10 Weekend Getaways from Denver – (Reccomended By a Local)

As someone who calls Denver home, I’m all in on how incredible this city is. What sets Denver apart is its proximity to a bunch of places perfect for weekend escapes.

There’s no shortage of mountain towns, national parks, artsy spots, and more, all within a short drive.

Whether you’re planning a romantic escape or looking for a fun family outing, I’ve got plenty of suggestions.

I’ve put together a list of the best getaways in Colorado, including those right on Denver’s doorstep.

The best part?

Many of these trips can be done without needing to use a vacation day!

Weekend Getaways from Denver infographic

1. Fort Collins – Student-Friendly Place

Fort Collins is a breeze to get to from Denver, and it’s just as laid-back once you arrive—perfect for a weekend retreat!

Take a leisurely walk down the street that gave Walt Disney the idea for Disneyland’s Main Street USA.

Then, switch gears and paddleboard on Horsetooth Reservoir. Don’t forget to visit Odell Brewing Company to sample some top-notch craft beer

I’ve found this place to be truly amazing. The people here are always polite, creating a welcoming atmosphere that’s hard to beat. Despite its suburban setting, there’s a surprising number of shopping centers available.

The whole town revolves around the college, making it an incredibly student-friendly area. Most local businesses offer student discounts and budget-friendly accommodations, setting it apart from many other places.

We stayed at Days Inn by Wyndham and it was amazing!

  • Distance from Denver: 68 minutes

2. Dunes A Hidden Gem National Park

Dunes A Hidden Gem National Park

We visited this national park for a day.

This National Park feels like a hidden treasure, a bit away from the usual tourist trails. The Visitor Center does an excellent job detailing the origins of the sand dunes.

After parking in the main lot, we embarked on a 20-minute walk to reach the first dunes’ base. Climbing to the base and then to the top of the dunes requires a bit of effort.

For those aiming for the summit, I’d recommend setting aside at least 3-4 hours. During our two-hour visit, we managed to climb a couple of dunes, which was satisfying for us.

The experience was utterly wonderful and memorable, offering a unique adventure away from the more crowded paths.

  • Distance from Denver: 4 hours

3. Soothing Soaks at Glenwood Hot Springs

Glenwood Hot Springs

Visiting Glenwood Hot Springs after a skiing trip in Aspen was a first-timer for me this January, and it left me absolutely amazed.

The place exudes an ancient charm, and let me tell you, the hot springs pool is MASSIVE!

Picture this: snowflakes gently falling around you as you sink into the hot water up to your neck—pure bliss, right? And the best part? No funky smell in sight!

The setup is impressive too. There’s a regular hot pool on one side, and on the other, a super hot tub that’s spacious enough to accommodate plenty of people.

Hot water spouts rain down on you as you lounge in the hot chairs, providing a blissful massage-like experience.

Overall, it was quite an adventure, topped off with learning about the rich history of this century-old hot springs facility.

4. Breckenridge

I’m not exactly a pro when it comes to snowboarding, but I still had an amazing time on this mountain.

I was with friends and wife who tackled more challenging peaks, and despite the differences in our skill levels, we all enjoyed ourselves.

We were a group of six, visiting from Tuesday to Saturday, 2/14 – 2/18. It became busier with each passing day.

On our first morning, the ski lift at the main entrance had a substantial wait time of about 20 minutes.

However, once we ascended and ventured across the various peaks, we hardly encountered any queues at the other lifts.

Descending the mountain felt spacious too, except for a particularly narrow section they call the catwalk, which leads back to the main entrance.

Overall, it was a delightful experience, and I’d both recommend it and do it again.

We all stayed at Grand Timber Lodge, unforgettable!

  •  Distance from Denver: 90 minutes to two hours

5. Idaho Springs

The region is steeped in history, making it a fantastic destination for history enthusiasts, with the added perk of the terrain’s breathtaking natural beauty.

The air is crisp and invigorating, offering a feeling of rejuvenation.

I thoroughly enjoyed my visit; there’s a wealth of activities and sights. It’s nourishing for the soul.

  • Distance from Denver: 35 minutes to 1 hour

6. Estes Park

The Estes Park area is unbeatable when it comes to the variety of fun activities on offer!

Whether it’s horseback riding, exploring Rocky Mountain National Park through hiking, taking a jeep tour by day or night, or simply enjoying the shopping and dining in the charming town of Estes Park, you’re guaranteed to have a memorable time without a single dull moment.

  • Distance from Denver: 1 hour 20 minutes

7. Aspen Snowmass

Aspen Snowmass

Our first visit to Aspen Snowmass allowed us access to four mountains with one lift ticket: Snowmass, Aspen, Aspen Highlands, and Buttermilk.

We chose to stay and ski at Snowmass for the entire week. Despite this, we couldn’t ski all the runs; the mountain’s size and variety are immense.

The lower mountain had slushy and rainy conditions, but the upper parts maintained excellent snow quality, with powdery and light conditions.

Adjusting to the altitude is crucial. Coming from sea level, we experienced altitude sickness, exacerbated by the base village’s elevation, which is around 2000 feet higher than other western ski resorts. This condition limited our ability to ski at the mountain’s peak (12,000 feet) until later in the week.

The top of the mountain offered beautiful, untouched, and enjoyable skiing conditions.

However, the design where bowls lead into a single area caused large, uneven bumps to form by the end of the day. We also didn’t explore the Hanging Valley area, as it required two lift rides to access.

  •  Distance from Denver: 3 hours 20 minutes to 4 hours

8. Keystone

I visited Keystone with friends, a mix of first-time skiers and experts

The resort offered trails for all skill levels, from beginner slopes to challenging black diamond bowls.

The snow conditions were favorable, and we didn’t face long waits for the lifts.

However, the lodge food didn’t meet our expectations, leading us to bring our own lunch on the second day.

The village charmed us with its shops, restaurants, and convenient shuttle service. It was an excellent trip overall, and I’m keen to return.

  • Distance from Denver: 90 minutes to 2 hours

9. Santa Fe

Santa Fe seamlessly combines city life with nature, known for its excellent food and lively farmer’s market.

The city reflects a diverse mix of cultures in its people, buildings, and museums.

Weather-wise, it’s sunny throughout the year, with summer temperatures in the high 80s, occasionally interrupted by thunderstorms and hail.

Fall brings beautiful tree colors in the Ski Basin, while winter introduces cold, snowy conditions that quickly clear up due to the persistent sun.

On the downside, the city’s population skews older, which might make it challenging for young people to socialize or find employment.

  • Distance from Denver: 5 hours 50 minutes

10. Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest

Located about 2 hour drive from Denver, this national forest is essential for anyone passionate about hiking or outdoor activities.

We opted for the loop trail to Medicine Bow Peak, choosing a clockwise direction, and found it to be incredible.

The vistas were breathtaking, and the hike presented a good challenge.

Bringing our poles was a wise choice, especially for navigating a large snowfield and descending the steep path near the peak.

Arriving early is advisable during summer months since both the parking lot and portions of the trail tend to fill up quickly.

  •  Distance from Denver: 2 hours

For The End

We’ve reached the conclusion of our journey. I aimed to share details from my travels, emphasizing certain aspects along the way.

In summary, there’s something out there for everyone – my wife included.

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