Let’s be honest – we’ve all been cooped up to no end in the last year. In fact, according to data from fitness trackers, most of us were moving less and sleeping more when the pandemic hit. That was “fun” for a while, but aren’t we all just itching to get back outside? 

Luckily, we are less than a two-hour drive from one of the most expansive and beautiful mountain ranges in the entire world.

Not everybody has time for a long vacation, so keep reading for ideas on taking absolutely amazing day trips in the Rockies.

Rocky Mountain National Park

We had to start with the obvious – Rocky Mountain National Park boasts 415 square miles of absolute mountainous splendor, and we should consider ourselves lucky that it’s a short drive from Denver.

There are 300 miles of hiking trails within the park, ranging from easy to expert. So, no matter your level of hiking experience, there’s something for you and your family that will yield the most stunning views.

If it’s not hiking, what’s your activity of choice? Skiing? Snowtubing? No matter what your flavor, there are endless opportunities in RMNP for your day trip activities.

Estes Park for Day Trips in the Rockies

If you love nature and want to enjoy it while staying away from it, the tiny mountain town of Estes Park is fantastic for day trips close to Denver. You can enjoy the solitude of the mountains while shopping and eating your way through town. This charming district features multiple breweries, wineries, and restaurants for your enjoyment.

If sightseeing or history is your jam, look no further than The Stanley Hotel, located in the heart of Estes Park. This is the actual hotel that inspired Stephen King to write The Shining and was also used in films such as Dumb and Dumber. The hotel offers daytime tours and, for the more adventurous supernatural fans, a night tour as well.

Clear Creek

If you’re a fan of the water, Clear Creek is about an hour from Denver and is excellent for day trip ideas; it’s also especially popular for whitewater rafting. Rafting season starts at the end of May and runs until early August, so don’t miss your chance to get out on the rapids!

Of course, the mountains are beautiful…but you want a closer look. More than just a hike. Consider a via ferrata mountain climb!

You can take a guided climb along our newly-extended protected route which gains about 250 feet in elevation. There are different levels for beginners and advanced climbers, and there’s even an opportunity to zipline at the same time.

St. Mary’s Glacier

Day trips in the Rockies wouldn’t be complete without a stop at St. Mary’s Glacier. It’s a semi-permanent snowfield located not far from Idaho Springs that features a beautiful out-and-back 1.9-mile trail, a lake, and gorgeous views that make it one of the most sought-after day trips in the Rockies. Parking lots are right at the start of the trailhead and, if you want to bring your fur baby, this trail is dog-friendly!

If you’re not ready to go at it alone, guided trips are available and include snowshoes and lunch for your group of four or more.

Arapaho National Forest

The Arapaho National Forest is another must-see if you’re looking for Denver day trip ideas. It’s located about 2 hours and 20 minutes from the city in north-central Colorado, and it straddles the continental divide with over 700,000 acres of land for exciting and beautiful day trips in the Rockies.

If you’re looking for more than a day trip but less than a full-blown vacation, consider stay & ski packages for overnight trips to the Rockies at Loveland Ski Area. The package includes fully-furnished and pet-friendly cabins, ski passes, and access to the Basecamp Bar, which will even deliver food and beverages directly to your cabin.

If outdoor, winter sports aren’t your thing, there are 161 hiking trails in Arapaho National Forest for you to choose from, making it a great choice for Denver day trip ideas.

Idaho Springs

Originally a mining town, Idaho Springs is located on Clear Creek, so if you’re planning on rafting, stop into this charming little town afterward! It’s one of the more convenient day trips close to Denver.

There’s a small downtown district that offers some small shops and restaurants. You can also check out the Indian Hot Springs or take one of the mining tours.

If you’re searching for lodging for overnight trips near Denver, take the leap and stay in a yurt! All of the yurts are fully insulated and include propane heaters to keep you warm at night. They also include a grill, beds, lanterns and they’re pet-friendly!

Maybe you’re looking for something a bit bigger for overnight trips to the Rockies? Why not rent a cabin? Each unit comes with a full kitchen that is stocked with cooking supplies, a modern bathroom with all the self-care amenities, a TV, and a master bedroom. And, just like the yurts, the cabins are also dog-friendly.

Ready to Go?

How can you not be when the options for day trips in the Rockies are as endless as this?

Whether you’re looking for winter fun like snowshoeing or a horse-drawn sleigh ride, or summer day trip ideas like hiking and whitewater rafting, the Rockies have something for you, your family, and friends.

The Rocky Mountains are 76 million years old and they’re the perfect choice for day trips close to Denver. 

If you’re interested in day trip ideas in the Rockies, give us a call at 720-779-2595 for more information on our guided tours, activities, and overnight stays. Or, you can conveniently book online!

Happy trails!