The 10 Most Charming Mountain Towns in Colorado

Colorado is known for its incredible scenery, breathtaking drives, and interesting history. Plus, it’s home to some fantastic mountain towns that are incredibly charming and indescribably scenic.

Each Colorado mountain town has its own vibe, which makes it fun to visit multiple on one trip if you can. These mountain towns in Colorado are small and compact, so they’re easy to visit on a day trip from Denver or in between stops on a Colorado road trip itinerary.

Throughout this post, you’ll learn all about the most charming mountain towns in Colorado. They’re located all over the western part of the state, too, so no matter where in Colorado you plan on visiting, you’ll most likely be able to find a great mountain town close by.

Here are all of the mountain towns in Colorado that you won’t want to miss!

Best Mountain Towns in Colorado

Leadville

The Main street of downtown Leadville, Colorado with red brick architecture on a sunny day in the colorado mountains and mostly empty streets.
Note: This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission if you purchase something through one of these links. Thank you for supporting the free content on this site! For more information on affiliate links and cookies, see my disclosure page for more details.

First up is Leadville, one of the less-visited mountain towns in Colorado.

It’s a pretty small town with a population of around 3,000 people, but it’s known for being one of the higher towns in the state. It sits at an elevation of 10,000 feet – how crazy!

It’s the highest city in all of North America, so you should for sure add it to your must-visit list!

Despite being a small town, there’s quite a bit to do in Leadville.

Stop by the National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum to learn more about mining history and its importance to Colorado.

For some excellent cross country skiing, consider going on the Mineral Belt Trail, which offers excellent views the entire way.

Breckenridge

The resort town of Breckenridge in summer with trees, mountains and lots of ski chalets and other buildings

If you’ve heard of Colorado, you’ve most likely already heard of Breckenridge. It’s one of the state’s most popular destinations because Breckenridge is home to one of the state’s best ski resorts (and plenty of great hikes, too!).

Breckenridge is one of Colorado’s most charming mountain towns because it’s set right amongst the Rockies. It has a truly historic feel to it, too, because the town started to come to fruition in the 1800s when it was initially a mining town.

The best thing to do in winter is to have some fun at the Breckenridge Ski Resort, but if you’re visiting throughout the rest of the year, you can enjoy rides on the BreckConnect Gondola, shopping on South Main Street, and going on hikes.

Aspen

The green trees of Aspen Colorado and houses in the town below in the mountains

Another one of the more popular places to visit in the mountains in Colorado is Aspen. Similar to Breckenridge, it’s known for being home to great skiing!

Aspen is located in the Rocky Mountains and serves as a destination no matter the time of year for adventure junkies.

In addition to skiing, there are tons of great things to do while visiting Aspen. Head to the Wheeler Opera House for a dose of beautiful architecture. Take the time to learn more about Aspen’s history at the Wheeler-Stellard House.

To get the most out of the mountain views, consider doing the Crater Lake hike, which will bring you through the Maroon Bells! This is one of the most beautiful mountainous areas in the entire state.

Silverton

Old west style architecture on a main street in silverton colorado a beautiful colorado mountain town

Located in southern Colorado is another charming mountain town called Silverton. You may have heard of it before because it’s known for being home to a great railway that you won’t want to miss.

This is one of the smaller towns on this list, which is part of what makes it so charming. The population is only about 500 people! If you want to get to know some locals in Colorado, this is a great place to visit.

In Silverton, you definitely won’t want to miss out on the Golden Block Brewery for some great locally crafted beers.

You’ll also want to hop on the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad if you have time because it’s one of the most scenic routes in the state.

Central City

two cute houses sitting side by side each other in colorado mountains in central city

This small city is incredibly charming and is only a short drive away from Denver, so it serves as a fantastic day trip.

It was founded in the 1880s and is most well known for being a gambler city, as it’s home to a historic casino. (Fun fact: Allison once won a s***ton of money in Central City!)

The drive to Central City will genuinely take your breath away, too, especially if you’re coming from Denver.

You slowly drive higher and higher up the mountains until all of a sudden you’re at a sign that says Central City Welcomes You. Despite being a small town, Central City’s hospitality is alive and well!

