It’s officially summertime in the Centennial State, which means it’s time to get out and begin exploring this marvelous place we call home. Not sure where to begin? No problem! Start by visiting one of these 12 Colorado marvels that must be seen to be believed:
1. Mesa Verde National Park (Mesa Verde)
You know we couldn't begin this list without mentioning the famous Mesa Verde National Park, which houses thousands of the best preserved Ancestral Puebloan archaeological sites in the United States.
2. Castlewood Canyon Dam (Franktown)
In 1933 the Castlewood Canyon Dam burst, sending a 15-foot wave of water all the way up to Denver, resulting in a large flood. All that remains of this historic dam is the well-preserved foundation, which can still be viewed at the Castlewood Canyon State Park.
3. Bishop's Castle (Rye)
All of these years, I thought that my dad (the engineer) was the handiest man in Colorado... However, after seeing this three-story tall stone castle that was hand-built by one man alone, my opinion slightly changed... (Sorry, dad!)
4. Garden of the Gods (Colorado Springs)
The Garden of the Gods ain't your grandma's garden! These stunning red rocks were actually created millions of years ago during a geological upheaval and are comprised of precious conglomerate, limestone, and different types of sandstone.
5. United States Air Force Academy Cadet Chapel (Colorado Springs)
Also located in Colorado Springs is that of the United States Air Force Academy Cadet Chapel; a jaw dropping two story church with stunning 150 foot tall spires.
6. Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve (Alamosa County)
Let's be honest: One of the last things you would expect to see in Colorful Colorado are desert-like dunes of sand... Lo and behold, 44,246 acres of this is exactly what you'll find at the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve.
7. Pawnee Buttes (Weld County)
Ready for yet another surprise? The supposedly flat plains are home to these two 300-foot tall land forms... Surprise!
8. Devil's Causeway (Yampa)
Colorado is home to a countless number of hikes, but one of the most magnificent (and gut wrenching) of them all might just be the steep and narrow Devil's Causeway. (This should probably go without saying, but don't try this hike if you are a beginner and/or get bad vertigo, like myself.)
9. Hanging Lake (Glenwood Springs)
Lakes aren't hard to come by in Colorado... but lakes that look like this?! Truly one of a kind! What makes the lake such an incredible blue? The waters are actually composed of the mineral travertine, which makes it both beautiful and extremely delicate (so do NOT swim in or touch the water).
10. Red Rocks Amphitheater (Morrison)
Quite possibly one of the best music venues in the world is that of Red Rocks Amphitheater; a 9,525-seat venue built upon 290-296 million year old rock formations.
11. Bent's Old Fort National Historic Site (La Junta)
Built in 1833, Bent's Fort was a popular location for trade among Southern Cheyenne and Arapaho Plains Indians, as well as buffalo trappers. At one time, it was also the only major white American settlement on the Santa Fe Trail between Missouri and Mexico.
12. Lowry Ruin (Montezuma County)
Mesa Verde isn't the only Ancestral Puebloan archaeological site in Colorado! This 40-room, multiple kiva dwelling is estimated to have been built around 1060 AD, nearly 500 years after the first settlers at Mesa Verde.