Colorado Cities and Regions
AspenOne of the world's most fabled ski resorts, this gorgeously restored Victorian mining town nestled in Colorado’s Elk Mountain Range is almost movie-set perfect. In Aspen, the word mogul applies equally to the legendary slopes and the Forbes/Fortune crowd. See our Aspen Travel Guide
DenverWith its burgeoning arts scene, tree-lined streets fronting architecture ranging from redbrick Victorian to titanium-clad modern, and an ever-growing skyline framed by the jagged Rocky Mountains, Denver (located almost exactly 5,280 feet above sea level) promises to exceed expectations. See our Denver Travel Guide
VailWith over 5,000 ski-able acres, Vail claims to be “North America’s largest ski area” and seems more like the Swiss Alps than the American West. The lively resort town draws an assortment of jet-setting powder junkies who come for the great skiing in the easily accessible mountain bowl, not to mention the first-class hotels, gourmet eateries, and hot (er, cool) nightlife. See our Vail and Beaver Creek Travel Guide
BoulderBoulder is nestled in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, a short 40-minute drive northwest of Denver. A potpourri of personalities congregate in this laid-back city, from college students and athletes (here for the University of Colorado and the Team USA Olympic training center, respectively) to families, artists, and outdoor enthusiasts. The city is known for its bookstores, microbreweries, funky boutiques, and proximity to Rocky Mountain National Park.
Colorado SpringsColorado Springs, in the foothills below Pikes Peak in the Rockies, is mountainous to the west and dry and flat to the east. The area is popular with visitors thanks to sunny weather and the area’s pioneering past (the region was settled in the 19th century thanks to an influx of gold prospectors seeking instant fame and fortune). Take a cog railroad to the top of Pikes Peak for the best views of the “amber waves of grain” and “purple mountain majesties” that inspired the song America the Beautiful. Colorado Springs is also home to multiple mining ghost towns and the United States Air Force Academy.
TellurideHistoric Telluride, a one-time silver mining town, is located high in the craggy San Juan Mountains. Year-round, visitors are draw to its quaint, rough-and-tumble charm, especially in the preserved historic district where most buildings date back to the late 1800s. During the winter, skiers pack the town’s lavish resorts; during the summer, people come for the weekly music and film festivals. See our Telluride Travel Guide.
Durango and Mesa Verde National ParkDurango and Mesa Verde National Park, which lie about 30 miles apart from one another, are the two biggest attractions in southwest Colorado. Although Durango is known for its lively, café-filled downtown, the town’s main claim to fame is the vintage Durango Silverton Railroad, a narrow gauge railroad from 1880 that makes a vertigo-inducing, 3,300-foot climb up the mountain from Durango to Silverton. Mesa Verde National Park is dotted with 600 ancestral Pueblo cliff dwellings, some of which date as far back as 600 AD.
Grand JunctionIf you’re traveling east on scenic Interstate 70 (known as the Dinasour-Diamond Prehistoric Highway), you’re bound to drive through Grand Junction, the gateway to Colorado National Monument. Make the detour to hike, camp, or raft through the monument’s unspoiled and colorful buttes, mesas, and canyons. Just two hours north lies Dinosaur National Monument, where prehistoric-age fossils continue to be excavated.
Steamboat SpringsIn the late 19th century, cattle ranchers and railroad men settled the rugged terrain around Steamboat Springs. Nowadays, the laid-back area is a popular winter destination for skiers seeking powdery slopes, a down-home feel, and, best of all, natural thermal hot springs to soothe sore muscles. See our Steamboat Springs Travel Guide.
Winter ParkThe Winter Park Ski Resort enjoys a prime location near the Continental Divide, and about 70 miles from Denver. The Divide traps winter storms from all directions, blessing the resort with an annual average of 350 inches of snow. Its proximity to Denver makes it a popular locals’ resort, as well as an easy sojourn for Denver business travelers. While the City of Denver owns Winter Park, Intrawest, known for resorts such as Mont Tremblant and Stratton, manages the ski area, giving it modernized lifts and upscale on-mountain lodging. See our Winter Park Travel Guide.
BreckenridgeSteeped in history and perched majestically at 9,600 feet, Breckenridge lures visitors with its world-class ski resort, Victorian architecture, and diverse shopping, dining, and nightlife opportunities. A free bus system runs throughout the town and its environs, saving you money on local transportation. Use the savings for a lodging splurge or a multi-day ski clinic. The snow gods favor this high-alpine destination, granting it a ski season that spans from early November to mid-April. See our Breckenridge Travel Guide.
Crested ButteSki Magazine and Outside Online frequently rank Crested Butte as one of the best ski towns, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation lists Crested Butte as a “distinctive destination.” The town keeps its historic integrity by resisting overdevelopment and maintaining a laidback atmosphere. The resort sits at a snow-friendly 9,375 base elevation, and its summit rises to 12,162 feet. While its more than 500 acres of double black terrain and lift-serviced backcountry skiing are Crested Butte’s claim to fame, the resort also boasts ample beginner and intermediate terrain. See our Crested Butte Travel Guide.
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Discounts aside, off-season travel also brings more chances to interact with locals and make friends in immersive, stress-less experiences.
Christine Wei Assistant Editor
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