Hidden Gems Colorado

Colorado’s Best-Kept Secrets: Hidden Gems You Need to Visit Now

Have you ever wondered if there are still unexplored pockets of natural beauty in Colorado? Places that offer unique attractions and experiences away from the usual tourist hotspots? Well, get ready to be amazed because Colorado is home to a treasure trove of hidden gems that are waiting to be discovered.

These off-the-beaten-path destinations are often overlooked by tourists but hold a charm and beauty that will leave you in awe. From turquoise lakes to kaleidoscopic clay formations, these hidden gems offer a diverse range of experiences for adventurous travelers seeking something beyond the ordinary.

So, are you ready to uncover the best-kept secrets of Colorado and embark on a journey that will take you to some of the most captivating and lesser-known spots in the state? Let’s dive in and explore the hidden gems that Colorado has to offer.

Key Takeaways:

  • Colorado is home to a variety of hidden gems that offer unique attractions and experiences.
  • These hidden gems are off-the-beaten-path destinations often overlooked by tourists.
  • From turquoise lakes to kaleidoscopic clay formations, Colorado’s hidden gems showcase the state’s diverse natural beauty.
  • Adventure seekers will find secluded hiking trails, tranquil hot springs, and historic ghost towns to explore.
  • Escape the crowds and discover the hidden beauty of Colorado’s best-kept secrets.

Hanging Lake: A Turquoise Paradise

Hanging Lake, located near Glenwood Springs, Colorado, is a breathtaking hidden gem that captivates visitors with its turquoise waters and stunning natural surroundings. The hike to Hanging Lake is short but steep, offering a heart-pumping ascent of 1,200 feet over a 1.6-mile trail. Once you reach the top, you’ll be rewarded with the sight of a tourmaline-hued pool nestled amidst hanging gardens and trickling waterfalls. It is advisable to book permits in advance, especially during the summer months, as this hike has gained popularity in recent years.

Visiting Hanging Lake provides an opportunity to connect with nature and witness its unspoiled beauty. The path takes you through a captivating forest, enhancing the overall hiking experience. As you ascend, the sound of rushing water becomes your faithful companion, guiding you towards the scenic oasis that is Hanging Lake.

“The emerald pools of Colorado are truly a natural wonder. Hanging Lake, with its turquoise waters and lush greenery, is something straight out of a fairytale.” – Jane Adams, nature enthusiast

Exploring the Magic of Hanging Lake

Once you reach the top of the trail, you’ll have the opportunity to explore the pristine beauty of Hanging Lake up close. The clear, turquoise waters reflect the surrounding cliffs, creating a mesmerizing sight that leaves visitors in awe.

Hanging Lake is renowned for its unique geological formations, including delicate travertine formations that have been created over thousands of years. These formations are formed by dissolved minerals in the water, resulting in stunning cascades of limestone that border the lake.

Highlights of Hanging LakeDetails
Tranquil BeautyThe calmness of Hanging Lake’s waters and the surrounding wilderness create a serene atmosphere.
Hanging GardensLush vegetation drapes the cliffs surrounding the lake, creating a picturesque backdrop.
WaterfallsTrickling waterfalls cascade down the cliffs, adding to the enchanting atmosphere of the lake.
Photographic OpportunitiesThe vibrant colors and unique geological formations make Hanging Lake a photographer’s paradise.

Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or a nature lover in search of tranquility, Hanging Lake offers a memorable experience that showcases the natural beauty of Colorado. Just make sure to wear appropriate hiking gear, carry plenty of water, and leave no trace while exploring this hidden gem.

Paint Mines Interpretive Park: A Kaleidoscope of Colors

Paint Mines Interpretive Park

Located in rural El Paso County, east of Colorado Springs, Paint Mines Interpretive Park is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered. This unique park showcases stunning clay formations that boast a vibrant array of colors, reminiscent of a kaleidoscope. These clay formations were once used by Native Americans to create pigments for their ceramics, adding a rich historical significance to the park.

