Day Trips from Denver
Learning English does not only happen in the classrooms. Our location in Denver, Colorado, gives our students unique opportunities to experience American culture and history while enhancing their English skills. While we cannot hope to list all the amazing things to see, experience and do in Colorado, this list should give you a place to begin.
Rocky Mountain National Park
It would be foolish to start a list of day trips from Denver without the iconic Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP). An easy 90-minute drive from the Denver area to the main entrance in Estes Park, CO allows you to maximize your time in the park. Visiting national parks gives you the opportunity to see a lot in one day. Or, find one area that you really want to explore and discover all of the details! With a main road that takes you around the entirety of Rocky Mountain National Park, you can see a lot from your car. There are lots of points of interest, trailheads, or picnic areas to stop, slow down and take in the scenery. Within RMNP there are 77 mountains that are 12,000 feet or higher. This includes Long’s Peak at 14,259 feet above sea level! There are also expansive valleys and wildlife such as moose or bear. If you have children with you while visiting the park, you can take them sledding in the winter or attend a family ranger program during the summer. Rocky Mountain National Park cannot be missed by anyone visiting Colorado. It is the perfect rocky mountain experience within a short drive of the city. Please note: you may need an entry permit specific to the day you would like to visit, which can be purchased at www.recreation.gov.
Glenwood Springs, Colorado
This day trip will require a little bit more time on the highway, but the views on this mountain drive are worth it! Plan on around a 2.5-hour, one-way drive. (But plan for the possibility of traffic on your way home!) A popular activity near Glenwood Springs is to hike the Hanging Lake trail. A quick Google image search will show you why this hike is so popular amongst Coloradans and tourists alike. Once you’ve had After a day of hiking you can return to the town and soak in the hot springs to relax your achy legs. Maybe hiking isn’t your thing – worry not, Glenwood Springs has you covered! Enjoy a day with the family at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park which offers thrill rides and cave tours. To finish off your day trip, spend the evening laughing and eating at the Glenwood Vaudeville Revue – a dinner theater comedy show sporting an old western theme.
There are numerous mountain towns to explore in Colorado, so why Leadville specifically? Once you’ve made the 1-hour and 45-minute drive to Leadville, stop and just breathe for a moment. Leadville sits at an elevation of 10,200 feet above sea level. This makes it the highest elevation city in the United States of America. The historical roots of Leadville may interest you, too. In the late 1800’s Leadville was a booming mining town and was thought of as one of the most lawless towns in the west. Today the town is a safe place, but still embodies that lawless western spirit that defined the American west throughout history. A drive around town will highlight the typical architecture of the era that has been well preserved for you to enjoy today. Fun fact: do you know what the highest elevation town in America and the Titanic have in common? You would be wrong if you said nothing. Molly Brown, famous for surviving the sinking of the Titanic in 1912, lived in Leadville with her husband. Together they owned a mining company that was instrumental in the discovery of gold in the region. History isn’t the only interesting part to Leadville, either. It provides incredible access to the outdoors! Multiple 14,000-foot peaks are nearby, including Mt. Massive and Colorado’s tallest mountain, Mt. Elbert.
Colorado and hiking mountains. Name a more iconic duo! I’ll wait… still waiting… Okay, maybe hiking isn’t your thing but you still want to get the view from the top of a tall mountain. Look no further than Pikes Peak outside of Colorado Springs. Within 2 total hours of leaving your house you can be at the very top of the iconic 14,115-foot mountain. That is because there is a road that takes you to the top where you can park, walk around the peak, and check out the beautiful visitor’s center. And have a donut! On a clear day you’ll be treated to spectacular 360-degree views. Get a true perspective of just how vast the Rocky Mountains are. If a twisty drive up the mountain sounds a little stressful, take the Cog Railway instead. The railway train slowly climbs the mountain while a guide provides commentary and information. All you have to do is sit and enjoy the views! Once you’ve had your fill of the summit spend your afternoon in Manitou Springs – small town nestled in a valley at the base of the mountain. Here you’ll find cute shops, tasty restaurants, and pretty views all around. The Colorado Springs region in general has a lot to offer for families, couples, or solo travelers alike. Are you or your children animal lovers? Check out the nearby Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, ranked the third best in the country. Do you like airplanes? Colorado Springs is home to the United States Air Force Academy. Take a tour, watch the aircraft, and check out their planetarium.
Last and often least in many peoples’ mind is the eastern plains of Colorado. There is certainly a theme to this entire list – mountains. But what happens if you drive east instead of west? It’s flat! Yet, there is still plenty to do and see in the flatlands. In Keenesburg, Colorado, lies The Wildlife Sanctuary. The sanctuary rescues lions, tigers, wolves, bears, and other animals from captivity and poor living conditions. For another fun experience, head over to Paint Mines Interpretative Park. Said to be one Colorado’s most colorful natural areas, you can also see historical evidence of humans that is over 9,000 years old. The park is full of interesting rock formations, gulches, spires, and other geological formations. Viewing the mountains from the eastern plains gives another incredible perspective of the Rocky Mountains as well. If you decide to head east, plan for about an hour and a half one-way drive.