Milliken is a small town in north-central Colorado that’s just about equidistant from Denver to the south and Cheyenne, Wyoming to the north.
The town had a population of about 7,000 residents at the time of the last census, and it was founded more than a century ago.
For much of its existence, Milliken was little more than a rural trading post, but it later became a flourishing railroad and cattle ranching community.
Those visiting Milliken have ample day trip options to historical, cultural, outdoor recreation, and live entertainment attractions, so staying busy while in town shouldn’t be an issue.
Let’s explore the best things to do in and around Milliken, Colorado:
1. Daniels School
Daniels Schoolhouse is a Milliken historic icon that dates back to 1911 when the area was even more rural and remote than it is today.
The small, one-room brick school remained in service for more than 50 years, and many of the students who studied there in decades past still live in town.
The school is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is the last remaining structure of its kind in the area.
A free attraction, it is conveniently located downtown, and though there isn’t much to see, it’s the perfect accompaniment for those visiting the aforementioned museum and Heritage House.
2. The Cracked Egg
The Cracked Egg is located on Broad Street in Milliken and is one of the town’s most popular breakfast and lunch destinations for locals and tourists alike.
Previous guests have noted that the restaurant featured hearty meals, reasonable prices, and an attentive wait staff.
They’re open every day from 7 AM until 2 PM and are particularly well-known for their traditional fare, like hearty omelets, biscuits and gravy, piping hot coffee, and crispy hash browns.
The restaurant is a great way to start the day before heading out to explore, and lighter options like fresh fruit and yogurt are available for those watching their waistlines.
3. Mad Russian Golf Course
The Mad Russian Golf Course is located just outside Milliken town limits. In addition to having an unforgettably unique name, it’s considered to be one of the region’s best golf values by savvy local golfers.
The course’s 18 holes are spread over nearly 6,000 yards from the longest tees, but for seniors and kids, there are shorter tee options, which lessen the length significantly.
Mad Russian’s undulating hills, water and sand hazards, and tight greens make it both scenic and moderately challenging, and rounds can generally be finished in three or four hours.
Greens fees are very reasonable.
4. Devil’s Backbone Open Space
With such majestic mountains, vast plains, and endless vistas, it’s no wonder that Colorado is home to such an abundance of state and national parks and preserved open spaces.
Devil’s Backbone Open Space includes more than 2,000 acres that encompass a variety of natural environments and more than ten miles of multi-use trails.
It’s located just a short drive from Milliken and is a hot spot for birders, cyclists, outdoor lovers, and backpackers looking to distance themselves from civilization.
Due to its convenient location, Devil’s Backbone can get busy during peak times like holidays and weekends in the summer.
There’s no entrance fee, and it’s open every day from sunup to sundown.
5. The Loveland Museum
Loveland is a relatively short drive west of Milliken and offers visitors a variety of attractions that aren’t generally found in smaller towns.
The Loveland Museum was founded by a local man named Harold Dunning, a guide and historian who spent much of his life collecting artifacts and art.
The museum and gallery’s collections include many items from the Native American peoples who called the area home long before it was officially settled, as well as relics from the region’s exploration and gold boom eras too.
The staff periodically host engaging and instructional courses for those of most ages, so check out their website before making a special trip.
6. Boyd Lake State Park
Boyd Lake State Park is located just off Interstate 25 between Denver and Milliken.
The park’s centerpiece is Boyd Lake, which is comprised of nearly 1,800 acres of surface area. During the warm summer months, it’s a big draw for anglers, swimmers, boaters, and kayakers.
For those who prefer land-based activities, there are plenty of options as well, like hiking, mountain biking, bird watching, and camping.
The park and lake can get downright crowded and noisy during peak times, so if that’s a scene you’d rather avoid, consider visiting during the week or early in the morning while most people are still snug in their beds.
7. Kress Cinema & Lounge
Greeley’s Kress Cinema & Lounge is one of the last independent movie houses in the area. For lovers of historic charm and unique architecture, it’s the perfect place to take in a show or two.
The facility features both a full-service restaurant and bar and is a big hit with classic movie aficionados, foodies, and those who prefer locally-produced beer and spirits to those from other parts of the country.
The basement bar has been decorated in the art deco-noir style so popular in the early decades of the 20th century, and though they show contemporary movies, most visitors prefer their vintage films, indie flicks, and cult classics.
8. Centennial Village Museum
The region around Greeley and Milliken is home to a large number of historic buildings, and many of them date back more than a century to when the area was still relatively wild and unsettled.
Centennial Village Museum is located near downtown Greeley and is a great place to spend an hour or two for history and culture lovers traveling on budgets.
Part of the Island Grove Regional Park, in addition to its interactive exhibits, there are often historic actors dressed in period garb going about their daily lives the way those who lived in the area decades ago would have.
9. Lory State Park
As a percentage of its landmass, Colorado boasts more state and national parks than most other states in the country.
Many outdoorsy visitors spend much of their time at the larger natural attractions in the Rocky Mountains, but for those who prefer to stick closer to home, there are plenty of options as well.
Lory State Park’s amenities include an extensive network of multi-use trails that are popular with hikers, walkers, and mountain bikers. Many visitors choose to spend an entire day on-site.
Admission is inexpensive, and it’s common to see lots of birds and animals on the trails, especially during the morning and evening hours, when many of them are most active.
10. Sweet Heart Winery
Though locally-brewed beers take the top spot in Colorado when it comes to intoxicating beverages, both wineries and small-batch distilleries have been making big inroads in the last few decades as well.
Situated amongst the scenic Rocky Mountain Front Range area, Sweet Heart Winery in Loveland prides itself on its award-winning wines, but its facilities and stunning mountain vistas are nothing short of breathtaking as well.
Their products include everything from hearty reds and refreshing whites to lots of varieties in between, and they offer facility tours and samplings as well.
Previous visitors with seasoned palates have stated that Sweet Heart’s wines far exceeded their expectations.
11. White-Plumb Farm Learning Center
The White-Plumb Farm was founded in the 1880s and stayed in the family for generations before it was donated to the city of Greeley.
A unique attraction that combines both history and farming, it is an ever-popular destination that’s a big hit with children who prefer to get active and engaged, rather than just viewing static exhibits from a distance.
The farm’s learning center includes a number of interesting and educational activities that touch on history, culture, and the development of farming techniques over the years. For many families, it’s one of the most memorable experiences of their trip to the Rocky Mountain State.
13. Chapungu Sculpture Park
Colorado has a thriving art scene. For artsy day-trippers who find themselves in Loveland with an hour or two to kill, the Chapungu Sculpture Park is a must-visit attraction.
The park is comprised of more than 25 acres and includes dozens of sculptures done in a variety of mediums.
It’s an outdoor attraction, which makes it a good fit for those interested in stretching their legs and enjoying the clean mountain air. Most of what’s on display highlights various African cultures.
The park’s paths are accessible to both wheelchairs and strollers, and there’s no charge for admission.
14. Flatiron Reservoir
Flatiron Reservoir sits more than a mile above sea level in Loveland. In addition to its role as a freshwater source for the neighboring towns, it’s a big draw for outdoor lovers as well.
Though it’s not the region’s largest reservoir, it’s popular with swimmers, kayakers, picnickers and fishers. Unlike many lakes, there are a number of designated areas that are accessible to those that use a wheelchair.
Before heading out to wet a line, many anglers check online for current fishing and weather reports. Though the reservoir is usually most crowded when it’s hot and sunny, fishing is often best during periods of wind, rain, and a falling barometer.