12 Best National Parks in Colorado (with Map & Photos)

House to all the things from dusty deserts and stylish sand dunes to radiant purple rock canyons and the snow-capped Rocky Mountains, ‘Colourful Colorado’ definitely lives as much as its nickname. Mendacity within the western United States, it has dazzlingly numerous landscapes to discover, with unimaginable surroundings and nature wherever you go.

Along with its innumerable pure wonders, Colorado’s nationwide parks and monuments additionally protect awe-inspiring archaeological websites and engaging fossil beds. Left behind by the Ancestral Puebloans are a lot of curious cliff dwellings, kivas, and ceremonial websites; lots of them are present in among the most scenic settings in America.

Map of Nationwide Parks in Colorado

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With implausible mountain climbing, fishing, and mountaineering to be loved amidst its mighty mountains and alongside its roaring rivers, Colorado is among the most rewarding locations to go to in the entire of the States.

12. Curecanti Nationwide Recreation Space

Curecanti National Recreation Areadreamstime/© Paul Brady

Nestled amidst the Rocky Mountains is the charming Curecanti Nationwide Recreation Space, which lies in western Colorado. Based in 1965, it’s a standard and picturesque place with some excellent mountain climbing, fishing, and boating being on provide.

The attractive recreation space surrounds three reservoirs that had been fashioned when the as soon as wild and free Gunnison River was dammed within the 60s. Looming over their scenic shores are rugged canyons and majestic mesas, with the hanging spire of Curecanti Needle one of many standout sights.

Along with its beautiful landscapes, Curecanti Nationwide Recreation Space has varied marinas, campsites, and customer facilities to utilize. With miles of mountain climbing trails winding by means of the wilderness and quite a few watersports to check out, it’s the proper place for a quiet getaway. The realm is especially identified for its salmon and trout fishing.

11. Rifle Falls State Park

Rifle Falls State Parkdreamstime/© Mudwalker

Located in a serene and secluded setting, Rifle Falls State Park might be discovered within the northwest of Colorado, on the banks of East Rifle Creek. On account of its fabulous falls and beautiful surroundings, it has lengthy been standard with photographers and nature lovers alike.

The park’s important attraction is the terrific 21-meter-high waterfall that lies at its coronary heart amidst the plush vegetation. Plunging over the aspect of a cliff, the three cascades of white water make for a panoramic sight. Winter is a very magical time to go to as they’re typically frozen stable.

Subsequent to them are some small caves for guests to discover, with magnificent views available from the highest of the falls. Many individuals keep to have a picnic on the banks of the charming creek or camp in a single day within the fairly park.

10. Canyons of the Ancients Nationwide Monument

Canyons of the Ancients National Monumentdreamstime/© Natalia Bratslavsky

Because it boasts an astounding array of centuries-old settlements, buildings and shrines, Canyons of the Ancients Nationwide Monument is an interesting place to go to. Set within the southwest of the state, it’s believed to be residence to the biggest focus of archaeological websites within the States.

Remarkably, the marvelous monument has greater than 6,000 such websites to discover, with all the things from kivas and cliff dwellings to sweat lodges, stone towers, and sacred springs on present. Tucked away amid the arid confines of its canyons, these unimaginable cultural websites dated from between 750 – 1300 AD and had been largely constructed by the Ancestral Puebloans.

Whereas each Lowry Pueblo and Sand Canyon Pueblo are very spectacular, it’s also price heading to the monument’s glorious customer middle and museum. Right here, you’ll discover a lot of attention-grabbing artifacts and displays on Native American cultures and their historical past and heritage.

9. Chimney Rock Nationwide Monument

Chimney Rock National Monumentdreamstime/© Robert Waltman

One other of Colorado’s arresting archaeological websites is Chimney Rock Nationwide Monument, which lies within the southwest of the state in San Juan Nationwide Forest. Perched atop a distinguished peak, the awe-inspiring Ancestral Puebloan web site is a deal with to discover, and has sensational surroundings and sweeping views on provide.

