12 Best Colorado National Parks & Monuments To Visit in 2023

12 Best Colorado National Parks & Monuments To Visit in 2023

Colorado is filled with breathtaking beauty and iconic natural wonders. Here are 12 of the best national parks and monuments in Colorado that you should add to your travel bucket list for 2023!

Rocky Mountain National Park

  • The peak of Longs Peak rises to 14,259 feet and more than 300 miles of trails make this one of the most beautiful parks in the U.S.
  • The Continental Divide Trail runs through the park and the rugged peaks of the Front Range of Rocky Mountains.
  • Wildlife such as elk, bighorn sheep, and moose can be found in the park.

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

  • The Gunnison River cuts deep canyons into the pink and black walls of the canyon, up to 2,700 feet.
  • The park offers camping, hiking and other recreational activities, such as scenic drives and rock-climbing.
  • The deepest and narrowest sections of the canyon are accessible by boat, raft or kayak.

Mesa Verde National Park

  • The World Heritage Site is known for its Ancestral Puebloan cliff dwellings, built in the late 1190s AD.
  • Mesa Verde offers archaeological tours and outdoor activities, such as hiking, birdwatching, and biking.
  • The park also features numerous archaeological sites, including towers, cliff dwellings, and petroglyphs.

Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve

  • The park covers more than 30 square miles of sand dunes, some of the tallest in North America.
  • The dramatic setting of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains as a backdrop creates an awe-inspiring picture.
  • Adventure activities, such as sand-boarding, skiing, and backpackingcan be found here.

Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument

  • This World Heritage Site presents steams of fossilized trees, petrified logs, and insects.
  • Visitors can explore petroglyphs, ancient stumps and learn about the story of the past.
  • There are also outstanding trails for nature lovers and teachers offer interactive programs.

Great Sand Dunes National Monument

  • This place is a must-see for any visitor to the state, offering sand dunes that climb up to 800 feet in height.
  • Hiking, camping, and wildlife viewing are all popular activities here, and there’s even an alpine lake for swimming.
  • The Dunes are also great for photography and simply soaking up the beauty of the surrounding mountains.

Hovenweep National Monument

  • This national monument has been designated as a World Heritage Site and consists of six prehistoric villages located in the extreme southeast corner of Utah and the southwest corner of Colorado.
  • Visitors can explore the remains of ancient Puebloan houses, towers, and ceremonial kivas by driving, hiking or mountain-biking.
  • Hovenweep has plenty of camping and hiking trails to explore and is also an astronomical site.

Dinosaur National Monument

  • The Monument includes more than 211,000 acres of forest and rolling terrain, making it one of the oldest national parks in the U.S.
  • Visitors can explore the monument’s many petroglyphs and petrified wood, as well as the park’s dinosaur and fossil bone quarry, which was discovered in 1909.
  • The Monument is open for campingrafting, hiking, and cross-country skiing.

Curecanti National Recreation Area

  • The Curecanti National Recreation Area is located in Western Colorado and offers stunning views of the Colorado River, its three reservoirs and the surrounding mountains.
  • The NRA is a great place to go fishingboating, and swimming, as well as camping and bird-watching.
  • The Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park is also in the NRA and offers amazing fishing, skiing, and views of the Gunnison River.

Yucca House National Monument

  • This archaeological site consists of several ancient houses and an associated burial site built by Ancestral Puebloans about 800 years ago.
  • The Yucca House National Monument is open to the public and offers a variety of activities, such as hikingbird-watching, and exploring the ancient ruins.

Colorado National Monument

  • This ancient landscape is known for its red-rock canyons, high mesa tops, and monoliths of the Colorado Plateau.
  • The park offers 23 miles of trails for activities such as rock-climbingbird-watching, and biking.
  • The Monument also provides a spectacular drive from Fruita to Grand Junction, with views of the Colorado River, desert, and red rocks.

Colorado Canyons National Conservation Area

  • The CCNCA offers 270,000 acres of canyons, rivers, and cultural and historical sites.
  • This stunning landscape is great for activities such as hikingcamping, photography, and exploring the ancient ruins.
  • The park is also home to several endangered species, including the desert bighorn sheep, bald eagle, and the Colorado pinyon.

Visiting these amazing natural wonders of Colorado should be on everyone’s travel bucket list. Whether you’re a nature-lover, a history buff, or an adventurer, the possibilities of activity and exploration around these parks and monuments are endless.

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