On this day in 2016, national parks celebrated their 100th anniversary. To celebrate, there are several days in 2017 that are free admission days. Today happens to be one of those days! If you are looking for something to do today, might we suggest one of these Colorado national parks…
- Rocky Mountain National Park – As a tribute to the grandeur of the Rocky Mountains between Estes Park and Grand Lake, this park encompasses the pure and natural beauty of the region. With high-mountain lakes and streams, peaks more than 14,000 feet, thick evergreen forests and thousands of acres of wildlife, this national park conjures up what most people imagine when they think of the Rockies and finds its way onto most visitors’ travel itineraries. And with so much to see and do within its 415-square-mile boundaries there’s no wonder its popularity endures.
- Mesa Verde National Park – Mesa Verde National Park, located in southwest Colorado near Cortez, is home to some of the most unique Ancestral Puebloan dwellings in the world. Well-preserved and well-studied, these dwellings have been inspiring interest in this ancient culture for more than 100 years. Tucked securely into cliff walls, the adobe-constructed homes are a novel sight to visitors who crane their necks skyward to see them. On Mesa Verde tours, ladders give guided groups access to the cliff dwellings, and park rangers offer glimpses into the daily lives of Ancestral Puebloans.
- Great Sand Dunes National Park and Reserve – Nowhere else in the United States do mountains of sand stand higher than in the Rocky Mountains at Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado. The tallest dune towers 750 feet high at an elevation of 8,700 feet above sea level. The entire dune field itself, located near the town of Alamosa, encompasses 30 square miles within the 150,000-acre park.Aside from the dunes, you’ll find abundant hiking opportunities, as well as a four-wheel-driving trail along the challenging Medano Pass — an off-road route that stretches roughly 25 miles from within the park to the town of Gardner.
Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park – Sheer black walls plummet up to 2,700 feet on this 53-mile stretch of narrow gorge near Montrose, which reveal millions of years of natural history. Since its documented European discovery in the 1700s, the gorge has been renowned for its dramatic scenery and recreational opportunities.Not to mention its history: The Denver and Rio Grande narrow gauge railroad once traversed the mouth of this fissure that plunges into the Rockies. Today, the train is paid homage by an informative railroad museum and ranger talks throughout the park.
Wherever you decide to venture out to today, be sure to take in the beauty of your surroundings. We are blessed to live in a gorgeous area surrounded by breathtaking views from our local national parks!