Even if you can’t travel to the park right now, you can still see, hear and experience what’s happening in Colorado’s national parks, thanks to some amazing technology. Here are some of our favorite ways to feel like we are in the park, even when we’re nowhere near it.
Rocky Mountain National Park
Fly to Rocky
One of the best ways to experience Rocky Mountain National Park when you can’t visit is to fly there via Google Earth. You can reach the summit of Longs Peak, the highest peak in the park at 14,259 feet. You can also follow Trail Ridge Road, the highest paved road in the National Park Service, up and over Alpine Visitor Center at 11,796 feet, no matter what the weather. earth.google.com+
See Kawuneechee Valley and the Alpine Visitor Center Now
Dreaming about the park and want to see it live? Check out the view and the weather conditions in Kawuneeche Valley on the west side of the park, on Longs Peak, at the Alpine Visitor Center and the Continental Divide areas of the park. www.nps.gov/romo/learn/photosmultimedia/webcams.htm
Hear the Park’s Animals, Birds and Landscapes’ Noises
You don’t need to be in Rocky Mountain National Park to hear its elk bugle, coyotes howl and a black-billed magpie sing.
Listen to the park’s sound library created by Jacob Job, a researcher with Colorado State University and the NPS Natural Sounds & Night Skies Division. Job’s research aims to create an acoustic record of sound diversity in the park. www.nps.gov/romo/learn/photosmultimedia/soundlibrary.htm
Watch Rangers and Others in the Park
Prepare for your next trip to Rocky Mountain NAtional Park with this series of videos that bring the park to you. www.nps.gov/romo/learn/photosmultimedia/multimedia.htm
For more webcams, virtual tours, photo galleries, apps, videos, and other digital content at www.nps.gov/romo/learn/photosmultimedia/
Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve
Fly to Great Sand Dunes
This park is so striking because its enormous rippling sand dunes are nestled next to the gorgeous Sangre de Cristo mountains in Colorado. See it all from the sky as you drop down closer to the park with help from Google Earth. You’ll get a sense of the vastness of the dunes and will be able to spot High Dune and Star Dune amid the ripples of sand below you. earth.google.com+
Scenes from the Park via Video and Photos
To bring the park into your home, check out the Great Sand Dunes YouTube channel featuring scenes and activities in the park. The park also has a Flickr collection of beautiful photos from the last five years. www.nps.gov/grsa/learn/photosmultimedia/
Mesa Verde National Park
See the Spruce Tree House
Unfortunately, geology gets in the way for Mesa Verde’s incredible cliff dwellings tucked under, well, cliffs. You can see part of Cliff Palace and the cliff lip over Balconey House if you fly to Mesa Verde National Park via Google Earth. But the majority of the structures tucked under cliffs are obscured from view. earth.google.com+
You’ll have better views if you visit the park’s webcam, you can see one of the ancient cliff dwellings that led to the creation of this national park. It was the first park created to protect the nation’s cultural history Ancestral Pueblo peoples lived here for more than 700 years starting in 550 AD. www.nps.gov/meve/learn/photosmultimedia/webcam.htm
Through the park’s webcam, you can view the Spruce Tree House cliff dwelling from the back porch of the chief ranger’s office. Spruce Tree House is one of the best preserved cliff dwellings in the park. Up to 80 people once lived there.
Listen to a Park Podcast
Listen to the history of Mesa Verde National Park come alive when you tune into the park’s podcast series exploring the lives of the Ancestral Pueblo people. The podcasts connect the experiences of ancient people with people of today. To download, visit www.mesaverdevoices.org.
For more other digital content and photo galleries, go to www.nps.gov/meve/learn/photosmultimedia/
Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
Fly to the Black Canyon
Catch an incredible bird’s eye view of this park when you fly there with Google Earth. The canyon’s deep canyons stand out dramatically from overhead. earth.google.com+
See the Sights
To see what’s happening live, the park has two webcams for visitors to check out, both on the South Rim. View Grizzly Ridge and Gunnison point live.
The park has a number of photo galleries that can keep you busy for quite some time. Check them out here.