Colorado History Vacation Destinations

History Vacation Destinations in Colorado

Take a history vacation in Colorado and discover gold mines, ghost towns, dinosaurs, and settlers. Colorado's history is stacked with historic sites and attractions, from our rich gold mining past to stunning archaeological wonders to our Wild West roots. Here’s where to get your history buff on and peek into the incredible historical stories that built our great state.

Days of Dinosaurs History Vacation Destinations

Visit Dinosaur National Monument, Dinosaur Ridge, and Picket Wire Canyonlands to discover fossils and larger-than-life footprints. These dig sites and museums are packed with exhibits that will impress all generations. On the border of Utah and Colorado, Dinosaur National Monument showcases visible Jurassic Period remains. In the opposite corner of the state, Picket Wire Canyonlands delivers more than 1,500 dino prints in 100 separate trackways across a quarter mile of bedrock, comprising the largest finding of its kind in North America.

Royal Gorge Dinosaur Site

If you visit the Royal Gorge Region, add these interesting dinosaur sites to your history vacation.
  • The Royal Gorge Regional History Museum - view dinosaur fossils, bones, and a complete Stegosaurus skeleton replica.
  • Garden Park Fossil Area - view a large display of fossils.
  • Indian Springs Trace Fossil Site
  • Skyline Drive Trackway Site - view fossils from 107 million years ago

Native American, Hispanic Heritage

Learn about the lives of Colorado’s Ancestral Puebloan residents at Mesa Verde National Park, home to more than 600 cliff dwellings and 4,000 known archeological sites and named among “1,000 Places to See Before You Die.” The Trujillo Homesteads in the Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area look at how Hispano and Anglo settlers approached Colorado ranching in the 19th century and carved out their piece of the American frontier. The Crow Canyon Archaeological Center offers hands-on archaeology programs and group tours of the Southwest led by archaeologists and American Indian scholars. For an amazing history vacation experience by car, travel the Trail of the Ancients Scenic Byway and see how American Indian, Spanish, and European cultures impacted Colorado’s Four Corners Region. Mesa Verde National Park History Vacation

The Wild West Gold Rush

Relive the 1800s at preserved settlements across Colorado, including Bent’s Old Fort National Historic Site in La Junta. The reconstructed 1840s adobe fur-trading post offers guided tours, demonstrations, and special events. To taste the strike-it-rich mining boom history vacation, stroll historic main streets in mountain towns like Leadville (visit the National Mining Hall of Fame & Museum) and Central City (take the Hidee Mine tour). Remnants of this exciting era live in ghost towns such as St. Elmo, where old mining roads double as Jeep and ATV trails, and through Colorado mining tours. Head to Cripple Creek and descend 1,000 feet on the Mollie Kathleen Gold Mine Tour. America’s only vertical mineshaft was named for the first woman to strike gold in Colorado. See how mining equipment worked and score some hands-on gold panning experience at Breckenridge’s Country Boy Mine. Kids love sliding down the 55-foot ore chute and seeing the burros. History Vacation St. Elmo Ghost Town

Natural Wonders

No Colorado family vacation is complete without a stop by the Royal Gorge. The bridge, park, railroad, and nearby Cañon City provide a full day of family entertainment. While down that way, raft the Arkansas River for an up-close look at Browns Canyon National Monument. Summit 14,115-foot Pikes Peak in Colorado Springs, the mountain that inspired "America the Beautiful." Or sit back and ride the Pikes Peak Cog Railway, the highest train in the U.S., and enjoy panoramic views and wildlife spotting. History Vacation Royal Gorge Bridge

Capital Treasures History Vacation

If you’re in the Mile High City, take a Denver Story Trek and see the city’s historic museums, homes, parks, and landmarks on a free, downloadable, self-guided tour.  As part of your history vacation, visit the History Colorado Center for high-tech interactive exhibits and take a weekday tour of the golden Colorado State Capitol building. Explore more Colorado historic sites and plan your next big adventure.

By Lisa Blake

Sponsored Content

Scroll to top