Colorado destinations, parks and attractions
Are you going on a road trip to Colorado, looking for tips about the destinations so you and your party can enjoy it, be comfortable and not spend a fortune?
Here are some of the top destinations in Colorado and tips about visiting them
National parks and monuments in Colorado
- Bent's Old Fort National Historical Site:,
La Junta, CO.
Bent's Old Fort National Historic Site features a reconstructed 1840s adobe fur trading post on the mountain branch of the Santa Fe Trail where traders, trappers, travelers, and the Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes came together in peaceful terms for trade. Today, living historians recreate the sights, sounds, and smells of the past with guided tours, demonstrations and special events.
- Black Canyon Of The Gunnison National Park:,
Big enough to be overwhelming, still intimate enough to feel the pulse of time, Black Canyon of the Gunnison exposes you to some of the steepest cliffs, oldest rock, and craggiest spires in North America. With two million years to work, the Gunnison River, along with the forces of weathering, has sculpted this vertical wilderness of rock, water, and sky.
- California National Historic Trail,
Various States CA,CO,ID,KS,MO,NE,NV,OR,UT,WY.
Follow in the footsteps of over 250,000 emigrants who traveled to the gold fields and rich farmlands of California during the 1840s and 1850s: the greatest mass migration in American history. The California National Historic Trail is over 5,000 miles long and covers portions of 10 states. Step into history along more than 1,000 miles of ruts and traces from travelers and their overland wagons.
- Colorado National Monument,
Colorado National Monument preserves one of the grand landscapes of the American West. But this treasure is much more than a monument. Towering monoliths exist within a vast plateau and canyon panorama. You can experience sheer-walled, red rock canyons along the twists and turns of Rim Rock Drive, where you may spy bighorn sheep and soaring eagles.
- Curecanti National Recreation area:,
Curecanti National Recreation Area is a series of three reservoirs along the once wild Gunnison River. The reservoirs that make up Curecanti today are a destination for water-based recreation high in the Rocky Mountains. Best known for salmon and trout fishing, Curecanti also offers opportunities for hiking, boating, camping, and bird watching.
- Dinosaur National Monument,
Vernal, Utah and Dinosaur, Colorado, CO,UT.
Dinosaurs once roamed here. Their fantastic remains are still visible embedded in the rocks. Today, the mountains, desert and untamed rivers flowing in deep canyons, support an array of life. Petroglyphs hint at earlier cultures. Later, homesteaders and outlaws found refuge here. Whether your passion is science, adventure, history or scenery, Dinosaur offers much to explore.
- Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument,
Beneath a grassy mountain valley in central Colorado lies one of the richest and most diverse fossil deposits in the world. Petrified redwood stumps up to 14 feet wide and thousands of detailed fossils of insects and plants reveal the story of a very different, prehistoric Colorado.
- Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve - Mosca, CO.
Open 24/7 year round! There are no reservations to visit or limit on the number of visitors in the park and preserve, but there is currently limited capacity in the visitor center. The tallest dunes in North America are the centerpiece in a diverse landscape of grasslands, wetlands, forests, alpine lakes, and tundra. Explore this website to learn more!
- Hovenweep National Monument,
Blanding, Utah and Cortez, Colorado, CO,UT.
Once home to over 2,500 people, Hovenweep includes six prehistoric villages built between A.D. 1200 and 1300. Explore a variety of structures, including multistory towers perched on canyon rims and balanced on boulders. The construction and attention to detail will leave you marveling at the skill and motivation of the builders.
- Mesa Verde National Park:,
Cortez and Mancos, CO.
This wild landscape of deep canyons and expansive vistas is home to over a thousand species, including several that live nowhere else on earth. For over 700 years, the Ancestral Pueblo people built thriving communities on the mesas and in the cliffs of Mesa Verde. Today, the park protects the rich cultural heritage of 26 tribes and offers visitors a spectacular window into the past.
- Old Spanish National Historic Trail,
Follow the routes of mule pack trains across the Southwest on the Old Spanish National Historic Trail between Santa Fe, New Mexico, and Los Angeles, California. New Mexican traders moved locally produced merchandise across what are now six states to exchange for mules and horses.
- Pony Express National Historic Trail,
Various States CA,CO,KS,MO,NE,NV,UT,WY.
It is hard to believe that young men once rode horses to carry mail from Missouri to California in the unprecedented time of only 10 days. This relay system along the Pony Express National Historic Trail in eight states was the most direct and practical means of east-west communications before the telegraph.
- Rocky Mountain National Park:,
Estes Park and Grand Lake, CO.
Rocky Mountain National Park’s 415 square miles encompass and protect spectacular mountain environments. Enjoy Trail Ridge Road - which crests at over 12,000 feet including many overlooks to experience the subalpine and alpine worlds - along with over 300 miles of hiking trails, wildflowers, wildlife, starry nights, and fun times. In a world of superlatives, Rocky is on top!
- Sand Creek Massacre National Historical Site:,
Kiowa County, CO.
The Sand Creek Massacre: profound, symbolic, spiritual, controversial, a site unlike any other in America. As 675 cavalrymen came around a prairie bend, the camps of Chiefs Black Kettle, White Antelope, and Left Hand lay in the valley before them. Chaotic, horrific, tumultuous, and bloody, the events of November 29, 1864 changed the course of history.
- Santa Fe National Historic Trail,
You can almost hear the whoops and cries of "All's set!" as trail hands hitched their oxen to freight wagons carrying cargo between western Missouri and Santa Fe, New Mexico. Follow the Santa Fe National Historic Trail through five states and you'll find adventure and evidence of past travelers who made this remarkable trip before you!
- Yucca House National Monument,
Through a continuing tradition of public and private cooperation, Yucca House National Monument preserves one of the largest archeological sites in SW Colorado. The unexcavated nature of the site preserves its integrity and beauty for future generations of scientists and visitors. Experience a sense of discovery by visiting a site that has remained largely untouched for the past 800 years!
Colorado State parks and historic sites
- Barr Lake
- Cheyenne Mountain
- Eleven Mile
- Jackson Lake
- Lake Pueblo
- St. Vrain
- Steamboat Lake
- Trinidad Lake
Colorado Seasons, bugs, topography and climate
Located in the Rockies and at the edge of the plains, Colorado has a cool, dry climate. The average annual temperature for the state is 43.5 degrees Fahrenheit (F), which is 13.7 degrees below the global mean. In the summer, it tends to be hot during day and cool at night. Winters can be brutally cold. Many roads are closed or impassible in the winter.
Bugs are thankfully few!
Colorado Camping tips
Reservation at a Colorado state parks are available online. With full-hookup RVs , a luxury cabin, our online reservations site can help you find and
book your accommodations.
Colorado State Park Camping reservations are available at any time.
Or book now by phone: Toll free 1-800-244-5613
For park or policy information: CPW Call Center 1-800-678-2267 or 303-297-1192
With over 4,000 campsites and 58 cabins and yurts located throughout the state, Colorado State Parks' affordable accommodations offer something for everyone.