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The real secret? Colorado is a hidden gem on its own. Denver is a bumping transplant town getting busier by the day, but you’d be surprised how many people never get out of the city! Check out these 8 hiking trails, all perfectly hidden gems in Colorado that will make your Colorado trip one for the books. These trails are perfect for visitors and locals looking to beat the bustle and experience Colorado’s beauty.

Colorado is full of history and nature. Don’t forget to Leave No Trace so we can continue enjoying these hidden gems. 

Hidden Gems Hiking Trails in Colorado for Day Adventurers

Centennial Cone “Travois” Trail

  • Distance: 13.0 miles
  • Elevation: 2,020
Travois Trail

Travois Trail

Start your morning with an incredible sunset view from Centennial Cone. You may see a few runners in the morning, but this is a great hidden gem if you’re looking for quiet hiking.

The Travois Trail is closed from February to June for Elk mating season, so be sure to look up open trails and dates before arriving. This 13-mile hike is dog friendly, but there aren’t many creeks, so come prepared with plenty of water for you and your four-legged friends.

View Trail Information

Blue Lake Trail near Telluride

  • Distance: 10.3 miles
  • Elevation: 1,794
The serene Blue Lakes Trail - a hidden gem in Colorado

The serene Blue Lakes Trail

You’ll want to get to this one early – only a few parking spots are available at the trailhead!

This hidden gem in Colorado is great for hikers, campers, and cross country skiers! It’s a longer hike, but the incline is gradual and not too strenuous. You’ll enter the Rawah Wilderness and five miles in, you’ll find yourself with incredible views of Blue Lake. Bonus: it’s a great hike for dogs and if you catch it at the right time of summer, the wildflowers flourish.

Don’t forget: Longer hikes require planning around weather, water, food, and directions! Make sure you’re prepared for Blue Lake Trail.

St Mary’s Glacier Trailhead

  • Distance: 2.4
  • Elevation: 1,030 
St Mary's Glacier Photo by Paul Arterburn on Unsplash

St Mary’s Glacier
Photo by Paul Arterburn on Unsplash

Located in Idaho Springs,  this trail is great for a day trip about an hour from Denver, Boulder, and Breckenridge! St Mary’s Glacier is a popular winter hike; you might find skiers or ice fishermen enjoying the mountain along the way. Throughout the journey, the views are incredible. You won’t be disappointed when you make it to the glacier!  

Be prepared for wind and temperature changes; microspikes, poles, and warm clothes are recommended as the snow sticks around for quite a while.

Parking at the trailhead is $5 cash. View the Forest Service website for closures and restrictions.

Hidden Gems in Colorado for a Weekend Getaway

Ouray, Colorado

Discover Ouray - known as the Little Switzerland of America, one of the best hidden gems in Colorado

Discover Ouray – known as the Little Switzerland of America

Ouray is commonly known as the “Little Switzerland of America”, so you can imagine why it’d make the list for hidden gems. 

Summer is the best time to plan a weekend getaway to this town full of gems. Ouray offers incredibly scenic views along the Million Dollar Highway, Fish Creek Falls, and Red Mountain Pass Summit. Ouray is also home to No Sulfer Hot Springs – filled with geothermal water, packed with minerals straight from Ouray Box Canyon Waterfall.

The downside? It’s over 6 hours from the Denver Airport. There’s no doubt it’s worth the trip though! There are two smaller airports outside of Ouray, but you might have a harder time finding trips in. I would recommend checking Skyscanner to find the best option.

Imogene Pass

  • Distance: 17.5 mi
  • Elevation: 4734

Imogene Pass is a more strenuous hike, but you also have the option of driving! It’s well known for offroading – so well known you can actually rent a jeep in town to try it out yourself.

If you enjoy crazy things, like racing your way up a giant mountain, Imogene Pass hosts an annual, 17-mile run! 

The trailhead is just 30 minutes from Telluride, a quaint mountain town filled with waterfalls, hikes, and festivals in the summer!

Strawberry Park Hot Springs, Steamboat, CO

Strawberry Park Hot Springs - one of the best hidden gems in Colorado

Strawberry Park Hot Springs – one of the best hidden gems in Colorado

Sometimes, you just need a weekend of pampering! Strawberry Park Hot Springs is the perfect getaway during cold months. The park has maintained nature’s beauty around these Hot Springs while allowing you to lodge and soak in 104-degree mineral water. Nearby, Routt National Forest has trails for hiking, snowshoeing, and biking.

The “Train Caboose” and “Covered Wagon” are just two of the park’s unique lodging for guests. They also have camping availability or, you can head to Downtown Steamboat Springs and enjoy the local dining and shopping. There is an onsight shuttle to take you to Routt and Steamboat Springs.

Hot tip: After hours, the springs are 18+ and clothing is…optional. No alcohol is allowed or available.

Strawberry Park currently requires reservations for all pools. You can reserve your spot directly on their website

Grand Mesa Lakes

For a snow-filled state, Colorado can get hot. To get through the hottest summer days, Grand Mesa Lakes are the perfect place to cool off. Grand Mesa holds 300 lakes and reservoirs where you can fish, hike, camp, boat, and more. It’s known as the “World’s Largest Flat Top Mountain” with a 10,000-foot elevation.

You’ll find the drive into Grand Mesa National Forest tranquil and beautiful. The forest is home to a diverse group of wildlife like moose, black bears, and is well known for its trout fishing.

If you’re not much of a hiker and need a place to stay, check out nearby hotels on booking.com.