Paint Mines Interpretive Park offers visitors several trails and overlooks, allowing them to explore the park’s fascinating geological wonders. Whether you’re an avid hiker, passionate photographer, or aspiring artist, this park is a paradise filled with opportunities to capture the beauty of nature.

It is important to note that while the park encourages exploration, climbing on the delicate rock formations is strictly prohibited to preserve their integrity.

Photography Opportunities

For photography enthusiasts, Paint Mines Interpretive Park provides a myriad of captivating subjects. The contrast between the vibrant clay formations and the surrounding landscape offers a unique and visually stunning backdrop. With the changing light throughout the day, photographers can capture the play of shadows and highlights, creating breathtaking images.

Trail Options

Park visitors can choose from various trails, each offering a distinct perspective on the clay formations. The paths wind through the park’s stunning landscape, allowing you to immerse yourself in its natural beauty. Be sure to bring your camera along to capture the awe-inspiring views along the way.

Here are the trail options available:

  • Mesa Loop Trail: This 1-mile loop takes you through the heart of the park, offering panoramic views of the clay formations and the surrounding prairie. It is a great option for photographers looking to capture the expansive beauty of the area.
  • Three Peaks Trail: This 3-mile trail provides a more challenging hike, taking you to the highest points in the park. Along the way, you’ll encounter stunning rock formations, unique plant life, and breathtaking vistas.
  • Spur Trail: This short 0.2-mile trail leads to an overlook, providing a bird’s-eye view of the park’s clay formations. It is a great option for those looking for a quick glimpse of the park’s beauty.

Visitor Guidelines

When visiting Paint Mines Interpretive Park, it is important to adhere to the park’s guidelines to preserve its natural wonders for future generations:

  1. Stay on designated trails and overlooks to protect the delicate clay formations.
  2. Leave no trace and pack out any trash or waste.
  3. Respect the wildlife and plants by observing them from a distance.
  4. Do not climb or touch the rock formations, as they are fragile and easily damaged.
From Colorado Springs, take Highway 24 East. Turn left onto Elbert Road, then right onto Paint Mine Road. Follow the signs to the park entrance.Open daily from dawn to dusk.

Bishop Castle: A Whimsical Iron and Stone Marvel

Bishop Castle Colorado

Bishop Castle, located in San Isabel National Forest southwest of Pueblo, Colorado, is a hidden gem that will transport you to a world of fantasy and imagination. This extraordinary castle is the brainchild of Jim Bishop, a Colorado native, who dedicated his life to its construction. Bishop Castle is a whimsical masterpiece made entirely of iron and stone, showcasing Bishop’s unwavering determination and boundless creativity.

The castle offers a self-guided tour for visitors to explore its enchanting interior. As you wander through its elaborately designed rooms, cross intricate bridges, and climb tight spiral stairwells, you’ll be captivated by the attention to detail and the unique architectural elements that make this castle truly one-of-a-kind.

Architectural Marvels

The whimsical design of Bishop Castle is a testament to Jim Bishop’s inventive spirit. From towering spires to ornate ironwork, every corner of the castle is adorned with intricate details that evoke a sense of wonder and awe.

“Bishop Castle is a masterpiece of imagination and craftsmanship. It’s a living testament to the power of individual creativity.”

Prepare to be amazed as you explore the myriad rooms, each with its own distinct ambiance and surprises. From grand halls to hidden nooks, every space within Bishop Castle tells a story and invites you to embark on a whimsical journey.

Donations and Ongoing Maintenance

Visitors to Bishop Castle are not required to pay an entrance fee. Instead, the castle operates on voluntary donations to support its ongoing maintenance and improvement. Your contribution will help ensure that this fantastical creation can continue to enchant future generations.

With its surreal charm and architectural wonders, Bishop Castle is a must-visit destination in Colorado’s hidden gem collection. Immerse yourself in the whimsy and magic of this remarkable iron and stone marvel as you embark on a self-guided tour like no other.

