An elk on the Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado, one of the best weekend getaways from denver

35 Weekend Getaways from Denver (By a Local) 

As a Denver local, I love this city! One of the things that makes Denver so special is that it’s close to many travel-worthy destinations that make for fun weekend getaways from Denver. You can spend weekends exploring nearby mountain towns, national parks, artsy communities, and much more.

If you’re looking for a romantic weekend getaway or fun family adventure, I’ve got you covered. I’ve rounded up the best weekend trips near Denver to get you out and exploring… often without even having to take a day off work!

Disclosure: Travel Lemming is an independent reader-supported blog. You can support us by purchasing via the affiliate links on this page, which may earn us commissions. Thank you!

35 Best Denver Weekend Getaways

Rocky Mountain National Park

A reflection of a mountain on the Alpine Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park

🗺️ Distance from Denver: 90 minutes to two hours | Google Maps | Destination Website | 👉 Search Hotels near RMNP on Booking 

If I could only pick one weekend getaway from Denver, this would be it! Rocky Mountain National Park is a very doable hour-and-a-half to two-hour drive if there aren’t major traffic delays. You can learn about the history and nature of the area, take amazing hikes, and drive Trail Ridge Road, one of the best road trips in Colorado.

You can enter the park from either the west or east. If you want to stay to the west, look for hotels in Grand Lake or Granby. On the eastern side, plan to stay in Estes Park.

Fort Collins

View of the splash fountain in Old Town Square
(photo: marekuliasz / Shutterstock)

🗺️ Distance from Denver: 68 minutes | Google Maps | Destination Website | 👉 Search Hotels in Fort Collins on Booking 

Fort Collins is an easy drive, and an equally easy-going place for a weekend away from Denver! Stroll the street that inspired Disneyland Main Street USA and paddleboard on Horsetooth Reservoir. Also, drop by Odell Brewing Company for delicious craft beer. 

👉 Pro Tip: I profiled some great places to stay in Fort Collins if you need recommendations! 

Colorado Springs

View of the colorful sky over the Garden of the Gods in Colorado
Garden of the Gods is a must-see Colorado Springs sight!

🗺️ Distance from Denver: 78 minutes to two hours | Google Maps | Destination Website | 👉 Search Hotels in Colorado Springs on Booking 

Walk through the beautiful red rock formations at Garden of the Gods, commune with wolves, and discover more fun things to do in Colorado Springs! I love traveling to the Springs, because even though it juts up against the Rocky Mountains like Denver, the views are very different.  

Looking for tips on where to stay? Check out my roundup of the best spots to stay in Colorado Springs!

Vail

People from Vail during winter season
(photo: Margaret.Wiktor / Shutterstock)

🗺️ Distance from Denver: 94 minutes to two hours | Google Maps | Destination Website | 👉 Search Hotels in Vail on Booking 

Vail is one of my happy places! Whether you’re heading there to hike or ski at one of Colorado’s best ski resorts, you’ll find plenty of outdoor activities for every season. If you need suggestions for more things to do and where to stay in Vail, I have a bunch for you. 

Great Sand Dunes National Park

The author's kids during their visit in Great Sand Dunes National Park

🗺️ Distance from Denver: Four hours | Google Maps | Destination Website | 👉 Search Hotels near the Great Sand Dunes on Booking 

I just got back from camping at the Sand Dunes, and it’s truly one of the most unique landscapes I’ve ever seen! The juxtaposition of green mountains and the stark dunes is stunning. The best time to go is in June, when Medano Creek is usually at its highest.

👉 Pro Tip: To beat both the summer crowds and the heat, get an early start. We were hiking the dunes by 8 am and heading back to camp just as it was getting hot. 

Cheyenne

The Wyoming State Capitol building in Cheyenne

🗺️ Distance from Denver: 90 minutes to two hours | Google Maps | Destination Website | 👉 Search Hotels in Cheyenne on Booking 

It doesn’t take long to leave the state of Colorado behind for a weekend! In less than two hours, you can be in Wyoming’s capital city. Here, you can watch Western skits in Gunslinger Square, hike, cross-country ski, and a lot more. 

Steamboat Springs

A mountain with snow in Steamboat Springs
(photo: Rachele A. Morlan / Shutterstock)

🗺️ Distance from Denver: Two hours and 50 minutes to three hours | Google Maps | Destination Website | 👉 Search Hotels in Steamboat Springs on Booking 

Regardless of season, there are so many things to do in Steamboat Springs. There’s wonderful skiing in winter, and in summer, you can hike, bike, swim, and paddle in nearby Steamboat Lake. Strawberry Park Hot Springs is a wonderful place to soak away the aches and pains of an active day outdoors!

👉 Pro Tip: Check out my lengthy list of Colorado hot springs which are scattered throughout the state! 