Hidden Gem Hiking Trail in Colorado for Beginners

Glacier Gorge Trail

  • Distance: 3.3 mi
  • Elevation: 646

Glacier Gorge Trail is located in Rocky Mountain National Park, which can be a heavily trafficked area. I’d suggest beating the crowd and enjoying this trail at sunrise. However, Glacier Gorge Trail is not the most popular in the park but you still get spectacular views of the mountains and the lake without the crowds and strenuous hiking.

This loop is just over three miles, making it perfect for a quick trip to see the park and give you the rest of the day to explore. There is currently a fee to get into Rocky Mountain National Park so don’t forget to look up entry requirements before going.

Hidden Gems in Colorado Wrap-Up

I hope you got some great ideas for your next flight. This state offers endless amounts of nature and adventures, it would take a lifetime to experience it all. Now that you have these 8 hidden gems in Colorado, it’s time to start planning your trip! Hope to see you here soon!

Planning on a vacation to Colorado? Then, get yourself ready to have a fantastic time. If the amount spent on your travel is a concern, read on to learn how to travel Colorado on a budget.

Today I’m covering how you save money during your travels in Colorado. These don’t include any cost for preparing to go to Colorado or the traveling cost, because those things mostly depend on where you’re traveling from, how you want to travel, and which specific activities you want to do in Colorado.

There are plenty of ways to save up money on your Colorado trip. I will go through some of the easiest and best tips you can follow without any trouble at all. Let’s get started then.

Choose an all-inclusive travel plan

There’s so much to explore when you get to Colorado. Deciding on a place can get tricky. Also, if you want to do everything, you will need to spend precious time planning out your itinerary and figuring out where to go. Spending more days just means spending more money.

You can either develop your own all-inclusive plan where you plan out everything in advance to visit the majority of Colorado within the shortest possible time. You should plan out everything from your hotels, even down the restaurants in the area.

Or, you can choose to go with a package tour who does all the work for you. Sure, there will be some travel agent fees included, but they also get group deals on hotels, travel, and restaurants which overall can bring the costs down. Altogether, you will save money while experiencing the best of Colorado.

Go for less expensive hotels

Here’s the thing, when you are in Colorado, you won’t be spending too much time in the hotel. Instead, you will be out there exploring the state and its beauty. The adventure of Colorado will be your key in your visit to the state. So, spending money on a luxury hotel or resort is just pointless.

You can just go to a local inn or motel and register there. It doesn’t cost too much to get a room in such an inn. This way, you can save money during your visit to Colorado without any extra steps. And that gives you the option to spend more on other stuff that you plan to do.

Budget-friendly eating

When you go for a vacation, the purpose is to explore the place and, at the same time, try out the local food there. And the best part is, local food in restaurants isn’t usually that expensive. You can get budget-friendly food no matter where you go, as long as you eat locally.

So, instead of going to fancy restaurants and eating different cuisines, try going to restaurants with local food. Denver is the best city for budget-friendly food. They have a wide range of amazing restaurants that don’t cost a lot for an enjoyable meal.

Try out camping to save money in Colorado

I think one of the best ways you can save up some money while traveling in Colorado is through camping. You might not want to be camping the whole trip, but make sure to keep camping as a part of your trip to Colorado. Here’s how you can save money through camping.

First of all, you won’t have to worry about renting a hotel or inn as long as you are camping. Colorado also has  large number of camping options throughout the state. While you’re camping, you’ll also save money on food since you will mostly be cooking by yourself.  Avoiding the costs of expensive restaurant meals will help you save money during your travels.

Aside from all that, it surely is a great experience to spend your nights under the sky of Colorado. That’s what adventure is all about, right?

Save money on transportation

A lot of people make the mistake of renting cars while they are visiting Colorado. Sure, you can do that if you’re not worried about spending money. But if you want to save up money, then renting a car isn’t the greatest idea. There are several reasons for that.

First of all, you have to consider the cost of gas plus parking along with the rent of the car. Then there is the factor of taking the car along with you wherever you go. It takes away the freedom of exploring the place in its entirety, and you are limited to visiting certain places.

So, instead of renting a car, try using public transportation to get around wherever you want to go. You can also consider things like Uber rides to reach places. Doing this also allows walking around the place, which is the best way to explore an area.

How Much to Budget for Travel in Colorado

Save money in Colorado, so you can partake in activities like skiing

Save money in Colorado, so you can partake in activities like skiing

Let’s take a quick look at the cost of various things in Colorado. This is a rough cost, so you can see differences when you actually visit.

Food

When you are out in Denver, usually, it can cost around $30 to $40 to eat per day. That’s the average cost you would have in Denver for your meal. Depending on what you eat, it can go higher or lower.

Hotels vs. Hostels and Inns

Typically, a hotel with premium facilities or luxury will cost you around 200 to 300 USD. Whereas you can get a room in a hostel or an inn at around 40 to 50 USD with ease.

Bus fare

In general, the bus fare in Colorado is pretty low, and it can range from somewhere around 1.5 USD to 4 USD depending on where you are going.

Activities

There are so many things you can do in Colorado so it’s important to look into costs ahead of time. If you plan to visit the national park, you have to pay around 10 to 15 USD as the entrance fee, which isn’t a lot. If you want to make use of the best waders for surf fishing, then shore fishing in Colorado is also an option. But that can cost around $100 or even more depending on the service you are choosing.

Conclusion

All in all, your visit to Colorado doesn’t have to be expensive when you know how to save money while traveling in Colorado. Following the tips I shared here will surely help you spend less than you usually would. But if you don’t mind spending money, I would still suggest trying these out for a more adventurous trip.