Set alongside the highest of a steep ridge are the ruins of over 2 hundred historic properties and ceremonial buildings, believed to have been constructed round a thousand years in the past. Chimney Rock was deserted in 1125, nevertheless, and its inhabitants set fireplace to the buildings once they left.

To realize a higher understanding of the Historical Puebloan’s tradition, it’s effectively price occurring a tour of the location. Excursions take you across the Nice Kiva and Nice Home Pueblo, amongst different excavations.

8. Florissant Fossil Beds Nationwide Monument

Florissant Fossil Beds National Monumentdreamstime/© Zrfphoto

Famed for its intensive and spectacular assortment of Eocene epoch fossils, the implausible Florissant Fossil Beds Nationwide Monument lies nearly slap bang within the middle of the state. Positioned slightly below an hour’s drive to the west of Colorado Springs, it has some nice and picturesque landscapes so that you can hike round, in addition to a wonderful guests middle to take a look at.

Since excavations started within the late 19th century, a staggering 50,000 fossils of well-preserved bugs and vegetation have been unearthed, relationship to round 34 million years in the past. Within the middle, friends can peruse a small pattern of them and study in regards to the historical past of the wealthy fossil mattress.

Moreover viewing the gathering, there’s some charming countryside to hike round, with phenomenal petrified sequoia stumps dotted right here and there.

7. Eldorado Canyon State Park

Eldorado Canyon State Parkdreamstime/© Susan Sheldon

One among America’s most accessible and enticing state parks, Eldorado Canyon lies only a stone’s throw from Denver and Boulder. House to hanging sandstone cliffs and surroundings, it’s a standard place to take pleasure in out of doors actions, with loads of mountain climbing trails and mountaineering routes on provide.

Whereas it showcases a lot of distinguished peaks and sweeping valleys, the state park is called after the charming canyon that lies at its coronary heart. Right here you will discover beautiful golden coloured cliffs to gaze on, with over a thousand routes to climb up and rappel down.

As well as, you may take pleasure in a picnic on the banks of the scenic South Boulder Creek, fish in its waters, or discover the park’s terrific trails that cross by means of fantastic woods and wilderness areas.

6. Dinosaur Nationwide Monument

Dinosaur National Monumentdreamstime/© Sdbower

Whereas Dinosaur Nationwide Monument is arguably set in probably the most distant and arduous to achieve area of Colorado, it’s effectively the journey attributable to its fascinating fossils and colourful canyons. Tucked into the northwest nook of the state, it’s centered across the confluence of the Inexperienced and Yampa Rivers and stretches over the state line into Utah.

The park boasts greater than 800 paleontological websites, with 1,500 dinosaur bones on present in its charming Quarry Corridor. In addition to wandering alongside the ‘Wall of Bones’ and touching a skeleton for your self, you may study all in regards to the geology, fossils and dinosaurs of the area by means of attention-grabbing displays and shows.

Moreover ogling at its aeons-old findings, guests can go on scenic drives round its canyons or hike and camp in its desolate dinosaur-dotted landscapes.

5. Colorado Nationwide Monument

Colorado National Monumentdreamstime/© Larry Knupp

One of many grandest landscapes of the American West, Colorado Nationwide Monument’s radiant purple rock canyons and big mesas make for a surprising sight. Mendacity simply outdoors of Grand Junction within the west of the state, it’s one in every of Colorado’s many must-see sights and has an array of beautiful out of doors actions on provide.

Shaped over thousands and thousands and thousands and thousands of years, its spectacular sandstone canyons and mighty monoliths rise dramatically above the arid and desolate confines of the Colorado Plateau. Moreover mountain climbing, biking, and horseback driving round its beautiful landscapes, top-of-the-line methods to view the monument is to journey alongside the twisting and turning Rim Rock Drive.

Whereas driving alongside the scenic route, you’ll be overawed by the nationwide monument’s staggering dimension and scale, in addition to the tender shades and hanging shapes of its sensational sandstone silhouettes.

