Beautiful National Parks and Monuments in Colorado
Colorado is a state well known for its great beauty and the federal government has taken steps to protect this great beauty by creating 10 beautiful national parks and monuments in Colorado. Millions of tourists visit Colorado every year to see the great natural wonders and visitor attractions located in the national parks and monuments in Colorado and the tourists fuel a big tourism trade in the state which employs many people in the hotels, motels, spas, resorts, lodges, inns and restaurants which cater to the tourists. These are the beautiful national parks and monuments in Colorado.
Rocky Mountain National Park
Rocky Mountain National Park is located in north-central Colorado about 60 miles northwest of Denver and can be reached along State Highway 7 and US Highways 34 and 36. Obviously the main attraction in the park is the great Rocky Mountain scenery. The highest mountain in Rocky Mountain National Park is 14,259 foot high Longs Peak which a popular with mountain climbers and hikers. Popular activities in the park are hiking, camping, fishing, biking, climbing and driving the magnificent roads through the park and Rocky Mountains including the famous Trail Ridge Road which is the highest continuous highway in the United States, Fall River Road and Bear Lake Road. Plenty of hotels, lodges, motels, campsites and resorts are available to accommodate tourists in the resort town of Estes Park where the Rocky Mountain National Park headquarters is located.
Mesa Verde National Park
Image Source (Cliff Palace at Mesa Verde National Park
Mesa Verde National Park is located in southwestern Colorado southeast of Cortez. The main visitor attractions in the park are the cliff dwelling ruins of the Native American Anasazi especially the Cliff Palace. The Cliff Palace is the largest of the ruins and contains 150 rooms and 23 kivas built right into a mesa cliff. Other ruins in Mesa Verde National Park include the Spruce Tree House, the Mug House, the Square Tower House and the Balcony House. There are lodges, motels and hotels located near the park to accommodate overnight tourists.
Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
The Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park is located in western Colorado about 15 miles east of Montrose. The main attraction in the park is the 12 miles of the 48 mile long Black Canyon of the Gunnison River located in the park which can be seen from the scenic drive along the south rim. There are hiking trails and a campsite in the park and an un-maintained trail leads down the canyon to the Gunnison River but most tourists just drive along the rim and admire the spectacular views of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison.
Great Sand Dunes National Park
Great Sand Dunes National Park is located in southern Colorado and contains the largest sand dunes in the United States and in North America. Great Sand Dunes was originally a national monument but became a national park in 2004. Camping is allowed in the park and there are a few lodges and motels in the area as well as many motels in Alamosa 35 miles south of the park but many people just visit Great Sand Dunes National Park on day trips from hotels and motels in Denver, Pueblo and Colorado Springs in Colorado and Santa Fe and Albuquerque in New Mexico.
Dinosaur National Monument
Dinosaur National Monument is located in northwestern Colorado and contains dinosaur fossils dating back over 150 million years ago from the Jurassic Period. Also in the monument is the beautiful Green River Canyon. Dinosaur National Monument is shared by both Colorado and Utah.
Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument
Image Source (Petrified Wood field in Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument)
Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument is located in central Colorado about 40 miles east of Colorado Springs and contains ancient fossils of plants and insects dating back over 35 million years. The most popular visitor attraction in the park are the large fields of huge petrified redwoods.
Colorado National Monument
Colorado National Monument is located in western Colorado near the city of Grand Junction and just south of Interstate 70. Colorado National Monument contains awe inspiring canyons including Monument Canyon which contains a number of spectacular named rock formations. The best part about Colorado National Monument is Rim Rock Drive which provides spectacular views of the canyons and valleys below. As most visitors and tourist to the monument would agree that Colorado National Monument could easily be a national park. Plenty of hotels and motels are located in Grand Junction and along Interstate 70 to accommodate overnight tourists.
Canyons of the Ancients National Monument
Canyons of the Ancients National Monument is located in southwestern Colorado and contains the largest collection of archeological sites in the United States. Some of the archeological sites date back as far as 10,000 years.
Hovenweep National Monument
Hovenweep National Monument is located in southwestern Colorado and southeastern Utah and contains six groupings of Native America ruins of which four are located in Colorado. The ruins date back to 1200 AD and contain dams, tunnels, kivas, stone towers and large homes built with great masonry and engineering skills by the Hovenweep people.