Red Rocks, Hanging Lake, and Bishop Castle make this list of nearly 30 of Colorado's most beloved, unique and popular destinations. 

Behold a scene like nothing else, taking place in the unassuming San Luis Valley: towering sand dunes flanked by forest and the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.

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Jim Bishop and his castle are the definition of "Colorful Colorado." Bishop, a lifelong Pueblo resident, acquired property off Colorado 165 as a teen in 1969 and used it to turn a dream into reality. The glass and stone structure has achieved national fame. A dragon head is at the center of soaring towers, which are connected by walkways that are not for the faint of heart. As much as the kids will love the free attraction, cover their ears if Bishop is around and on one of his profane rants.

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Sure, Colorado has more impressive castles, including the Bishop. But nothing is quite like Cano's. It rises from a residential street in Antonito, the sun glinting off the towers of beer cans and scrap metal.

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Merry Christmas all the time at the North Pole. The kids won't forget this mountainside amusement park - the candy cane slide, a tame roller-coaster and Santa. 5050 Pikes Peak Highway, in Cascade, 684-9432, northpolecolorado.com.

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It's that family fun place everyone has to visit at least once. Casa Bonita is a big, pink, Southwestern fun center with cliff divers, waterfall and, arcade. At the table, push up the flag to get ,pre sopapillas, the only edible thing on the menu. This 40-year eatery is the quirky site of this season's NFL draft for the Broncos. 6715 W. Colfax Ave., Lakewood, 303-232-5115, casabonitadenver.com.

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In Colorado's desolate southwest corner lies what some researchers consider North America's greatest archaeological treasure.  Mesa Verde National Park is one of the few places where you can truly get a sense of what life must have been like long, long ago. 

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You have to see the bridge to believe it, and it’s hard to miss the vast and beautifully engineered structure stretching across the gaping yawn of Fremont County’s Royal Gorge.

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Get your “City Slickers” fix at one of Colorado’s oldest ranches, Bear Basin Packtrips in Westcliffe. Set in the picturesque Wet Mountains, with gorgeous views of the Sangre de Cristos, this 1890s ranch offers full- and part-day horse rides with picnics as well as one-day fishing trips.

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Learn the history of mining, eat a miner's breakfast and more. This tour will take you 1,500 feet into Gold Mountain. 

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Their names are almost as intriguing as their striking good looks - among them, Devil's Thumb, East Face of the Finger, Dreadnaught, Sacred Cliffs and Queen Anne's Head. Climbing is year-round here, weather and critters permitting.

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Near Nederland rests the Caribou Ranch recording studio, once used by Elton John, Michael Jackson, U2, Billy Joel, Beach Boys and others. The ranch is closed through June 30 to protect migrating birds and calving elk, but it boasts plenty of beautiful trails, forests, meadows, wetlands and a historical mining complex to explore during the rest of the summer.

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At the Colorado Gators Reptile Park,  the beasts reside in fenced wetlands heated by a geothermal well. A sign asks visitors to "STAY ON THE PATH" as they step along boardwalks.

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The Anasazi Indians lived here more than 10,000 years, dating back to the 10th century. At the Canyons of the Ancients National Monument, you can find about 30,000 archaeological sites - villages, field houses, reservoirs, great kivas, cliff dwellings, shrines, sacred springs, sweat lodges and more.

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If you haven't witnessed the water crashing into the emerald pool, it's worth the price of admission. You'll feel as if you've stepped into the tropics at the end of a mile-long trail that steeply climbs into the canyon.

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Colorado's more than 6,000 miles of streams and rivers afford plenty of awe-inspiring fly-fishing spots. In the scenic Yampa Valley near Steamboat Springs, you can find several guided trips and free clinics.

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 Colorado National Monument's famed road weaves through a timeless western landscape, climbing over the Colorado Plateau that also encompasses the Grand Canyon and Arches National Park.

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Soak or steam all your cares away in the healing waters of Glenwood Springs. Perhaps the most unusual are found in the Hot Springs Vapor Caves, with a history dating back hundreds of years to the Ute Indians. The mineral waters flow through subterranean cave floors, turning them into natural saunas.

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Colorado's crown jewel, Rocky Mountain State Park is a go-to destination for natives and a bucket list item for visitors. One would need multiple lifetimes to fully explore Rocky Mountain National Park, but for Coloradans, the pleasure is in trying.

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The water is set within the gorgeous Curecanti National Recreation Area. And while there's plenty to do by land, the deep Blue Mesa is the place for fishing and boating in this mountain state.

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Fir Summit Amphitheater, a solar-powered stage, perches atop La Veta Pass, only accessible via the Rio Grande Scenic Railroad out of Alamosa. 

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Take a drive among some of the continent's most ancient and imposing cliffs. As tempting as the road is, the rugged wilds are even more so for hikers, climbers, anglers and kayakers.

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Surrounded by towering sandstone structures as a crescent moon rises above the stage, the natural concert venue is a favorite of not only music lovers, but also musicians.

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Here's Colorado's answer to Utah's Moab for hundreds of miles of excellent singletrack mountain-biking trails.

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Take a step back in time and onto a locomotive to explore 45 miles of railway on the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad.

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More than 80,000 entrées of buffalo are served annually at The Fort in Morrison— one of Colorado's most unusual restaurants.

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The working Chico Basin Ranch southeast of Colorado Springs in Peyton has country music concerts to benefit its education program. Visitors can arrive early, find a spot to camp and explore the dusty prairie life with its cowboys, cattle, horses, pronghorn and more. Then settle in for music, food and a late-night jam session around the campfire. 

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The Hanging Flume "is perhaps one of the most risky and lofty plans in mining history." The iron and timber spine clings to a canyon wall high over the Dolores River. 

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You'll need a day to see everything at this  24-acre oasis on Denver's York Street is a serene, multi-hued heaven, a landscaping marvel that invokes the senses.

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