Saturday, January 21, 2017

National Lands: Colorado

Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve
Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Rocky Mountain National Park is a place of incredible beauty. The mountains are majestic and the views are spectacular. The park is located to the northwest of Denver and Boulder with Interstate 25 to the east. This area has 415 square miles of land and 300 miles of hiking trails. Horseback riding, fishing, hiking, fishing and camping are just a few of the available activities. Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve is located southwest of Pueblo and Colorado Springs with Interstate 25 to the east. Popular activities are sandboarding and sand sledding the dunes which are the tallest in North America. At some times of the year the creek runs in front of the dunes to provide cool relief from the hot dunes. Mesa Verde showcases the Pueblo Indian cliff dwellings. Some of the dwellings require a guided tour. The park is located in the southwest corner and no interstate is near the area. The National Park Service suggests a minimum of four hours for a visit with two of those hours spent driving in and out of the park. Hovenweep National Monument is to the west of Mesa Verde. The trail system provides excellent views of the archeological sites. The Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park is located in the central western section of the state east of Montrose. The canyon wall provides a challenging climb which should be attempted only by experienced climbers. Kayaking, fishing and hiking are also available. To the east of this park is Curecanti National Recreation Area which is a series of three reservoirs along the Gunnison River. Fishing, hiking and boating are some activities.

Photo taken while driving through the Rocky Mo...
Photo taken while driving through the Rocky Mountain National Park (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Yucca House National Monument is another archeological site in the Mesa Verde area south of Cortez, but travelers should be careful. They need to research the destination before they go to the area or check with the Mesa Verde rangers, because no signs exist. Visitors will be traveling on dirt and gravel roads and nothing is available at the site and services are few in the area. Dinosaur National Monument is located in the northwest corner of the state and extends into Utah. Camping, hiking and river rafting are available in addition to viewing the fossils. The Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument is located west of Colorado Springs and Interstate 25. Guided ranger walks are available. The Colorado National Monument is located in Fruita which is just to the west of Grand Junction. The area is south of Interstate 70 by the Utah border. Rim Rock Drive provides 23 miles of views. Hiking and camping are available. The Cache La Poudre River National Heritage Area begins to the northwest of Fort Collins and continues to the southeast to Greeley. Interstate 25 crosses through the area. Decisions made for this river lead to water laws in the West.

Bent's Old Fort National Historical Site features a reconstructed fur trading post. The fort is in the southeastern section of the state to the east of Interstate 25 and southeast of Pueblo. Also in this area is the Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site which is to the east of Colorado Springs and Interstate 25 almost to the Kansas border. Covering ten states is the California National Historic Trail. In Colorado the trail is in the northeast corner of the state. The Old Spanish National Historical Trail, which travels through six states, runs through the southwest quadrant of the state. In eight states is the Pony Express National Historic Trail with the same route as the California Trail. The Santa Fe Trail travels through the southeast corner of the state on its journey through five states.

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