National Park Journal

Colorado 2022

Get the digital version of the National Park Journal with its four separate park editions (Grand Canyon, Rocky Mountain, Yellowstone and Yosemite) to discover all-time favorite road trips to the national parks. From Utah’s dazzling deserts, the adobe-lined streets of New Mexico’s charming towns, Wyoming’s authentic outposts, California’s stunning coastline and Colorado’s mountain towns, we feature all the amazing places to explore en route to the parks, no matter where you begin your adventure. Plus , our insider’s guide includes our top things to do in each national park in 48 hours. Discover the best hiking trails, campsites and attractions in our magazine. Our illustrated wildlife guide will help you discover the best of the park's wild animals, including tips on where to find them, and our packing list ensures you don’t leave anything at home.

United States
Pocket Outdoor Media, LLC
4 期号


editor’s note

Last summer I fell in love with the Wild Basin area of Rocky Mountain National Park. It’s a lesser-known area of the park about a 30-minute drive from the two most popular park entrances in Estes Park, Colo. And because of that, it feels like you’re stumbling upon a secret place as you drive Wild Basin’s rutted dirt road to one of its trailheads. In all honesty, I hadn’t been there in 20 years. Back then, three of my friends and I decided in late September to backpack in Wild Basin. We didn’t know we’d need a backpacking permit so late in the season. When the rangers at the entrance station told us we needed to get a permit in Estes Park, we looked at our watches. It was late afternoon…

colorado's big four

1 GREAT SAND DUNES NATIONAL PARK & PRESERVE The continent’s tallest sand dunes join the rugged Sangre de Cristo mountains here in southern Colorado. Hike the striking High Dune on First Ridge, a 2-hour, 2.5-mile round trip walk up 699 feet of sand to the top. Then sled down with a sand sled rented at Kristi Mountain Sports in Alamosa, Colo., for extreme speed. Or beach it along Medano Creek, which flows April through June. Track the current and forecasted river flows on the park’s website. 2 MESA VERDE NATIONAL PARK Described as the pyramids of North America, the ancient settlements at Mesa Verde National Park in southwestern Colorado hold the early stories of our nation. About 1,400 years ago, Ancestral Puebloans built more than 600 dwellings into the gorgeous sandstone cliffs. Tour…

mesa verde's top six

1 TAKE A SUNRISE TOUR Beat the heat by seeing Mesa Verde’s most adventurous cliff dwelling, Balcony House, at sunrise. A ranger will lead you up ladders and through narrow tunnels. Reserve your spot at 2 SEE PETROGLYPHS Hike the 2.4-mile round trip Petroglyph Point Trail to see the only petroglyphs in the park. Start near the Chapin Mesa Archeological Museum. 3 GO FOR A DRIVE Don’t miss the six-mile Mesa Top Loop Road, a scenic drive that stops at 12 archaeological sites, including surface sites and overlooks into cliff dwellings. 4 SEE FOR MILES Head to the highest point in Mesa Verde to see the view from the Park Point Fire Lookout. This structure was built in 1939 to provide early fire detection. 5 EAT IN STYLE Make a reservation at the dinner-only Metate Room, an award-winning…

four ways into rocky mountain

1 BEAVER MEADOWS ENTRANCE On the park’s east side lies the Beaver Meadows Entrance, the most direct entrance from Estes Park, a town that sits right outside Rocky Mountain National Park. An hour’s drive from Boulder and two hours from Denver, the lively Estes Park is the closest town to the park on the east side. Open year round, the Beaver Meadows Entrance is the most popular and is accessed by Hwy. 36. Stop by the Beaver Meadows Visitor Center to get information, books, maps and backcountry permits, as well as to catch the park shuttle. 2 FALL RIVER ENTRANCE On the park's east side, Old Fall River Road, a mostly gravel road with a speed limit of 15 mph, allows you to take your time to admire the scenery. Like the Beaver Meadows…

rocky’s top six

1 WATCH THE SUN RISE Wake up early to get to Bear Lake and hike 1.1 miles around the lake to catch the sun casting light over Hallett Peak and Flattop Mountain. Arrive 30 minutes before dawn. 2 HIKE TO OUZEL FALLS To see three waterfalls, head to the Wild Basin area of the park. Along the Wild Basin Trail, you'll see Copeland Falls, Calypso Cascades and Ouzel Falls. It's a 5.4-mile out-and-back moderately rated trail. 3 GO HORSEBACK RIDING Saddle up at Glacier Creek stables, the only stables inside the park, which are run by Hi Country Stables. 4 WATCH WILDLIFE Spot moose in the Kawuneeche Valley along the Colorado River and in the willows west of the Continental Divide. Note: this area will be recovering this year since parts of it burned in the fall…

black canyon's top 4

1 Experience the Views Black Canyon is named for its sheer black cliffs that plummet 2,000 feet to the Gunnison River below. Get a peek into the canyon’s depths at one of the South Rim’s 12 overlooks on Rim Drive. Our favorites? Chasm View, Painted Wall, Pulpit Rock and Sunset View. 2 Camp in the Canyon For a truly unique camping experience, check out the East Portal campground. Situated right next to the river, you can fish "Gold Medal" waters, hike or just enjoy the views. Looking for a more intense adventure? Hike to the Gunnison River from the canyon rim. This experience is not for the faint of heart. There are no clearly marked trails, the journey is steep and often quite a scramble and frequent hazards include poison ivy, ticks and…