Strawberry Park Hot Springs: Soak in Nature’s Warm Embrace

Strawberry Park Hot Springs Colorado

Discover the natural wonders of Strawberry Park Hot Springs in the idyllic mountain town of Steamboat Springs, Colorado. Known for its soothing waters and serene surroundings, this hidden gem offers a blissful retreat for those seeking relaxation and rejuvenation.

Nestled amidst a picturesque mountain valley, Strawberry Park Hot Springs invites visitors to immerse themselves in the therapeutic properties of its natural hot springs. The outdoor pools are maintained at a toasty temperature of 104 degrees Fahrenheit or more, providing the perfect respite from the chilly mountain air.

Surrounded by lush forests and breathtaking scenery, the tranquil setting of Strawberry Park Hot Springs creates an atmosphere of peace and serenity. As you soak in the warm embrace of the hot springs, you can take in the awe-inspiring views of the surrounding nature. It’s a truly magical experience that nourishes both the body and soul.

Strawberry Park Hot Springs is a cash-only establishment, so be sure to come prepared. Additionally, the hot springs operate under an adult-only policy after dark, ensuring a peaceful and relaxing atmosphere for all guests.

Benefits of Natural Hot Springs

Soaking in natural hot springs offers a range of health benefits, both physical and mental. Here are some of the advantages you can enjoy:

  • Relief from muscle and joint pain: The heat of the hot springs can help alleviate sore muscles, arthritis, and other common aches and pains.
  • Improved blood circulation: The warmth of the water dilates blood vessels, promoting better circulation and oxygen flow throughout the body.
  • Stress reduction: Immersing yourself in the soothing waters of the hot springs can help reduce stress and anxiety, allowing you to relax and unwind.
  • Skin rejuvenation: The mineral-rich water of natural hot springs can have a rejuvenating effect on the skin, leaving it feeling soft, smooth, and refreshed.

“Soak in the soothing waters of Strawberry Park Hot Springs and let the stress melt away. It’s the perfect oasis of tranquility in the heart of Steamboat Springs.”

LocationOperating HoursAdmission Fee
Steamboat Springs, Colorado9am – 10:30pm (Sunday-Thursday)
9am – 12am (Friday-Saturday)
$25 for adults
$15 for children (3-17 years old)
Free for children under 3

Plan your visit to Strawberry Park Hot Springs and immerse yourself in the natural beauty and blissful warmth of this hidden gem. It’s an experience that will leave you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated, ready to take on the world.

Interlaken Ghost Resort: Step Back in Time

Interlaken Ghost Resort Colorado

The Interlaken Ghost Resort is a captivating hidden gem located on the opposite side of historic Twin Lakes, Colorado. This once-thriving resort was built in the late 19th century and was considered one of Colorado’s most beautiful resorts in its heyday. Today, the resort stands as a well-preserved collection of historic settlements, offering a glimpse into Colorado’s mining and resort history. Visitors can wander through the ghost town and explore the remnants of the Interlaken Hotel and Resort, immersing themselves in the rich history of the area.

As you step into the Interlaken Ghost Resort, you’ll be transported back in time, surrounded by the echoes of the past. The weathered buildings and crumbling walls evoke a sense of nostalgia, allowing you to imagine the stories that once unfolded within these walls. It’s a truly unique experience that combines history, nature, and a touch of mystery.

Ghost Town Exploration

Exploring the Interlaken Ghost Resort is like stepping into a time capsule. The deserted streets and dilapidated buildings are a stark contrast to the lively and bustling resort it once was. As you wander through the ghost town, you’ll come across various structures that offer a glimpse into the daily lives of the people who once called this place home.

The remnants of the Interlaken Hotel and Resort are the main attractions of the ghost town. The grand hotel, which once welcomed guests from near and far, now stands as a haunting reminder of the past. The faded elegance of the hotel’s facade and the broken windows hint at the grandeur that once was.

