Colorado is well known for its beautiful national parks and outdoors activities.
But that’s not all! You will also find a lot of cute small towns in Colorado where you can spend an amazing vacation. From the famous ski resorts to historic towns, there is a bit of everything!
In this article, we tell you everything about the best small towns in Colorado!
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I get a commission if you decide to make a purchase through my links, at no extra cost for you!
Map of the most beautiful small towns in Colorado
You can find below the map of all the prettiest small towns in Colorado as well as accommodation.
Best small towns in Colorado
Crested Butte, South West Colorado
Calling all outdoor lovers for this one! We are heading to the Rocky Mountains!
Crested Butte was a booming silver and coal mining town in the 1860s and the 1870s.
Today, the town is renowned for its beautiful skiing spots during winter and the wonderful wildflowers in the fall.
Crested Butte is nestled in Gunnison County and although less than 2,000 people live here, it is still one of the most popular skiing destinations in Colorado.
The easiest way to get there is by booking a flight to Gunnison Crested Butte Airport. See latest fares here.
Alternatively, you can drive from Denver. It takes about 4 hours.
Here are some ideas of things to do in Crested Butte:
- Hike up (summer) or ski down (winter) the beautiful Mt. Crested Butte.
- Roam around downtown. Crested Butte is full of cute restaurants and local shops. If you head to Elk Avenue you will find loads of options. It’s also pretty colorful and you can take beautiful photos here.
- Snow activities. If you are visiting in winter, you will be spoilt for choice when it comes to things to do. Cross country skiing, dog sledging, snowboarding… you can do it all!
WHERE TO STAY: Purple Mountain Bed & Breakfast & Spa is a super cute B&B located in the town which is about 2 miles from the ski resort. It’s very good value for money. See photos and prices here.
At an elevation of 10,152 feet, Leadville is one of the highest mountain towns in Colorado.
Like many other towns in the area, it started as a mining town and was incorporated in 1878.
Leadville is in Lake County. You can easily get there by car from Denver. It only takes a couple of hours via the U.S Hwy 24.
It was home to a few notable personalities including the Unsinkable Molly Brown (Titanic Survivor) and Horace Tabor.
When it comes to things to do in Leadville, you will be spoiled for choice!
There are numerous museums, shopping locations, hiking and biking trails. It’s a destination that you can explore during summer or winter. No matter what you choose, you will have loads of options to choose from. Also, the town looks completely different depending on the season so it’s well worth visiting in both summer and winter.
Here are a few things you can do:
- Hiking up Mt. Elbert and Mt. Massive.
- Shopping in the local boutiques. Leadville is home to many locally own shops. Not only will you get to find amazing products but the Victorian buildings are also so pretty!
- Leadville Railroad. This scenic and historic train ride will take you around the Rocky Mountains.
- Snowmobile tour. This is a super fun thing to do in Leadville. You can go on a guided tour with a snowmobile up Prospect Mountain. See prices here.
WHERE TO STAY: The 1880s Miner’s Cabin is a super cute cabin in the heart of the town. Perfect for an authentic stay! See photos and prices here.
If you want to discover beautiful hot springs in Colorado, visiting Glenwood Springs will be the perfect place to visit.
This small Colorado town is situated between the Colorado and Roaring Fork rivers.
To get there, you have several options. You can fly to one of the small and local airports (within 50 miles) such as Vail or Aspen but the fares can be a bit expensive. Alternatively, you can fly to Denver and rent a car. It’s only 2.5 h drive from Denver.
Glenwood Springs was one of the first places to have electric lights in the US. It served as a residential town for miners who sought riches in the nearby town of Carbonate.
Here are some ideas of things to do in Glenwood Springs:
- Swimming in the hot springs. They are a result of geothermal activity in the area and are perfect for people who like the idea of having a natural spa day. The best ones are Iron Mountain and Glenwood Springs Hot Springs.
- Discovering Glenwood Canyon. The scenery here is absolutely stunning. To make the best of your time, opt for one of the hiking trails or go biking in the Canyon and along the river. See prices here.
- Rafting on the Colorado River. If you are looking for an adrenaline-filled activity, rafting will be the perfect thing for you! It’s a very popular activity in Glenwood Springs. See prices here.
- Glenwood Caverns and Adventure Park. This is a popular activity for families as there are many rides and a roller coaster!
WHERE TO STAY IN GLENWOOD SPRINGS: Glenwood Hot Springs Resort is the ultimate place to stay in town as it has its own hot spring! Yep, you’ve read that right! They also offer loads of awesome services. See reviews, photos & prices here.
If you love outdoor activities, you will be in for a treat in Manitou Springs.
