Free Trip Planner for Colorado National Parks

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Colorado National Parks Trip Planner

Download our 12-page trip planner PDF which includes all the information you need to start planning a vacation to Colorado's four national parks and two popular national monuments. Here are the highlights of what's included.

  • 4 road trip suggestions for Colorado parks including one from Rocky Mountain National Park to Yellowstone
  • Rocky Mountain National Park entrance primer - west side vs. east side
  • General overview map of Rocky Mountain National Park
  • How to spend 48 hours on a Rocky Mountain vacation
  • Colorado Wildlife Guide
  • What to expect: packing list, weather overview and entrance fees
  • Introduction to three of Colorado's smaller national park sites, Great Sand Dunes, Black Canyon of the Gunnison, Mesa Verde, plus two national monuments, Dinosaur and Colorado.

Receive email and/or mail directly from our vacation partners by selecting a Colorado national park, region or topic.

Featured Vacation Partners

Rocky Mountain National Park

Plan your vacation to Colorado's most popular national park and the surrounding mountain towns that give you quick access to the park.

  • Ridgeline Hotel - Explore the park, then relax in our well-appointed guest rooms. Travelers enjoy regional cuisines in our dining room and lounge, a heated atrium pool/whirlpool, WiFi and more.
  • Dao House - Return to simplicity and live your true nature at Dao House, your destination getaway with horseback and horse-drawn rides, and spa services.
  • YMCA of the Rockies - Choose between the YMCA of the Rockies Estes Park Center on the Rocky Mountain National Park's east side or YMCA of the Rockies Snow Mountain Ranch on the west side for great activities and lodging options.

Mesa Verde National Park

The lands surrounding this national park showcase ancient human history, diverse culinary treats and beautiful mountain landscapes.

  • Farmington, New Mexico - Farmington is your ticket to unlimited adventure. Rugged, wild scenery coupled with unique culture, it’s here that outdoor lovers and active families thrive. 
  • Durango, Colorado - From fly-fishing, zip lining and mountain biking, to skiing, rock climbing and golfing; outdoor enthusiasts will be amazed by the playground Mother Nature has provided in Durango, Colorado.

Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve

The area surrounding this natural phenomena includes wildlife habitats, hot springs and world-class art.

  • Alamosa, Colorado - Come visit Alamosa, home of the Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve. Or, ride the Rio Grande Scenic Railroad, camp, fish, hike, and more!
  • South Fork, Colorado - Don't let this sleepy town tucked into the folds of the mountains fool you. Its small size is counteracted by the extraordinary amount of energy its 350 year-round residents generate through outdoor recreation.
  • Trinidad, Colorado - Hike up a volcano, see cowboy art, or stroll past a world-class skate park. Expect the unexpected when you visit this town on the edge of Colorado’s border with New Mexico.

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, Colorado National Monument and Dinosaur National Monument

Northwest Colorado is full of steep canyons, rocky pillars, dinosaur bones and wild horses. Visit three national parks and monuments within a few days by basing your vacation in one of the gateway towns.

  • Moffat County, Colorado - The 1.7 million acres of pristine, picturesque public lands, abundant wildlife, wild horses, and untamed rivers define Moffat Country.
  • Dinosaurland - One of the West’s biggest secrets is northeastern Utah, an easy day’s drive west of Colorado's national parks and monuments. Some call it Dinosaurland, and you’ll find it offers adventure and sites not seen anywhere else in the world.
  • Montrose, Colorado - Just 13 miles from the heart of downtown Montrose, the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park's dramatic walls are stunning, as are the night skies. And if you're angling for more, the stretch of the Gunnison River that runs through the park is designated "gold-medal water and wild-trout water."
  • Flaming Gorge Country - Halfway between Yellowstone and Arches National Parks is an unspoiled playground of stunning natural features. Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area offers year-round adventure for families of all ages. Scenic Trails. Superb Boating. DIY Rafting. Trophy Fishing. Wow. Flaming Gorge is a ‘must see’ stop on your next western journey.
  • Fruita, Colorado - Fruita is all about adventure. Whatever you call it, we have an epic option for you - biking, hiking, climbing, rafting, 4-wheeling, uncovering dinosaurs, golfing, or rodeo.

