KUSA - National Park Week runs from April 15 to 23 and to celebrate, the National Park Service is giving you the chance to venture into the nation's parks on the weekends free of charge.
On April 15 and 16 and again on April 22 and 23 you can visit any national park in the country free of charge.
Colorado is home to four national parks, each offering a wide range of natural beauty. So get outside and explore!
Rocky Mountain National Park
As the closest national park to Denver, Rocky Mountain National Park is the most visited park in the state – and third most-visited park in America. The park is home to the highest paved road in any national park – Trail Ridge Road. While the road is expected to remain closed to motorized vehicles until may, it reopened earlier this week to bicyclists and hikers.
Pro tip: Rent some snowshoes or bring your own. The park offers plenty of trails, each offering a unique view of the park. For a more secluded trail with great views, take Old Fall River Road to the Alluvial Fan.
Great Sand Dunes National Park
A trip to the Great Sand Dunes National Park provides an up-close look at the tallest dunes in North America. Medano Creek is a popular attraction at the park, with visitors of all ages taking in the flow of the creek around the base of the dunes. The mix of warm weather wetlands and tundra environments brings unique plant and animal life to the region.
Pro tip: Rent a sandboard at a nearby retailer, or bring your own to try some dune boarding!
Black Canyon of the Gunnison
Black Canyon of the Gunnison in western Colorado offers the appeal of solitude mixed with incredible views of the Gunnison River and surrounding gorges. The black-rock cliffs of Black Canyon rise 2,00 feet over the Gunnison – creating views unlike anything else in the state. Whether you’re looking to take in views of the Gunnison River, or are in search of the tallest cliff in Colorado, the park offers a range of hikes for beginners and experts alike.
Pro tip: If you travel there in the summer, find a camp spot to take in some of the darkest skies in the country. Due to limited light pollution in the area, stargazers can get exceptional views of the night sky.
Mesa Verde National Park
Located in southwest Colorado, Mesa Verde National Park holds the mystery of the Ancestral Pueblo people who made the area their home for over 700 years. The park’s spectacular cliff dwellings give visitors and inside look at one of the best preserved archeological sites in the country. And those looking to do some hiking will have no shortage of options.
Pro tip: Mesa Verde National Park is located less than an hour from Four Corners Monuments. It's the only point in the country shared by four states (Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah). Take the trip to add a twist to your road trip.
Can't decide which one to visit? The NPS has a tool that can match activities with the best national park.
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