In Central City, arguably the best thing to do is try your hand at gambling in the Monarch Casino. You can also stop by the Central City Opera House to catch a great live opera show or attend a local festival.

Steamboat Springs

a red barn against the yellow aspen trees in the mountains near steamboat springs colorado

Steamboat Springs is a quaint mountain time located in the Yampa Valley of Colorado. It is one of the newer charming towns on this list, founded only a little over a hundred years ago in 1900.

As you might have guessed, the town got its name because of its amazing hot springs. If you head to the Old Town Hot Springs, you’ll be able to check them out first hand. There’s also a fitness center here, so you can work out with a view.

In the winter, Steamboat Springs turns into a great winter getaway. It’s home to the Steamboat Ski Resort, and you can even see a lot of the ski runs directly from the town. Consider skiing for a bit and then warming up in the hot springs for a fun time!

Estes Park

Estes Park downtown in winter with plowed streets and the city covered in snow

Located just a short distance from Denver is one of Colorado’s most charming mountain towns, Estes Park. Most people visit here because it’s the perfect home base for those who want to explore Rocky Mountain National Park.

It’s located right in the mountains and is incredibly beautiful. The best way to experience the views here is to hop on the Estes Park Aerial Tramway. It will bring you to the top of Prospect Mountain, which is incredible!

Of course, there are other great things to do in Estes Park. You can stop by Snowy Peaks Winery for some delicious drinks. Drive the Peak to Peak Scenic Byway for an incredible road trip.

Also, consider stopping by Lake Estes for some fishing or other water activities!

Glenwood Springs

city of glenwood springs below in the valley floor between mountains in colorado in summer

Glenwood Springs is truly one of the most breathtaking places to visit in the mountains!

It’s kind of on the verge of being a city because of its size, and it’s known for being home to fun resorts that are perfect for families or even romantic getaways.

This town is known for being home to natural hot springs, which visitors can experience while visiting the Glenwood Hot Springs Pool.

The baths here date back to the 19th century! Another spot to experience the hot springs is at the Iron Mountain Hot Springs.

For a real fun time, be sure to also head to Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park.

This is one of the highest theme parks in all United States because it’s situated on top of a mountain. You even have to ride a gondola to get to the top of it!

Idaho Springs

The charming mountain town of Idaho Springs Colorado with lots of old fashioned houses and a yellow-grass mountain with trees

Idaho Springs is an overlooked 19th-century mining town near Denver and Central City.

This tiny Colorado mountain town is filled with great locals and excellent restaurants, as well as beautiful hikes that surround it!

Believe it or not, Idaho Springs is most well known for being the birthplace of Colorado pizza.

What sets Colorado pizza apart is that the dough is made with honey, so it has a slightly sweeter taste! Stop by Beau Jo’s Pizza to try the original.

If history is what you are into, you can visit the Argo Gold Mill and Tunnel. It’s an old mine that now offers guided tours to the public so you can truly step back in time.

A short drive away from Idaho Springs is also St. Mary’s Glacier, one of the only glaciers in Colorado. It only takes a 2.4-mile hike to get to it!

Salida

The Arkansas Whitewater Recreation Area and the red and orange buildings of downtown Salida in Colorado with yellow and green trees in early fall

Last but not least is Salida, a small town in Colorado that is pretty charming!

Similar to most other towns on this list, it’s situated right in the mountains and was founded in the late 1800s.

A lot of the locals like to stay that Salida serves as the true heart of the Rocky Mountains.

Salida is known for being incredibly historic. In fact, there are tons of buildings located in downtown Salida that are known to be nationally recognized historical spots.

Be sure to stop by the town and shop at some of the local stores while visiting to check out the insides of the different buildings here.

This is another great town with hot springs, but these are indoors. The Salida Hot Springs Aquatic Center has pools that are fed by the nearby hot springs, making it a really unique place to visit. There are even indoor waterfalls which make it super fun to visit!

If you want some outdoor fun, hit up the Arkansas Whitewater Recreation Area for some fun in the rapids!

***

Colorado is truly home to some beautiful and charming mountain towns.

No matter what kind of traveler you are or who you usually travel with, you undoubtedly found a few new places to add to your must-visit travel list!

Have you been to Colorado before? Which Colorado mountain town did you like most?

Leave a Comment