National Parks Near Denver

Denver is one of the best urban basecamps to be adventurous outdoors. With four national parks, eight national monuments, nine national forests, and 42 state parks, it should come as no surprise that half of Colorado is public land.

Photo By: Alexandra Vandeventer

Photo By: Alexandra Vandeventer

Photo By: Jarrod Clift

Photo By: Jarrod Clift

Photo By: Addie Navarro

Photo By: Addie Navarro

Photo By: Addie Navarro

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Rocky Mountain National Park

Trail Ridge Road is a spectacular way for first-time travelers to see Rocky Mountain National Park. This scenic byway reaches a maximum elevation of 12,183 feet — making it the highest continuous motorway in the United States.

Explore On Foot

The Cub Lake trail is a good place to start hiking, especially for travelers who aren’t as use to the park’s high elevation. The trail traverses aspen and pine forests and ends at the pristine Cub Lake.

Beat the Crowds

Rocky Mountain National Park is by far the busiest in summer, but late May and early October are far less crowded times. Summer visitors can also plan visits early in the morning or late at night, or seek more solitude be hiking further into the backcountry.

Great Sand Dunes National Park

About a four-hour drive south of Denver, Great Sand Dunes National Park contains the highest sand dunes in North America.

Sands of Time

Sprawling across Colorado’s San Luis Valley, the dunes have been collected and shaped for over a millennia by the wind.

White River National Forest

The White River National Forest is best known for its ski areas like Aspen, Beaver Creek, Keyston, and Vail. For less developed recreation opportunities, there are fewer places in Colorado more scenic to hike.

Searching for Snow?

The Missouri Lake Trail in the Holy Cross Wilderness meanders through forests, meadows, and over a pass that is snow-covered even in August.

Arches National Park

Not more than 350 miles away, Arches can be a quick getaway for outdoor adventurers who seek the desert sun and red rock spires.

Badlands National Park

Like the Great Sand Dunes, the eroded buttes and sharpened spires of the Badlands don’t offer the typical picturesque views of Rocky Mountains. At the edge of the prairie, the sculptured landscape looks like something out of science fiction.

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