Free Trip Planner for Colorado National Parks

By Staff ,

Our 12-page trip planner includes all the information you need to start planning a vacation to Rocky Mountain National Park or Colorado's three smaller national parks and two national monuments.

  • 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.

In addition, your mailed packet includes brochures and travel deals for vacations near the parks and across the state. Get even more information by selecting a region or topic to receive vacation information directly from our vacation partners.

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Featured Vacation Partners

Colorado Front Range

Plan your vacation along the foothills of Colorado's Rocky Mountains. This north central area of Colorado includes Denver, the east side of Rocky Mountain National Park, quaint mountain towns and all the hidden gems in between.

  • Grand County, Colorado - Visit Grand County, Colorado - only 67 miles from Denver located on the western side of Rocky Mountain National Park. Don't just explore Colorado. Go Grand.
  • 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.
  • Loveland, Colorado - Start your sightseeing adventure as you weave through the majestic beauty of Big Thompson Canyon. Stay awhile and indulge in Loveland’s award-winning craft beer and spirits, a shopping spree, a serene stroll through our unique sculpture gardens or adventure with our year-round outdoor recreation.
  • South Park National Heritage Area - Elevate your experience of the West as you imagined it. Share this amazing place where history is still alive and nature is breathtaking.
  • The Wild Animal Sanctuary - The Sanctuary is a 720 acre refuge for over 300 rescued Lions, Tigers, Bears, Wolves and other large carnivores. From donations, adoptions, pledges to volunteering, fundraising opportunities, gift shop, and more. Choose whats right for you…and the animals thank you!
  • Colorado State Parks & Wildlife - Colorado’s 42 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.
  • University of Colorado Museum of Natural History - The University of Colorado Museum of Natural History is located on the Boulder Campus, in the Henderson Building, 15th St. & Broadway. The museum is open daily (except for university holidays). Admission is free.
  • 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.
  • South Fork, Colorado - Find your way to South Fork, where crowds are scarce and backcountry roads, trails and streams are abundant! Whether driving or hiking among spectacular fall colors, ATVing or mountain biking through 2 million acres of National Forest, fishing Gold Medal Waters, or hitting powder-rich ski slopes, there is a trail for you in South Fork! Historical, cultural and recreational activities await you!
  • Colorado Railroad Museum - Experience Colorado railroad history with a visit to our 15-acre railyard in Golden, Colorado. Request a brochure and start planning your trip today.
  • Georgetown Loop Railroad - The Georgetown Loop Railroad was one of Colorado’s first visitor attractions. Completed in 1884, this spectacular stretch of three-foot narrow gauge railroad was considered an engineering marvel for its time.
  • 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.
  • Pikes Peak, America's Mountain - Enjoy Pikes Peak at your leisure on the safe, scenic Pikes Peak Highway. Encounter some of the most breathtaking scenery in the world.

Northwest Colorado

West of Rocky Mountain National Park, plan your vacation around around rafting, sailing, biking, hiking and soaking in hot springs, in an 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.
  • Moffat County, Colorado - The 1.7 million acres of pristine, picturesque public lands, abundant wildlife, wild horses, and untamed rivers define Moffat Country.
  • Dillon, Colorado - Nestled just an hour or so from Denver, Dillon truly is where your adventure begins. Hope to see you soon.
  • Frisco, Colorado - Frisco’s Main Street leads to endless trails for biking and hiking in the summer and cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in the winter. Adventures branch out to boating, sailing, running, tubing, and skiing at five world-class resorts.

Northeast Colorado

Take a trip across the plains of Colorado and plan to stop at these historical and cultural vacation spots.

  • Sterling & Logan County, Colorado - The heart of northeast Colorado, Sterling is located just off Interstate-76, which follows the same route as the historic Overland Trail Stage Coach Route along the South Platte River. On your way to or from the Rocky Mountains, you’ll find Sterling is a perfect stop to shop, play and stay a day, smack dab in the middle of the high plains to start your Colorado adventure.

