valley Café, and Pretty Bird Restaurant. Some of the most charming places to stay include Hotel Park City, The Lodge at Blue Sky, and of course the resorts.

Stanley, Idaho

The gorgeous town of Stanley, Idaho.
The gorgeous town of Stanley, Idaho.

Stanley is one of the most adorable small towns in Idaho, surrounded by the alpine mountain peaks of Sawtooth National Recreation Area, where visitors enjoy biking, hiking, fishing, camping, and more. Stanley is the designated Central Idaho Dark Sky Reserve, meaning it is the ideal destination for stargazing enthusiasts, but the nightlife does not end there. The town boasts several bars and watering holes such as Rod-N-Gun Saloon, Kasino Club, and Mountain Village Restaurant. On top of that, there are several late-night events, such as weekly trivia nights, Thursday street dancing and music on the front lawn, and campfires. For an extended stay, be sure to visit the Stanley Lake Campground for all the beauty the town has to offer.

Laramie, Wyoming

The historic downtown of Laramie, Wyoming.
The historic downtown of Laramie, Wyoming.

Most well known for its railroad history, the town of Laramie brands itself the "Gem City of the Plains," abundant in both spirit and culture. Things to do in town include a trip to a University of Wyoming football game, a walk through Hidden Figures Alley, or a visit to Laramie Plains Museum at the Historic Ivinson Mansion. A scenic drive along the Snowy Range Scenic Byway offers a chance to enjoy the beauty of the area while a self-guided tour through the historic town center or the Legends of Laramie Tour offers a glimpse into the town's storied past. Some of the top spots for an extended stay include Woods Landing Resort, Durango Cabin, and Brooklyn Lodge.

Leadville, Colorado

Main street in Leadville, Colorado
Main street in Leadville, Colorado, via bauhaus1000 /

Leadville is one of the best small towns to visit in Colorado, once a gold rush town in the lawless wild west, and today a thriving hub for outdoor adventure. The town is part of the Top of the Rockies Scenic and Historic Byway, making it an excellent stop on a showstopping road trip. Plus, it is about 100 miles away from Denver and Colorado Springs respectively. Mineral Belt Trail is the ideal destination for bikers, hikers, horseback riders, and even snowshoeing or cross-country skiing in winter. Some of the best spots to grab a bite to eat or enjoy a fresh brew include Treeline Kitchen, Two Mile Brewing Co., and Tennessee Pass Cafe. For an extended stay, visit Silver King Inn, Buckeye's Cabin, or High Rocky Homes.

Enjoy a Weekend in the Rockies!

A trip to the Rocky Mountains offers a unique and adventure-packed weekend getaway in itself, but the small towns scattered throughout the states offer a sweet taste of the beauty of the area. Whether it is the glistening Lewis Lake of Laramie or the rugged Sawtooth Mountain of Stanley that piques your interest, something is waiting to be discovered in the charmed small towns of the Rockies. Step out into the open air, pack a pair of hiking boots, and prepare for adventure in the expansive wilderness and landscape that makes up the Rocky Mountains.

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