Colorado is a popular place to visit that inspires travelers with stunning landscapes and natural glamour. The region is mesmerizing with a diversification that ranges from great peaks and rolling hills, to brooks, rivers, forests, and high plains desert.
There are endless resources for hikers, mountain bikers, climbers and other outdoorsman of all sorts. Breathtaking drives via the local parks and on the state highway are among the ideal ways of seeing all the wonderful sites that this state has. The remains of cultures that lived here long ago and dinosaurs that roamed are visible and can be acknowledged by visiting certain monuments and national parks.
Colorado has preserved many unique natural formations, several of which remain unknown to a large part of first time visitors. We’ll go over some of the top places to visit in the state. They include the most popular national parks and monuments. Most parks charge an admission fee, but one of them below is free to visit.
Here are among the best places to visit in Colorado, in no particular order:
1. Rocky Mountain National Park
This national park is situated a few miles from charming Estes Park. There are rising peaks, forests, alpine lakes, pasturelands and a ton of of wildlife, which display nature at its best. The park has more than one hundred peaks that are over ten thousand feet. They include Longs Peak, the highest one at 14,259 feet. It’s visible from Denver and the northern front range.
Rocky Mountain National Park is is busy year round. The most popular summer activities include camping, bouldering, climbing, hiking, fishing, horseback riding and wildlife viewing. The winter season also has its fascinations, including snowshoeing and cross country skiing. Most roads are open throughout the year, however some may be closed due to the weather condition, including the national scenic byway, Trail Ridge Road.
2. Mesa Verde National Park
Mesa Verde National Park is a very fascinating place. Cliff Palace, which is the park’s centerpiece, is among the most iconic places in the whole of Southwest. Ranger-led tours are often hosted during the high season of summer and they allow visitors to climb ladders right into the center of the dwelling. Those who are not up for this activity can view the site from a neighboring overlook.
There are many archeological sites of the Ancient Puebloan people within Mesa Verde, situated by Cortez. A beautiful year round road gives access to the various sites, most of which are on the mesa top. Several hiking trails do not need a ranger tour and lead to wonderful ruins including petroglyphs.
3. Garden of the Gods Park
Based in Colorado Springs, this is a remarkable landscape with jagged stone towers and fins, which jut up to three hundred feet from the ground. There are also huge boulders and rock piles dotting the landscape and distant mountains that complete the scene. Fifteen miles of trails, many of which are short and easy, let you get close to sheer rock formations and move through the surreal scenery.
Garden of the Gods is popular for rock climbing and many other activities such as mountain biking and hiking. A museum resides in the park, which showcases a twenty minute video on the park geology. The Visitor Center views are awesome and an on-site cafe that has big windows is a wonderful venue for enjoying a meal.
4. Black Canyon Of The Gunnison Park
Each first-time visiter to this land of wonder should not exclude a trip to the Black Canyon of the Gunnison. With a depth of around 2,000 feet, the canyon has always been one of the most remarkable sightseeing attractions of the state, giving viewers a real insight into the immensity of nature.
Tourists can easily locate it just 75 miles away from the Grand Junction near Montrose. The conditions for hiking are rather difficult, yet newcomers that are more adventurous will be able to locate campgrounds to set up tents in both the Eastern and Southern sides, deep within the canyon. However, there’s also easy camping found in either side in the form of car campgrounds.
5. Colorado National Monument
One of the most underrated elements in the state, yet nonetheless one of the largest and most impressive natural mountain sceneries in the world has to be the Colorado National Monument. Spread throughout a total area of 23,000 acres, the monument is anything but the average mountain landscape travelers are used to.
Plateaus, canyons and massive structures of weather–shaped rocks start right outside the cities of Grand Junction and Fruita. They follow the Rim Rock Drive road from both sides, throughout the entire distance. The road in itself is both a renowned biking track, and a classic standoff spot in most of the classic Western flicks. The premiere peak of this unusual and amazing park stands in the form of a massive boulder at the top of a rock column, right in the middle of the entire landscape. This almost out-of-this-world formation is called Balance Rock and weights over 600 tons.
6. Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve
Apart from all the other mountain-based wonders of Colorado, arguably the most impressive sight and presence in the state is actually represented by the tallest dunes of sand in the entire North America. It’s located right outside the community of Mosca, hidden away in the San Luis Valley. The highest dune is called Star Dune and goes over 750 feet.
Surrounded by the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, this spectacular extended desert scenery is simply breathtaking through its magnitude and a mecca symbol for Colorado. It’s a tremendous place to visit any time of year, and located in the one of the top star gazing locations around, the San Luis Valley.
There are many more unique landscapes, ruins and rock structures in Colorado that are worth a visit. Stop by one of its natural or manmade landmarks some something that newcomers and natives will appreciate With so much to explore here throughout the year, no matter what type of traveler you are, you’ll have a memorable adventure.