Attractions and things to do in Colorado: From limited stakes gambling, rock climbing, visitng ghost towns, to a ride on a cog railway, there is something for everyone in Colorado
Pikes Peak: Cog Railway
While not the highest mountain in Colorado, checking in as the 31st out of 54 that reach over 14,000 feet, it is the home of the Cog Railway. A ride on the famous railway is the perfect way to spend the day. Sightseeing all the way to the top will bring you views that are hard to describe. One person, Katharine Lee Bates, was so inspired by the view that she wrote ‘America the Beautiful’ after a carriage ride to the top. The railway is not the only way to reach the summit, and for the adventurous, you can hike it. A highway also goes to the top.
Arkansas River: White Water Rafting
Many people head to Colorado just for the rafting. Any numbers of towns along the Arkansas River offer rafting for the new to the advanced. From Buena Vista to Salida for instance, you can find numerous outfitters during season that will take you or your group out for a half or whole day trips, or even several days. The rivers in Colorado are beautiful and are sure to enhance any and all photo opportunities.
Garden of the Gods: Rock-Climbing
Located in Colorado Springs, Garden of the Gods is a National Natural Landmark. The sandstone formations make up an area that offers both paved and unpaved hiking trails. The park has a free visitor’s center that holds enough wonders of its own to set-aside at least an hour or two just to visit it. Rock climbers who take their sport seriously will find the park accommodating. You must register and follow set rules put forth by the park, but the climb is worth it. For others, the view of the climbers themselves is an attraction in itself. One warning; all unauthorized climbing within the park is illegal.
Royal Gorge Bridge and Park: Theme Park
Royal Gorge is on the Arkansas River near Canon City. Covering over 360 acres, it offers something for everyone. It features an awe-inspiring 1053-foot high suspension bridge; the world’s highest, over the gorge. You could also ride the aerial tram over the gorge, as long as you are not faint-hearted. Walking or driving over the bridge are other options. If the season is right, keep your eyes open for the plentiful hummingbirds visiting the flowers at the restaurant on the far side of the bridge. While at Royal Gorge, make sure and visit the Silver Rock Railway, geared towards the younger set, but fun for even the grownups. In addition, do not miss the antique Carousel. There is a petting zoo on the grounds, and the all-new Wapiti Western Wildlife Park, which offers a glimpse of American wildlife and a look at the past through the Mountain Man Encampment.
Cripple Creek: Limited Stakes Gambling
Located southwest of Colorado Springs, Cripple Creek started out as Poverty Gulch, and then was renamed after becoming a gold rush town in the late 1800’s, soon springing up to be one of the largest cities in the United States. Once the fever of gold died down so did Cripple Creek. It was reborn again in the late 1900’s, when they legalized gambling, albeit limited-stakes, meaning all bets are no more than $5. For those not interested in the casinos, there is still plenty to see and do, including shopping, sightseeing, shows, hiking, biking, even 4-wheeler rentals.
Clear Creek Canon (Beaver City, Vicksburg, Rockdale / Silverdale, Winfield): Ghost Towns
Step into the past by visiting some of Colorado’s true gems in hiding. While many properties in these towns are privately owned, several offer original and restored buildings for viewing. Winfield offers both restored buildings and a small cemetery. The buildings are only available to be viewed through glass, but are worth the trip. The cemetery must be hiked to but is worth the short trek. Please be respectful of private landowners and honor all no-trespassing signs when visiting these wonders.
Located on the Roaring Fork River and known for its winter activities, Aspen is also a great town to visit in the off-season. Art galleries, restaurants, and shopping are all favorites. Star gazing of the human kind is also a favorite pastime, as many celebrities call Aspen home.