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Visiting Colorado on Your Next Road Trip
Colorado’s scenery is dramatic, diverse and downright beautiful. Towering mountains, exquisite wildflowers, rivers, streams, forests, snow-blanketed hills and bright blue skies overwhelm the senses. So pack a camera and a pair of binoculars for close-up views of the "Centennial State’s" abundant scenery and wildlife. Then set off on a slow and easy drive through remarkable, memorable Colorado. Stay at fantastic Colorado campgrounds and elegant Colorado RV camping resorts along the way.
Pack a camera and a pair of binoculars for close-up views of the "Centennial State’s" abundant scenery and wildlife.
In northwest Colorado, and extending over the border into Utah, Dinosaur National Monument is near the town of Dinosaur. The park’s Dinosaur Quarry is in Utah and is most definitely worth the trip. Experience the exhibit of more than 1,500 dinosaur bones plus life-size reproductions of prehistoric beasts. There’s even an observation window that lets visitors peek inside the park’s active paleontology lab. There are engaging automobile tours to wonders like Tilted Rocks and Echo Park, where the Green and Yampa Rivers merge. Guests can inspect petroglyphs carved by prehistoric American Indians or they can walk along nature trails that lead to waterfalls or glorious, western vistas of mountain crests and sandstone canyons. The fishing is fine on the Yampa and Green Rivers; rafters find amazing adventures on local whitewater excursions.
Mesa Verde National Park is a World Heritage Site and a notable archaeological center in southwestern Colorado near Mancos. The name translates as "green table." But its primary attraction is the ample evidence of mechanical engineering that originated between 600 A.D. and 1300 A.D. The park preserves pueblos or villages skillfully carved into the existing walls of Mesa Verde’s rocky canyon. Fortunately for today’s tourists, these pueblos were constructed so well that curious visitors are permitted to climb on up and check them out without compromising their structural integrity. From an archaeological perspective, it’s interesting to note that twenty four, modern day, southwestern native tribes trace their ancestry to the ancient, pueblo-building people who once lived and thrived at Mesa Verde. Besides individual house tours and visits to the Mesa Museum, park guests explore the preserve’s hiking trails or drive Mesa’s Top Loop Road. The roadside displays and panoramic stops on this automobile trail are well worth the extra time required.
In the west central part of Colorado near Gunnison, Curecanti National Recreation Area includes the Blue Mesa, Morrow Point, and Crystal Reservoirs. Besides preserving the state’s biggest waterway and the nation’s prime Kokanee salmon fishery, Curecanti contains archaeologically significant dinosaur bones and the remnants of aged dwellings dating back six millenniums. The scenic drives, horseback rides and an impressive variety of hiking trails where Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep, bobcats and great blue heron might be seen, aren’t too shabby, either. Curecanti’s guests also find good hunting grounds and top-notch fishing with likely catches of trout and Kokanee salmon. Boating, sailing, windsurfing, and skiing are popular summer activities and the winter season attracts guests who are ready for snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, ice fishing or skating.
Colorado’s north central region is the home of Rocky Mountain National Park, a Biosphere Reserve located between Estes Park and Grand Lake. Dozens of Colorado line the park, for close proximity to hiking and biking the great trails. The park is a land of fabulous contrasts – rugged, frosty summits; eerie, windswept tundra; rushing waters; woodlands; and meadows of vibrant wildflowers. Visitors should treat themselves to the 50-mile driving tour of Trail Ridge, which is both an All-American Road and National Scenic Byway. Trail Ridge takes visitors across the Continental Divide and on a 400-feet ascent to the alpine tundra. Up above the timberline, the tundra is an arctic-style zone of miniature plants and treeless terrain that looks more like a lunar exploration site than a national park byway. After the Trail Ridge experience, guests may choose to hike to a waterfall, ramble past Bear Lake, or attend a ranger-guided "Full Moon Walk" where a moose or tuft-eared squirrel might be encountered along your path.
Pike’s Peak, towering a majestic 14,110 feet, is one of our country’s crown jewels. A round-trip drive along Pike’s Peak Highway to the summit provides breathtaking views of the Sangre de Cristo Range, and the Gold Rush town of Cripple Creek. Journey to Seven Falls and South Cheyenne Canon and take a look at the Pillars of Hercules, the spot where the canon narrows to 42 feet in width as 1,000-foot cliffs tower overhead. Because you can take a mountain elevator, everyone can enjoy a trip to this spectacular natural wonder.
Yet another "must-see" in the area is Royal Gorge Bridge & Park. Here you’ll find the world’s highest suspension bridge – soaring 1,053 feet above the Arkansas River. Enjoy an aerial tram ride as well as an incline railway. Other attractions include Gardens of the Gods, a park complete with beautiful scenery.
In south central Colorado, Great Sand Dunes National Park is just above Alamosa. The North American continent’s highest dunes are 700 feet tall and set against the contrasting backdrop of the jagged Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Great Sand Dunes encompasses 30 square miles of desert-like mounds, as well as spruce and pine forests, grasslands, and wetlands. The park has a number of 13,000-foot mountain peaks plus icy lakes and tundra. There are creeks, meadows, canyons, and cascades, a million nooks and crannies for wildlife and people to wander. It’s an exceptional range of terrain for one park to span, and fortunate Great Sand Dunes visitors have a chance to experience them all.
Article Courtesy of Woodall's Campground Directory, where you can search our database of hundreds of Colorado campgrounds and Colorado RV camping resorts. Search for