Those living in Colorado or lucky enough to be able to go for a weekend trip whenever they want can be envied by everyone else who lives too far away for a quick getaway in this state. The year-round tourist destinations that ignite the imagination and nurture the soul with their breathtaking scenic views and mesmerizing natural beauty have all of us wonder at the creative power of Mother Earth. Nature adventurers can not grow tired of the stunning landscape of the state of Colorado.
From the Rocky Mountains with their soaring peacocks to the high desert of the Colorado Plateau, mountain towns, scenic drives, and national parks with their monuments enrich our lives with the remnants of cultures that long ago inhabited these lands. From the age of the dinosaurs to the modern age, Colorado nurtured life in any way, shape, and form it could. Across the US we can find some amazing national parks, and the same can be said about the state of Colorado.
Now, we get to experience these places from the comfort of our cars, on hikes and trips that will leave a long-lasting impact on our lives. This unbeatable destination awaits you to learn its secrets, rediscover the notion of evolution and reset the way you look at everything around you. Start your itinerary with the following tourist destinations in Colorado you don’t wanna miss.
Rocky Mountain National Park
As one of the most popular national parks in the country, Rocky Mountain National Park attracts people from all over the world. Located just a few miles away from Estes Park, Colorado, a mountain town, the peaks showcase an abundance of wildlife and nature in all its glory. With over 100 soaring mountain peaks of over 10,000 feet, the highest being Longs Peak that reaches an astounding 14,259 feet, the Rocky Mountains are sure to impress by the spectacle put forward only from the power of nature.
The main driving route through this national park is Trail Ridge Road, reaching an altitude of 12,000 feet. This route provides access to this terrain that was molded by nothing but time and the force of the wind and water. You can drive to one of the scenic areas, leave your car at one of the stops along the way, go for a walk and take in the view at an easy and steady pace so that you don’t miss any of it. Wildlife will put on a spectacle, both on land and in the air so make sure to take your time to look, but also to take pictures of everything around you.
For hikers, this national park provides extensive hiking trails that vary from half an hour hikes to multi-day hikes. Get ready to encounter bighorn sheep, elk, deer, or other species that made these mountains their home. Be respectful and know your place in the pecking order. While horned creatures are vegetarian, those horns are powerful, and the force placed behind them is not to be trifled with.
If you travel in the summer, be sure to pack enough water and enjoy everything the park has to offer. Some of the most popular activities are hiking, camping, fishing, wildlife viewing, horseback riding, bouldering and climbing.
In the winter days, the scenery is transformed into a unique type of beauty. Regarding access roads, while they are open year-round, some closures can occur due to unfavorable weather conditions.
Mesa Verde National Park
It doesn’t matter if you’ve seen cliff-dwelling before because Mesa Verde will amaze you away either way. While there are overlook areas that give a full view of the site, those with enough experience in climbing steep ladders and no fear of heights can go all the way into the heart of the dwelling in ranger-led tours during the summer seasons. The most visited area in this national park is Cliff Palace and you won’t want to miss the dramatic setting and the unbelievably well-preserved ruins within it.
As the former home of the Ancestral Pueblo, the dwellings at Mesa Verde were inhabited between 600 AD and 1300 AD. In the area, adventurers can find thousands of archeological sites, but the cliff dwellings steal the show. There is a road that provides access to many of the sites and several hiking trails, allowing visitors to experience this amazing national park and its monuments on their own. The nearby towns of Cortez and Mancos will be the start of your journey and the highway drive takes about 45 minutes until you reach the site. The visitor’s center will give you all the information necessary about the park, road conditions, and sites, this also being the place where you can book ranger-led tours.
Garden of the Gods
Near Colorado Springs is the National Natural Landmark, Gordon of the Gods. While you can find hot springs in many places in the US, the unique landscape provided by Mother Nature in this park highlights the lack of boundaries and obstacles placed in its way as the jagged stone towers and naturally resulted fins extend to around 300 feet away from the earth, giving a spectacular view. Surrounded by giant balanced boulders that seem unnatural in their precarious equilibrium, the fins complete the scenic view of the mountains encircling the area.
