National Parks in Colorado

rocky mountain national park, family, outdoors and adventure, colorado, lake

rocky mountain national park, family, outdoors and adventure, colorado, lake

Budding naturalists feel right at home at Rocky Mountain National Park where the kids can join in on short, family-friendly hikes around the park. Bring along a magnifying glass to explore the plants, leaves and bugs during a stroll around Bear Lake.

Photo by: By Frank Schulenburg (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 ], via Wikimedia Commons

By Frank Schulenburg (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 ], via Wikimedia Commons

This vast state is ripe with fossils, ancient Native American cliff dwellings, diverse landscapes and, of course, The Rockies. Fun fact: Colorado is home to more mountains 14,000 feet or higher than any other state in the U.S.

Bent's Old Fort

National Historic Site, La Junta, CO

Black Canyon of the Gunnison

National Park, Montrose, CO

Cache la Poudre River

National Heritage Area, CO

California

National Historic Trail, CA, CO, ID, KS, MO, NE, NV, OR, UT, WY

Colorado

National Monument, Fruita, CO

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184414884

Photo by: Mtcurado / iStock / Thinkstock

Mtcurado / iStock / Thinkstock

Curecanti

National Recreation Area, Gunnison, CO

Dinosaur

National Monument, Vernal, UT & Dinosaur, CO

Florissant Fossil Beds

National Monument, Florissant, CO

Great Sand Dunes

National Park & Preserve, Mosca, CO

The Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserves

The Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserves

I went during the off season so I had the park to myself. If you want to bring a dog along, the off season is best since the sand is cool to the touch and safe for paws. The views are simply amazing and if you want to hike to the top, you’re in for a great workout.

Photo by: Alison Turner

Alison Turner

Hovenweep

National Monument, Blanding, UT & Cortez, CO

Mesa Verde

National Park, Cortez & Mancos, CO

Mesa Verde National Park

Mesa Verde National Park

Mesa Verde National Park
Some of the world's best-preserved cliff dwellings are found here. For 900 years, southwest Colorado was home to Pueblo Indians. Within tiered cliffs, they built sandstone dwellings -- including Cliff Palace. Its 150 rooms suggest this was a grand place of communal gathering.

Photo by: Getty

Getty

Old Spanish

National Historic Trail, AZ, CA, CO, NV, NM, UT

Pony Express

National Historic Trail, CA, CO, KS, MO, NE, NV, UT, WY

Rocky Mountain

National Park, Estes Park & Grand Lake, CO

rocky mountain national park, family, outdoors and adventure, colorado, lake

rocky mountain national park, family, outdoors and adventure, colorado, lake

Pack binoculars to get a close-up of Albert’s squirrels scurrying around the ponderosa pine forests or bighorn sheep spending a summer day at Sheep Lakes. Kids can scramble up rocks along the trail to Gem Lake or search the water under the bridge for beavers along the Beaver Boardwalk.

Sand Creek Massacre

National Historic Site, Kiowa County, CO

Santa Fe

National Historic Trail, CO, KS, MO, NM, OK

Yucca House

National Monument, Cortez, CO

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Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado

Peering into the alcoves from which Mesa Verde's puebloan cliff dwellings seem to seep upward is oddly reminiscent of peering into treasures encased within a Faberge Egg.

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