If you’re reading this, you probably already know that Colorado is an ideal place to watch sunsets. Teeming with immense mountain landscapes that soar up above vast open spaces, there are too many unforgettable sunset spots in the state to list here, so we’re only focusing on the best of the best.
From a chic rooftop bar in Denver to a southern Colorado spot ideal for watching a mountain range awash in alpenglow, the places highlighted on this list can be found across the state.
Beautiful Colorado Sunset Spots
Given Colorado’s latitude, sunsets typically occur around 8:30 pm during the peak of the summer solstice in June. Prior to date this and after, the sun sets earlier and earlier. The shortest day of the year in terms of daylight and the earliest sunset is the winter solstice in December.
Pawnee National Grassland
Colorado’s mountains get the lion’s share of attention when it comes to lists like these, so let’s kick things off with something completely different. Replete with sprawling prairie lands, wildflowers, and lonely buttes, Pawnee National Grassland is a gorgeous part of Colorado that could easily serve as the setting for Netflix’s next Western series.
When the sun sets and the sky lights up here with hues of pink, blue, and purple, it’s truly a sight to behold.
Fire Lookout on Mestaa’ėhehe Mountain
Perched up at 11,000 feet, this spot features a refurbished fire lookout station that’s open to the public for overnight stays year-round. The granite structure is lined with windows on every side, a design feature to help rangers keep an eye on the surrounding forests.
An unintended benefit is the ability to see astounding sunsets from a high elevation view. Catching the sunset here gives you access to lots and lots of sky and gives you the feeling that you’re actually up in it rather than observing it from down below.
Longs Peak via Rocky Mountain National Park
It’s a humbling feeling looking at the monolithic rocky summit of Longs Peak any time of the day, but it’s especially stunning when the mountain is dramatically lit by the setting sun. With arresting views that can be accessed in Rocky Mountain National Park, Longs Peak at sunset is a nature photographer’s dream.
Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve
Flanked by towering peaks that are capped with snow most of the year, Great Sand Dunes National Park is easily one of the best sunset destinations in Colorado. Under a sky illuminated in pink, the contrast between folded sand dunes and the Sangre de Cristo mountains creates a dramatic scene that stays with you long after you see it.
Hiking along the rim of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison
The sunsets are reliably brilliant at the rim of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison in western Colorado. This national park features astoundingly steep cliff faces that are outlined in thick shadows beneath a sky exploding in vivid colors during sunsets. There are two sides, the North and South Rims, the former being the more visited of the two.
Some things are overly hyped about this world-famous outdoor venue, like its sound for example (its unique natural location actually makes delivering great sound a challenge for audio engineers). However, the sunsets here are absolutely incredible, and there’s really nothing quite like seeing your favorite band play while the sun slowly gives way to the night sky.
Sangre de Cristo Mountains from Crestone
One of Colorado’s most important destinations, the charming town of Crestone lies directly at the contrast between the sprawling San Luis Valley and the majestic Sangre de Cristo Mountains. The mountains here aren’t the state’s highest, but from the perspective of the flat, sage brush-laden valley below, they look like explode out of nowhere, especially during cinematic sunsets.
The mountains here get their name from a natural phenomenon called alpenglow, which gives the peaks a luminous pink and purple color at sunset.
From atop the Grand Mesa
Scoping out sunsets from the highest flat-topped mountain on the planet is a profound experience. It’s especially wonderful if you’re on the shore of one of the area’s countless lakes and have the chance to see the whole display reflected on the water. Some of the best sunset views in the state can be found from atop the Grand Mesa.
54thirty in Denver
If you can’t find joy in watching a sunset from the 20th floor of the Le Méridien Hotel in Denver with a cocktail in hand, you’ve probably got the sort of problems that sunsets can’t fix, I’m afraid. Evening displays here include luminously lit views of the city as well as the Front Range.
This iconic mountain feature needs no introduction and is one of the most ubiquitous sunset destinations not just in Colorado, but in all of North America. The Bells’ unmistakable triangular rock formations reflected on the placid waters of Maroon Lake is a euphoria-inspiring scene when the sky is awash in the sunset.
This western Colorado community is famous for its delicious peaches, but it’s also a great place to catch a sunset whether you’re roaming around one of the area’s vineyards or hiking along the Palisade Rim Trail. The setting sun always looks terrific illuminating the Book Cliffs. Palisade is located next to Grand Junction and Fruita, adding other pretty destinations for a sunset, like Colorado National Monument.
Garden of the Gods
Dotted with bizarre red rock formations that jut out of the ground 300 feet into the air in some places, Colorado Springs’ Garden of the Gods is a terrific place to take in the sunset. The Palmer Trail provides excellent views of the rocks and surrounding mountains.
Exploring the Dinosaur National Monument on foot
Located in the windswept, remote northwestern corner of Colorado, the Dinosaur National Monument features vast canyon lands, countless dinosaur fossils, and spectacular sunsets. This place is truly unique because, in addition to the monument’s excellent established hikes, free-hiking is also permitted here, which means you could potentially see a sunset from a spot in the area that’s never been explored before.
The Royal Gorge
Sunsets that unfold over the majestic Royal Gorge are unforgettable, especially from the vantage point of a helicopter or gondola. Located just 15 minutes from Canon City, spend the day exploring the park’s attractions and rides. Another option while in town for an expansive view is Skyline Drive.
Crested Butte is an especially gorgeous natural destination in a state that’s brimming with them. Sunsets are intensely beautiful here any time of the year, whether the wildflowers are in bloom under a brilliant, changing sky in the summer, or when the dimming sky glistens over the snow-covered mountains and meadows here in the winter and spring.
Sunsets at Denver’s Coors Field feature a fascinating display of contrasts, with the action overhead set against the bright, perfectly cut grass on the field and the jagged Front Range mountains off into the distance.
A hike along the flatirons outside of Boulder is an ideal setting to take in a sunset. Its sharp rock formations burst out of the plains under a sky exploding in heavenly pastels.
There are literally countless other great places in Colorado to watch sunsets, but the spots that made this list are truly special.