Around fifteen miles of hiking trails are available for anyone who wants to take their time and admire the view as they do not require any level of proficiency in hiking and give you the opportunity to get up close and personal with the dramatic rock formations. The scenery is as surreal as it can be and you will not be prepared for what you’ll see as you start your hike.Many rock climbers choose this location, but not only for the scenic views. These rock formations provide an extra challenge for those thrill-seekers. Biking lanes are also part of the area’s outdoor attractions, along with horseback riding for a chill opportunity to enjoy the spectacular view.
Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
With its remote location, once you reach Black Canyon of the Gunnison, you’ll get the feeling like you’re just discovering this natural masterpiece because of its rugged and steep cliff walls. Precisely those steep cliffs are parted harshly by the Gunnison River that, through its force alone, managed to transform the scenery and create the canyon itself. The water dug around 2,000 feet into the earth in order to create this mesmerizing masterpiece of nature itself. Places like this make even the most celebrated and admired artist humble at the beauty resulting from Mother Earth’s patient brush strokes.
While there are hiking trails to follow and walking paths to enjoy, the best activity for those visiting this natural masterpiece is to stop somewhere by the edge of the cliff and just gaze ahead. Take it in, all of it, for a moment or two, forget the world as you look out into the canyon as you allow yourself to be bewildered by the most natural form of beauty available on earth—nature’s raw creation. Hiking into the canyon should only be done by those with plenty of experience under their belt because the area is challenging to maintain. Conditions are difficult, and real accidents aren’t a risk to be taken lightly. If you enter the depth of the canyon, you are on your own and in case something happens, you are held directly responsible for the cost of the rescue should it come to that.
Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve
While Las Vegas, Nevada, is world-famous for its deserts, the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve in Colorado is home to the tallest sand dunes to be found in Northern America. While most visitors are not ready for the view provided by these dunes in Colorado, the Star Dune’s startling height of 750 feet with the mountains far behind it will leave a long-lasting impression on any onlooker.
You can try to climb these dunes and once you reach the top, or are tired enough, slide down their sandy slopes, but be prepared for sand getting into any part of your clothing. Some visitors come prepared with boards to cruise down the sand dunes, and the Medano Creek provides a much-needed splashing opportunity for adults and children alike on hot summer days. Hikers will find hiking trails, but not in the dunes as you can hike everywhere through the sand. The forests on the edge of the dunes provide several hiking opportunities for those that prefer a rougher surface than sand.
Dinosaur National Monument
In the northwestern part of the state of Colorado, archeology enthusiasts can see the dramatic combination of natural and cultural history that creates one of the state’s most interesting sites. But archeology isn’t the only thing that draws people in this part of the state. The amount of recreational opportunities add an extra layer of recreation to the trips people take here.
The evidence of the former giants that roamed the planet we now call home is embedded into the exposed rock formations and petroglyphs provide an insight into cultures of civilizations that inhabited the area long before Columb found the New World. The dry landscape gets water only from the Green and Yampa Rivers with cliff walls that provide a natural border to Earth’s history book.
Stop by the Quarry Visitors Center to get access to the Quarry Exhibit Hall, where vast walls of windows giving way to natural light gives one the feeling that they are in an excavation site and not a museum. Discover fossils and understand their discovery process – from a light bulge of a different color in a rock to fully assembled skeletons of creatures that ruled this earth long before men learned to stand on two feet.Aside from the educational opportunities provided by the park, visitors can engage in hiking, fishing, camping, and rafting activities in the area around the museum. There are many summer camps worth visiting in the US, dinosaur fossils don’t come by at every corner. Days go by easily when you are surrounded by such natural splendor, so be sure to organize your trip with plenty of time to spare.
While Mother Nature created a scrapbook of masterpieces throughout the state of Colorado, mankind erected beautiful cities throughout the rise of civilization that are great places to live for anyone who prefers close proximity to nature. Don’t be disappointed if you live in another state that is too far away for you to be able to enjoy these natural splendors whenever you want. You can look into relocating to a neighboring area by contacting real estate agents in the Colorado cities that best fit your family’s lifestyle. Browse The Official Real Estate Agent Directory® and find a real estate agent to work with in the area that interests you.
Let us know in the comments below if there is any particular city in Colorado that sparks your interest and we’ll be sure to give you all the information necessary to help you relocate to the state of beautiful mountain peaks, sand dunes, and canyons, among all the other natural wonders nearby. Like & Share this article with friends and family that are also enthusiastic about the wonders of nature across the state of Colorado.