It’s not medieval England or the rolling emerald hills of Ireland, but Colorado is a magical land in its own right. So if you’re pretending you’re in a Wizarding World of your own or feel like living a fairytale this week, visit these magical places not far from your backyard.
1. Bishop Castle
Where: 12705 CO-165, Rye
Info: Admission is free. Visit its website for more details.
Why it’s magical: In southern Colorado, this attraction in the San Isabel National Forest is a medieval fantasy. Constructed entirely by one man named Jim Bishop, the Bishop Castle began its construction in 1969 when Bishop was 25 years old after he bought the land when he was 15. Bishop used rocks from the plot to build what he originally intended to be a one-room stone cottage and later turned into the castle it is today.
2. Williams & Graham
Where: 3160 Tejon St., Denver
Info: Make a reservation by phone at 303-997-8886 to book a table Sunday through Wednesday. Visit its website for more info.
Why it’s magical: On first impression, you may think Williams & Graham is a bookstore. But behind the shelves, there’s a secret speakeasy that happens to be one of the best bars in the world. Modeled from an antique library, the cozy atmosphere may remind you of Belle’s castle from Beauty and the Beast or the Hogwarts library itself.
3. Dunafon Castle
Photos courtesy of Dunafoncastle.com
Why it’s magical: This castle near Evergreen was completed in 1941 and features beautiful scenery of evergreens and the crystal-clear waters of Bear Creek. Mainly reserved for weddings and other special events, this secret castle hidden in the woods features three lakes and gorgeous garden grounds — the perfect fairytale escape for happily ever after.
4. Crystal Mill
Where: 7655-7999 County Rd. 3, Carbondale
Info: Hike this trail.
Why it’s magical: This old wooden powerhouse on the Crystal River in Marble, Colorado seems like it’s right out of a fairytale. Resurrected in 1892, this old mill was used as a water turbine (originally it had a waterwheel) to generate compressed air used to power machinery or tools for the silver mines.
5. Cherokee Ranch & Castle
Where: 6113 Daniels Park Rd., Sedalia
Info: General admission tours are $15. Visit its website for more info on all events.
Why it’s magical: Both a ranch and a castle, Cherokee Ranch & Castle has it all. Including a Great Hall with wooden arches and stone-cut walls, this architectural masterpiece echoing 1450s Scotland even has a terrace with magnificent views of the Rockies. Built in the 1920s, this castle is a magical gem. If this place doesn’t remind you of Hogwarts, we don’t know what will. Visit the Cherokee Ranch & Castle for tours, tea, brunch and more.
6. Gnome Road
Where: Illy Rd., Red Feather Lakes (40.8067, -105.5937)
Info: For more details on the hike, click here.
Why it’s magical: In Red Feather Lakes, you might find a magical woodland creature or two on this unique trail. Nicknamed the “Fairy Trail,” “Gnome Road,” “Elf Lane” and other references to its fantastical creatures, this short and easy hike between Lake Hiawatha and Lake Apache features ceramic trolls, garden gnomes and little fairy doors along the way. This magical hike is great for kids and adults — it never gets boring. If you visit, make sure you leave the creatures as you find them.
7. Miramont Castle
Where: 9 Capitol Hill Ave., Manitou Springs
Info: Adult admission is $9. Visit its website for more info.
Why it’s magical: The Manitou Springs area is famous for its red rocks, so it seems like an unlikely place to find a castle — wrong! On the way to the Pikes Peak train station, you should take a stop at Miramont Castle. This Tudor-style castle features a Queen’s Parlour Tearoom for sweet sips and scones and offers tours to visitors.
8. The Brown Palace Hotel and Spa
Where: 321 17th St., Denver
Info: Public tour admission to outside visitors is $15 and free for overnight guests. Visit its website for more info and to book events.
Why it’s magical: You’ve probably heard of this swanky historical hotel downtown, but don’t forget to make a visit. Open every day since August 12, 1892, the Brown Palace Hotel and Spa has seen a lot of famous guests (every US president has visited the Brown Palace since Teddy Roosevelt except Calvin Coolidge and Donald Trump). With grandeur and grace, it’s no wonder the Brown Palace makes an exceptional destination if you want to feel like royalty. Make sure you check out the atrium lobby that features cast-iron balconies rising eight floors off the ground.
Pro tip: don’t miss the champagne cascade on November 19 from 10 a.m.- 2 p.m.
9. Glen Eyrie Castle
Where: Glen Eyrie Conference Center, 3820 N. 30th St., Colorado Springs
Info: Public castle tour admission is $9. Call 719-265-7050 to make reservations and visit its website for more info.
Why it’s magical: Nestled on over 700 acres, the Glen Eyrie Conference Center in Colorado Springs has everything — including a castle. Sometimes referred to as “Little London,” the castle and grounds are a picturesque backdrop for reminiscing about medieval times in England. As a Christian sanctuary, Glen Eyrie is ideal for those searching for a retreat or conference and is also open to the public for historical teas, tours and overnight stays.