Best national parks in Colorado

52,947 Reviews
Explore the most popular national parks in Colorado with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.
Map of trails in Colorado
Best national parks (4)
#1 - Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve
Colorado
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Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve has the tallest dunes in North America, formed by sand deposits of the Rio Grande. Many are over 750 feet tall! However, the park is not limited to sand dunes, there are also grasslands, shrublands and wetlands, alpine lakes, six 13,000-foot mountains, and ancient forests. Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, year round, but Visitor Center hours can vary. See here for more info: https://www.nps.gov/grsa/planyourvisit/hours.htm Entrance Fees 7-Day Pass Non-Commercial Vehicle and Occupants: $25 Oversized Vehicle, 15+ passengers, age 16+: $15/person Motorcycle and Riders: $20 Annual Pass Learn more about national interagency annual and lifetime passes on nps.gov. Great Sand Dunes Annual Pass: $45 Interagency Annual Pass (for all federal fee areas): $80 Interagency Senior Annual Pass (62 and older, US citizen): $20 Active Duty Military Annual Pass: Free Interagency Annual Pass for 4th graders and their families: Free with voucher. Lifetime Pass Interagency Senior Lifetime Pass (62 and older, US citizen): $80 Interagency Access Pass (permanently disabled): Free Entrance Fee-Free Days at Great Sand Dunes in 2020 Monday, January 20 – Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Saturday, April 18 – First Day of National Park Week/National Junior Ranger Day Tuesday, August 25 – National Park Service Birthday Saturday, September 26 – National Public Lands Day Wednesday, November 11 – Veterans DayShow more
#2 - Mesa Verde National Park
Colorado
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This area has over 4,000 archaeological sites of the Ancestral Pueblo, who lived here for 700 years. Cliff dwellings built in the 12th and 13th centuries include Cliff Palace, which has 150 rooms and 23 kivas, and the Balcony House, with passages and tunnels. Mesa Verde is always open, but opportunities vary from season to season. See here for this years info: nps.gov/meve/planyourvisit/hours.htm Park Entrance Fee for Private Vehicles January 2 - April 30, 2020 November 1 - December 31, 2020 Fee: $20.00 May 1 - October 31, 2020 Fee: $30.00 Details: The fee is good for entrance to Mesa Verde National Park for up to 7 days. Park Entrance Fee for Motorcycles January 2 - April 30, 2020 November 1 - December 31, 2020 Fee: $15.00 May 1 - October 31, 2020 Fee: $25.00 Details: The fee is good for entrance to Mesa Verde National Park for up to 7 days. Park Entrance Fee for Each Bicyclist and Individual on Non-Commercial Buses January 2 - April 30, 2020 November 1 - December 31, 2020 Fee: $10.00 per person May 1 - October 31, 2020 Fee: $15.00 per person Details: The fee is good for entrance to Mesa Verde National Park for up to 7 days. Mesa Verde Annual Pass Fee: $55.00 Details: Fee good for a year, beginning from the date of sale America the Beautiful Series Passes Fee: Varies Details: The Annual, Military, Senior, and Access passes can be purchased in the park or online. For information on each of the passes, visit the National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass Program page.Show more
#3 - Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
Colorado
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This western Colorado National Park's main feature is the Black Canyon and the river that cuts through it, but it is also home to an amazing array of flora and fauna such as pronghorn, black bear, coyote, muskrat, six species of lizard, cougar, raccoon, beaver, elk, river otter, bobcat, and mule deer. Entrance Fees: Entrance Fee - per vehicle - $25.00 Covers all persons in a single, private, noncommercial vehicle and is valid for seven calendar days. Entrance Fee - per motorcycle - $20.00 Covers up to two people on a single motorcycle and is valid for seven calendar days. Entrance Fee - per pedestrian or bicycle - $15.00 Valid for seven calendar days. Entrance Fee - commercial bus - $100.00 Bus with 26 or more passenger seating capacity Entrance Fee - commercial bus - $40.00 Bus with 7-25 passenger seating capacity Entrance Fee - commercial bus - $25.00 Bus with 6 or less passenger seating capacity: $25 plus $7.00 per person Entrance Passes: Black Canyon Annual Pass - $45.00 This pass admits the permit holder and all accompanying passengers in a single, private, noncommercial vehicle to the park. It is valid for 12 months from date of purchase and covers entry fees only.Show more
#4 - Rocky Mountain National Park
Colorado
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Rocky Mountain National Park is one of the most popular natural parks featuring 76 mountains each over 10 thousand feet high. Equally enjoyable on foot or from your car, there are four separate ecosystems: montane, subalpine, alpine tundra, and riparian. Each has its own wildlife, beautiful scenery including alpine lakes, fantastic summits, and stunning views. The park is open all year round, but there will be closures due to weather. The park is easily accessible by shuttle from Denver International Airport and many shuttles run between the various trailheads, the Moraine Park Visitor Center and even the Glacier Basin Campgrounds. Fees: All passes are available at all park entrance stations. 1-Day Pass - Automobile - $25.00 Valid for date of purchase. Covers single, non-commercial vehicle with capacity of less than 16 passengers. 7-Day Pass - Automobile - $35.00 Valid for seven consecutive days (including date of purchase). Covers single, non-commercial vehicle with capacity of less than 16 passengers. 7-Day Pass - Per Person - $20.00 Valid for seven consecutive days (including date of purchase). Applies to walk-ins, bicycles, and non-commercial groups. 7-Day Pass - Motorcycle - $30.00 Valid for seven consecutive days (including date of purchase). Covers one motorcycle. 1-Day Pass - Per Person - $15.00 Valid for date of purchase. Applies to walk-ins, bicycles, and non-commercial groups. 1-Day Pass - Motorcycle - $25.00 Valid for date of purchase. Covers one motorcycle. Rocky Mountain National Park Annual Pass - $70.00 Unlimited entry for one year from date of purchase Accessibility: The Interagency Access Pass for free or discounted admission for US Citizens or permanent residents with permanent disabilities is accepted here. The visitor centers, bookstores, and information desks are all mobility equipment accessible. The visitor centers also have wheelchair accessible bathrooms and drinking fountains. Assistive listening devices and sign language interpretation services are available but require advanced notice to guarantee availability (two weeks is suggested for assisted listening devices, a month for sign language interpreters). Call the main park number (970-586-1206) for more information. Park films at the Beaver Meadows and Kawuneeche Village Visitor Centers include closed-captioning. The park brochure is available is both braille and large-print formats. The summer shuttle buses that operate along the Bear Lake corridor are wheelchair accessible. You can call Rocky Mountain Transit to learn more about wheelchair accessible Town of Estes Park shuttle buses at (970) 577-7477. Electric Personal Assistance Mobility Devices (EPAMD) such as Segways as allowed for people with disabilities in certain areas including: sidewalks, parking lots, roads closed to motor vehicles, and four of the trails. There are wheelchair accessible picnic tables and restrooms at several of the trailheads including Lily Lake, Sprague Lake, and Coyote Valley. There are both “front-country” and “back-country” wheelchair accessible camping sites at various locations. Many of the overlooks along Trail Ridge Road have designated accessible parking. Service animals must be on-leash throughout the park. Additional accessible trails and facilities information can be found here: https://www.nps.gov/romo/planyourvisit/accessibility.htmShow more