Things to Do in Denver
Plan Mountain Day Trips
Every season offers its own opportunities in the Rocky Mountains, and no trip to Colorado is complete without an adventure that you can brag about when you get home.
Hike, Bike and Raft in the Sun
One of the state’s hidden treasures worth seeing is Hanging Lake, about 150 miles west of Denver. The travertine-lined lake sits at the top of a short, but aggressive hike. Though swimming and boating are not permitted, the unique ecosystem with prehistoric vibes is worth the stop. There are no entrance fees, but you’ll want to arrive before 8 a.m. because parking is limited.
From Hanging Lake, you can choose your own adventure. There are multiple whitewater rafting companies on the highway back to Denver. Liquid Descent and Clear Creek both offer as much adrenaline as they do Instagram-worthy views.
For a different experience, press on about 50 miles south from Hanging Lake to Aspen — Colorado’s most exclusive mountain town. An order of truffle fries on the mountainside patio at Ajax Tavern, or a hearty northern Italian dish like fettuccine at Casa Tua, will replenish your energy before you head to Snowmass Bike Park for your next rush. For a mellower afternoon, take the 10-mile drive up to the state’s most photographed landmark, Maroon Bells, twin 14,000-foot peaks in the Elk Mountains.
Ski and Board in the Snow
The Colorado high country offers some of the best skiing and snowboarding in the U.S. Whether you bring your own gear or opt to travel light and rent from local ski resorts, the slopes offer entertaining runs for experts and novices alike.
All the ski resorts are easy to access as you take Interstate 70 west from Denver. You’ll come across one of the local favorites, Echo Mountain, first — just 36 miles from downtown. You can also stay on I-70 and take the exit for Highway 40; it’s another 27 miles to Winter Park, and you’ll spend the drive soaking up the breathtaking mountain views from Berthoud Pass. Snowplows regularly clear the roads, but consider renting an SUV for ease of travel.