Colorado’s mighty gondolas and chair lifts (or chairlifts) are found throughout the Rocky Mountains. While most are used by downhill skiers and snowboarders, many are also open to pedestrians and sightseers, usually for a fee that is much reduced over a ski pass. There are also a handful of gondolas that are not associated with ski areas, including the Royal Gorge, Monarch Crest, Estes Park, and Glenwood Caverns.
List of Gondolas and Chairlifts in Colorado
Some of the gondolas are used for transportation from one place to another, such as in Telluride from downtown to Mountain Village, in Breckenridge from the parking lot to the base, and the Winter Park Cabriolet that leads from the parking area to the resort village. These three are all free. You’ll find them accessible in summer as well as in winter (though some located outside of ski resorts are temporarily closed in the winter).
Map of Colorado’s Gondolas and Chairlifts
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For those looking to experience the thrill of a mountaintop without having to spend the day hiking up, chairlifts and gondolas are the perfect way to achieve this. While not all of the chairs will be open to sightseers, rest assured that all gondolas will be. These offer unique aerial views of places and offer the thrill of being high in the sky.
Most of Colorado’s larger ski resorts feature gondolas to make your trip to the top as pleasant as possible. They shield you from the cold in the winter and let the cool breeze in the windows come summer. They can accommodate larger groups (usually 4-8 people), though they vary in size.
Additionally, there are a few tramways and gondolas in the state that are not associated with a ski resort but offer beautiful views nonetheless. The Royal Gorge Aerial Gondola is a very popular attraction, shuttling visitors 1,200 feet in the air over the rushing Arkansas River below.
None of these are to be confused with cable cars, because Colorado does not have any of those. Cable cars are basically massive gondolas that can carry dozens of people at a time. The closest one to the Centennial State is in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
The following ski resorts have gondolas:
- Breckenridge – BreckConnect Gondola
- Snowmass – Elk Camp Gondola
- Vail – Gondola One and Eagle Banh Gondolas
- Keystone – River Run and Outpost Gondolas
- Aspen – Silver Queen Gondola
- Steamboat – Scenic Gondola
- Telluride – Mountain Village Gondola
- Winter Park – Village Cabriolet, Scenic Gondola
These tramways and gondolas are not associated with a ski resort:
- Estes Park – Aerial Tramway
- Glenwood Springs – Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park
- Salida – Monarch Crest Scenic Tramway
- Cañon City – Royal Gorge Bridge & Park
Make the most of your time in the Rockies by getting as high as possible (we mean in a gondola, of course). The view from above the tree line is pretty spectacular and worth the trip.
Remember to properly acclimatize at a lower elevation before venturing further above sea level. As always, dress in layers because those high-elevation destinations have a tendency to be a little cold and windy. No matter the season, you’ll be well on your way to a mountain paradise.
While all of these options are perfect for a day of sightseeing from the clouds, there are several activities you can try your hand at to get back down the mountain. Aside from taking the same lift back down, you can snowshoe, ski or snowboard in the winter. In the warmer months, choose a trail to hike or mountain bike down to experience things from a different perspective.