Rich Mining and Resort History

The Interlaken Ghost Resort is not only a ghost town but also a window into Colorado’s mining and resort history. Twin Lakes, where the resort is located, was a prominent mining area in the late 19th century. The discovery of gold and silver in the area attracted miners from all over, leading to the establishment of the Interlaken Hotel and Resort to cater to the growing population.

The resort became a popular destination for those seeking relaxation and adventure in the beautiful Colorado Rockies. Visitors would come from far and wide to enjoy the stunning natural surroundings, picturesque Twin Lakes, and the exhilarating outdoor activities offered in the area.

However, as the mining boom started to decline, so did the popularity of the Interlaken Ghost Resort. Eventually, the resort was abandoned, leaving behind the remnants of the once-thriving establishment.

A Historical Journey

Visiting the Interlaken Ghost Resort is more than just exploring a ghost town; it’s a journey through history. As you walk through the streets and touch the weathered walls, you can’t help but feel a connection to the past. The stories of the people who lived and worked here come alive, painting a vivid picture of life in a bygone era.

Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a photographer capturing the beauty of decay, or simply a curious traveler seeking unique experiences, the Interlaken Ghost Resort is a must-visit destination in Colorado. It’s a place where you can step back in time and immerse yourself in the rich history and haunting beauty of the past.


Colorado’s hidden gems offer a wealth of unique experiences and opportunities for exploration. These off-the-beaten-path destinations showcase the diverse and captivating aspects of Colorado’s natural and cultural heritage. From the awe-inspiring beauty of Hanging Lake to the whimsical charm of Bishop Castle, these hidden gems take you on a journey of discovery.

For adventurers seeking secluded hiking trails, Colorado’s hidden gems deliver breathtaking landscapes and tranquil escapes. Lose yourself in the kaleidoscope of colors at Paint Mines Interpretive Park or step back in time in the ghost town of Interlaken Ghost Resort. Whatever your preference, Colorado’s hidden gems offer something for everyone.

Uncover the secrets of these hidden treasures and immerse yourself in the natural beauty and charm of Colorado. Explore mystical hot springs at Strawberry Park Hot Springs or embark on a self-guided tour through the whimsical rooms of Bishop Castle. These unique experiences will leave you in awe as you witness Colorado’s best-kept secrets firsthand.

Escape the crowds and embark on a journey to Colorado’s hidden gems. With their unique attractions and captivating beauty, these hidden treasures offer an unforgettable exploration of Colorado’s natural wonders and cultural heritage. Discover the hidden beauty of Colorado’s best-kept secrets and create memories that will last a lifetime.


Can I swim in Hanging Lake?

No, swimming is not allowed in Hanging Lake to protect the delicate ecosystem and preserve the water quality.

How long does it take to hike to Hanging Lake?

The hike to Hanging Lake typically takes about 1.5 to 2.5 hours, depending on your pace and fitness level.

Are dogs allowed at Paint Mines Interpretive Park?

Yes, dogs are allowed at Paint Mines Interpretive Park, but they must be kept on a leash at all times.

Can I climb on the rock formations at Paint Mines Interpretive Park?

No, climbing on the delicate rock formations at Paint Mines Interpretive Park is strictly prohibited to prevent damage to the unique clay formations.

Is there an entrance fee for Bishop Castle?

No, there is no entrance fee for Bishop Castle. However, donations are appreciated to support the ongoing maintenance and improvement of the castle.

Can I swim in the hot springs at Strawberry Park Hot Springs?

Yes, swimming is allowed in the hot springs at Strawberry Park Hot Springs. However, please be mindful of others and follow the established rules and guidelines.

Are children allowed at Interlaken Ghost Resort?

Yes, children are allowed at Interlaken Ghost Resort. However, it is important to supervise them closely as there may be uneven terrain and historic structures.

Can I spend the night at Interlaken Ghost Resort?

No, overnight stays are not permitted at Interlaken Ghost Resort. It is open for day visitors to explore and learn about the history of the area.

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