Colorado is home to some of the prettiest scenery in the US, especially in the fall and winter. It is also known for being a friendly state, and many people visit for the incredible group outdoor activities like snow skiing and hiking. Among the best places to visit are the smaller towns that welcome visitors with warm smiles and include historic sites as well as beautiful scenery.
Telluride is a former Victorian mining town in a canyon with glorious views of Mount Wilson and the Needle Mountains. The quaint downtown is a throwback to an old western town with brown wooden buildings.
There are also historic homes here, the most famous being the Sheridan Opera House, built in 1913. Telluride has historic significance in building the Old West, and the bulk of the town is a historic landmark. It is a world-famous skiing destination and is open and welcoming to visitors from around the world.
Crested Butte sits at the base of the Rocky Mountains and offers scenic ski slopes and hiking trails. The small town is surrounded by tall aspen trees that are simply stunning in their beauty. It is also known as the wildflower capitol of Colorado, which makes it appealing to visit in all seasons.
Elk Avenue is the main drag through town and winds between wooden shops and diners, which lends a simple elegance to the aura of the town. The town has a long history in mining, and the formation of the West, and the locals embrace these roots while also attracting people of all ages for abundant outdoor exploration and activities.
Ouray, Colorado's recreational capital, attracts visitors from around the world because of its three w's: wildflowers, waterfalls, and wildlife. It is at an elevation of 7,800 feet and has a unique vantage point of the natural beauty of the state. Hiking, biking, and fishing are just some of the outdoor attractions available here.
The town also has natural hot springs and, for the brave-hearted visitor, the Million Dollar Highway. This particular scary stretch of highway has jaw-dropping views of the mountains along with several hairpin turns. For the less adventurous, the town offers quaint shops and lodging where the visitor can discover the history of the miners and the Ute Indians that gave this town its start.
Breckinridge sits at the base of the Rocky Mountains Tenmile Ridge and looks like it was painted by Norman Rockwell. The town is surrounded by year-long alpine activity wrapping around the Rockies. The town gained prominence during the Gold Rush, and is now a National Historic District.
In town, Main Street will take you through colorful wooden and brick buildings from the late 19th-early 20th century. Here is where you will find the shops and restaurants that make this place feel like home. The town is a haven for skiers looking for accessible routes, but this is a gorgeous town where the visitor can experience authentic Western history and lore.
Windsor is a pretty town that is perfect to visit in the Fall due to the foliage. The town has been growing in population since 200 and is known for its museums and natural attractions. The Windsor Arts and Heritage Center is the main hub for art attractions and will point the way to the other art museums locally.
Windsor Lake and Boyd Lake State Park are the two biggest draws for outdoor enthusiasts and boast excellent fishing, camping, and hiking. It's also in a tri-city area with Fort Collins only thirty miles away, so it's a convenient location to take in multiple towns at once.
Manitou Springs is a resort town outside of Colorado Springs. It's known for its springs and the Pikes Peak mountain range that towers above the town. Among the plethora of outdoor sites is the Manitou Incline Trail, hundreds of steps that lead up a steep cliff and the Garden of the Gods, a 1,300 acre public park with soaring cliffs and trails.
In town, Manitou Avenue will lead you through art galleries, boutiques, and eateries. There are also natural mineral springs which put the town on the map in the late 18th century and is still a major draw today. Manitou Springs, along with Aspen, has been voted as two of the country's top twenty friendliest towns.
Aspen is well known as a world class ski resort, and it deserves to be, but there is so much else to experience. The small town is surrounded by four ski areas and Aspen is dedicated to serving this clientele.This is a high end vacation locale and there are fine dining options along with high class amenities that make Aspen special.
There is much to do in town for non-skiers as well. Among the popular attractions are the Wheeler Opera House, built in 1889, Aspen Art Museum, and boutique shops. Main street winds through classic brick architecture surrounded by the mountains that make this town a world class destination.
Salida, Spanish for "exit", is actually the entrance to the Rocky Mountains and the locals call it The Heart of The Rockies. This small mountain town seems to have it all: majestic 14,000 feet peaks, art galleries, and adventure.
Among the more adventurous activities is the zip lining course in town. There is also biking and hiking trails and affordable lodging. You can also indulge in one of the many natural hot springs, some of which are in the country's biggest indoor hot spring resort, Salida Hot Springs Pool.
Creede is famous for being the last great silver strike in Colorado. During the boom, the town's population jumped to over 10,000. Today, the population is less than 300, and the small mountain town charm, coupled with the scenic beauty, is hard to resist.
Late 18th century buildings line downtown, and there are small taverns and restaurants that offer burgers and other American fares. Although summer is the busy season, the annual Donkey Race in June is a sight to behold. The race is an homage to the mis and epitomizes the cultural significance of these small mining towns.
Colorado is just stunning in its natural aesthetics, and the locals seem to appreciate this and, in turn, want to share it with others. To truly catch the persona of this state, the small towns are the place to go. Not only are there world-class outdoor activities, the small-town charm makes one feel welcomed and at home. From the antique buildings, great dining, and museums, this is truly a unique destination that should be on everyone's bucket list.