In a state as geographically diverse as Colorado—where you can ski from the highest peaks, soak in hot springs, step back in time in historic mining towns, zipline through alpine meadows, and surf golden sand dunes—there’s no shortage of adventure. But even resting your head at night can be a thrill when you seek out one of the truly unusual hideaways that dot this magnificent terrain. You’ll find cabins aplenty, of course, but also covered wagons, yurts, even a jupe.
To save you hours of searching online (time better spent exploring the state’s vibrant cities), we’ve sussed out a few of our favorite spots to tuck in across Colorado. They’re as distinct and varied as the terrain and offerings of this great state. Yet each is a stone’s throw from prime recreational activities, and will usher in the rest and relaxation you need to enjoy them. Experience Colorado in a whole new way this fall at these unconventional accommodations.
Go Off-the-Grid at OPUS Hut in Ophir, CO
Unplug and unwind at this hand-built, eco-friendly lodge situated nearly 12,000 feet above sea level. Unlike other backcountry cabins, all stays include breakfast, afternoon soup, dinner, and a la carte snacks to fuel hiking through the San Juan mountain trails near Ophir (an old mining town just south of Telluride), many of which are only accessible from the hut. Follow old mule trails to trek through beautiful meadows toward four alpine lakes within two miles of the hut, where you can cool off in crystal clear waters or fish for perch, bass, and trout. In the winter, skiers of all levels can pick up gear in Telluride or Ridgway to cruise through the area’s legendary powder.
Stargaze from a Jupe at Camp V in Vancorum, CO
Part camp, part art community, Camp V offers a number of distinctly perfect dwellings on its 120-plus acres, including Airstreams, cabins, and glamping tents. Its location in Naturita—a remote town about an hour from Telluride and Ouray—makes it part of a Dark Sky Community, so it makes sense to opt for a night in a jupe, a pod-like shelter crafted by designers from Tesla and SpaceX, to take in unobstructed views of the night sky. During the day, fish or raft on the Dolores River, which stretches for more than 200 miles through southwestern Colorado; view the petroglyphs in the Tabeguache Cave off the Unaweep Tabeguache Scenic Byway; or hike, bike, or UTV through the red rock canyons and alpine forests on the 160-mile Rimrocker Trail.
Splurge on the TreeHouse Suite at Highland Haven Creekside Inn in Evergreen, CO
City-dwellers can escape from Denver to nearby Evergreen, nestled in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, for a stay in a three-level tree house at this upscale mountain inn. It’s more luxurious than rustic, with an iron-and-stone fireplace, chandeliers, “champagne bubble” Jacuzzi, and 360-degree views of the surrounding spruce trees. Climb down to venture into town, where you can enjoy cultural pursuits, like moseying between galleries and antique stores, and treat yourself to fine dining and local brews. Get your thrills boating or paddleboarding on Evergreen Lake and hiking through Jefferson County Open Space or up to the top of nearby 14er Mount Evans, where you might spot local mountain goats and bighorn sheep.
Set up Camp at Camp Eddy in Grand Junction, CO
Whether you stay in one of the new tiny homes or remodeled vintage Airstreams or bring your own RV, this property—situated on the banks of the Colorado River—serves as your basecamp for exploring the area around Grand Junction. Colorado’s Grand Mesa is one of the largest flat-top mountains in the world, and it lights up in the fall, whether you’re exploring the alpine meadows and lakes of Grand Mesa National Forest, touring the EV-friendly Grand Mesa Scenic and Historic Byway, or hiking and biking through the dramatic red rocks of the nearby Colorado National Monument. Make sure to leave time for winery hopping in nearby Palisade.
Stay in a Covered Wagon at Avalanche Ranch in Redstone, CO
This Crystal River Valley property—just 20 minutes from Carbondale and an hour from Aspen—is home to five covered wagons that will take you right back to the 1800s (if the Wild West had modern amenities like propane heaters, fans, coffee makers, and gas BBQ grills). Designed around the natural rock formations, Avalanche Ranch has three tiered natural hot springs fed by a three-foot waterfall. If you feel the need to venture out, you can head down the road to soak in the public Penny Hot Springs in the Crystal River; hike or trout fish along Frying Pan Road, starting in the town of Basalt; visit the restored Coke Ovens in nearby Redstone, and sip locally made vodkas, whiskeys, and liquors while touring Marble Distilling Co.
Get Cozy in a Yurt at Joyful Journey Hot Springs in Moffat, CO
Make one of the yurts at this spa resort your home base for a relaxing getaway in south central Colorado. Known for its windswept plains (home to North America’s tallest sand dunes at Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve), the San Luis Valley is full of adventure. Here you can rock climb in Penitente Canyon (featuring routes for all levels) and be spiritually stirred by visiting the Crestone Ziggurat or walking the Joyful Journey labyrinth modeled after the Chartres Cathedral in France. However you spend your days, three all-natural hot springs pools on the property beckon you to unwind when you amble back.
Sleep in the Open Air at the Jersey Jim Fire Lookout Tower in Mancos, CO
This impressive tower, which stretches 55 feet into the air (at 10,000 feet above sea level), was home to U.S. Forest Service fire lookouts from the 1940s to the 1970s. Now, you can book it for a private escape in the San Juan Mountains—but be prepared to BYO supplies and endure high-altitude conditions. Sleep among the aspens, then follow the gravel road to reach nearby Mancos, which dates back to the 1800s and is dotted with historic buildings like the Opera House and Columbine Bar and Grill, one of the oldest continuously operating bars in Colorado. You can also explore the highest concentration of archaeological sites, from cliff dwellings to dams, in the United States at the nearby Canyons of the Ancients National Monument.
Ready to start planning your getaway to the land-of-a-thousand-lovely-rentals? Head to Visit Colorado for all the tips and reccos to make this trip a reality!