Meet the state that really puts the great into the Great Outdoors. Colorado is a staggeringly beautiful corner of America, blessed with stunning scenery from the snowy peaks of the Rocky Mountains to the towering dunes of Great Sand Dunes National Park. Such is Colorado's embarrassment of riches that there's a spectacular sight round every corner, and 300 days of sunshine a year make for the perfect conditions to get out and enjoy it all.
The Centennial State's jewel in the crown is the Rocky Mountain National Park. Peak after rugged peak punctuates the sky here, plus there's crystal-clear lakes, rushing rivers, dense forests, cascading waterfalls and meadows strewn with wildflowers. Hiking the Park's many trails is the perfect way to get into the heart of the landscape and feel that Rocky Mountain high. But you can just as easily cruise along scenic roads or ride the gondola lift to the top of Beaver Creek Mountain for jaw-dropping views.
Holidays in Colorado are fantastic any time of year, and spring and summer make for the perfect time to get active. There's kayaking and white water rafting on the Colorado River; inspired mountain bike trails around Boulder and throughout Colorado; superb rock climbing all over the state; plus zip lines for adrenaline addicts. And the thrills are just as exhilarating come winter, when powdery snowfall turns the Rockies into America's top skiing destination, and world-class resorts like Aspen and Vail come alive.
Colorado also does cities, and Denver has good arts, museums and shopping, while Colorado Springs. is home to Garden of the Gods and Pikes Peak Mountain. Free-spirited Boulder is the gateway to the Rockies and the West is still alive in small towns such as Durango. There are ghost towns to explore too - a reminder of the state's Gold Rush days. The mines may be long, but Colorado holidays are guaranteed 22 Carat.
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There are dozens of National and State Parks throughout this beautiful state. Besides the Rockies, other highlights are Mesa Verde, where you'll discover astonishing 13th-century dwellings hewn into the cliff face; Black Canyon, with its forbidding granite walls; the tallest dunes in America at Great Sand Dunes (you can board or sledge down them!); and amazing rock formations in the Garden of the Gods.
DRINK AND BE MERRY
Denver is home to the huge Coors brewery, so beer is never in short supply on holidays in Colorado. The state is also known for its microbreweries, and there are plenty of brew pubs around where you can sample hand-crafted ales. If wine is more your kind of tipple, then drop by some of the 80 wineries along the Colorado Wine Trail for tasty Merlots, Chardonnays and Cabernets.
THE WHITE STUFF
Excellent skiing and snowboarding are the order of the day at Colorado's world-class resorts. Glitzy Aspen and Vail attract celebrities to their superb slopes and buzzing night-life, while Steamboat Springs is perfect for families. With sunny skies and deep powder, the downhill action can't be beaten.
RIDE THE RAILS
For the ride of your life, chug by train through the awesome peaks and plunging valleys of the Rocky Mountains. The Durango-Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad was originally used to transport mine supplies and workers, but now pulls sight-seers for 45 miles along a 915-metre ascent. It trundles over narrow bridges that span gaping white-water canyons as it does so.
Spending time in one of Colorado's natural hot springs is a sure fire way to relax to the max. Strawberry Park has pools surrounded by forest; mountainside Jacuzzi tubs are the order of the day at Indian Hot Springs; and the name says it all at Hot Sulphur Springs Resort & Spa.
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