Below are Colorado’s top mountain towns listed in alphabetical order. The following towns were selected because they offer year-round enjoyment. There are so many amazing Colorado mountain towns. It was challenging to narrow it down to just eight. Some notable places just didn’t make the cut.
Primary Reason (or two) to visit: Maroon Bells & Aspen Highlands
Overview: That’s right, “I’m talking about a little place called Aaasssssspen!” Aspen is a world-class ski resort town and year-round destination for outdoor recreation. It is known for high-end restaurants, boutiques, and landmarks like the Wheeler Opera House, which was built in 1889 during the area’s silver mining boom. The Maroon Bells (as seen in the main photo for this page) steal the show with their stunning beauty. The plentiful options for skiing will make the whole family happy (Aspen, Aspen Highlands, Buttermilk & Snowmass).
Primary Reason (or two) to visit: 14ers & rafting
Overview: The upper Arkansas River valley is a summer paradise. You can experience high altitude hiking and biking in the Sawatch Range and incredible rafting and fishing in the Arkansas River. Mount Elbert (at 14,439’) is the tallest mountain in the state. There are ten 14ers in the area, including mounts Princeton, Yale, Harvard and Columbia — located directly west of Buena Vista. Definitely wind down at the Princeton Hot Springs or the Eddyline Brewery after a hard day of play.
Primary Reason (or two) to visit: Stunning landscape & steep terrain
Overview: Crested Butte is known for its killer steeps on the slopes. However, it’s the area’s land and water conservation ethic that set it apart. Great lengths have been taken to forever preserve the valley floor and the Slate River. Endless trails, including our favorite trail the Lupine Trail, traverse through some of these conserved lands. Make sure you stop at Montanya’s Distillery the next time you’re in town!
Primary Reason (or two) to visit: I can’t narrow it down to just two!
Overview: Durango is lodged between Colorado’s largest mountains (the San Juans to the north and east) and red rock canyon country (to the south and west). The most unique experiences you can have in Durango are to sleep in the historic Strater Hotel and ride the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railway. Durango is less than an hour drive to the ruins of Mesa Verde and skiing at Durango Mountain. Wolf Creek is nearby too!
Primary Reason (or two) to visit: Hot springs & hiking
Overview: I can already feel my body beginning to loosen up while soaking in one of Glenwood’s two amazing hot springs. Glenwood Hot Springs and Iron Mountain Hot Springs offer different, unrivaled experiences. The historic Glenwood Hot Springs is perfect for all ages, and Iron Mountain offers a more adult-oriented atmosphere. Staying in the Hotel Denver is an absolute must, the Pullman restaurant is one of the best eateries in Colorado, and the nearby hikes are unbeatable.
Primary Reason (or two) to visit: Champagne powder & hot springs
Overview: Winter is Steamboat Springs’ true season of glory, but the mountain biking, horseback riding, and hiking in the summer aren’t too shabby either! Steamboat is located in northern Colorado’s Yampa River Valley. It’s home to the Steamboat ski resort’s world-famous champagne powder and Howelsen Hill ski area’s Olympian Lodge, racing and freestyle training hill, and ski jumps. (Steamboat boasts it has produced more Winter Olympians than anywhere else in North America.) Near the city center, the long-standing Old Town Hot Springs is equipped with swimming and soaking pools, plus water slides. And if you’re feeling more adventurous, tube down the Yampa or head out to Strawberry Park Hot Springs.
Primary Reason (or two) to visit: Summer concerts & hiking
Overview: You simply cannot beat the Telluride Bluegrass Festival or the Telluride Blues & Brews Festival. Telluride, a former Victorian mining town in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains, is set in a box canyon amid forested peaks at the base of a popular ski-and-golf resort. The town’s historic district houses landmarks like the Sheridan Opera House, a performing-arts venue originally built in 1913. If you feel like visiting a little more on the cheap side, consider camping in Telluride Town Park.
Primary Reason (or two) to visit: Mary Jane & mountain biking
Overview: I can envision Jane’s bumps, her curved lines, and her chutes beckoning my snowboard down the mountain. Like a siren of the high seas, she pulls my downhill mountain bike toward the Fraser River Valley and into her grasp. Summer or winter, Winter Park has it all. One appealing point is that it’s located just 1.5 hours from Denver. The cross-country mountain bike trails at Granby Mountain and Idlewild are unrivaled.
Please leave a comment below if you think we overlooked a place you love or have something you’d like to add. What are your favorite Colorado mountain towns?
Photos of Other Places Noted in this Article