Colorado Travel Guide
For travelers, Colorado is a year-round adventure destination. In the summer and fall, hike in the Rocky Mountains, explore the national parks, soak in the hot springs, and go on some of the best scenic drives in the USA. In the winter and early spring, when snow blankets the mountains, Colorado is a haven for skiers.

Colorado Itinerary

With four national parks, numerous national forests and state parks, plus historic towns scattered throughout the Rocky Mountains, Colorado makes an awesome road trip destination. On this Colorado itinerary, you will visit all four national parks (Great Sand Dunes, Mesa Verde, Black Canyon of the Gunnison, and Rocky Mountain National Parks), linking them together with gorgeous scenic drives.

Colorado National Parks

There are four Colorado national parks: Rocky Mountain, Mesa Verde, Black Canyon of the Gunnison, and Great Sand Dunes. In this guide to the Colorado national parks, get an overview to the best things to see and do in each park, important planning advice, and a sample itinerary to help you plan your Colorado road trip.

Rocky Mountain National Park

From the top things to do in the park, to the best trails to hike, and sample itineraries to help you plan your time, here are our articles about Rocky Mountain National Park.
Rocky Mountain Travel Guide
In our Guide to Rocky Mountain National Park, learn about the best things to do, the best hiking trails, where to eat, and where to stay. You will also find sample itineraries, whether you are planning a very quick visit or even one wonderful week here.
Featured image for “The Perfect Rocky Mountain National Park Itinerary”

The Perfect Rocky Mountain National Park Itinerary

If you are planning your Rocky Mountain National Park itinerary, this is a great place to start. Rocky Mountain National…
Featured image for “Ultimate Guide to Sky Pond: Trail Stats, Photos & Helpful Tips”

Ultimate Guide to Sky Pond: Trail Stats, Photos & Helpful Tips

Sky Pond is one of the best hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park for good reason. This hike has a…
Featured image for “10 Best Things to Do in Rocky Mountain National Park”

10 Best Things to Do in Rocky Mountain National Park

With lofty mountain peaks, hiking trails that lead to alpine lakes and waterfalls, wildlife, and a scenic drive along one…
Featured image for “How to Hike Chasm Lake: Helpful Tips, Hiking Stats & Photos”

How to Hike Chasm Lake: Helpful Tips, Hiking Stats & Photos

Chasm Lake is one of the most spectacular lakes in Rocky Mountain National Park. For the first part of the…
Featured image for “Nymph, Dream & Emerald Lake Hike (+ How to Add on Bear Lake & Lake Haiyaha)”

Nymph, Dream & Emerald Lake Hike (+ How to Add on Bear Lake & Lake Haiyaha)

The Emerald Lake hike is one of the most popular hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park. On this hike, you…
Featured image for “15 Best Hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park”

15 Best Hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park is best seen from a hiking trail. Fortunately, there are hikes for all ages and ability…
Featured image for “How to Hike the Ute Trail to Tombstone Ridge, RMNP”

How to Hike the Ute Trail to Tombstone Ridge, RMNP

The Ute Trail to Tombstone Ridge is a wonderful, short, easy hike to do in Rocky Mountain National Park. For…
Featured image for “One Perfect Day in Rocky Mountain National Park”

One Perfect Day in Rocky Mountain National Park

If you only have one day in Rocky Mountain National Park, what should you do? The answer to this question…
Featured image for “How to Hike to Gem Lake, RMNP (Trail Stats, Photos & Helpful Tips)”

How to Hike to Gem Lake, RMNP (Trail Stats, Photos & Helpful Tips)

Gem Lake is a short but strenuous hike in Rocky Mountain National Park. Not only do you get to visit…
Featured image for “How to Hike the Continental Divide Trail to Mt Ida, RMNP”

How to Hike the Continental Divide Trail to Mt Ida, RMNP

While hiking to Mt Ida, you really feel like you are walking on top of the world. For much of…
Featured image for “Best of Estes Park: Things to Do, Where to Eat & Where to Stay”

Best of Estes Park: Things to Do, Where to Eat & Where to Stay

Estes Park is the gateway into Rocky Mountain National Park. This small town is home to numerous hotels and restaurants,…
Featured image for “How to Hike Deer Mountain, RMNP | Helpful Tips, Trail Stats, Photos”