Colorado Front Range

Plan your vacation along the foothills where Colorado's plains hit the Rocky Mountains. This area of Colorado includes Denver plus quaint mountain towns from Fort Collins in the north to Colorado Springs in the south, and all the hidden gems in between.

  • Colorado State Parks & Wildlife - Colorado’s 41 state parks are places to have fun, get away, recreate and re-create in beautiful settings. Book your camping reservations or find activities across the State.
  • Arvada, Colorado - A gem of a city located just 15 minutes northwest of state’s capitol in Denver, Arvada is a community unlike many others. Arvada consistently competes with the larger metropolitan areas in business and commerce but retains its small town charm that other suburbs can’t replicate.
  • Pikes Peak, America's Mountain - Enjoy Pikes Peak at your leisure on the safe, scenic Pikes Peak Highway near Colorado Springs. Encounter some of the most breathtaking scenery in the world.
  • Visit Colorado Springs - You'll find more than 55 area attractions including trains, museums, parks, a zoo and more.
  • Wild Animal Sanctuary - More than ten thousand acres on two Colorado sites, where rescued animals from horrific captive situations can live and roam freely within large natural habitats with others of their own kind.
  • Brighton, Colorado - Less than 15 minutes from Denver International Airport, enjoy beautiful Barr Lake State Park, water parks, an historic farm, and a downtown with a small-town feel.

Central Colorado Rockies

Between Rocky Mountain National Park and Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, plan your vacation around rafting, sailing, biking, hiking and soaking in hot springs, in a uncrowded mountain atmosphere.

  • Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park - Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park is where nature meets adventure. Ride a scenic tram to explore one of "The Country's Top Family Cave Tours." An incredible family experience with thrill rides and other family-friendly attractions.

New Mexico

Plan a trip through New Mexico on your way to Mesa Verde or Great Sand Dunes national parks. These stops offer an immersion into a world-famous art and food culture.

  • Santa Fe County, New Mexico - For the adventurous traveler who craves truly authentic experiences, here is the destination that feeds the soul and energizes the spirit. Enjoy world-class hiking, biking, skiing, invigorating spa and wellness retreats, and a celebrated local cuisine.


Colorado's neighbor to the west, Utah offers more national parks, spectacular river rafting, fishing and desert treasures such as ancient rock art.

  • Moab, Utah - Where adventure begins. Moab is your gateway to national and state parks, a plethora of recreation, and relaxation. It's southeast Utah's top destination vacation location.
  • Canyonlands By Night & Day - Water, land and air tours in the Moab Area! Voted Best Boat Tours in Utah two years. Stop by to find the tour for you. Located just north of the Colorado River Bridge.


Cowboy up in Colorado's neighbor to the north. You'll find giant cowboy boots, rodeos, western history and uncrowded wilderness trails and rivers. This area features popular stops for people planning a trip from Rocky Mountain National Park to Yellowstone.

  • Cheyenne, Wyoming - Cheyenne is a big town by Wyoming's standards and provides a fantastic authentic Western experience. For starters it's home to the largest outdoor rodeo in the world, Cheyenne Frontier Days. In addition, visitors will enjoy the Cheyenne Depot, the Big Boy Steam Engine, the Cheyenne Botanic Gardens, the Railway Trolley, the Historic Governor's Mansion.
  • Laramie, Wyoming - Laramie is located one hour north of Rocky Mountain National Park and is home to the University of Wyoming. Laramie offers western hospitality, Division I colligate sports, historic sites, and endless outdoor possibilities. 

Tours & Tour Operators

Let these experts plan your trip for you. All you have to do is show up and enjoy. Choose from tours that including lodging, basecamp trips, and multi-day backpacking trips.

  • Wildland Trekking Guided Hiking Vacations - Go on an unforgettable hiking vacation. There's a tour that fits nearly anyone who loves to hike in world-renowned, breathtaking landscapes.

National Park Photography

Bring home spectacular images from your national park vacation.

  • National Park Trips Media & Tamron - Take a photo workshop inside our nation's treasured landscapes or learn how to shoot the night skies with our online course. Already have your camera full of fantastic shots? Keep tuned in to our annual photography contest.

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