A unique western US State, colorful Colorado is home to a diverse arid desert landscape alongside the snowy Rocky Mountains. As such, part of the Rocky Mountains National Park covers the expanses of Colorado.
While the majestic mountains serve the hikers, climbers and bikers just fine, the winding rivers and high deserts of the plateau will satisfy your soul with intense offers of nature. Not to forget the reminders of the dinosaurs on display at the parks and museums. Also see the cliff dwelling places of ancestral Pueblos at the Mesa Verde National Park.
So therefore let’s run down the list of 14 must-see sites and attractions in the Colorful Colorado state that will make you consider re-arranging your travel priorities list.
Fruita Town Mountains
Colorful Colorado is not short on the hike and bike trails on mountains. However, the bike paths in Fruita Town near the Grand Junction are absolutely special. The comfortable climate all year round in Fruita ensures you revel in your mountain biking deep into the winter. Most notable peak bike-tracks in the top-rated trails’ City are the 18 Road Trails and the Kokopelli Loops.
The terrains are mostly desert themed as you bike around the cliff ledges while you experience breathtaking views of the Colorado River. If you’re tired of biking and your visit is during spring, you may also ski at the Beaver Creek or at Vail.
Dinosaur National Monument
Though you probably won’t see a dinosaur in your life, you could decide to imagine the mythical creatures at the Dinosaur National Monument. Their rare fossils are wondrously embedded onto the stone walls. Better still the historical park also documents the culture of the once-inhabitants of the cliff walled regions around the Yampa River. Quarry Visitors Centre is the first location you must pass by. Here, you start by checking out the remains at the Quarry Exhibit Hall at the Carnegie Dinosaur Quarry.
Uniquely still, you could hike, fish, camp or even raft on the spreads of the monument’s vast park.
Colorado National Monument
The National Park Service (NPS) entity near Grand Junction City hosts magnificent canyons alongside sandstone and other amazing rock forms. It is probably the best rocky landscape of the Wild West. Therefore, enjoy enchanting drives around the resolute peaks, cliffs and the sparse greenery.
Most notable drive site is the Rim Rock Drive where you can stop over at the peak to view the scenic landscape below you from 500 feet above it.
Mount Evans – Highest Peak in Chicago Range
With a scenic byway reaching almost to summit, Mount Evans is so open to your adventures and views. Mount Evans is also the highest point in the Chicago Peaks. Its scenic byway furthermore holds the record for the highest paved byway in North America. Key activities here include wildlife and bird watching, delightful paragliding as well as – of course – scenic drives. The mountain is lastly lined with unspoiled meadows, lakes and amazing tree lines to feast your eyes on.
Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve
These unique sights in colorful Colorado are the highest-rising sand dunes in North America – at a whopping 750-foot high. You may thus embark on climbing and sliding down the dunes or test your skill in sand boarding. During summer, kids and adults alike may head for a splash at Medano Creek at the base of the dunes. In addition you may explore the hiking trails heading into the forests of the reserve. Finally, board a four-wheeler into and beyond the Medano Pass Primitive Road and watch even better panoramic terrains. You will meet well-kept car camping sites on the roadsides while at it.
Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness
Located in the Elk Mountains, the 182,000-acre Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness could actually be the most scenic location in colorful Colorado. It is also probably one of the main reasons Colorado is called the Mother of Rivers.
Also host to the Rocky Mountains, the wilderness offers – as expected – lush forests, meadows and alpine lakes. Fishing, hiking and backpacking during the summer alternate with skiing, snowshoeing and snowmobiling during the winter.
Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
The rusty-looking canyons surrounding the Gunnison River-carved steep gorge in western Colorado is home to some of the most fabulously winding trails and roads. Key among the roads is the East Portal Road, dangerously descending to the River. On the other hand the wildlife on show includes elks, deer and golden eagles. The most notable attraction in the up to 2700-feet deep canyons though is – obviously – looking down into the canyons from above. This simply to appreciate the wonderful landscapes below. Also camp at one of the three prominent campgrounds – East, North and South Rim Campgrounds – with rented tents.
San Juan Skyway Scenic Byway
Covering 236 miles of the southwestern terrain of Colorado, the byway is absolutely dazzling to drive around. You could maybe opt for a road trip from the mountain Towns of Durango and Silverton and enjoy the scenic views up the Skyway Byway. The section of byway between Silverton and Ouray was/is famously called Million Dollar Highway. It could be a good thing to check out why ‘Million Dollar’ for yourself.
Durango-Silverton Narrow Gage Railway
If you don’t wish to explore the regions between Silverton and Durango via Skyway Byway then perhaps hit the rails. The historic Narrow Gage Railway has daily trips between the Durango Valley and the famous mining Town – Silverton. You experience some absolute amazing scenes on the hilly and forested countryside while on board.
Also hike and ski during winter while you set base at Durango. The Purgatory Resort is a family resort just outside Durango. Finally you also get to mountain bike on the expansive wilderness’s trails.
Pikes Peak – Pike National Forest
A member of the incredible list of ‘fourteeners’, Pikes Peak is a snowy peak that is easily notable from the Colorado Springs City nearby. Membership of the fourteeners is reserved for only the peaks reachingover 14,000-feet. Pikes Peak is furthermore the second most visited summit on earth, only trailing Mount Fuji. A scenic drive towards the top of the 14,115-foot tall peak is open to all – just spare 1.5 hours. Another way to reach the peak is via the Pikes Peak Cog Railway.
Vail Mountain Town
Another one of Colorado’s countless mountain villages; Vail is the largest ski mountain in the whole of Colorado. It’s no shock therefore that the small town in Eagle County draws mammoth crowds from around the globe in winter. The beautiful town is spread with lovely restaurants, shops and hotels for all the fine dining, luxury accommodation and bargain hunting escapades.
Tiny ski resorts of Breckenridge and Beaver Creek can be accessed while you are luxuriously accommodated at Avon. The Vail is therefore the reason Colorado is called the Sky Country USA.
Garden of the Gods Park
A bold name for an equally bold natural landmark. The unpredictable landscape is crowded with uniquely serrated stone towers reaching up to 300 feet. Forested mountains can also be seen for distance off and beyond the dramatic rocks. The Garden of the Gods is crossed with zigzagging biking and hike pathways. Activities include horseback riding, mountain climbing, biking and hiking.
There’s also a Visitor & Nature Center in the park which has a museum describing the geology of the park.
Mesa Verde National Park – Southwest of Colorful Colorado
Prepare to be spellbound by some of the finest ancient cliff dwellings of the Ancestral Pueblo people. The Chapin Mesa Archaeological Museum further delivers exhibits of the ancient culture of the Native Americans. Petroglyphs of the Natives and Pueblos line the Park’s Point trails. There are also winding roads around the archaeological sites like the Mesa Top Loop Road. From these you could experience astonishing scenes as you drive your way around the impressive park.
Rocky Mountain National Park
Colorado State was previous nicknamed the Rocky Mountain Empire and the Highest State and we probably know why. The Rocky Mountains National Park in the north of Colorado provides all the beauty that comes with Rocky Mountains. The park incorporates forests and alpine tundra. Also relevant is the Trail Ridge Road and the Old Falls River Road through which you could experience the aspen trees and rivers via a scenic drive. You may as well view the incredible peaks while trailing past the Bear Lake.
Images via Planetware
Originally posted 2017-05-08 07:40:25.