9 Most Underrated Places To Visit In Colorado In 2023

Most Underrated Places To Visit In Colorado In 2023

Whether you’re a tourist or a long-time resident of Colorado, these nine underrated places to visit have something to offer the whole family for a unique and fascinating travel experience.

Georgetown Loop Railroad

The Georgetown Loop Railroad offers a family-friendly experience that hearkens back to the years of gold and silver mining in Colorado.

Totally immersive, the experience brings visitors to ride on a narrow gauge train that’s as much a history lesson as a journey that tours some of the most scenic parts of Georgetown that would be otherwise inaccessible to the average tourist. In winter, choose from two specially-themed train rides; Santa’s Rocky Mountain Adventure or Santa’s Lighted Forest.

Mesa Verde National Park

Mesa Verde National Park, near Cortez, Colorado, is where Cliff Palace is located, an archaeological site that’s home to a dense community of ancient dwellings for the Pueblo Indians who once populated the area. This ancestral site offers profound insight into the daily lives of these ancient peoples. The expansive park is open to the public for hiking, rock climbing and general exploration.

International Church of Cannabis, Denver

Wherever you stand on the cannabis question, this jaunt to the International Church of Cannabis is sure to intrigue you. You can’t miss the building. The facade has a huge mural of the word WEED emblazoned across the front. Previously a Lutheran Church, this is a church that subscribes to something called “Elevationalism.” Everyone is welcome. There are no exclusionary practices. You’re welcome to sit, relish in the peace and quiet and, if the mood strikes you, to enjoy a smoke of your choosing. Come here to meet like-minded folk who just want to enjoy their weed in peace.


Step back in time to this hidden gem adorned with Victorian architecture and old-fashioned brick pavement.

Trinidad is a historic little town in Colorado that is underrated and little known, partially due to its proximity just 13 miles north of New Mexico. Way back before the headlines, Trinidad had established a reputation as being the “Sex Change Capital of the World,” as a local physician had a global reputation for his willingness to perform sex reassignment operations.

St Elmo Ghost Town

Even some long-time residents of Colorado don’t know about one of the most preserved and authentic ghost towns in the west. Easily access the entirety of St. Elmo via a self-guided walking tour of the 43 structures that once housed an old-time saloon, a jailhouse/courtroom, a mercantile exchange center and private residences. St. Elmo, a former gold and silver miner’s colony, became a ghost town during the late 1950’s when the remaining few residents either packed up or passed away.

Strawberry Park Hot Springs

An underrated alternative to Steamboat Springs, Strawberry Park Hot Springs offers the same authentic hot springs experience, but without all the tourist trappings.

Granted, it also lacks many of the luxury amenities associated with fancy resorts, but if your goal is natural hot springs, this is it. Choose from multiple bubbling hot springs that welcome visitors year-round. Note that access is recommended via 4-wheel drive only, as the road off the highway is unpaved and rugged.

Clifton, Colorado

Very near Grand Junction, Clifton, CO is like a back door to nature’s bounty. From here, you can visit James M. Robb Colorado River State Park for a family picnic, fishing, swimming, and hiking and snowshoeing when conditions are right.

Bring your biking and hiking gear, too, because the park is woven with miles of trails. Clifton’s 20,000 or so residents are happy to welcome visitors who appreciate the town’s proximity to Colorado National Monument.

Paint Mines Interpretive Park, Calhan

Paint Mines Interpretive Park is a magical place that some call natural psychedelia. Here, there is a rainbow of colors reaching into the distance, creating surreal landscapes that you may have only seen in your dreams.

The Native Americans used clay from this area to use for making their incredible pottery. Today, you’ll be struck with awe at the unique and colorful geological formations that are evocative of nature herself taking up a paintbrush.

Great Sand Dunes National Park

The Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado is a unique desert oasis, home to North America’s tallest sand dune, the Star Dune. Ideal for spring break vacations, it offers activities like hiking, climbing, off-roading, and sandboarding. In summer, visitors can enjoy swimming in Medano Creek at the dunes’ base. With spectacular views of the Sangre De Cristo Mountains and opportunities for sand sledding and stargazing, it’s one of Colorado’s most underrated destinations.