Colorado is cool in the summertime. Keep the fun going with these 10 outside activities you can enjoy across the state.
In addition to the high-flying summer fun at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park, America’s only mountaintop theme park in Glenwood Springs, Colorado, the entire rest of the state is a playground of outdoor adventures!
- Go wild. Lions and tigers and bears, oh my! Also giraffes, rhinoceroses, elephants, wolves, and alligators are waiting for you at major zoos. Check out the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, the Wild Animal Sanctuary in Keenesburg, and the Colorado Gators Reptile Park in Mosca.
- Take a hike. Smell the wildflowers at Yankee Boy Basin near Ouray, Shrine Pass near Frisco, or Lake Isabel near Colorado City. Enjoy the waterfalls at Hanging Lake near Glenwood Springs, Seven Falls in Colorado Springs, or Bridal Veil Falls in Telluride. Retrace history on the Santa Fe Trail’s Sierra Vista Overlook near La Junta, Canyons of the Ancients National Monument Pueblo dwellings in Montezuma County, Skyline Drive dinosaur tracks near Cañon City. View elk at Horseshoe Park in Rocky Mountain National Park, bighorn sheep and mountain goats at Mount Evans Wilderness Area near Idaho Springs, and moose at State Forest State Park near Walden.
- Camp out. Find cabins and yurts at Golden Gate Canyon State Park near Golden; wilderness backpacking at West Fork Campground near Pagosa Springs, Trappers Lake near Meeker, and Ansel Watrous Campground near Bellvue; and lakeside tent and RV sites at Elk Creek Campground near Grand Lake, Cherry Creek State Park near Aurora, and John Martin Reservoir State Park near Hasty; and amazing views at Silver Bar Campground near Aspen and Moraine Park Campground near Estes Park.
- Ride a bike. It’s summer, so you can pedal down the ski slopes on Vail Mountain, Purgatory, and Keystone Resort, with a ride-up on the gondolas. You’ll find bike parks at Winter Park Resort, Lory State Park near Fort Collins, and Palmer Park in Colorado Springs, and paved routes in Glenwood Springs, Denver, Vail, and Golden. Mountain biking was invented at Crested Butte, where you can find a great singletrack rides.
- Float your boat. Waterski at Navajo State Park, Jackson Lake State Park, and Blue Mesa Reservoir; canoe at Lake Granby in Granby, Gross Reservoir near Eldorado Springs, and the Colorado River near Palisade; fish at Grand Mesa Lakes near Cedaredge, Lake Pueblo State Park, and Steamboat Lake State Park; sail at Lake Dillon in Dillon, Grand Lake, and the Ruedi Reservoir in Basalt.
- Swing your club. Golf at mountain courses such as Pole Creek Golf Club, Copper Creek Golf Club, Breckenridge Golf Course, among rock formations at Arrowhead Golf Course and dinosaur footprints at Fossil Trace Golf Club, or on the highest course on the continent at Mount Massive Golf Course.
- Go underground. Get out of the sun at Cave of the Winds in Manitou Springs, Rifle Falls State Park, Dinosaur National Monument, Whit4e River National Forest and our own Glenwood Caverns.
- Eat & Drink. As the fruit ripens across the season, check out the peach, cherry, and apple orchards and the wineries on the Western Slope, especially around Palisade, Grand Junction, Paonia, Hotchkiss and Cedaredge.
- Paddle whitewater. Go for the fast water in the Arkansas River Headwaters near Salida, Gunnison Gorge near Gunnison or Browns Canyon National Monument near Buena Vista. Take it a little milder at Glenwood Canyon near Glenwood Springs, Ruby Canyon near Grand Junction, or Eagle River near Gypsum. Take it easy at Cottonwood Lake near Buena Vista, Pearl Lake State Park, or Barr Lake State Park. For whitewater, hit Confluence Park in Denver; Clear Creek Whitewater Park, Glenwood Springs Whitewater Park, or Gunnison Whitewater Park.
- Get festive. Join the celebrations at the Crested Butte Wildflower Festival July 6-15, the Hot Air Balloon Rodeo July 14-15 in Steamboat Springs, the Denver Underground Music Showcase July 26-29, the Vail Dance Festival July 28-Aug. 11, the Colorado State Fair in Pueblo Aug. 28-Sept. 3, and A Taste of Colorado in Denver Aug. 31-Sept. 3.
For more information on these and other summer activities in Colorado, visit https://www.colorado.com/articles/colorado-family-attractions-summer, https://www.colorado.com/articles/5-things-do-colorado-summers-over, and https://www.colorado.com/articles/8-ways-love-colorado-summer.