This cute small town is surrounded by natural landscapes, beautiful mountains, and wilderness.
It was founded as a natural mineral springs town. The remnants of the old resorts and houses still stand today.
Manitou was known for its artistic hype and an old west feel. Although it is a bit bigger than the other towns mentioned in this article (5,000 inhabitants) it still has this amazing small town feel.
Here are some activities and things to do in Manitou Springs:
- Discovering the Manitou cliff dwellings. This replica of Ancestral Puebloan cliff dwellings are one of the best places to visit in Colorado. It’s very unique and you can go everywhere you want (as it’s a replica there is no risk of damaging it).
- Exploring the cave of the Winds Mountain Park.
- Discovering the canyons. There are 3 of them in Manitou Springs: Englemann Canyon, Ute Pass and Williams Canyon.
- Exploring the Gardens of the Gods. This park located between Manitou and Colorado Springs boasts some of the most beautiful landscapes in the area. To make the best of your day, opt for a segway tour. You’ll get to see so much more! See prices here.
- Zip-lining. Manitou Springs is home to fantastic ziplines. If you are looking for an adrenaline-filled activity, this will be ideal. See prices here.
- Visiting the museums.
- Rustic dining. You’ll find many local restaurants and shops downtown. Make sure to grab lunch or dinner there because they are amazing!
WHERE TO STAY: Villa Motel at Manitou Springs is a great place to stay. They have an outdoor pool as well as a hot tub. It’s very good value for money. See prices and reviews here.
Breckenridge, Summit County
Breckenridge is a busy town during the winter.
It was formed to serve miners working in the hills during the Pikes Peak Gold Rush of 1859.
Skiers from across the nation come here to explore the breathtaking Tenmile Range which offers a horde of activities including fly-fishing, mountain biking, skiing, water rafting, and other winter sports activities.
Aspen, Pitkin County
If you are thinking about heading to the Rocky Mountains, Aspen will perhaps be your most ideal location to spend time as you explore the wild.
There are a lot of things to do and see in this town, including sampling several luxurious dining options and exploring entertainment centers.
Aspen is also very popular as a skiing town and you will find skiing resorts scattered near or within the town.
The Aspen Mountains, Highlands, Snowmass, and the Buttermilk are some of the most unique places to explore skiing and related activities while in this town.
Lyons is also close and strategically located for travelers seeking to explore the Rocky Mountains.
The town was founded in 1880 by Edward Lyon who saw its potential as a sandstone quarry. The quarry business was not successful and the town was sold to other owners after Edward left.
Today, the town holds a significant place in history with several museums and art and cultural centers.
It is also an important gateway town to people seeking to explore the Rocky Mountains, just 20 miles away. You will find fine restaurants, art theatres, and a thriving nightlife in Lyons.
Snowmass Village is a popular winter destination due to its location at the base of the Snowmass Ski area.
It is situated within the 4 distinct skiing areas that are collectively run by both Aspen and Snowmass.
Today, the town is well known as a ski resort town, catering to the masses that come to explore skiing around the town and in Lyons.
You will find luxurious hotels, entertainment joints, and other establishments to make your stay here enjoyable. Tubing, cross country skiing, and mountain biking are some of the popular activities you can engage in here.
At the base of Vail Mountain lies the beautiful small town of Vail. It’s home to one of the best alpine resorts in the US.
There is always something to do here throughout the year. In the summer, hiking is a popular activity and in the winter, skiing takes precedence.
There are over 350,000 acres of national forest and space, with some of the most wonderful skiing spots in the country.
Luxurious resorts exist in perfect harmony with the small town ‘feel’. You will experience fine dining, entertainment, and stunning mountain views wherever you go.
Grand Lake Town
The town gained its name from its location on the shores of the Grand Lake. Grand Lake is the largest Lake in Colorado.
Grand Lake Town started as a supply center for miners working in the mines of surrounding towns but quickly grew to become a popular tourist destination because of its proximity to the Rocky Mountains National Park.
It’s known as the ‘western gateway’ to the park.
When you are not hiking, fishing, swimming, or biking in the summer, you can always join a skiing or snowmobiling tour near the town. There are luxurious resorts and hotels inside the town to cater to weary travelers.
The high alpine Silverton Mountain is the highlight of this town.
This is the steepest ski spot in North America. The ski mountain is very challenging and with a very high snow cover.
Only experienced skiers are encouraged to tackle these meandering slopes. Skiing is allowed at certain times of the year and guides are provided to inexperienced skiers.
You need to watch out for avalanches and sudden changes in weather conditions that can make the skiing activity unsafe.
The resorts are luxurious and if you have extra time, visit the town to shop at a local store.
You may also be interested in: