If you love to drive through the breathtaking, scenic route Colorado Rockies Road Trip should be there on your bucket list. The Colorado Rockies Road Trip includes Rocky Mountain National Park, Mesa Verde National Park, Black Canyon of the Gunnison, and Great Sand Dunes National Park.
The trip starts from Rocky Mountain National Park in the northern part of Colorado to Mesa Verde National Park in the southern portion of Colorado.
Rocky Mountain National Park
Rocky Mountain is one of the most visited national parks in the U.S. The park has lots to offer hiking, camping, mountain climbing, and more. You also get to see countless breathtaking views and experience adventures you’ll never forget. You at least need two to three days to spend in Rocky Mountain.
If you are driving form the east:
- From Denver via Boulder/Hwy 36 which is 66 miles
- From Denver via Hwy 66 which is 71 miles
- From Denver via the Peak to Peak Scenic By-way which is 108 miles
- From Loveland via Hwy 34
If you are driving form the west direction:
- From I-70 west of Denver which is 61 miles.
- From Kremmling/Hwy 40 which is 42 miles.
Mesa Verde National Park
Mesa Verde may not have beautiful waterfalls or wildlife. They are different from other national parks. There are lots to explore in Mesa Verde From exploring the cliff dwellings to scenic hikes, here are interesting things to do in Mesa Verde. If you just want to go for a drive there is a 6-mile driving tour through mesa-top villages, 700 years of Ancestral Pueblo, and overlooks of cliff dwellings.
Mesa Verde is a one-hour drive from Cortez, Colorado, which heads east on Highway 160 to the park. If you are starting from Durango it is a 1.5-hour drive heading west on Highway 160 to the park.
Black Canyon of the Gunnison
The Black Canyon has a unique landscape with the steepest cliffs, rocks, and craggiest spires. Some parts of the park are difficult to access especially the North Rim. The South Rim is more accessible than the North Rim.
Black Canyon has two sections, the South Rim and North Rim. The South Rim is 7 miles north on CO Highway 347 from Highway 50 east of Montrose. The North Rim is 11 miles southwest of Crawford, from CO Highway 92.
Great Sand Dunes National Park
Great Sand Dunes is home to the tallest sand dunes in North America. If you love hiking you can hike to the tallest dune in the park Star Dune which is about 750 feet. Sand sledding is allowed in Great Sand Dunes. Sand sledding or boarding is the best way to explore the park you can bring your own board or can rent a board in the park.
If you start from Colorado Springs, Denver, or Pueblo, you can take south on I-25 to Walsenburg, west on US 160, north on State Highway 150.
From Albuquerque, you can drive north on I-25 to Santa Fe, then north on US 285 to Alamosa.
From Alamosa, take the U.S. Highway 160 \nd State Highway 150 north, or State Highway 17 north and County Lane 6 east from Mosca.