Tuesday, June 18, 2024

7 Best National Parks & Monuments in Colorado for your next Weekend Getaway.

The great state of Colorado is home to dusty deserts, sand dunes, and gorgeous red canyons. The rocky state teems with diverse terrain; golden sand dunes; roaring river gorges; and well-preserved man-made wonders that date back a millennia. Sprawling with scenic beauty, the beautiful state lives up to its moniker, “Colorful Colorado”!! Natural wonders aside, the state is crawling with archaeological sites, fossil beds, and ancestral Native American dwellings. For people with a more adventurous streak, the state offers outdoor activities like hiking, fishing, and rock climbing. The state of Colorado has the perfect amalgamation of breathtaking scenic beauty and a variety of outdoor activities, making it the ideal spot for your next weekend getaway.

Here are the 13 best national parks and monuments in Colorado for your next getaway.

  1. Rocky Mountain National Park
Rocky Mountain National Park

The Rocky Mountains are one of America’s most spectacular national parks. The park is well known for its trail ridge road, old fall river road, rides past the wild aspen trees, and beautiful waterfalls. For adventure seekers, the Rocky Mountain is home to tall mountains and vertical rock faces for rock climbing. A trail around Bear Lake provides stunning views of the surrounding peaks.

Where?

The Rocky Mountain National Park is located in the north-central part of the state, surrounded by lush green forests.

Highlights: wild scenic beauty, hiking trails with waterfalls, fishing, cozy campsites, gazing at a star-streaked sky. In the winter months, visitors can enjoy rock climbing, skiing, and snowboarding. 

  1. Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

This Colorado National Park is named after its black canyons, formed millions of years ago by the Gunnison River. The canyon harbors visually striking dark volcanic rocks sculpted over the years by the force of wind and water. The Black Canyons are home to the steepest cliffs and ragged mountain spires.

Where?  

The Gunnison National Park’s Black Canyon trail descends to the southeast of Grand Junction, Colorado.

Highlights: hiking, camping, boat tours, rock climbing, and kayaking. 

  1. Curecanti National Recreation Area.
Curecanti National Recreation Area

This Colorado national park was established in 1965 and encompasses three reservoirs built along the once-wild Gunnison River.

Where?

The Curecanti National Recreation Area is located along the Gunnison River amidst rocky mountains.

Highlights: An angler’s favorite fishing area with deep water and large fish, wildly known for salmon and trout. The recreational area has multiple campgrounds, tourist centers, and hiking paths.

  1. Mesa Verde National Park.
Mesa Verde National Park

Mesa Verde National Park houses the most impressively well-preserved archeological site of the ancestral Puebloan cliff dwellings. The Mesa Verde conserves more than 5,000 sites. These ancient sites were inhabited by Native American Puebloans around 600–1300 AD. After a while, the settlements were mysteriously abandoned.

Where?

Mesa Verde National Park is located in the southwest corner of the state.

Highlights

Mesa Verde is recognized around the world for its incredible ancestral Puebloan cliff dwellings.

  1. Canyons of the Ancients National Monument
Canyons of the Ancients National Monument

The canyons of the Ancient National Monument are home to the largest concentration of archaeological sites in the United States. The canyons have more than 6,000 sites to explore, with everything from kivas and cliff dwellings to sweat lodges, stone towers, and sacred springs. These centuries-old settlements and shrines were primarily built by the Ancestral Puebloans.

Where?

These ancient Colorado monuments are set in the southwest portion of the state.

Highlights: The site has many interesting artifacts and exhibits on Native American cultural history and heritage.

  1. Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve
Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve

The preserve is stretched along the eastern fringes of the great San Luis Valley in south-central Colorado. True to its name, the national park has an endless sea of sand, with dramatic sand dunes that can reach up to 230 meters that seem to stretch forever in every direction. Most people visit the Great Sand Dunes for its majestic wind-sculpted dunes, majestic peaks, alpine lakes, and evergreen pine forests. 

Where? 

The Great Sand Dunes National Park and preserve is situated to the south of the city of Alamosa. 

Highlights: Hiking along Medano Creek and sandboarding.

  1. Dinosaur National Monument
Dinosaur National Monument

Dinosaur National Monument harbors more than 800 paleontological sites and has more than 1500 dinosaur bones on display in its quarry hall. Take a stroll along the “wall of bones” and touch a piece of Jurassic history yourself.

Where?  

Tucked into the northwest corner of the state, it is centered around the confluence of the Green and Yampa Rivers and stretches over the state line into Utah.

Highlights: scenic crusades along the canyons, hiking, and camping in its dinosaur-dotted terrain.

FAQs

How many national parks are there in Colorado?

The state of Colorado is home to four national parks: Rocky Mountain, Great Sand Dunes, Mesa Verde, and Black Canyon of the Gunnison 

What is the most popular national park in Colorado?

Undoubtedly, the Rocky Mountain National Park is the most popular among tourists. This Colorado national park is teeming with diverse wildlife and breathtaking scenery.

Is Yellowstone located in Colorado?

The world-famous Yellowstone National Park is located in the state of Wyoming, although the northern edges slightly spill over the borders of Montana. 

Which month is best for a trip to Colorado?

The best time to visit Colorful Colorado would be from June through October. The five months offer tourists the best conditions to participate in various outdoor activities.

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