Colorado is famous for its vivid displays of the sun rising and setting at dawn and dusk. The pink, purple and orange hues drip across the sky filling the horizon. Not only does Colorado have the colors but it has the mountains and there isn’t anything quite like watching the sun from high up in the mountains.
Fall is the perfect time of year — the sun rises later in the day — to catch the sunrise for all those who aren’t morning people. Here are some of the best spots to catch the sun’s glow in the a.m. or p.m.
Any we missed? Tell us your favorite spots in the comments below.
Drive the 4.6-mile Lariat Trail up Lookout Mountain in Golden for a perfect view of Denver as it wakes up. Just below the burial spot and museum for Buffalo Bill is a pullout where you can take in the lights of the city and the rising sun.
In 1861 Farmer Sloan dug a well that grew into a gushing spring and then a lake. Today it is the largest lake in the Denver Metro area. Grab a chair or blanket and head to the lake’s shoreline to see the sun’s a.m. show. Pro tip: it’s also a great place for a sunset — as seen in the above photo.
Off Baseline Road in Boulder take the Chautauqua Trailhead to either the 2.1-mile Flatiron Loop Trail or the 3.4-mile Royal Arch Trail. Start early enough to watch the sunrise at your destination.
Horsetooth Mountain is the tallest peak in Horsetooth Mountain Open Space Park. Sitting on top of the mountain is the Horsetooth Rock outcropping — a prime location to sit and watch the sun come up over the horizon. Take along breakfast to revive yourself after the 5-mile hike.
Every Coloradan has seen Red Rocks in all its evening glory. But with Yoga on the Rocks and other early morning activities at the amphitheater, there are plenty of chances to catch the morning glory of the sun on the rocks.
Ramada Inn – Speer Boulevard and I-25
Don’t let the address distract you. The Ramada Inn at Speer and I-25 has one of the best views of Denver. Not only that but it just happens to face east. You won’t find a better view of the sun coming up behind the city than at this crossroads.
Garden of the Gods
Garden of the Gods may be a hotspot tourist attraction but the sun’s evening rays make dealing with crowds worth while. The reds and oranges of the fading light reflect the tones of the rocks to make them glow even brighter.
Devil’s Head Fire Lookout
If you haven’t done the Devil’s Tower hike now is the time. The 2.7-mile hike follows a river and allows dogs. Once at the tower climb the 143 steps to the top of the lookout. From there enjoy an uninterrupted 360-degree view of your surroundings and the sunset.
The Kenosha Pass trail is a total of 8 miles round trip but you only have to hike up about 3 miles for a great view of the surrounding mountains. Grab a seat to watch the sun’s p.m. path as it fades into the horizon.
It’s always fun to watch the Rockies play — win or lose. With the booze and food options at the Rooftop watching the sun melt down doesn’t get much better or relaxed than this. Get tickets for an evening game and cheer on the home team. Go here to see one incredible example of a killer Rockies sunset.
North Table Mountain
There are options at North Table Mountain with trails from 1.5 miles to an 8.3-mile loop. Whichever trail you choose you will get some great views. Get to the trailhead just before sunset so the bright colors can accompany your hike.
Make a day of it at City Park — designed in 1882 as part of the “City Beautiful” campaign. The park is home to the Denver Zoo and the Denver Museum of Nature and Science plus a lake and recreation areas. End the full day with a perfect view of the sunset.
The sun sets here on one of the best backdrops in Colorado. Daniel’s Park offers some of the most impressive views of the Front Range — from here you can see Mt. Evans, Pikes Peak and Longs Peak. Enjoy a short hike beforehand or drive Daniel’s Park Road and use any pull off to catch the evening glow.
Inspiration Point Park
Charles Mulford Robinson introduced the idea for Inspiration Point Park in 1906. He intended the park to be a vista point to enjoy the surrounding scenery of the mountains and the growing city of Denver. Take a picnic and stroll the trails as you watch the sunset. Go here to see a photo of the incredible view.