13 Best Day Trips from Denver in 2023

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a commission if you purchase through my links, at no extra cost to you. Please read full disclosure for more information.

Are you looking for the best day trips from Denver? You’ve found the right article!

Nestled in the heart of Colorado’s majestic Rocky Mountains, Denver boasts a vibrant cityscape and a bustling urban lifestyle and serves as a gateway to a world of natural wonders just a stone’s throw away. 

If you’re craving a break from the city’s energetic pulse, look no further than the abundance of incredible day trip destinations awaiting exploration. From breathtaking mountain landscapes and historic mining towns to picturesque national parks and adrenaline-pumping outdoor activities, Denver’s surrounding areas offer diverse experiences to satisfy any adventurer’s appetite.

We’ve lived in Denver for a few years and have taken so many trips from the city, and all of them have been worth it. Usually the best way to travel is by car so that you can enjoy the scenery more along the way, and you’ll have a bit more flexibility in the itinerary.

Here are all of the best day trips from Denver!

🚗 Click here to rent a car for your trip to Denver!

While public transportation is alright in Denver, it’s truly easiest to get around by car. (Trust us, we didn’t have a car our first year living there… not fun!)

Day trips from Denver


A large field with a hiking path leading towards the mountains.

Just a hop, skip, and scenic drive northwest of the bustling streets of Denver lies the enchanting city of Boulder. Picture-perfect and nestled at the foothills, this exquisite city sets the stage for awe-inspiring hikes, heart-pounding rock-climbing expeditions, and postcard-worthy photo opportunities. And that’s just the beginning!

Stroll down the lively Pearl Street Mall, where the streets come alive with a blend of shops, boutiques, and dining establishments. Enjoy Boulder’s creative spirit, pulsating art scene, and hip-music culture, with street performers that will keep you entertained all day.

And did I mention the breweries? Oh, yes! Boulder boasts an array of craft breweries perfect for putting a cap on your fabulous day. So, buckle up – Boulder awaits!

Cheyenne, Wyoming 

Aerial view of a city laid out in a square grid at sunset.

Did you know that one of the best day trips from Denver actually allows you to go to another state? It’s true!

Ready to rustle up some cowboy spirit? Escape the urban bustle of Denver and embark on a captivating day trip to the historic city of Cheyenne, Wyoming. Just a short day trip from Denver, Cheyenne invites you to immerse yourself in a world where the Wild West is alive and kicking.

Visit the legendary Cheyenne Frontier Days Old West Museum or saunter through the city’s historic downtown. As you stroll along the streets, dip into charming boutiques brimming with Western charm and taste the flavors of the West at local eateries serving up delicious Western cuisine.

And don’t forget to strike a pose next to the iconic “Big Boots” scattered throughout the city, each boasting its unique flair and representing a piece of Cheyenne’s vibrant history. Dust off your boots and saddle up, partner, because an exciting frontier awaits. Yeehaw!

Estes Park

Cars parked on the street in front of small local storefronts.
Editorial credit: Red Herring / Shutterstock.com

Buckle up, fellow explorers, for a wild ride from the heart of Denver to the mountain haven of Estes Park. This day trip from Denver is your ticket to an enchanting escape, where rugged peaks and alpine beauty conspire to steal your breath. 

Stroll along its quaint streets, meander into eclectic shops, and savor the beauty of Rocky Mountain National Park. Let the serenity of the Riverwalk wash over you while the Big Thompson River whispers tales of tranquility.

Into horror films? Visit the iconic Stanley Hotel, where part of The Shining was filmed. This day trip from Denver to Estes Park is an ode to the beauty of nature and the irresistible allure of mountain-town enchantment. So, heed the call of the mountains, and go. 


A small area with trees behind and a sign that reads "Leadville 10152 ft".

Get ready to saddle up, fellow adventurers, as we embark on a thrilling escapade from the vibrant city of Denver to the legendary town of Leadville. This day trip promises to transport you back in time, immersing you in the rich tapestry of the Wild West and the glorious mining era. 

With its rugged charm and captivating tales, Leadville promises a day trip that will transport you to a world where legends were born and the Wild West still breathes its adventurous spirit.

Prepare to be spellbound by the National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum, where riveting exhibits and immersive displays bring the mining heyday to life.

And don’t miss the chance to descend into the depths of history with a tour of the Matchless Mine, where the spirits of intrepid miners still linger. Leadville has much to offer, making it the perfect destination for a day trip from Denver!

Rocky Mountain National Park

A large blue-green lake in the middle of a mountain range.

RMNP is easily one of our all-time favorite day trips from Denver.

Picture this: as we hit the road, the excitement builds, our hearts pounding with the promise of jaw-dropping beauty. Rocky Mountain National Park is the stage, and oh boy, is it a showstopper! 

With towering peaks that practically high-five the heavens and meadows so lush they’ll make you want to frolic like a giddy mountain goat, this place is nature’s version of a red carpet event.

Follow the trails that wind through this wilderness wonderland, leading you to waterfalls that dance with unabashed glee, lakes that shimmer like a disco ball, and wildlife that puts on a show like no other – we’re talking elk, mule deer, and maybe even a mischievous squirrel or two.

Take a deep breath, my friends, and let the crisp mountain air fill your lungs. It’s time to indulge in some serious soul-nourishing, Instagram-worthy moments. 

Join Spotlight Sunday & get weekly Colorado travel inspiration to your inbox!

    We respect your privacy. Unsubscribe at anytime.


