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Colorado is the state with the most mountains, the highest summits, and some of the greatest ski resorts in the US. Old mining towns and picturesque national parks go hand in hand with modern cities and ancient cliff dwellings. And if that is not enough to get your spirits up, how about a visit to the highest suspension bridge in the world!
Located at the foot of the Rocky Mountains, the state capital of Colorado is a modern, bustling city that has something to offer to everyone. The State Capitol Building with its golden dome sits prominently in the civic center area. Its impressive architecture is reminiscent of the United States Capitol and the building is well worth a visit. Close by are several museums, including the Denver Art Museum, and you can also visit the Denver Mint, which is one of only four mints in the country.
If you are looking for great boutiques and galleries or for some of the best restaurants and bars, you can find this and more all in one convenient location: Larimer Square. This square is always bustling with life day and night and also offers beautiful Victorian architecture. As does LoDo, or the Lower Downtown area, which is also one of the busiest and most popular club scenes.
Another Denver favorite is the City Park. It is not only the largest park in the city, but it also offers many chances for outdoor activities, such as a fishing lake, a golf course, and many sports fields. But the highlights of City Park are most likely the Denver Zoo and the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.
Many towns and villages in Colorado started out as mining camps or supply posts for miners. And so it is not rare to find towns that still reflect the history and spirit of the mining era. Two good examples are Idaho Springs and Georgetown. Both still have beautiful Victorian buildings line their streets and are favorite tourist destinations. South of Idaho Springs another attraction awaits: Mount Evans Scenic Byway, the highest road in the US. Accessibility of this road depends on weather and road conditions, but it is usually open between Memorial Day weekend in May and Labor Day weekend in September.
One of the best preserved mining towns in Colorado is Cripple Creek. But it also offers another unique experience: the Molly Kathleen Gold Mine, which is the only vertical-shaft mine in the US still offering tours. The tour provides an interesting look into mining history and you can actually still find gold veins on the walls.
Colorado is probably best known for its fantastic ski resorts. Every year, thousands of skiers crowd the runs of Colorado's mountains. There are so many different resorts, that everyone is sure the find the perfect one. There is Aspen, a favorite of the rich and famous; Crested Butte for the experts; Steamboat Springs for the cowboy in you; Keystone, which is the resort for night-skiing; Leadville, the highest town in the US; and last but not least, Winter Park, one of the oldest ski resorts.
Rocky Mountain National Park
Rocky Mountain National Park is one of the contenders for the most amazing mountain views and panoramas in the US. With over 60 peaks that reach higher than 12,000 feet, you will find it difficult where to turn first. The most popular route in the park is Trail Ridge Road, which takes you past the most stunning mountain views and finally descends into beautiful valley. The park is a favorite among hikers and bikers and vast landscapes and numerous lakes offer fantastic opportunities for wildlife watchers.
Mesa Verde National Park
Another popular national park in Colorado is Mesa Verde. Presenting some of the most fascinating ancient cliff dwellings, it allows us to take a look back in time. The best way to explore the park is to drive along the Mesa Top Loop Road, which offers the best viewpoints to see the cliff dwellings, which were often built underneath large alcoves. Some of the dwellings are even accessible so that you get a chance to imagine what life might have been like. The most popular cliff dwellings in the park include Spruce Tree House and Square Tower House, as well as the largest called Cliff Palace. But be aware that during the winter months not all of the dwellings will be accessible due to weather and walkway conditions.
Colorado is definitely a state of superlatives and so will be able to visit the tallest sand dunes in North America at the Great San Dunes National Monument and Preserve, which reach heights of up to 700 feet.
Also popular is the highest suspension bridge in the world, Royal Gorge Bridge, which spans a beautiful and quite impressive gorge formed by the Arkansas River.
And finally, always worth a visit are Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park as well as the Colorado National Monument.