Colorado National Parks, USA
Colorado National Parks
MESA VERDE NATIONAL PARK & DURANGO
Our local guides are keen to unveil the fascinating history of Mesa Verde National Park and the Old West ambience of Durango, Colorado. History-lovers are smitten with this chance for insight into the lives of the Ancestral Pueblo people who made this area their home for more than 700 years, between AD 600 and AD 1300. They built elaborate stone communities and sheltered alcoves in the canyon walls – today, evidence of their home base lives on in nearly 5,000 archaeological sites (including 600 cliff dwellings).
Not far away lies the old Colorado mining town of Durango – an enticing cache of Victorian-era saloons, charming bungalows and sleepy streets. Thanks to galleries, live music, organic and locavore dining and myriad outdoor adventures, a Durango vacation is a comfortable blend of cool vibes and homey ambiance.
Colorado and the Rocky Mountains represent the archetypal Old West vacation experience and we can help you experience it all, from the beautifully preserved ruins of Mesa Verde to the cowboy and cowgirl town of Durango. Your entrée is Denver, the gateway to the Rockies, where you’ll stroll through cultural institutions, including Lower Downtown, the city’s original settlement, and check out the city’s popular microbreweries. Move on to Great Sand Dunes National Park, where herds of bison and many bird species make themselves known. Durango brings with it the opportunity to drive through ghost mining settlements, to hike in the mountains and to raft on the Animas River.
The highlight of your Mesa Verde National Park and Durango vacation is, obviously, the World Heritage Site itself, one of the best-preserved Ancestral Puebloan archaeological sites in the United States. You’ll privately tour the best cliff dwelling sites and gain a better understanding of the culture and daily life of the people who once called this their home.
Colorado is home to several stunning national parks, each offering its own unique travel experiences. Here are some of the types of travel experiences that Colorado's national parks are best known for:
- Scenic Landscapes and Outdoor Adventures: Colorado's national parks are known for their breathtaking natural beauty and offer a wide range of outdoor activities. Rocky Mountain National Park, located just outside of Denver, is renowned for its majestic mountains, alpine lakes, and hiking trails. Visitors can go hiking, backpacking, wildlife watching, and camping in the park. Mesa Verde National Park is famous for its well-preserved ancient cliff dwellings, providing visitors with a glimpse into the fascinating history and culture of the ancestral Pueblo people. Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve features towering sand dunes, providing opportunities for sandboarding, hiking, and stargazing.
- Wildlife Viewing: Colorado's national parks are home to a diverse array of wildlife. Rocky Mountain National Park offers the chance to spot elk, bighorn sheep, moose, and a variety of bird species. Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park is known for its dramatic cliffs and provides opportunities to see mule deer, black bears, and golden eagles. Mesa Verde National Park is a great place to observe wildlife such as mule deer, coyotes, and a variety of bird species.
- Photography and Scenic Drives: Colorado's national parks provide picturesque landscapes that are a photographer's dream. Visitors can capture stunning mountain vistas, alpine meadows, waterfalls, and unique geological formations. The parks offer scenic drives, such as the Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park, which provides breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.
- Educational and Cultural Exploration: Colorado's national parks offer opportunities for educational and cultural exploration. Mesa Verde National Park features ancient cliff dwellings and offers guided tours to learn about the rich history and culture of the ancestral Pueblo people. Visitors can explore the archaeological sites and gain insights into the fascinating lives of the people who once inhabited these areas.
- Winter Activities: Some of Colorado's national parks offer winter activities for outdoor enthusiasts. Rocky Mountain National Park and Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park provide opportunities for snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and winter photography. The parks take on a serene and magical quality during the winter months.
- Astronomy and Night Sky Viewing: Colorado's national parks have relatively low light pollution, making them ideal locations for stargazing and astronomy. Visitors can enjoy the beauty of the night sky, observe constellations, and even capture stunning photographs of the Milky Way.
Important Things to Know:
Passport Requirement: No
Visa Requirement: No
Recommended Vaccinations: None
This Destination is Best For: See Above.
Is This a Family-Friendly Destination: Yes
Best Time To Travel to This Destination: May to October