How to Hike Deer Mountain, RMNP | Helpful Tips, Trail Stats, Photos

Deer Mountain is one of the easier hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park that offers high mountain views. To get…
Featured image for “How to Hike Bear Lake to Odessa Lake and Fern Lake, RMNP”

How to Hike Bear Lake to Odessa Lake and Fern Lake, RMNP

The hike to Odessa Lake and onward to Fern Lake is a relatively low-traffic trail in Rocky Mountain National Park.…
Featured image for “Complete Guide to the Twin Sisters Peak Trail, RMNP”

Complete Guide to the Twin Sisters Peak Trail, RMNP

The Twin Sisters Peak trail, which crosses between Rocky Mountain National Park and the Roosevelt National Forest, offers 360° views…

Great Sand Dunes National Park

In this guide, learn about the best things to do at Great Sand Dunes National Park, with tips to have the best experience, where to stay, how to rent sandboards, and more.

Black Canyon of the Gunnison

Everything you need to know to plan your visit to Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park.
Black Canyon Gunnison Guide
In our Guide to Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, we cover the best things to do in the park, the top hiking trails, sample itineraries, and essential travel planning information.

Mesa Verde National Park

Located in southwestern Colorado, Mesa Verde National Park is one of the most unique national parks in the United States. This park preserves the ancient Puebloan cliff dwellings and archeological sites that are hundreds of years old.

More Information about Colorado

Top Experiences in Colorado

Visit Boulder. Boulder is a small city that sits on the edge of the Rocky Mountains. This hip town is filled with wonderful restaurants and is worth a quick visit, if you are just passing through the area, or want to spend longer here, hiking the Boulder Flatirons.

Spend some time in Rocky Mountain National Park. This national park is not only the most popular national park in Colorado, it is also one of the busiest in the United States. It’s best to plan your visit from Memorial Day through early fall, when Trail Ridge Road is open, although it makes a nice place to visit all year long.

Go on a scenic drive. In Colorado, the roads twist and turn through the mountains, creating a long list of notable scenic drives, such as the Million Dollar Highway, Independence Pass, and the Mount Evans Scenic Byway.

Visit Great Sand Dunes National Park. Containing the tallest sand dunes in North America, this park is fun to visit for all ages, with sand sledding and sandboarding in the dunes.

Drive to the top of Pikes Peak. Drive to the top of one of Colorado’s fourteeners. At 14,115, you will have sweeping views of Colorado that will take your breath away (in more ways than one).

Tour the cliff dwellings at Mesa Verde. The cliff dwellings are Puebloan sites that are hundreds of years old. In this national park, short hikes, scenic drives, and viewpoints make the to-do list, but the best way to experience this park is to get up close with the cliff dwellings on a tour.

Visit Black Canyon of the Gunnison. This canyon is very similar to the Grand Canyon, just on a smaller scale with far fewer visitors. With two rims to visit and lots of spectacular views, this is a wonderful, underrated national park.

Go skiing. Take your pick from one of many ski resorts and ski towns in Colorado and go skiing or snowboarding. Our favorites are Aspen and Snowmass.

Visit Colorado National Monument. Colorado National Monument, with its red sandstone rock formations and mesas, looks more like it should belong in Utah or Arizona than in Colorado. While you are here, drive Rim Rock Drive, one of the best scenic drives in Colorado.

How Many Days Do You Need in Colorado?

If you only have a few days, you can plan a long weekend getaway to Estes Park and the Rocky Mountains, one of the many ski resorts, or Denver or Boulder.

With more time, Colorado is an awesome road trip destination. With a bare minimum of 7 days, you can road trip to several of the national parks. If you like the idea of planning a Colorado national parks road trip, we recommend spending at least 10 days in Colorado.

Best Time to Visit Colorado

Colorado is a great place to visit all year but the weather will have a big impact in where you can go and what you can do.

During the winter and early spring, the Rocky Mountains are snow covered, making this the perfect time to visit Colorado if you want to go skiing, snowboarding, or snow shoeing.

In late spring, the snow melts and roads that cross high mountain passes open. Most roads in Colorado are generally open by Memorial Day.

Summer and fall are great seasons to tour the national parks and go hiking. Fall is a beautiful time to visit Colorado and a good time to visit Rocky Mountain National Park, if you want to witness elk mating season.

Visit More of the USA

Learn more about places to go and things to do in the USA in our United States Travel Guide.