Best Recreational Activities in Colorado

By
November 16, 2020

Colorado is full of recreational opportunities...here are a few of my favorites!

Colorado’s open spaces mean there’s never a dull weekend for outdoor-lovers. Colorado has a recreational activity for every season, from fishing in the summer to skiing in the winter.  


Whether you already live in Colorado, are moving, or vacationing there, here’s a list of the best recreational activities the Rocky Mountain State has to offer and some of my favorite places you can get your fix.

Fishing 

Colorado’s vast lakes, rivers, and reservoirs are coveted by fishermen across the country. Home to Cutthroat Trout, Rainbow Trout, Brown Trout, Brook Trout, Lake Trout, Kokanee Salmon, Mountain Whitefish, and more, there are plenty of bites to keep you occupied on the water. Take a look at some of the best places to fish in Colorado.

  • Blue Mesa Reservoir, Colorado’s largest body of water, features over 96 miles of shoreline - a fly fisher’s or reel man’s paradise. The most popular species is Rainbow Trout, but Brown Trout and Lake Trout are abundant in deeper waters.

  • The Grand Mesa has over 200 stocked lakes that fill with runoff from winter snowpack. It’s perfect for fishing on a warm summer day or ice fishing in the wintertime. 

  • The Gunnison River is filled with some of the state’s biggest trout, boasting a track record of literal gold-medal status fish. The best place to find them is a stretch between Crystal Dam and its confluence with the North Fork of the Gunnison River.

Horseback Riding

Horseback is the perfect vehicle to explore Colorado’s beauty like the early explorers did. There are plenty of guided tours for beginners and mountain trails if you already own horses. 

One of my favorite places to explore on horseback is Estes Park, located in Northern Colorado near the base of Rocky Mountain National Park. Estes Park is brimming with sprawling valleys, forests, and lakes so every trail feels a little different. 

On the Western Slope, there are countless trails on the Grand Mesa and a few can’t miss spots in the West Elks Wilderness. Both are even more beautiful if you wait for the aspen leaves to change in the fall or the snow to begin to fall in the winter. 

Hiking 

In Colorado, there’s no shortage of breathtaking hiking trails, especially in the 11 national forests the state offers. In fact, more than 35% of the land area in Colorado is protected public land, rife with wildlife in its natural habitat, plant life, and places to explore year round. Here’s a list of the 11 national forests from smallest to largest:

  • Grand Mesa National Forest - 346,555 acres

  • Arapaho National Forest - 723,744 acres

  • Roosevelt National Forest - 813,799 acres

  • Uncompahgre National Forest - 955,229 acres

  • Pike National Forest - 1,106,604 acres

  • San Isabel National Forest - 1,120,233 acres.

  • Routt National Forest - 1,125,438 acres

  • Gunnison National Forest - 1,672,136 acres

  • Rio Grande National Forest - 1,860,000 acres

  • San Juan National Forest - 1,878,846 acres

  • White River National Forest - 2,285,970 acres

Colorado is also home to more 14,000’ peaks than any other state with 58. These offer challenges for even the most ardent explorers.

Skiing 

People come from all over the country to enjoy Colorado’s slopes. The snowy, beautiful winters and mountains just a couple hours from Denver make skiing an appealing activity. The mountains have plenty of room for downhill skiers and Nordic skiers alike, and there’s something for everyone, whether you want a luxurious ski vacation, small crowds, or plenty of trails to choose from:

  • Breckenridge is the most popular ski resort in Colorado, and the charming town makes for great apres ski relaxation. There are a ton of award-winning peaks to ski. However, this resort does get pretty crowded at the height of ski season. 

  • Vail is the largest ski resort in Colorado and comes with a luxurious town and experience to boot. The town and mountains are designed for skiing, very pedestrian friendly with a European Alps feel. 

  • For a family-friendly, affordable ski vacation, look at Winter Park or Copper Mountain instead. They have an excellent range of runs for different abilities. The only downside is that these areas are a bit smaller than ski-centric cities like Breckenridge and Vail.

Big Game Hunting 

When it comes to big game hunting, there are few states better than Colorado. With ample open space, and species like elk, mule deer, black bear, mountain lion & moose, the season will keep you plenty busy. 

Some great areas to hunt include Hayden, Woodland Park, Salida, Castle Rock, and my personal favorite, the Grand Mesa. Avid hunters can take it a step further and consider purchasing their own Colorado hunting property to avoid crowded sites and even make money by letting others hunt on it.  

Colorado Has Something For Everyone

From leisurely weekend activities to adrenaline pumping thrills, Colorado has something for everyone. You’ll never be bored with the vast amount of land, lakes, and seasons. Whether you’re making the move or investing in a property with income potential, let me know how I can help make the transition easier.