The Ultimate Guide to Colorado's State Parks

While the Rocky Mountains run through 3,000 miles of land from Canada to New Mexico, it's Colorado that most people will think about when this famous mountain range makes the destination list. What are the chances John Denver had something to do with that?

Pop culture aside, anyone who is a resident or visitor of this state understands the draw to the gigantic wilderness views, alpine lakes, and chances to see native wildlife.

This US state consists of recreations areas, national parks, state trails, and state parks that make for perfect vacation destinations. As a result, Colorado attracts outdoor enthusiasts like campers, hikers, hunters, anglers, and more. The state is a great arena for outdoor activities like hunting, biking, boating, canoeing, kayaking, rock climbing, cross-country skiing, snowboarding, and much more. Visitors coming to Colorado have so many vacation options that the team at Wide Open Roads has been enlisted to inform their decision. Tourists and travelers headed to the great state of Colorado should consider the following list before embarking on a getaway to this Midwestern state.

The Best State Park Areas in Colorado

1.   State Parks in the Greater Denver Area

The Denver metropolitan area is this largest hub and state capital of Colorado. This area provides options for city living and just as easily allows for access to beautiful state parks. For residents and visitors traveling out of Denver, there are many state parks close by.

Roxborough State Park and Chatfield State Park both lie South of Denver and are in close proximity to one another. Travelers could see both parks in the same day to learn about local geological history, hike miles of trails, and access the Platte River Valley.

Cherry Creek State Park is also South of Denver—great for a day trip out of the city. The Park consists of a classic Colorado prairie and wetland ecosystem that is home to an 880-acre reservoir. This water source is great for boating, kayaking, and paddle boarding.

Golden Gate Canyon State Park and Eldorado Canyon State Park are two more top tier parks that can be found when travelling Northwest of Denver towards Boulder, Colorado. These state parks offer the range of outdoor activities from hunting and fishing to rock climbing and horseback riding.

2.   State Parks in the Rocky Mountains

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The Rocky Mountains are often known for Rocky Mountain National Park—found less than two hours from downtown Denver. However, there are some smaller state parks around this federally controlled recreation area that make for an equally awesome experience.

Many outdoor adventurers find themselves headed to Lory State Park. Lory State Park is the perfect place to go backcountry camping and hunting without much travel from the nearby town of Fort Collins.

Take the scenic drive through the Arapaho & Roosevelt National Forest to get to State Forest State Park. This area lies East of Walden, CO and includes many campsites, cabins, yurts, picnic sites, boat ramps, and opportunities to see famous Colorado wildlife like moose, bighorn sheep, black bear, and elk.

3.   Outlying State Parks Across Colorado

Colorado is a vast US state with so much scenic nature on offer. The state parks highlighted in this last section didn't quite fit into the above regions. However, they are just as beautiful, accessible, and have much to offer visitors.

Mueller State Park is just West of towns like Colorado Springs and Manitou Springs as well as scenic areas like Pike's Peak. The Park itself offers many miles of hiking trails, opportunities for camping, and scenic nature views that can't be beat.

Last but not least are Rifle Falls State Park and Harvey Gap State Park, which can be found on the West side of Colorado. This area is home to the Rifle Creek, a local golf course, beautiful reservoirs, and of course the triple, 70-foot waterfall flowing down a rock face and into the creek below.

With so much to choose from, it's obvious why American tourists frequent Colorado's mountain passes, backcountry areas, limestone caves, red sandstone rock formations, and the state parks that house these scenic areas. Enjoy travelling The Centennial State!

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