4. Mesa Verde Nationwide Park

Mesa Verde National Parkdreamstime/© Donyanedomam

Set within the southwest nook of the state, Mesa Verde Nationwide Park is famend world wide for its astounding Ancestral Puebloan cliff dwellings. Whereas it’s definitely one of the attention-grabbing and spectacular archaeological websites in America, the park additionally protects some epic surroundings and nature.

Believed to have been inhabited between 600 to 1300 AD by the Ancestral Pueblo Individuals, the location was then mysteriously deserted, forsaking the splendidly well-preserved dwellings we see in the present day. In complete, the nationwide park preserves greater than 5,000 websites, with the charming Cliff Palace the undoubted spotlight.

Whereas exploring all of the cliff dwellings, rock artwork websites and its archaeological museum is a tremendous expertise, the nationwide park’s scenic setting is simply as showstopping. With steep canyons, verdant valleys, and luxurious mesas, there’s loads of nice mountain climbing available amidst its unimaginable nature.

3. Black Canyon of the Gunnison Nationwide Park

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Parkdreamstime/© Joe Sohm

One of many state’s most spellbinding sights, the breathtaking Black Canyon of the Gunnison Nationwide Park is ready to the southeast of Grand Junction in western Colorado. Very darkish, deep, and dramatic to gaze upon, its gaping chasm of a canyon lies on the level the place the rearing Rocky Mountains meet the craggy Colorado Plateau.

Shaped over thousands and thousands of years by the gushing Gunnison River, the canyon plunges to a depth of 685 meters, with sheer cliffs and rocky spires towering above its raging waters. Looking over its dizzying depths from the rugged rim actually is an awe-inspiring expertise, with phenomenal photographs and views available of the large gorge.

The attractive Black Canyon and its scenic environment lend themselves completely to every kind of out of doors actions, with mountain climbing, tenting and boat excursions significantly standard. Whereas some epic mountaineering and kayaking can be loved throughout the park, solely skilled climbers and kayakers ought to try the canyon’s routes and rapids.

2. Nice Sand Dunes Nationwide Park

Great Sand Dunes National Parkdreamstime/© Ruud Glasbergen

A staggering sight, the sprawling sea of sand that makes up Nice Sand Dunes Nationwide Park is a deal with to discover, with spectacular surroundings wherever you look. Presided over by the snow-topped Sangre de Cristo Vary, it may be discovered simply outdoors of Alamosa within the south middle of the state.

House to a stunning array of dramatic dunes, its sensational sandscapes attain as much as 230 meters in top and seemingly stretch away eternally. As probably the most mesmerizing views are available round Medano Creek, most individuals go mountain climbing and sandboarding right here, with the jagged peaks spied within the distance. This implies the remainder of the park’s majestic dunes stay delightfully unspoilt and unexplored.

Whereas most individuals come to see its fabulous wind-sculpted dunes, this wonderful nationwide park in Colorado additionally accommodates a lot of distinguished peaks, alpine lakes and historic pine forests.

1. Rocky Mountain Nationwide Park

#1 of National Parks In Coloradodreamstime/© picture

Whereas Colorado’s numerous canyons, plains and deserts are beguiling of their magnificence, one in every of its beautiful landscapes actually stands head and shoulders above the remaining – Rocky Mountain Nationwide Park. Boasting greater than sixty lofty peaks over the peak of three,658 meters, its sky-scraping surroundings might be discovered within the north middle of the state, surrounded by quite a few nationwide forests.

Dominating and defining the park, the marvelous mountain vary looms over its environment, with glittering alpine lakes, flower-filled meadows, and verdant valleys dotted right here and there. As it’s also residence to a lot of wondrous waterfalls, wilderness and wildlife, it truly is a pleasure to journey round, with arresting nature and fabulous views wherever you go.

Moreover driving alongside the terrific Path Ridge Street which traverses the Rockies, guests may also go mountain climbing, fishing and mountaineering with snowboarding and snowboarding to be loved within the winter months. On account of all its rugged and distant reaches, the park can also be a magical and memorable place to stargaze with a lot of cosy campsites to be discovered tucked away amongst its lush forests and mountains.

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