Top 10 Landmarks in Colorado

Last updated on May 25th, 2021 at 10:09 am. Originally published on February 16th, 2021

What is a Landmark?

From the Front Range to downtown Denver to quaint mountain towns like Leadville and Estes Park, Colorado is full of incredible destinations to explore — particularly for the avid outdoor adventurer. But along with its plethora of natural landmarks, Colorado is also home to some famous historic places and buildings that are worth putting on your itinerary. Here are our top-10 must-visit landmarks in the state of Colorful Colorado.

What are Some Famous Landmarks in Colorado?

1. Red Rocks Amphitheatre

2. The Stanley Hotel

3. Rocky Mountain National Park

4. Garden of the Gods

5. Pikes Peak

6. The Manitou Incline

7. Royal Gorge Bridge and Park

8. Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve

9. Mesa Verde National Park

10. Colorado National Monument

Colorado Landmarks

Let’s dive into these famous monuments, landmarks, and can’t-miss Colorado spots.

1. Red Rocks Amphitheatre

MORRISON, COLORADO—OCTOBER 2017: Stunning red rock formations at the Red Rocks Park and Ampitheatre in Morrison, Colorado.

Arguably one of the most stunning open-air amphitheatres in the world, let alone the country, at Red Rocks Amphitheatre, the venue is part of the show — if not the entirety of the show, depending on who you ask. Carved into the stunning sandstone that characterizes this section of the state, this amphitheatre has a long and storied history hosting some of the most famous acts in any genre, from the Wu-Tang Clan to U2 to James Taylor and everything in between. It’s common for visitors to swing by the amphitheatre even if there’s no show scheduled at all, simply to take in the sights, browse the gift shop, and perhaps, if you’re a bit of a masochist, run some stadiums on the massive sets of stairs. At least with a view like that, the suffering isn’t so awful!

Things to do near Red Rocks Amphitheatre: Located in the southwestern suburbs of Denver, Red Rocks is nearby to a ton of things to see, do, and explore, including several fantastic state parks and wildernesses. Grab a hike (and a campsite!) at Chatfield State Park before heading into town for dinner. Here are some other great campgrounds in the area to choose from, as well as RVshare rentals.

2. The Stanley Hotel

Estes Park, Colorado, USA - February 15, 2014: A close up winter view of the famous Stanley Hotel at Estes Park, Colorado, USA.

Tucked into the quaint and historic mountain town of Estes Park — which also serves as a gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park, which we’ll discuss further in just a moment — the Stanley Hotel is so much more than a place to stay. It was actually the inspiration behind none other than Stephen King’s famous thriller, The Shining… but don’t worry, people stay here all the time without experience hauntings or going crazy! There is, however, a small labyrinth planted near the hotel in case you want to stage a nonviolent reenactment of some of the film’s most iconic scenes. If you’re not staying in the hotel, you can still take guided tours for more information about the grounds and its history.

Things to do near The Stanley Hotel: Estes Park offers nearly endless options for things to do and places to eat, and of course the entirety of the National Park’s hiking and outdoor adventuring opportunities are right around the corner. Here are some RVshare rentals and campgrounds in the area to consider.

3. Rocky Mountain National Park

Brilliant reflections on Bear Lake, Rocky Mountain National Park , Colorado

So many folks who make their way to Colorado do so looking for that Colorado Rocky Mountain High… and when you visit Rocky Mountain National Park, you’ll certainly experience it for yourself. Criss-crossed with hiking trails as suitable for day trips as more serious overnight backpacking adventures, this massive wilderness is truly an outdoor adventure-lover’s delight… but it also offers plenty of easy-to-access natural wows to those who simply want to cruise through in their car. You can’t go wrong; just make sure you stop by a visitor center to get your National Parks Passport stamped and also pick up some info about the best to-dos available for your skill and interest level!

Things to do near Rocky Mountain National Park: With so much to do inside the park, you’ll certainly be well occupied… but if you’re in need of some civilization, head back to Estes Park for a spot of lunch or a walk amidst some cutesy shops. Here are the best RVshare rentals and campgrounds in the area to choose from.

4. Garden of the Gods

Garden of the Gods, Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA.

Easily one of the most iconic sights in the entire state of Colorado, Garden of the Gods rises with its towering sandstone formations above the landscape below, which also includes some 1300 acres of hikeable wilderness and a visitor center. The Garden of the Gods is an excellent place to catch a Colorado sunrise or sunset, and the hiking trails and scenic drives within make the landmark accessible to visitors of all fitness and ability levels. Better yet, the park offers free admission!

Things to do near Garden of the Gods: Just outside of the community of Colorado Springs, Garden of the Gods is in the backyard of one of the coolest cities in the state. There are plenty of incredible coffee shops to choose from along with tons of other natural landmarks, a couple of which we’re just about to list. Don’t forget to check out The Broadmoor Seven Falls! Here are some RVshare rentals and campgrounds in the area.

