List of National Parks in Colorado

Colorado has 4 national parks: Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, Mesa Verde National Park, Rocky Mountain National Park and Great Sand Dunes National Park.

I also add Colorado National Parks Map at the end of the article.

List of National Parks in Colorado 2024

List of National Parks in Colorado

1. Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park is located in western Colorado, near the town of Montrose. The park is easily accessible by car, and the South Rim Visitor Center is approximately 15 miles east of Montrose on U.S. Highway 50.

The South Rim Visitor Center is open year-round and provides information about the park, exhibits, and maps. The North Rim is less developed and is usually open seasonally.

Summer daytime temperatures range between 60 to 100F (15 to 38C), nights 30 to 50F (-1 to 10C).

Winter daytime temperatures range between 20 to 40F (-6 to 4C), nights -10 to 20F (-23 to -6C).

Things to doat Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

  • Hiking nature trails
  • Hiking the inner canyon
  • Camping in beautiful campgrounds
  • Going on scenic drives
  • Fishing
  • White water river kayaking
  • Rock climbing
  • Wildlife watching
  • Winter backcountry camping
  • Birdwatching

2. Mesa Verde National Park

Mesa Verde National Park is located in the high plateau country of southwestern Colorado. The Park is located in the southwest corner of Colorado, about 10 miles east of Cortez, Colorado and about 36 miles west of Durango, Colorado.

Features:

  • Mesa Verde is home to over 5,000 archaeological sites, including 600 cliff dwellings. These structures were built by the ancestral Puebloan people between 600 and 1300 AD.
  • The park offers a unique opportunity to explore the history and culture of the Pueblo people, with well-preserved sites such as Cliff Palace, Balcony House, and Spruce Tree House.

Visitor Centers:

  • There are two main visitor centers in Mesa Verde: the Chapin Mesa Archeological Museum and the Far View Visitor Center. These centers provide information, exhibits, and maps to help visitors plan their exploration of the park.

Activities:

  • Mesa Verde offers a variety of activities, including ranger-guided tours of cliff dwellings, hiking trails, and scenic drives.
  • The park is known for its archaeological tours, allowing visitors to explore the ancient dwellings with knowledgeable guides.

Weather:

Summer high’s reach the 90’s with evening temperatures to the mid-60’s. Thundershowers are possible. In fall and spring, daytime temperatures are in the 30’s. Winter temperatures range from the 40’s down to the teens. There is an average of 80 to 100 inches of snowfall.

3. Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park is situated in the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains, approximately 70 miles northwest of Denver, Colorado. The park covers an area of about 415 square miles.

Features:

  • The park is known for its majestic mountain scenery, alpine lakes, diverse ecosystems, and a wide range of wildlife. It encompasses various ecosystems, from montane forests to alpine tundra.
  • Notable peaks within the park include Longs Peak, which rises to an elevation of 14,259 feet (4,346 meters), making it the highest peak in the park.
  • The park is home to numerous hiking trails, offering opportunities for both day hikes and backcountry adventures.

Trail Ridge Road:

  • Trail Ridge Road is a scenic highway that traverses the park, reaching elevations over 12,000 feet (3,657 meters). It is one of the highest continuous paved roads in the United States and offers breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains.

Wildlife:

  • Rocky Mountain National Park is rich in wildlife, including elk, mule deer, bighorn sheep, moose, and a variety of bird species. Visitors often have the chance to observe these animals in their natural habitats.

Visitor Centers:

  • The park has visitor centers, such as the Beaver Meadows Visitor Center and the Kawuneeche Visitor Center, where visitors can obtain maps, information, and participate in ranger-led programs.

Activities:

  • Popular activities in the park include hiking, wildlife viewing, photography, camping, and scenic drives. Fishing is also available in certain lakes and streams.

Weather:

  • The weather in Rocky Mountain National Park can vary greatly due to the elevation changes. Summers are generally mild, with temperatures ranging from cool to warm. Winters can be cold and snowy, especially at higher elevations.

4. Great Sand Dunes National Park

Great Sand Dunes National Park is situated in the San Luis Valley, about 35 miles northeast of Alamosa, Colorado. The park covers an area of around 150,000 acres.

Features:

  • The park is renowned for its massive sand dunes, which are the tallest in North America, reaching heights of up to 750 feet (229 meters).
  • Beyond the sand dunes, the park also includes diverse landscapes such as grasslands, wetlands, and forests, providing a contrast to the arid dune environment.

Medano Creek:

  • Medano Creek flows along the eastern edge of the dunes, creating a seasonal and unique beach-like experience. During certain times of the year, visitors can enjoy splashing and playing in the shallow, sandy-bottomed creek.

Activities:

  • Hiking is popular in the park, with trails leading to and around the dunes. The park also offers opportunities for sand sledding and sandboarding on the dunes.
  • Backpacking and camping are permitted in the park’s designated backcountry areas.

Visitor Center:

  • The Great Sand Dunes Visitor Center provides information, exhibits, and orientation films for visitors. It’s a good starting point for exploring the park.

Stargazing:

  • Due to its remote location and relatively low light pollution, Great Sand Dunes National Park is designated as a Dark Sky Park, offering excellent opportunities for stargazing.

Weather:

  • The park experiences a high desert climate. Summers can be hot, and the sand surface can become very hot during the day. Winters can be cold, and the park may receive snowfall.

Colorado National Parks Map on Google Map

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