Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad wins Best Colorado Attraction

Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre takes runner up spot

Landscapes of open deserts, deep river canyons and jagged mountain peaks make Colorado an outdoor enthusiast's playground with loads of worthy attractions courtesy of Mother Nature. But with thriving urban centers like Denver, Boulder and Aspen, the Centennial State offers plenty in the way of cultural pursuits as well.

  • Great Sand Dunes National Park

    Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve is like a giant sandbox for the young and the young at heart. The park, home of the tallest dunes in North America, is particularly appealing in early summer, when families can get the adrenaline pumping with some sand sledding or boarding before cooling off in Medano Creek.
    Photo courtesy of NPS/Patrick Myers

  • Mesa Verde National Park

    Visitors to Mesa Verde National Park get to experience fourteen centuries of history within the first national park set aside to preserve manmade creations. The park protects more than 5,000 known archaeological sites (including 600 cliff dwellings), most notably the aptly named Cliff Palace.
    Photo courtesy of NPS / Sandy Groves

  • Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
    Montrose

    Over the past two million years, the Gunnison River has been carving out some of the steepest cliffs in North America – 2,000 feet deep in places. Eerie and spectacular in equal measure, the deep, narrow and perpetually dark canyon is a favorite for hiking, rock climbing and trout fishing.
    Photo courtesy of Thinkstock

  • Pikes Peak
    Colorado Springs

    Pikes Peak, the most visited mountain in North America and second most visited in the world (after Mount Fuji), was the inspiration behind Katharine Lee Bates' poem which would eventually be set to music as America the Beautiful. One of the most popular (and beautiful) ways to get to the top is aboard the Pikes Peak Cog Railway – a historic train that has been in operation for some 125 years.
    Photo courtesy of Thinkstock

  • Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad
    Durango

    The historic Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad once hauled silver and gold along the stretch of track laid during the late 19th centuries between the two towns. Today, visitors hop aboard for the 7-hour roundtrip journey from Durango through some of Colorado's most impressive scenery with a chance to stop and explore the historic mining town.
    Photo courtesy of Matt Inden/Miles

  • Garden of the Gods
    Colorado Springs

    Located just outside of Colorado Springs, the impressive red sandstone formations within Garden of the Gods are free for travelers to enjoy. Visitors can hike trails winding through the formations, learn more about the natural history of the park in the visitors center or join up with a free naturalist-led walk.
    Photo courtesy of Thinkstock

  • Rocky Mountain National Park
    Estes Park

    Encompassing 415 square miles, Rocky Mountain National Park is an outdoor playground of alpine woods, snow-capped peaks, flower-filled meadows and plenty of opportunities to spot local wildlife. With an elevation change of 8,000 feet from the park's lowest to highest point, the geological diversity alone is impressive.
    Photo courtesy of NPS Photo

  • Royal Gorge Bridge & Park
    Cañon City

    One of Colorado's most popular attractions is this 1,200-foot, 12-mile-long canyon. The Royal Gorge Bridge which spans the gorge is one of the world's highest suspension bridges; visitors can make the 1,270-foot crossing and take a peek down at the Arkansas River below. There's also a gondola, zip line and skycoaster for those looking for an adrenaline rush.
    Photo courtesy of Matt Inden/Miles

  • Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre
    Morrison

    Rated one of the nation's top outdoor music venues, Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre is also one of the most scenic attractions in the Denver area. Aside from the eye-pleasing concert venue, the 738-acre park includes a 30,000-square-foot visitors center and two recreational trails for hiking and biking.
    Photo courtesy of Stevie Crecelius and VISIT DENVER

  • Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad
    Antonito

    One of the most authentic steam-operated railroads in existence, the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad runs for 64 miles between Antonito, Colorado and Chama, New Mexico, passing through the San Juan Mountains and the scenic Conejos Valley along the way. This moving National Historic Landmark represents one of Colorado's most spectacular day trips.
    Photo courtesy of Denise Chambers/Miles

We asked our readers to help us choose Colorado's best attractions, and the results are in! The top 10 winners in the category Best Colorado Attraction are as follows:

  1. Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad - Antonito
  2. Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre - Morrison
  3. Royal Gorge Bridge & Park - Cañon City
  4. Rocky Mountain National Park - Estes Park
  5. Garden of the Gods - Colorado Springs
  6. Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad - Durango
  7. Pikes Peak - Colorado Springs
  8. Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park - Montrose
  9. Mesa Verde National Park
  10. Great Sand Dunes National Park

A panel of experts partnered with 10Best editors to picked the initial 20 nominees, and the top 10 winners were determined by popular vote. Experts Heather Balogh Rochfort (Just A Colorado Gal) and Christine Loomis were chosen based on their knowledge and experience of travel in Colorado.

Congratulations to all these winning attractions!

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Heather Balogh Rochfort

Heather Balogh Rochfort

Christine Loomis

Christine Loomis