South Central Colorado

Home of the Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve, plan your trip around unexpected adventures such as train rides, cowboy art, hot springs and rafting.

  • Rio Grande Scenic Railroad - Rio Grande Scenic Railroad is Colorado’s only train and concert venue - start your adventure here.
  • 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!
  • Chaffee County, Colorado - Now this is Colorado! Chaffee County is located in Central Colorado, the Heart of the Colorado Rockies. It stars the small towns of Buena Vista, Salida, Poncha Springs as well as Monarch Mountain.
  • Cripple Creek, Colorado - Located at the base of Pikes Peak is the historic mining town of Cripple Creek, Colorado. It is surrounded by majestic mountains and breathtaking scenic views. There are many historical attractions, exciting casinos, enjoyable dining, and lodging that makes Cripple Creek the perfect destination.
  • 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.

Southwest Colorado

Plan a trip to Mesa Verde and Black Canyon of Gunnison national parks, the Colorado National Monument, and the surrounding area including ancient dwellings, rock art thousands of years old, hot springs, and a surprising wine and beer scene. 

  • Southwestern Colorado - Showcasing the entire Southwest corner of Colorado, this Travel Region boasts of internationally-acclaimed National Parks and Monuments such as Mesa Verde, Chimney Rock, Hovenweep, and the Black Canyon; world-class river systems of the Gunnison, Colorado, and Dolores.
  • Grand Junction - Just a few hours west of Denver, Grand Junction provides visitors of all ages a truly unique Colorado experience. Named Colorado’s Wine Country due to the 22 wineries and burgeoning wine culture, there are many other things also unique to the area.
  • Junction West RV Park - Junction West RV Park is a convenient base camp for exploring Grand Junction’s local attractions and the Colorado National Monument’s colorful red rock canyons, wildlife and miles of hiking trails. Arches National Park in Moab, UT and Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park in Montrose, CO are just 1.5 hours away.
  • Lake City - Surrounded by 96% public lands, Lake City stays true to its 1800s pioneer-town feel and is a hub for hiking fishing, hunting, boating 4WD, biking camping, ghost towns and sightseeing adventures. The fun continues through the winter with holiday festivities, snow shoeing, back country skiing, and ice climbing. The fun never stops!
  • Pagosa Springs - Known for its amazing hot springs, endless outdoor activities and nearby Chimney Rock National Monument, Pagosa Springs is the perfect destination to explore southwest Colorado and the awe-inspiring beauty.
  • Mesa Verde Country - Only in Mesa Verde Country can you witness centuries-old cities of stone materialize before your eyes, watch as Native American dancers weave spells of enchantment and travel the Trail of the Ancients, the only National Scenic Byway dedicated to archeology.
  • 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.
  • Delta County - Delta County is located in western Colorado at the base of Grand Mesa, the largest flat top mountain in the world. An agricultural and heritage hotbed, this region is home to delightfully diverse Cedaredge, Crawford, Delta, Hotchkiss, and Paonia. Our story is about agriculture pioneers, mining, land, and water development.

Wyoming Partners

Cowboy up in neighboring Wyoming. 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, Wyoming is located one hour north of Rocky Mountain National Park, home to the University of Wyoming. Laramie offers western hospitality, Division I colligate sports, historic sites, and endless outdoor possibilities. On your next trip west, stop in Laramie, Wyoming!

Utah Partners

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

  • Moab, Utah - Where Adventure Begins and your gateway to national and state parks, a plethora of recreation, and relaxation. Southeast Utah's top destination vacation location.
  • Dinosaurland - One of the West’s biggest secrets is northeastern Utah, an easy day’s drive south of Yellowstone National Park. Some call it Dinosaurland, and you’ll find it offers adventure and sites not seen anywhere else in the world.
  • 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.
  • 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.

New Mexico Partners

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

  • 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. 
  • Santa Fe County - 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.

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

Experience national parks in a way that very few people ever will. Take a photo workshop inside our nation's treasured landscapes. Already have your camera full of fantastic shots? Keep tuned in to our annual photography contests.

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