The State Parks are so intrinsic to Colorado life that visiting the wilderness is practically a requirement. Junior ranger activity booklets can be a helpful means of bringing the parks to life. Here are the most family-orientated parks in the state:
Families are amazed at the sight of black bears, mule deer, and hawks in this Watchable Wildlife Area. Spanning over 5,000 acres of meadowland, the park is ribboned with creeks, and studded with the vast monoliths of Pikes Peak Granite. Wander along trails and spot wild flowers, come fishing, or sled, ski, and snowshoe in the wintertime.
Though it was Congress and not the President who designated this park a National Monument, this does not diminish its majesty. Just outside Grand Junction city, gargantuan rock formations tower. Sandstone buttes and plunging canyons will wow your whole family. If you follow Rim Rock Drive, you'll see numerous opportunities to stop off and snap pictures of this surreal landscape.
Located just 30 miles from Denver, Golden Gate Canyon State Park is a stunning area of natural beauty. It's the perfect place for hiking, and a day of exploring on foot will make you realize what a stunning state Colorado is. You'll find over 12,000 acres of forest, beautiful views, and snow-topped peaks. The park is very dog-friendly, and has many nearby accommodations on offer.
Some forty state parks offer Colorado's hiking enthusiasts plenty of legroom. Still, here are some of the most dramatic, well signposted, and eternally popular in the bunch:
The rugged terrain of Medicine Bow Mountains juts sharply into the sky in this 71,000 acre park. Wildlife-filled trails lace the park's dense alpine forests and open meadows, where 600 moose wander in a stately fashion. Four wheeling and horseback riding are popular in the summer, while winter brings snowmobiles, skiers, and snowboarders to these mountainous parts. Fishing, hunting, and birding are also common in season. Drop by the Moose Visitor Center to learn more about park biology and history.
Gaze in awe at 100 mi. of the Continental Divide Trail from the Panorama Point Scenic Overlook. With over 12,000 acres of whispering aspen forest and meadows, the park is wound with biking, hiking, and equestrian trails to keep you outdoors all day long. Come winter, skiing, sledding, and snow shoeing become the focus of activities in the park.
A number of hiking and running trails wind through this state park. The park also preserves a focal point in State Park history, the Castlewood Canyon Dam. You can still see the ruins of the dam, which burst cataclysmically in the thirties. Today this is an eminently peaceful spot, popular with wildlife watching fans. You can also rock climb on the park's unique geological formations and enjoy picnics on its prairies.
More than a third of Colorado's land is wilderness, so this is a good state to be in if you happen to love outdoor playtime. ATVing, rock climbing, snowboarding, and horseback riding are just some of the exciting sports you can enjoy in Colorado's 100,000 mi2 of public land. Here's where to head:
This oasis near Fort Morgan is low lying, attracting water sports fans with its warm, shallow water. Come ATV, raft, bike, and hike interpretative trails, or whizz about on a water ski.
Come jet ski on the sparkling Lake Pueblo, or wander more than 60 mi. of shoreline. Fishing and boating are central to life on Lake Pueblo. Come swim on Rock Canyon Swim Beach, and spot mule deer, coyote, beaver, and prairie dogs in this natural haven.
Dinghy sails glide like miniature, moveable mountains beneath the dramatic escarpment. Boasting 1,700 acres of water, it's an ideal choice for water sports. Sandy beaches and seasonally warm water beckon to swimmers, windsurfers, and water skiers too. Hunting and fishing are also popular in this park, one of the state's largest.