Exploring the Best of Colorado in August: A Luxurious Adventure

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Advisor - Pamela Anderson
Curated By

Pamela Anderson

  • Colorado

  • Active Travel

  • Adventure Travel

  • Outdoors

  • Mountains

  • Sightseeing

A highway with mountain views.
Curator’s statement

Welcome to the majestic state of Colorado, where luxury meets adventure in the breathtaking landscape of the Rocky Mountains. In August, the state comes alive with a plethora of activities, events, and culinary delights that cater to both thrill-seekers and those seeking relaxation. In this guide, I will take you on a journey through luxurious resorts, adrenaline-pumping adventure activities, foodie delights, craft breweries, and some hidden gems that will make your Colorado vacation unforgettable.

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Where to stay in Colorado

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Things to do in Colorado

red train on a railway in the mountains

Telluride Film Festival: Movie enthusiasts will love attending the prestigious Telluride Film Festival. This annual event showcases a wide array of films, ranging from Hollywood blockbusters to indie gems. True story: We accidentally visited Telluride during the film festival a few years ago and my dogs had a romantic scene with Hugh Jackman.

Hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park: Lace up your hiking boots and explore the stunning trails of Rocky Mountain National Park. Witness cascading waterfalls, alpine lakes, and majestic wildlife during your adventure. The wildflowers have been amazing this year due to the snowpack and rain in June. The "superbloom" is not to be missed!

White Water Rafting: Experience the rush of navigating the exhilarating rapids of the Arkansas River or Clear Creek. Professional guides will ensure you have a safe and memorable rafting experience. We do this for our wedding anniversary to add extra thrills!

Great Sand Dunes National Park: Venture to the otherworldly landscapes of Great Sand Dunes National Park, home to North America's tallest sand dunes. Experience the thrill of sandboarding or simply bask in the surreal scenery.

Bishop Castle: A true labor of love, Bishop Castle is an eccentric and impressive structure built by one man over several decades. Explore this unique castle, located in the San Isabel National Forest.

Ride the Historic Cog Railway: Take a scenic journey to the top of Pikes Peak aboard the historic Cog Railway for stunning panoramic views. This is a super fun activity for those who don't want to or are unable to hike, but want the views!

Indulge in Hot Springs: Relax in natural hot springs like Glenwood Springs or Strawberry Park Hot Springs for a soothing and rejuvenating experience. You better believe this is also an anniversary trip activity for us. Our favorite is Iron Mountain Hot Springs and the property now has an "adults-only" experience called "Upriver". You will find me here in two weeks!

Take a Scenic Drive on the Million Dollar Highway: Drive along the breathtaking US Route 550, winding through the San Juan Mountains. Not for the faint of heart, but it's also not that scary. I have actually towed an Airstream through here several times and it's worth it.

Experience the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad: Embark on a historic steam train ride through the picturesque San Juan National Forest.

Wander Through Garden of the Gods: Admire the awe-inspiring rock formations and enjoy hiking and rock climbing opportunities in this natural wonder.

Day Trips: Palisade: Embracing the Sweetness of Peach Country

Visiting Palisade for peach country is an enchanting experience that immerses you in a world of luscious orchards and sweet indulgence. Located in Colorado's Western Slope, Palisade is renowned for producing some of the finest peaches in the country. As you stroll through the picturesque orchards, the aroma of ripe peaches fills the air, enticing you to taste the juicy delights straight from the trees. With breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains, a visit to Palisade offers not only a delectable peach-picking adventure but also a chance to savor the essence of a charming agricultural community that takes immense pride in its fruitful bounty. From orchard tours to farmers' markets bursting with fresh produce, Palisade's peach country invites you to relish the sweetness of summer in every bite.

Places to eat & drink in Colorado

Interior of a coffee shop.

Frasca Food and Wine (Boulder): A James Beard award-winning restaurant offering a delightful Northern Italian-inspired menu, complemented by an extensive wine list. The elegant ambiance and impeccable service make it a perfect spot for a memorable dining experience.

Mercantile Dining & Provision (Denver): Located in Denver's Union Station, Mercantile offers a farm-to-table approach with a focus on locally sourced ingredients. Another James Beard Award-winner, Chef Alex Seidel's creations showcase the best of Colorado's culinary bounty.

The Little Nell's Element 47 (Aspen): Part of the renowned Little Nell hotel, Element 47 offers a luxurious dining experience in the heart of Aspen. The menu features creative and sophisticated dishes that showcase the finest local and seasonal ingredients.

The Broadmoor's Penrose Room (Colorado Springs): Located in the iconic Broadmoor Hotel, the Penrose Room offers an upscale and elegant dining experience with French-inspired cuisine. It is Colorado's only Forbes Five-Star and AAA Five-Diamond restaurant.

The Rabbit Hole (Colorado Springs): A trendy gastropub in downtown Colorado Springs, The Rabbit Hole features a playful menu with modern twists on classic dishes. The quirky decor and innovative cocktails add to the overall experience. It's Colorado Spring's best-kept secret. Shhh...

Matsuhisa (Aspen): Owned by acclaimed chef Nobu Matsuhisa, this Japanese restaurant brings the best of sushi and Japanese cuisine to Aspen. Prepare for a memorable dining experience with dishes showcasing the freshest seafood and creative flavor combinations.

Cache Cache (Aspen): A long-standing favorite in Aspen, Cache Cache offers French-American cuisine in a cozy and stylish atmosphere. The menu boasts delicious dishes and an extensive wine list.

Sweet Basil (Vail): A Vail classic, Sweet Basil serves contemporary American cuisine with an emphasis on fresh, seasonal ingredients. The restaurant's chic ambiance and innovative dishes make it a popular choice for food lovers.

Williams & Graham (Denver, Colorado): Williams & Graham is an award-winning speakeasy-style cocktail bar known for its craft cocktails, knowledgeable bartenders, and intimate ambiance. The bar offers a vast selection of spirits, creative concoctions, and a unique menu that takes you back to the Prohibition era.

New Belgium Brewing Company (Fort Collins, Colorado): New Belgium is an iconic and well-respected craft brewery known for its commitment to sustainability, innovative beers, and community engagement. Their flagship beer, "Fat Tire Amber Ale," has become an American craft beer classic, and they offer a wide range of other delicious brews. Worth the visit up to Fort Collins, and it's just a beautiful downtown!

While you're in Fort Collins, Social is a locally-owned, underground cocktail bar in Old Town Fort Collins where you can enjoy properly crafted cocktails, sommelier-selected wines, abundantly sliced charcuterie, and small plates. At the entrance into Old Town Square, a street clock and a well-lit stairwell welcome you to a speakeasy atmosphere filled with great conversation. We've been regulars in our past lives living in Colorado.

Need to Know

For more summer travel tips, check out Fora Advisor Nancy McLaughlin's guide, Top Things to Do in Colorado in the Summer.

Advisor - Pamela Anderson

Travel Advisor

Pamela Anderson

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This is part of our ongoing series on travel in Colorado.