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Awesome Day Trips Near Denver

June 30, 2019

woman looking at a map while on the road

Living at the college apartments in Denver is an awesome experience and an amazing opportunity. Not only are you smack dab in the middle of a world of excitement in the form of all there is to do and see around the city’s downtown area, you’ve got the opportunity to expand your adventures beyond the city, heading out into Colorado to see (and experience) why this is considered one of the most spectacular places on planet Earth. Rough Guides even dubbed it the most beautiful state back in 2016:

“From its sensational landscapes and soaring mountains to its cool cities and quirky gold-rush towns, the star of the West is home to some of the most beautiful places in the country.”

So, you ready to get out there and explore? We’ve got your back, at least as far as generating ideas goes. Today, we’re going to hip you to some of the best day trips you can take around Denver, along with a few reasons why you should be adding these Colorado wonders to your list of places to see while you’re living in the state.

The Garden of the Gods

We figured we’d start strong — what name, after all, could be more impressive than the Garden of the Gods? This collection of natural red rock formations is in Colorado Springs, about an hour and twenty minutes from Denver, and consists of nearly 1,300 acres of land, complete with hiking trails and the like. It’s a registered National Landmark (no surprise there), and free for the public to explore.

Start by checking in at the visitor’s center, then decide what activities you’d like to take part in while you’re there. You could stick to hiking, but there’s more to do than just that. If you’re the athletic sort, you might want to try your hand at some rock climbing (just make sure to bring your equipment), or if adventure runs through your veins, a jeep tour of the grounds might be the perfect way to get your blood pumping.

Bear Creek Canyon

The Bear Creek Canyon drive is a scenic route on State Highway 74 that, as you might have guessed, runs near Bear Creek. It’s a sight to behold, as is the creek itself, should you decide to stop and take a look, and it’s not the only point of interest in this area. While you’re here, you might also want to check out the Morrison Natural History Museum to the south, or Mount Morrison up to the northwest. Also in the Bear Creek Canyon is the town of Evergreen. If you’re a fan of rural, slow-paced living, you’ll want to check out its artsy scene and lovely boutiques, as they provide a wonderful respite from the hustle and bustle of big city living. As long as traffic isn’t crazy, it should take you about half-an-hour to get over there from Denver.

Chatfield State Park

Head south of the city, about forty-five minutes, and you’ll reach Chatfield State Park, on the shores of the Chatfield Lake within the Platte River Valley. This is a great spot for rest and relaxation (its beautiful, and you might find yourself doing nothing more than wandering around and marveling at nature). It’s also a place of recreation, though, and you should definitely check out the trail maps to learn about all the hiking you can do while you’re down there. Beyond the hiking, fans of the water will love the lake, and boaters of “all types,” from water skiers to sailors and everything in between, are welcome to hit the water and have some fun.

Rocky Mountain National Park

The Rocky Mountains are almost synonymous with Colorado, so it makes sense that they’d make for a great day trip from Denver. It’s about an hour and forty-minute drive from Denver to the Rocky Mountain National Park, and once you’re there, you’ll have more to do than you could possibly experience in just one visit. You can get lost (figuratively) in just hiking the trails and exploring the mountain views, and indeed, this is one of the most relaxing ways to experience this natural paradise. If you want to make your trip more of an action-oriented one, though, you have plenty of ways to do that as well, from wilderness camping to fishing and beyond.

Pawnee National Grassland

The mountains might have been what put Colorado on the map, but that doesn’t mean you should discount the state’s vast grasslands for some day trip excitement. They’re about an hour and forty-minutes northeast of Denver, and contain about 193,000 acres of minimally-developed and magnificent land. This is a great place to spot some wildlife, and if you’re the sort who loves birdwatching and photography, you’re going to have a magical experience here (particularly during the migratory months):

“The Colorado State Bird, the lark bunting, is very common on the grassland in spring and summer. The grassland also has many unique high plains bird species such as the mountain plover, burrowing owl and many birds of prey.”

In addition to ample bird sightings, you can enjoy Hiking, camping, picnicking, horseback riding and stargazing, along with spying various land animals, like prairie dogs, pronghorns, mule deer, foxes, snakes, and coyote. Keep your distance from the last ones on that list, and soak in the sights at this truly marvelous natural expanse before you head back home to Denver.

The Rich Experience of the College Apartments in Denver

Being able to get out and explore the wonders of Colorado is just one of many reasons apartment communities like Colab are great. In addition to being perfectly positioned to let you get out and see the state, their location within Denver is one that’s highly-coveted, putting you near campus, public transportation, and all the neighborhood hotspots you’ll want to hit during your down time. It’s not every day someone gets to experience Denver like this, but it will be your everyday when you’re living at Colab. See what’s in store, then drop us a line to make one of these stellar apartments your very own.