If you are a longtime “Only in Colorado” reader, you know that we love our hidden gems! From the Eastern Plains to the Front Range to the Western Slope, Colorado is chock full of little known treasures, including these 11 that you have to see before you die:
1. Bishop Castle (Rye)
If you are not impressed by the fact that this intricate 70-foot-tall stone castle was single-handedly built and set (with over 1,000 tons of rock) by one man, you best get your eyes checked!
2. Cano's Castle (Antonio)
To be completely honest, Cano's Castle isn't nearly as wholesome as Bishop's, but equally magical for reasons all of its own (like the fact that it was built with beer cans, a love of Jesus, and a whole lot of weed).
3. Castlewood Canyon Ruins (Franktown)
In 1933 the Castlewood Canyon Dam burst, sending a 15-foot wave of water all the way up to Denver, which resulted in a large flood. You can see the remains of this history-making dam by visiting the beautiful Castlewood Canyon State Park.
4. Lizard Lake (Marble)
Believe it or not, Lizard Lake is not a painting... it is indeed a real place with unbelievably vivid colors and views.
5. Fifty-Two 80's (Denver)
Alright, 80's kids; this one is for you! Fifty-Two 80's is a legit place to get your kicks with their rad selection of 80's merchandise, working Atari system, hip jams, and a whole lot more! I gotta bounce, so I'll meet you there!
6. Pawnee Buttes (Weld County)
Are you ready to be shocked? Contrary to popular belief, the Eastern Plains aren't completely flat and boring, as beautifully demonstrated by these large, 300-foot-tall buttes.
7. Canyons of the Ancients National Monument (Cortez)
Believe it or not, Mesa Verde isn't the only place in Colorado with extravagant Ancestral Puebloan ruins! In fact, there are many places to find these historic structures, including the colorful Canyons of the Ancients (featuring a whopping 6,000 archaeological sites)...
8. Hovenweep National Monument (Cortez)
...nearby Hovenweep National Monument (which are thought to have been occupied between 6000 BC to approximately 200 AD)...
9. Lowry Pueblo (Pleasant View)
...and Lowry Pueblo (a 40-room, multiple kiva dwelling located within the Canyons of the Ancients)!
10. Picket Wire Canyon (La Junta)
Tucked away in southeast Colorado just so happens to be one of the largest dinosaur track sites in America, which is made up of an unbelievable 100 trackways and more than 1,500 individual footprints! Speaking of the prehistoric...
11. Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument (Florissant)
...the Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument is home to the fossils of million-year-old insects and plants! Pretty cool, huh?