5. Pikes Peak

Pikes Peak Mountain Colorado, 2015

The highest summit in the southern Front Range, Pikes Peak has earned its reputation as “America’s Mountain” — and fortunately, the infrastructure is set up so that you don’t have to be a mountaineer to see the incredible view from the top. Drive up or even take a shuttle so you can simply sit back and enjoy the view… or, if you really like to work for your rewards, consider the formidable hike up Barr Trail, which involves hiking 12 miles one way and ascending more than 7,000 feet of elevation gain. (We strongly recommend you take the shuttle down if you go this route!) No matter how you get there, at the top you’ll enjoy panoramic vistas as well as some freshly-made donuts that are famous for a reason. They just don’t taste the same at the bottom!

Things to do near Pikes Peak: Although it may be the tallest, Pikes Peak is far from the only mountain in the area, and there are plenty of local wildernesses to explore. Consider adding Eleven Mile State Park or Cheyenne Mountain State Park to your itinerary, or drop by the Beaver Creek State Wildlife Area.

6. The Manitou Incline

Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA-October 17, 2018 - Extreme nature trail with steep mountain incline for advanced hikers.

Another great landmark local to Colorado Springs, the Manitou Incline is, well… you’ll learn a lot about what it is if you start asking about it around the community. The washed-out remains of an old funicular, which used to bring passengers to the top of the mountain as they lazed, today, this incline is the site of a challenging uphill hike that’s more like a natural StairMaster: you’ll ascend 2,000 feet of elevation gain in just under a single mile, climbing 2,768 steps until you reach your destination. The view and the incredible sense of accomplishment are worth it, though!

Things to do near The Manitou Incline: After a climb like this, you’re certainly going to want to refuel with a nice, hearty meal. Head on back down to Colorado Springs to find some place to eat… and heck, maybe even book a massage. You’ve earned it!

7. Royal Gorge Bridge and Park

Royal Gorge Bridge in Colorado

Although not for the faint of heart, the Royal Gorge Bridge and Park is certainly a landmark worth adding to you Colorado itinerary: towering nearly a thousand feet over the rushing waters below, this suspension bridge is easy one of the most famous in America, and is surrounded by a variety of other attractions geared towards thrill-seekers and adrenaline junkies. If simply wandering across this bridge is not enough heart-pounding for you, you can also ride the Royal Rush Skycoaster or zipline across the gorge. But don’t worry: it’s an incredible photo opp even if you never step foot on the bridge itself.

Things to do near Royal Gorge Bridge and Park: Located in a rural part of Fremont County, the Royal Gorge Bridge and Park is closest to the town of Pueblo, which offers plenty of dining and shopping opportunities as well as accommodations. Here are some nearby campgrounds and RVshare rentals to consider.

8. Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve

Great Sand Dunes National Park Colorado at Sunset

While “sand dunes” might not be the first thing you think of when you think Colorado, make no mistake, this state has got them — in spades. Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve contains some 30 square miles of towering sand dunes… and we do mean towering. This park is home to the tallest dunes in North America, with some reaching as much as 750 feet in height. However, the park is more than just an epic sandbox. It also contains thousands more acres of grasslands, wetlands, conifer and aspen forests, alpine lakes, and tundra. Hiking trails and other outdoor recreation opportunities abound, and since it’s such a hidden gem, you won’t have the giant Rocky Mountain National Park crowds to contend with!

Things to do near Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve: Located in south-central Colorado, Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve is close to the communities of Alamosa and Trinidad, with many other natural wildernesses in the area. Trinidad Lake State Park is a great spot to snag a campsite, and there are plenty of great RVshare rentals in the area.

9. Mesa Verde National Park

View of the Cliff Palace in Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado

Another fascinating Colorado national park and famous U.S. historical landmark, Mesa Verde National Park preserves and interprets some of the oldest and best-preserved Ancestral Puebloan in the world, and offers visitors a first-hand view not only of incredible ancient architecture but also petroglyphs. This rich agricultural site also includes a visitor and research center as well as a museum in order to better help visitors become familiar with the artifacts found here and their significance. Guided tours and other educational events make the park come even further to life for visitors of all ages. Either way, it’s impossible not to be mystified and awestruck by this important and iconic landmark.

Things to do near Mesa Verde National Park: Closest to the city of Cortez and not far from Durango, Mesa Verde National Park is located in the southwestern corner of Colorado, an easy driving distance from other significant sites like Canyon of the Ancients National Monument. Here are some RVshare rentals in the area to choose from.

10. Colorado National Monument

View of Coke Ovens in Colorado National Monument, Grand Junction, USA

Like a version of the Grand Canyon transported a few hundred miles northeast, Colorado National Monument is an incredible desert landscape characterized by sandstone rock formations, deep canyon crevices, and short desert scrub flora punctuating it all. Drive though and perhaps encounter wild bighorn sheep who graze here, or take more time in the area to plan a hike or backpacking trip.

Things to do near Colorado National Monument: Located just outside Grand Junction, Colorado National Monument has the unique benefit of a big city just down the road — so you have plenty of opportunities to dine, browse museums, or shop even after a big day of rugged adventures. Here are some RVshare rentals and campgrounds in the area to consider.

Planning an RV Trip to Colorado

From finding the best campgrounds to getting you set up in your perfect rental RV, RVshare has you covered for your RV trip to Colorado. We’ve even written guides to the best state parks in Colorado as well as all the national parks in the country, including the many in this colorful state. Enjoy your incredible journey!

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