Leadville

The Tabor Opera House building from the outside

🗺️ Distance from Denver: One hour 44 minutes to two hours | Google Maps | Destination Website | 👉 Search Hotels in Leadville on Booking 

Leadville is less than two hours from Denver, but feels like it’s a world away! This little mountain town has a mining history, and the old buildings along main street now house quaint shops and restaurants. Leadville is close to Ski Cooper and Copper Mountain, and in summer, there’s lots of hiking, mountain biking, and more things to do in Leadville.   

🛏️ Where to Stay: If you’re looking for suggestions on Where to Stay in Leadville, check out my extensive list! 

Royal Gorge Bridge & Park

The Royal Gorge Bridge from afar under the colorful sky

🗺️ Distance from Denver: Two hours and 21 minutes | Google Maps | Destination Website | 👉 Search Hotels near Royal Gorge on Booking 

The Royal Gorge Bridge isn’t for those with a fear of heights, but it’s a breathtaking experience! Walk across the bridge and see down almost a thousand feet into the canyon below. You can also ride the Skycoaster, zipline, or take an aerial gondola over the canyon. 

Glenwood Springs

View of a bluish-green shade lake in Hanging Lake
Hanging Lake is a great hike nearby!

🗺️ Distance from Denver: Two hours 37 minutes to three hours | Google Maps | Destination Website | 👉 Search Hotels in Glenwood Springs on Booking 

Glenwood Springs is home to the largest mineral hot springs pool in the world! There are actually several hot springs options in Glenwood. You’ll also find great hikes, rafting tours, and the Sunlight Mountain Ski Resort for winter sports. 

Mount Rushmore National Memorial

Kids smiling for a photo and the Mount Rushmore National Memorial on their background

🗺️ Distance from Denver: Five hours and 44 minutes to six hours | Google Maps | Destination Website | 👉 Search Hotels near Mount Rushmore on Booking 

It’s a bit of a drive, but Mount Rushmore has just enough things to do for a weekend getaway. Visit the monument during the day, and be sure to go back at night when it’s lit up. You can also visit the largest sculpture in the world, the Crazy Horse Memorial, and spend some time in historic Keystone and Custer State Park.

Breckenridge

A store with Christmas decorations in Breckenridge

🗺️ Distance from Denver: 90 minutes to two hours | Google Maps | Destination Website | 👉 Search Hotels in Breckenridge on Booking 

Breckenridge is one of the best weekend getaways. Regardless of the time of year you visit, there are so many things to do! In winter, you’ll find world class skiing, ice skating, or cross-country skiing. In summer, you can hike, mountain bike, or relax with an outdoor yoga class.  

🛏️ Recommended Reading: Check out my list of Where to Stay in Breckenridge to help you plan your trip! 

Idaho Springs

The Evergreen National Bank signage and a street in Idaho Springs
(photo: Serenethos / Shutterstock)

🗺️ Distance from Denver: 37 minutes to one hour | Google Maps | Destination Website | 👉 Search Hotels in Idaho Springs on Booking 

Idaho Springs is one of the closest destinations to Denver, but there are enough mountain activities for a great staycation! Visitors can go rafting in Clear Creek, stroll the main street, or relax at a local brewery. You can also soak in the Indian Hot Springs after an active day! For more ideas, check out Abigail’s guide on the best things to do in Idaho Springs

Estes Park

View of the Estes Park and Rocky Mountain in the background

🗺️ Distance from Denver: One hour twenty minutes | Google Maps | Destination Website | 👉 Search Hotels in Estes Park on Booking 

Estes Park lies just outside of Rocky Mountain National Park, but you’ll find plenty to do in town as well! You can visit and stay at the Stanley Hotel which is said to have inspired Stephen King’s novel “The Shining.” Browse and eat at the restaurants, shops, and cafes along the main street in town. Walk around or paddle on Lake Estes, or just enjoy the dramatic scenery you find at every turn.    

Black Canyon of the Gunnison

Overlooking view from the Black Canyon of the Gunnison

🗺️ Distance from Denver: Four hours forty minutes to five hours | Google Maps | Destination Website | 👉 Search Hotels near Black Canyon on Booking 

Black Canyon of the Gunnison is the least-visited of Colorado’s national parks, which makes it one of those perfect weekend trips from Denver when you want to escape the crowds. There are easy hikes, strenuous treks into the inner canyon, scenic drives, and groomed cross-country ski trails to use in winter. 

Golden

A water running along a river in Denver West
Clear Creek is a great spot to cool off!

🗺️ Distance from Denver: 23 minutes | Google Maps | Destination Website | 👉 Search Hotels in Golden on Booking 

Sure, you could go home to Denver from Golden pretty quickly. But if you’re looking for a staycation close to home, Golden is a great little spot for weekend getaways. Washington Ave. has shops and restaurants where you can enjoy brunch or a drink at dinnertime. There’s lots of nearby hiking, and Clear Creek is a great spot for tubing or just splashing in the shallows. 