    A small river flowing behind a cottage like hotel.

    Get ready to swap the hustle and bustle of Denver for a mountain getaway, my adventurous amigos, as we embark on a romantic day trip to the glitzy playground of Vail.

    Named the ultimate hotspot for snow bunnies and adrenaline junkies, Vail is a winter wonderland where the most seasoned pros can show off their skills, and even beginners can have a hilariously good time flailing about. 

    Stroll through the picture-perfect Vail Village, where European charm meets mountain chic, or indulge in a foodie frenzy at swanky restaurants because calories don’t count when you’re on vacation, right?

    Let Vail be the stage for an unforgettable day trip from Denver that will make your cheeks ache from smiling, your heart skip a beat, and your Insta feeds the envy of all your friends. Cheers to high-altitude hijinks, baby!

    Fort Collins

    Aerial view of a small city with the mountains behind it.

    Tingle your taste buds as we venture from the hip city of Denver to the lively college town of Fort Collins. This escapade is a wild blend of craft brews, funky vibes, and outdoor awesomeness that will leave you grinning like a Cheshire cat.

    From silky smooth stouts to tongue-tingling IPAs, Fort Collins’ craft breweries are the stuff of legends. But hold onto your pints, my friends, because Fort Collins has more tricks up its sleeves.

    It’s a cultural melting pot where art galleries, live music venues, and quirky shops create a vibrant tapestry of creativity. More into the outdoors? Check out many of Fort Collins’s hiking trails.

    Colorado Springs

    A walking path leading through a red rock park.

    Get ready for an action-packed family day trip from the vibrant city of Denver to the awe-inspiring beauty of Colorado Springs. This adventure promises to take you to new heights as you immerse yourself in breathtaking landscapes and thrilling experiences.

    Brace yourself for jaw-dropping views as you explore the iconic Garden of the Gods, a geological marvel with towering sandstone formations that defy gravity. 

    Challenge your adventurous spirit with a hike to the summit of Pikes Peak, where panoramic vistas stretch as far as the eye can see.

    And remember to delve into the city’s rich history at the fascinating Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum, where tales of pioneers and gold rush fever come to life. From outdoor thrills to cultural immersion, Colorado Springs offers a day trip experience that will leave you with memories to last a lifetime. 

    Paint Mines Interpretive Park

    A desert like landscape with colorful rocks.

    Now it’s time for one of the most underrated day trips from Denver!

    Get ready for a mind-boggling day trip that will make you feel like you’ve stepped into a psychedelic wonderland. Buckle up, my fellow explorers, as we leave the city behind and venture to the mind-bending Paint Mines Interpretive Park. It’s a whimsical landscape where Mother Nature decided to unleash her inner Picasso.

    This day trip will be an adventure that will have you questioning reality, embracing the bizarre, and feeling the creative vibes that make life oh-so-colorful. 


    View looking out over a mountain range at sunset.

    Prepare to trade the city chaos for mountain magic as you set off on a day trip to Evergreen. Its majestic landscapes and small-town charm make it a refreshing escape from the ordinary.

    Whether you’re a serene paddleboarder or a wild kayaker, the sparkling waters of Evergreen Lake will keep you cool, and when it’s time for a break, explore the charming downtown area, where quirky boutiques and cozy cafes invite you to sip, shop, and strut like the local mountain royalty.


    A large sign over a street that says "Howdy Folks Welcome to Golden".

    Get ready to strike gold, my fellow adventurers, as we embark on a day trip to the radiant town of Golden. Explore the iconic Golden History Museum, where tales of pioneers and gold rush fever come to life, or venture into the Coors Brewery, where the art of brewing meets the art of storytelling.

    But Golden isn’t just about its storied past; it’s a gateway to natural splendors that will leave you breathless. Lace up your hiking boots and traverse the picturesque trails that wind through Clear Creek Canyon, revealing breathtaking vistas and moments of pure serenity. And remember to seek out the thrill-seeker within as you brave the rapids on a thrilling whitewater rafting adventure. 

    Mount Evans Scenic Byway

    One of the easiest ways to experience a 14er in Colorado is by going on the Mount Evans Scenic Byway! This scenic drive will reach an altitude of just over 14,000 feet and offers incredible views all the way up.

    Reservations are required in order to do this drive. Once you get to the top, take a short walk to take in the view – you won’t regret it as you look out and see the beautiful mountains that Colorful Colorado is most well-known for.

    You could even stop in nearby Idaho Springs on the way to grab some tasty pizza at Beau Jo’s.


    A close up view of a large sign welcoming you to Breckenridge.
    Editorial credit: University of College / Shutterstock.com

    Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a beginner eager to conquer the bunny slope, Breckenridge offers terrain for every skill level, ensuring a day of exhilarating adventures and laughter-filled memories.

    Explore the town’s charming downtown area, where colorful storefronts beckon you to warm up with hot cocoa or find that perfect cozy sweater or a funky hat to rock. Get ready for a day trip with you shouting “woo-hoo” down the mountainside, savoring hot chocolate by the fireplace, and feeling like you’ve discovered a slice of winter paradise.

    Final Thoughts: Denver Day Trips

    So, pack your bags, gather your sense of wanderlust, and let Denver be your launchpad to a world of captivating day trips that will leave you with a heart full of joy and a thirst for even more adventures. Happy travels – enjoy these Denver day trips!

    Save this post for later:

    Want to keep reading? Check out these posts next:

    Similar Posts

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *