The best national parks in Colorado- a guide. Have you ever wondered what beauty lays beneath Colorado’s famous national parks and where the best is to visit? What are the most scenic views? And what best things to do in Colorados national parks? Well look no further because here I have all of the answers. Keep reading to find out more…
- What is a national park?
- Why visit the national parks in Colorado?
- How many national parks in Colorado are there?
- What is the prettiest national park in Colorado?
- What is the most visited national park in Colorado?
- The best accommodation when visiting the national parks in Colorado
- Essential packing list when visiting the national parks in Colorado
- The best national parks in Colorado
- Rocky mountain national park
- Black Canyon of the Gunnison
- Florissant Fossil Beds
- The 3 national parks in Colorado- further reading.
What is a national park?
What exactly is a national park? A national park is an area protected due to its cultural heritage, boasting varied wildlife and beautiful countryside. They are typically known for their stunning landscapes and unique features. The aim of a national park is to preserve the site of natural beauty and benefit from this, without destroying it. The ‘National park service‘ manages 423 national parks across America, in aims of conserving the ‘natural and cultural heritage for the benefit of current and future generations’.
Why visit the national parks in Colorado?
How many national parks in Colorado are there?
There are 13 national parks in Colorado according to the National Park service. These national parks gain approximately 6 million visitors annually, contributing a huge $586 million in economic benefit, helping to support not only the natural environment of the national parks, but the local economy too!
What is the prettiest national park in Colorado?
Rocky mountain national park is renowned for being the most stunning of all national parks in Colorado. With its array of about 100 mountainous ranges, from the Canadian Rockies to the Southern Rockies, every inch is covered by beauty, including Alpine lakes huge woodland forests and flourishing wildlife.
What is the most visited national park in Colorado?
The most visited national park in Colorado is Rocky Mountains, so yes, as well as being deemed the prettiest, it is also the most visited, as its natural beauty attracts 4.5 million visitors annually!
The best accommodation when visiting the national parks in Colorado
So what are best accommodation when visiting the national parks in Colorado? Here I have found the closest accommodation to the national parks in Colorado, for the best price, best quality and unmatched comfort!
YMCA of the Rockies
YMCA of the Rockies is just a 24-minute drive from Rocky Mountains national park. This accommodation has some amazing facilities, including an indoor heated pool, a tennis court, picnic area, and free WIFI. This accommodation is situated nearby to some great restaurants, so you have a wide variety of foods to choose from, including Dunravan Inn and the Sundeck restaurant. Click here to find out more.
The Gunnison Inn at Dos Rios Golf Course
The Gunnison Inn is just a 15-minute drive from Curecanti national park. With modern furnishings, cosy rooms and beautiful window views. Gunnison inn provides convenience as well as comfort. There are plenty of outdoor facilities, with a BBQ and picnic area, perfect for summer evenings. Click here to find out more.
Super 8 by Wyndham Montrose
Super 8 by Wyndham Montrose is the closest accommodation to Black Canyon national park. This motel is beautifully furnished with free Wi-Fi and continental breakfast served each morning. Outdoors there are BBQ facilities as well as a sun terrace for enjoying the beautiful views. There is a hot tub and jacuzzi on site for truly relaxing and rewinding. Click here to find out more.
Riverfront Mountain Cottage retreat
Riverfront Mountain is just a 21-minute drive from Rocky Mountain national park. This incredible cosy retreat exudes warmth and comfort within its forest location, with greenery surrounding the woodland cottage. This cottage hosts a range of outdoor facilities to gaze out at the natural view, with a patio, picnic area, balcony and terrace to make the most of the great outdoors. Click here to find out more.
Essential packing list when visiting the national parks in Colorado
What is the essential packing list when visiting the national parks in Colorado?
The national parks in Arkansas are full of beautiful hikes and trails..so what’s better than to prepare by packing the correct hiking gear.
- Hiking poles are a great support, especially in the up hill areas. I recommend TheFitLife trekking poles because they are ultra light so they are packing friendly, as well as being adjustable.
- Hiking backpacks are convenient for carrying everything you may need on your trip, including a water bottle and first aid kit. I recommend the Eono super lightweight backpack for ultimate comfort and 30L capacity.
Although the majority of people use their phone cameras to capture the moment, having a camera on your trips is a special way to capture a high quality picture of Rocky Mountains national park or Black Canyon. Not only are the images high quality, but they are also ones for the album. I recommend the KODAK camera for the cheapest price and best quality.
A water bottle is an essential for a hiking day trip in Colorado! Gear up with your JIMARCO litre water bottle and you’re good to go for a full day of fun!
Colorado’s national parks cover a large surface area, so you’re going to want some proper hiking shoes! I recommend Baughaus hiking shoes, but there are plenty of other great brands too.
The best national parks in Colorado
The best national parks in Colorado- So what are the best national parks in Colorado? Here they are, known for their landscapes, wildlife, rivers and gorgeous mountainous ranges.
Rocky mountain national park
Rocky mountain is an astonishing 415 square miles of mountain ranges, with 300 miles of hiking trails, glistening rivers and rich greenery. As we have previously learnt in this article, Rocky Mountain national park is both the prettiest and the most visited national park in Colorado, with an annual visitation of 4.67 million people from across the world!
A popular activity at Rocky Mountain is to view the wildlife that graze the site, from elk to mule deer, and from moose to bighorn sheep! However, it is important to stay 75 feet away from the wildlife at all times to remain safe.
Rocky Mountain only remains so beautiful due to the environmental care taken at every step. There is a pledge that all visitors should take before visiting:
“To preserve unimpaired for this and future generations the beauty, history, and wildness therein, I pledge to protect Rocky Mountain National Park.”
So, with scenic views, beautiful wildlife and amazing hikes, Rocky Mountains remains in top spot for being one of the best national parks in Colorado.
Black Canyon of the Gunnison
Black Canyon of the Gunnison uncovers the tallest cliffs and ancient rocks, stretching 1.8 million years back to where Black Canyons geology started forming. Today you can hike, and view the inner canyon, with opportunities to rock climb, kayak, raft or hike.
On site you can trail through the park’s natural beauty on the Rim Rock nature trail, a 2-mile flat path that guides you through some beautiful arrays of plant life, from sagebrush to Utah juniper. A different way to embrace Black Canyons natural beauty is by taking the Warner point nature trail, a 1.5-mile round trip through San Juan Mountain range, and the West Elk mountains.
Black Canyon is renowned for its winter activities, with opportunities for cross country skiing, snowshoeing and winter ranger programmes. The best location for snowshoeing is on the snowy canyons rim, so enjoy gliding through the snowy Canyon and enjoying the views of the iced mountain ranges and forests in the distance!
Curecanti national park is a reservoir along the famous Gunnison River. With its excellent location on the river, Curecanti offers opportunity for multiple recreational activities, including boating, hiking, camping and of course; enjoying the gorgeous landscapes.
There are 10 campgrounds on Curecanti’s site which leaves vast opportunities for a night out in nature! This is perfect for multiple days of exploration and adventure. Campsites stretch across the park, from East Portal to Stevens Creek.
Explore Curecanti in style with the ‘Neversink’ trail, a 1.5-mile round loop through the banks of the Gunnison River overgrown in flowers and willows.
Florissant Fossil Beds
The Florissant fossil beds are some of the most unique fossil beds in the world. On the site lays thousands of detailed insect and plant fossils within Petrified wood stumps, which reveal the history of over a million years.
Today you can stop by the visitor centre and watch the park film, “Shadows of the past“, revealing the culture and history behind the Florissant Fossil beds. Within these areas you will also find indoor exhibits with some of the rarest and unique fossils found from the site.
As you walk through the site you will find outdoor exhibits exploring the different fossil beds, including the massive, petrified tree stumps. If you are wishing for a further exploration of the site, there is over 14 miles of nature trails. Try the Petrified Forest loop, a 1.1-mile trail through the ancient lake Florissant as well as many petrified wood tree stumps.
The 3 national parks in Colorado- further reading.
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