When I originally made my Colorado Bucket List in June of 2014, I’d lived in the state for a total of seven years over two periods.
At the time, I would have made the worst tour guide ever.
I hadn’t really seen much of the state, and I wanted to change that.
So I started pulling ideas from different “things you must see/do” articles and websites and adopted a tourist attitude. But life turned upside down six months later with my loss, and while I kept doing lots of things around the state, I stopped actively attempting to check things off or documenting it.
It’s time to bring the mission back.
By the time I leave Colorado next February to move home to New Mexico, I’ll have lived in the Rocky Mountain state for a total of about 15 years. Wild!
I went back through some old social media posts and newer blogs to update and link what I’ve done since I stopped tracking. I’ve also done some things that have no online record, so I’ve linked to more information on external sites.
I’ll be spending my remaining time in Colorado working to check things off, discovering new places I didn’t even know I should add, and documenting on the blog as I go. I hope that this serves as a fun record of everything I’ve done here while also giving other people guidance around things to do!
- See the Jet Car Nationals at Bandimere Speedway.
- Spend an evening at old fashioned Lakeside Amusement Park.
- Visit Denver’s Botanical Gardens.
- Be a spectator at any Broncos football game.
- Spend a day at the Downtown Denver Aquarium.
- Explore the Denver Museum of Nature & Science and Gates Planetarium.
- Spend an evening at the tables or slots in Central City and Blackhawk.
- Peruse through the many shelves of the Tattered Cover Bookstore.
- Visit the National Atmospheric Research Laboratory in Boulder.
- Soak at the World Famous Hot Springs Pool in Glenwood Springs.
- Shop, eat, and walk the 16th Street Mall in Denver.
- Ice Skate on Evergreen Lake.
- Spend a day at Waterworld.
- Go kart at the Grand Junction Motor Speedway.
- Explore the most preserved ghost town in Colorado.
- Place a bet on your favorite horse at Arapahoe Park.
- Visit Estes Park.
- Take a trip to Bent’s Old Fort.
- Visit the Pike’s Peak Cog Railway.
- Explore Garden of the Gods.
- Visit the Cave of the Winds.
- Stop by the U. S. Air Force Academy.
- Spend and evening at the Broadmoor Hotel.
- Do the free Coors Brewery Tour in Golden.
- Visit and explore Durango.
- Visit the ashrams, alligator park, and hot springs in Crestone.
- Do the Zoo Lights at the Denver Zoo.
- Attend a show at intimate and glamorous Paramount Theatre.
- Take a free tour of the United States Mint in Denver.
- Visit Leadville, the highest elevated city in the United States.
- Take a ride over to the Colorado Railroad Museum.
- Enjoy dinner at Casa Bonita.
- Catch a Colorado Rockies game at Coors Field.
- Head to a Colorado drive-in theatre.
- Tour the National Center For Atmospheric Research.
- Drive to Pueblo for the Colorado State Fair.
- Take a stroll through the Santa Fe Art District on First Friday.
- Read something interesting at the Denver Public Library.
- Attend a concert at Red Rocks Amphitheatre.
- Enjoy an afternoon at the Denver Art Museum.
- Get fresh peaches (and eat tons of peach treats) in Palisade.
- Attend a performance at the Arts Complex in Downtown Denver.
- Rock climb at an indoor gym.
- Shoot guns at a local range.
- See one of the most popular Corn Maze’s in the country.
- Watch the holiday parade in historic Redstone.
- Climb REI’s giant 45′ rock climbing wall, The Pinnacle.
- Go Skydiving in Delta.
- Catch the Vaudeville show in Glenwood Springs.
- See a minor league baseball game in Grand Junction.
- Check out the Glenwood Springs Strawberry Days.
- Explore the town of Aspen.
- See a live show at Belly Up in Aspen.
- Explore the Western Colorado Botanical Gardens.
- Ride the Scenic Gondola and Forest Flyer Mountain Coaster in Vail.
- Go wine tasting in Palisade.
- See the Snowmass Hot Air Balloon Festival.
Hikes, Parks, Scenic, and Nature:
- Soak at Strawberry Hot Springs in Steamboat (and get naked after dark!)
- Visit the beautiful Boulder Reservoir.
- Play at the Ice Castles in Dillon.
- See the Flatirons and hike in Boulder.
- Visit Rifle Mountain Park.
- Spend time taking in the views in Basalt.
- Camp outside of Jamestown.
- Go horseback riding somewhere beautiful.
