It’s the time of year that our thoughts turn to Colorado road trips. Rocky Mountain National Park, Aspen, Pike’s Peak…they’re all top of mind in a state loaded with beautiful destinations. But why not strike out for some lesser-visited spots, beat the crowds and enjoy something new?
ColoradoInfo.com recommends the following:
Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park: This is one of the “least visited national parks in the U.S.,” notes the website. “But don’t let that unpopularity fool you because Black Canyon of the Gunnison is a stunning piece of nature, with steep, rocky canyons and dramatic cliffs that include the Painted Wall, which at 2,250 feet is the tallest vertical wall in the state.” In summer, you can hike, boat, rock climb, and more—and, of course, enjoy the stunning views.
Antero Hot Springs Cabins: Located south of Buena Vista, this site offers three historic cabins “tucked into the more remote and gorgeous wilderness between Mt. Antero and Mt. Princeton…and tall cliffs that stretch 1500 feet above the cabin,” notes ColoradoInfo.com. Better yet, each cabin has “its own private hot springs pool” so you can soak up the surrounding beauty and relax at the same time.
Picketwire Canyonlands: Head southeast, near La Junta, Colorado, and you’ll find yourself whirling back into the time of the dinosaur. At PIcketwire Canyonlands, “visitors can see tracks from over one-hundred different dinosaurs, as well as art created by some of the earliest humans who inhabited the canyons of the area,” reports the website. They’ll also see “19th century structures and a 20th century cattle ranch,” bringing them back to more current times.
Last Dollar Road: Take this drive through the Mount Sneffels Wilderness and the San Miguel River Valley and you’ll see gorgeous Aspens, pines, “and the jagged figures of the Rocky Mountains as a backdrop.” You can take your time, and plenty of photos, on this lesser-known route.
McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area: Some go to Moab, Utah; others simply go to the place “known by locals as Colorado’s Moab.” The area, west of Grand Junction, features 123,000 acres of red rocks, canyons and rock formations, such as Rattlesnake Arches and the Aztec Window, and provides endless opportunities for great hiking and biking.