It can be rightly said that majority of the world’s great, stunning natural attractions are found within the United States. Colorado is one such state that is native to around 58 “Fourteeners”. These Fourteeners are mountain ranges which rise to over 14,000 feet above the average sea level. Colorado is also a storehouse of natural, historic and cultural wonders.
1. Rocky Mountain National Park
Rocky Mountain National Park located in the central north region of Colorado, encompasses an area of 415 square miles and offers spectacular mountain scenery. Its elevations vary at 8,000 feet in grassy, wet valleys up to 14,259 feet of weather-ravaged heights of the Longs Peak. The national park comprises of 359 miles of trekking trails, 450 miles of streams, 150 lakes and many small glaciers. The high mountain peaks are permanently covered with snow. You can also drive the well known Trail Ridge Road in the park that is the highest paved road within U.S. However, this road remains closed during winters.
2. Mesa Verde National Park
The Mesa Verde National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage site located in southwest Colorado. The rock-cut village of Mesa Verde national park was discovered first in 1874 and is situated on a plateau at a height of over 8,500 feet. The park has almost 5,000 archaeological sites and houses a collection of ancient Pueblo Indian dwellings that were constructed between 6th to 12th centuries and include 600 cliff homes. To name few of the well known dwellings found here are the Balcony House, Square Tower House, and Cliff Palace, built using mud mortar and sandstone by Ancestral Pueblo people. The National Park Service rates it as the best preserved within U.S.
3. Great Sand Dunes National Park
Great Sand Dunes National Park covers an area of 44,246 acres and is located in the San Luis Valley. It consists of the tallest sand dunes within North America and stands at 750 feet and is amongst the most geologically and biologically diverse parks within the United States. The National Park Service estimates that dunes formation began 440,000 years ago with the wind changing the dunes shape daily. It houses a varied landscape of wetlands, aspen and conifer forests, grasslands,tundra and alpine lakes. You can indulge in several activities within this park such as sand sledding, wildlife watching and hiking among others.
4. Red Rocks Park
Red Rocks Park is situated 6,450 feet above sea level in Jefferson County in 868 acre of prairie and pines amongst awesome scenery and geological wonders. There is an amalgamation of Great Plains and Rocky Mountains here. Hence, you can view plants, animals and birds of both the regions. The park is famous for the large presence of tall red sandstone outgrowths. The well known ones are Creation Rock at the north, Stage Rock in the east and Ship Rock in the south. The park also houses the Red Rocks Amphitheatre which is the only acoustically perfect, naturally-occurring amphitheatre of the world.
5. Black Canyon of the Gunnison
The Black Canyon of the Gunnison is located in western Colorado. It has steep cliffs, oldest rocks and craggiest spires within North America. The park, a vertical wonder sculpted due to Gunnison River and the effect of weathering, is loaded with wonderful must-see natural wonders. For instance, The Painted Wall is the highest cliff within Colorado and rises 2,250 feet tall. It is 1,000 feet higher than Empire State Building in New York. The Black Canyon hosts numerous ecosystems from juniper, scrub oak and pine forest at the rim to riparian community alongside the Gunnison River.
6. Pawnee National Grassland
Pawnee National Grassland has two distinct buttes standing 300 feet aboveprairie in the grassland. The buttes happen to be the remains of erosion and are left to stand out amongst the surroundings as the nearby high plain surfaces haveeroded gradually. The scenic one-and-a-half-mile trek of Pawnee Buttes Trail offers visitors an opportunity to see the wonderful buttes at close quarters.
7. Garden Of The Gods
The Garden of Gods is 1,367-acre Park housing tall, red sandstone rock formation and emerges as Colorado’s best photographed edifice. The Park came into being millions of years ago due to a geological upheaval across a natural faulty line. Thousands of visitors visit the Park yearly to view this distinct biological melting spot where the grassland of Great Plains merges with pinon-juniper woodland and blends with the mountain forests of Pikes Peak.
Along with the above attractions, Colorado has several breathtaking natural wonders within its fold. You will never tire of exploring these fascinating wonders since each of them is unique and leaves you wondering why you did not visit before.