- See the beauty at Rifle Falls State Park.
- Hike to Rainbow Lakes.
- Take a canoe trip on Lake Dillon.
- Hike Green Mountain and take in the views of Boulder.
- Go stand up paddle boarding somewhere awesome.
- Swim at Highline State Park.
- Rock climb outside.
- Tour Dinosaur Ridge.
- Visit the Royal Gorge in Canon City.
- Snowboard at any of the awesome resorts.
- Take a whitewater rafting trip.
- Explore Beaver Reservoir.
- Camp in the gorgeous Crested Butte forest.
- Visit Ouray Colorado for its raw scenic beauty.
- Hike to Rifle Arch and take in the views.
- Hike Mount Sopris outside of Carbondale.
- Hike to Ice Lakes in Silverton.
- Visit Rabbit Valley and hike above the Colorado River.
- Visit the Black Canyon of the Gunnison.
- Camp or swim at Blue Mesa Reservoir.
- Visit Byers-Evans House or the Molly Brown house.
- Brave a kayak lesson at Confluence Park.
- Camp in Georgetown.
- Drive Independence Pass to or from Aspen.
- Spend a week at a Colorado Dude Ranch.
- Visit the beautiful Paonia State Park.
- Ride the Narrow Gauge Train from Durango to Silverton.
- Bike through Glenwood Canyon.
- Explore Cherry Creek State Park.
- Take a drive down Colorado’s Highway 83.
- Drive through Marcle and see the aspens at McClure Pass.
- Bike along Boulder Creek.
- Visit the Little Book Cliffs Wild Horse Area.
- Camp and mountain bike in the Fruita BLM area.
- Tube down the Yampa River in Steamboat Springs.
- Climb any Colorado 14er.
- Drive to the top of Mount Evans.
- Do a day hike up to Devil’s Head overlook.
- Explore the beautiful mountain town of Telluride.
- Visit the Great Sand Dunes National Park.
- Drive the Colorado National Monument.
- Take a trip to Chatfield State Park and lake in SW Denver.
- Explore Grand Mesa, the largest flat-top mountain in the world.
- Visit Mesa Verde National Park.
- Hike through beautiful Castlewood Canyon.
- Dirt bike Grand Junction and the western slope.
- Ride the Amtrak California Zephyr train to Glenwood Springs.
- Walk, bike, or take a jog on the Highline Canal through Greenwood Village.
- Swim at Rifle Gap State Park.
- Take a backpacking trip amongst the wildflowers.
- Stay in an Airstream camper in the San Juan National Forest.
- Explore Dinosaur National Monument.
- Drive the San Juan Skyway.
- Go snow shoeing.
- Ice climb in Ouray or Telluride.
- Attend a mountain biking clinic.
- Visit the four corners.
- Hike the incredible Crag Crest National Recreation Trail.
But, it’s not just about Colorado.
There are places I want to visit (and have visited already!) that are easy to access from the Western Slope, so I’m including those things in my list as well.
- Explore Moab.
- Hike in Castle Valley.
- Visit, hike, or camp in Arches National Park and see the Delicate Arch.
- Visit, hike, or camp in Canyonlands National Park.
- Swim in Lake Powell.
- Explore the historic town of Helper.
- Hike the Moab Rim Trail.
- Visit, hike, or camp in Zion National Park.
- Visit, hike, or camp in Bryce Canyon National Park.
- Explore the western canyons of Moab.
- Camp and swim along the Colorado River.
- Go on a canyoneering trip.
- Explore the magic of Sedona.
- Visit the Grand Canyon.
- See the beautiful Green River.
- Visit, hike, or camp in Yellowstone National Park.
- Visit, hike, or camp in the Grand Tetons National Park.
Exploration, adventure, and experiencing life to the fullest are so important to me.
It’s easy to say we’ll get around to things “someday.”
It’s easy for the to-do lists and obligations to get in the way. And it’s really easy to feel intimidated or tired or whatever else our subconscious uses to keep us in the known and familiar. But I’ll tell you one thing: every time I look back at the photos on my Instagram or the pictures I have framed around my house, I’m so grateful for every instance where I found the time, energy, and courage to get up and go out.
For every time I said yes to an invitation or opportunity.
For organizing my life around the things that feel important.
For choosing to prioritize experiences over stuff.
For being willing to start at square one and be a beginner more than once.
For all the kind souls I’ve met along the way.
Here’s to closing out my time in Colorado with a ton of fun!