Aspen

View of the scenery in Aspen Scenic Area
Breathtaking beauty is all around in Aspen!

🗺️ Distance from Denver: Three hours seventeen minutes to four hours | Google Maps | Destination Website | 👉 Search Hotels in Aspen on Booking 

Aspen is a blend of rugged and luxury, which means there’s something for everyone on weekend getaways in this town! If you want to hike a mellow trail or climb one of Colorado’s 14ers, the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness is right there. If you want to do some upscale shopping, world-class skiing, or enjoy a romantic dinner at an award-winning restaurant, this charming mountain town has plenty of those options as well! 

Pagosa Springs

View of the Pagosa Springs under the clear blue sky
(photo: Jim Lambert / Shutterstock)

🗺️ Distance from Denver: Five hours | Google Maps | Destination Website | 👉 Search Hotels in Pagosa Springs on Booking 

Pagosa Springs is one of the longer drives on this list of weekend trips from Denver, but that drive itself is part of the fun! The scenery all along the way is gorgeous, and you can spend the weekend soaking in the hot springs and enjoying one of Colorado’s best small towns.

Get planning your visit with our list of the best attractions in Pagosa Springs and our guide to staying in Pagosa Springs.

Keystone

View of a golf course in Keystone, Colorado
Keystone has things to do in summer and winter!

🗺️ Distance from Denver: 90 minutes to two hours | Google Maps | Destination Website | 👉 Search Hotels in Keystone on Booking 

Keystone is most popular in winter when there is excellent skiing and the family-friendly resort is bustling! However, there are lots to do on the mountain in summer as well. Enjoy the bike park, go boating nearby, or just enjoy the views that make this one of the best weekend trips you can take from Denver!

Durango

A historic steam engine train travelling from Durango to Silverton

🗺️ Distance from Denver: Six hours 14 minutes | Google Maps | Destination Website | 👉 Search Hotels in Durango on Booking 

Durango is another of those weekend trips from Denver that’s quite a drive, but the stunning scenery along the way is part of the vacation! Once you arrive, there are also plenty of hiking trails, places for horseback riding, ski resorts, and more. 

🏕️ Read Next: Best Campsites Near Denver

Palisade

View of a vineyard in Palisade during sunrise

🗺️ Distance from Denver: Three hours 36 minutes to four hours | Google Maps | Destination Website | 👉 Search Hotels in Palisade on Booking 

Palisade is smack in the middle of Colorado’s wine country, making it a great spot for weekend getaways from Denver! Visit some wineries, try Colorado’s renowned Palisade peaches, and enjoy a quiet weekend on the Western Slope. 

Frisco

View of a town clock in Frisco

🗺️ Distance from Denver: Two hours | Google Maps | Destination Website | 👉 Search Hotels in Frisco on Booking 

Frisco is perfect for weekend trips from Denver because there’s plenty to do right there, but it’s also close to other Colorado mountain towns. In winter, you’ll be near several ski areas, and in summer, you can boat on the lake or try one of the many hiking trails in the area. 

Santa Fe

A colorful architecture in Santa Fe

🗺️ Distance from Denver: Five hours 49 minutes | Google Maps | Destination Website | 👉 Search Hotels in Santa Fe on Booking 

Santa Fe is a beautiful, walkable city that celebrates art, culture, and nature and is one of the best weekend getaways from Denver! Enjoy live music in the Plaza downtown in summer. Visit the Georgia O’Keefe Museum and a variety of art galleries and historic sites. There are also plenty of hiking trails and ways to enjoy the outdoors year-round. 

Buena Vista

View from a scenic drive in Collegiate Peaks Scenic and Historic Byway

🗺️ Distance from Denver: Two hours 23 minutes | Google Maps | Destination Website | 👉 Search Hotels in Buena Vista on Booking 

Buena Vista isn’t as popular, or as easy to get to, as many of the mountain towns off I-70. That also means it isn’t as crowded! In summer, paddle at the whitewater park, go hiking, or raft through Browns Canyon. In winter, you can soak in several nearby hot springs, go ice fishing, or warm up at a local coffee shop! 

Boulder

View of the Boulder Theater from the outside in Colorado
Boulder has lots of places to enjoy music and theater!

🗺️ Distance from Denver: 34 minutes | Google Maps | Destination Website | 👉 Search Hotels in Boulder on Booking 

Boulder is a weekend getaway that’s close enough to Denver that you could easily go home. However, if you’re going to a concert or play, or just want to stay somewhere new, it’s a great option! There are lots of hiking trails, performing arts venues, a small ski resort, and so many more things to do.

Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest

The Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest under the clear blue sky

🗺️ Distance from Denver: Two hours 10 minutes | Google Maps | Destination Website | 👉 Search Hotels in Laramie, WY on Booking 

The Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest stretches through northern Colorado and southern Wyoming, but Laramie makes a good base camp for exploring. You can go horseback riding, hiking, snowshoeing, and much more in the area.  

Dunton Hot Springs

🗺️ Distance from Denver: Seven hours | Google Maps | Destination Website | 👉 Book Dunton Hot Springs 

Dunton Hot Springs is a long drive, but when you get there, you can pretty much park your car and not move it during your stay! Dunton is an 1800s ghost town with several cabins you can book. Take advantage of the relaxing hot springs, go horseback riding, book a fly fishing expedition, or hire a guide to take you on a variety of outdoor adventures. 

Georgetown

View of the author's daughter in front of a shop in Georgetown

🗺️ Distance from Denver: 51 to 90 minutes | Google Maps | Destination Website | 👉 Search Hotels in Georgetown on Booking 

Georgetown is tucked into a valley in the mountains along I-70. You can wander and shop along the main street, or take a scenic ride on the Georgetown Loop Railroad, one of the best train rides in Colorado. In the fall, don’t miss driving Guanella Pass, known for stunning views and autumn colors. 

Dinosaur National Monument

View of petroglyphs in Dinosaur National Monument

🗺️ Distance from Denver: Four hours 30 minutes | Google Maps | Destination Website | 👉 Search Hotels near Dinosaur National Monument on Booking 

Spend a weekend steeped in history! You’ll see evidence of the dinosaurs that used to roam the area and the petroglyphs left by people about a thousand years ago. You can also go hiking, rafting, or enjoy the solitude of this out-of-the-way monument.

Taos

View of infrastructure in Taos

🗺️ Distance from Denver: Four hours 42 minutes | Google Maps | Destination Website | 👉 Search Hotels in Taos on Booking 

Visiting Taos, New Mexico is one of the best things to do in the USA this summer! The charming destination is full of art, culture, and history. There are lots of galleries and museums, along with live music venues. You can also go hiking or rafting, or spend the day shopping at Taos’ quaint stores. 

Ouray

Aerial view of a mountain town with hot springs in Ouray

🗺️ Distance from Denver: Five hours 30 minutes to six hours | Google Maps | Destination Website | 👉 Search Hotels in Ouray on Booking 

Ouray is a cute little mountain town tucked into the San Juans. Enjoy the hot springs, go for a hike, shop along Main Street, or learn more about Colorado’s mining history here. Also, be sure to take a drive down the Million Dollar Highway, another one of the best road trips in Colorado.

Nederland

A small waterfall in Nederland

🗺️ Distance from Denver: One hour | Google Maps | Destination Website | 👉 Search Hotels in Nederland on Booking 

Nederland is just a short drive past Boulder, and you’ll find plenty to do there on a quick weekend trip. You can hike in the Indian Peaks Wilderness, snowshoe at Brainard Lake, and spend plenty of time enjoying the outdoors! 

Silverton

Cars parked in front of colorful stores in the main street in Silverton
(photo: MisterStock / Shutterstock)

🗺️ Distance from Denver: Six hours 16 minutes | Google Maps | Destination Website | 👉 Search Hotels in Silverton on Booking 

The Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad is worth the trip to Silverton all on its own! However, there are plenty of other activities like hiking, visiting a ghost town, and touring a gold mine.  

🛏️ Where to Stay: If you need a hotel, see Abigail’s guide on where to stay in Silverton!  

Telluride

View of a street in Telluride

🗺️ Distance from Denver: Six hours 11 minutes | Google Maps | Destination Website | 👉 Search Hotels in Telluride on Booking 

Telluride is one of the most beautiful weekend getaways from Denver you could possibly take! Indulge in upscale shopping and dining, go skiing in winter or hiking in summer, or just stare out your window all weekend. Everywhere you look, the views are stunning!

Crested Butte

Colorful stores in Crested Butte
(photo: Kristi Blokhin / Shutterstock)

🗺️ Distance from Denver: Four hours and nine minutes | Google Maps | Destination Website | 👉 Search Hotels in Crested Butte on Bookin

Crested Butte has amazing skiing in winter, swimming, fishing, hiking, and more in summer. This small town also has great mountain biking and paddleboarding. After a day of outdoor adventure, sit at an outdoor cafe and just enjoy the town.

***

Whether you want to stay near the city or take a long, beautiful drive, hopefully, I’ve given you plenty of ideas for weekend getaways from Denver. For more places to explore in Colorado, be sure to check out our Ultimate Travel Guide to Colorado

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One Comment

  1. Hi Laura! Thank you so much for this information! Do you have recommendations for the best places to visit to see the fall color you referred to? Thank you!
    Sincerely,
    Transplant from Texas

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