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Coolest Colorado National Parks

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Full of stunning and diverse natural landscapes, Colorado is a certified year-round destination for outdoor enthusiasts of all types. Its four national parks, in particular, provide plenty of outdoor activities for everyone to enjoy regardless of age along with tranquil spots to just reflect and admire its scenery.

 

Whether you are a first-time tourist or a new resident who just bought Denver luxury homes, here are the things you need to know about the coolest national parks in Colorado before you take a visit!

 

Rocky Mountain National Park

Largest among the four Colorado national parks and one of the largest national parks in the United States, the Rocky Mountain National Park has majestic mountains, tundra wildflowers, thick evergreen forests, and abundant wildlife to offer its guests. It peaks more than 12,000 feet with the Trail Ridge Road which is the highest paved road in the U.S. and has over 350 miles of trails.

 

Address: 1000 Highway 36, Estes Park, Colorado 80517-8397

Distance from Denver: 107.67 kilometers

Total land area: 265, 769 acres

Entrance fees:

  • Free for children age 15 or younger
  • For non-commercial tours:
    • $20 for 1-day pass per person
    • $25 for 1-day pass for single vehicle with 16 or fewer passengers
    • $35 for 7-day vehicle pass for single vehicle with 16 or fewer passengers
    • $30 7-day motorcycle pass for one motorcycle
    • $70 for an annual pass
  • For commercial tours:
    • $25 for vehicles with capacity of 1-6 person/s
    • $75 for vehicles with capacity of 7-15 persons
    • $100 for vehicles with capacity of 16-25 persons
    • $200 for vehicles with capacity of 26 and over persons
  • Other available passes:
    • Annual Senior Pass for $20
    • Lifetime Senior Pass for $80
    • America the Beautiful or ATB National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Annual Pass for $80
    • 4th Grade Pass for free
    • S. Military Annual Pass
    • Access Pass
    • Volunteer Pass

Available activities at Rocky Mountain National Park:

  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Scenic driving
  • Horseback riding
  • Camping
  • Wildlife watching
  • Fishing
  • Rafting
  • Hot Springs bath
  • Snowshoeing
  • Skiing

 

Mesa Verde National Park

Home to some of the most unique Ancestral Puebloan dwellings in the world, Mesa Verde National Park includes more than 4,000 known archeological sites built dating back to A.D. 550. It protects the cliff dwellings, and mesa top sites of pit houses, pueblos, masonry towers, and farming structures of the Ancestral Puebloans who lived on site for more than 700 years.

 

Address: 34879 Highway 160, Mancos, Colorado 81328

Distance from Denver: 596.74 kilometers

Total land area: 52, 485 acres

Entrance fees:

  • Free for all holders of ATB Interagency Passes, Golden Passports, Annual Mesa Verde passes, and those under 16 years of age.
  • Private:
    • $10 per pedestrian and bicyclist (good 7 days)
    • $15 per motorcycle (good for 7 days)
    • $20 per private vehicle (good for 7 days)
    • $40 for an annual pass
  • Commercial tours:
  • $25 for vehicles with capacity of 1-6 person/s (not including the driver) plus $10 fee per person, 16 years of age or older
  • $75 for vehicles with capacity of 7-15 persons (not including the driver)
  • $100 for vehicles with capacity of 16-25 persons (not including the driver)
  • Organized non-commercial tours:
    • $20 per vehicle for vehicles with capacity of less than 16 persons
    • Additional $7 per person, 16 year of age or older, for vehicles with capacity of more than 16 persons

Available activities at Mesa Verde National Park:

  • Hiking
  • Cliff Dwellings tour (ranger-guided or self-guided)
  • Camping
  • Snowshoeing
  • Skiing
  • Chapin Mesa Archaeological Museum tour

 

Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve

Home to the tallest dunes in North America, Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve has mountains of sands stand even higher than the Rocky Mountains, with its highest dune mountain towering at 750 feet high at an elevation of 8,700 feet above sea level.

 

The national park also showcases diverse landscape of grasslands, wetlands, conifer and aspen forests, alpine lakes, and tundra.

 

Address: 11500 Highway 150, Mosca, Colorado 81146

Distance from Denver: 382.86 kilometers

Total land area: 149, 028 acres

Entrance fees:

  • 7-day pass
    • $20 for non-commercial vehicle and occupants
    • $10 per person on vehicles with more than 15 people aged 16 and older
    • $15 for motorcycles and riders
  • Annual pass
    • $40 for a regular annual pass
    • $80 for an interagency annual pass
    • $20 for interagency senior annual pass
    • Free for active military duty annual pass
  • Lifetime pass
    • $80 for an interagency senior lifetime pass (aged 62 and older)
    • Free for interagency access pass lifetime pass (permanently disabled)

Available activities at Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve:

  • Hiking
  • Picnics
  • Camping
  • Stargazing
  • Horseback riding
  • Sandboarding
  • Sand Sledding
  • Fat biking
  • Evening programs at the Amphitheater

 

Black Canyon of Gunnison National Park

Located near Gunnison, Montrose, and Crawford, the Black Canyon of Gunnison National Park got its name because of its 2,700 feet walls often being shrouded in shadows, making them appear black.

 

It only got its national status in 1999 but the Gunnison River’s carving of the canyon began millions of years ago. It is also home to some of the world’s oldest exposed rock which are nearly 2 billion years old already.

 

Address: 102 Elk Creek, Gunnison, Colorado 81230

Distance from Denver: 403.95 kilometers

Total land area: 30,750 acres

Entrance fees:

  • Free for persons aged 16 or younger
  • $20 for single, private, and non-commercial vehicle (good for 7 days)
  • $15 for motorcycles, maximum of 2 people
  • $10 for pedestrians and bicyclists
  • $40 for an annual pass
  • Commercial tour buses:
    • $25 for bus with 6 or less passenger seating capacity, plus $7 per person
    • $40 for bus with 7-25 passenger seating capacity
    • $100 for bus with 26 or more passenger seating capacity
  • Other passes:
    • Interagency Annual Pass for $80
    • Interagency Annual Military Pass for free
    • Lifetime Senior Pass for $80
    • Annual Senior Pass for $20
    • Interagency Access Pass for free

Available activities at Black Canyon of Gunnison National Park:

  • Hiking
  • Scenic driving
  • Horseback riding
  • Camping
  • Fishing
  • Kayaking
  • Rock Climbing
  • Wildlife watching
  • Night sky viewing opportunities
  • Cross country skiing
  • Snowshoe trekking

 

Colorado definitely shows more than enough beauty that the country offers. Everyone, especially those who just moved in their luxury homes in Denver, and other cities and towns in the state, should not miss the masterpiece of an experience to visit all four of the coolest Colorado national parks even just once in their lives.