Located at the foot of the Rocky Mountains, Denver is an incredible destination for those who want a trip that combines urban exploration with adventures in the outdoors. The city itself offers lots to do, but as wonderful as it is you should also take advantage of its proximity to natural wonders in the rest of the great state of Colorado.

With this in mind, the following three towns are great places to explore that will offer amazing, and easily accessible, mountain experiences. Each of these towns is less than an hour and a half drive from Denver without traffic, making them daytripable. Chock full of incredible activities, you may want more time in these places, and each of them could also be the perfect spot for the entirety of your vacation. Furthermore, although a car is the easiest way to get to and from these towns, there are ways to get to each without your own vehicle and free shuttles that allow you to navigate them once you are there.

Estes Park

This picturesque town is surrounded by mountains and rock formations, making everywhere you go here Instagram ready. Estes Park is also located right next to Rocky Mountain National Park, and is the perfect place to stay while exploring this famous park. The summer is the best time to visit the park, when the wildflowers abound and the daytime temperatures are pleasantly warm. This is also when the crowds come, filling up trailhead parking lots. From Estes Park during this time of year you can catch a free shuttle to many popular spots in Rocky Mountain National Park. After hiking all day, head into town for food and brews or to explore the Stanley Hotel, the hotel that inspired Steven King’s The Shining.

Winter Park

Not only is Winter Park a charming mountain town, but it is also a world-class ski resort. The drive here from Denver is quick and easy, but those who want to avoid i70 traffic or don’t have access to a car can also get here by train – during the winter this area is accessible via Amtrak. The train runs on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, departing from Union Station in Denver and arriving at the base of the resort mere steps from the gondola. While skiing and snowboarding are the most popular activities in Winter Park, those looking for a more mellow adventure can cross country ski or snowshoe at Devil’s Thumb Ranch. Furthermore, summer is also a great time to visit this town, when you will be able to go hiking and bask in the Colorado sun.


Located in the heart of the outdoor recreation mecca of Summit County, there truly is not a single type of adventure that cannot be found in or near Frisco. There are six world-class ski resorts within a half hour’s drive, most of which can be easily accessed via free bus service. There are multiple mountain ranges that offer easy to difficult hikes, including Quandary Peak, a 14,000 foot mountain at the end of the Ten Mile Range. There is even a huge lake, where you can ice fish and kite board in the winter or kayak and sail in the summer. At the end of all this adventuring, check out Frisco’s Main Street, which is a charming stretch of local eateries and stores with a beautiful mountain backdrop.

Are you ready to explore Denver and the mountains of Colorado? Let me help you design the perfect trip for you! Reach out to me any time so that we can get the planning started.

Contact Kira

Kira GartnerKira Gartner is the owner of Blue Sky Destinations, a boutique travel agency specializing in river cruises, luxury expedition cruises and customized European vacations. For years she has helped curious travelers plan vacations that allow them to unwind, reconnect, and immerse themselves fully in a destination. Reach out to her for a free consultation - and let her start designing your dream vacation!