Those who are making plans to visit stunning Telluride, Colorado, can count on staying busy with the area’s numerous outdoor sporting activities, incredible festivals and wonderful concerts, but you also might want to leave a little time for some other popular nearby activities. A visit to our nation’s national parks is always a wonderful treat and a great family activity, and Telluride is well within driving distance of several exceptional national parks. Take a day of your vacation and set it aside to visit one of these parks, and we promise that you’ll be glad that you did.
1. Arches National Park
A scenic two-hour drive will take you to this park that is home to the famous Delicate Arch, which is an incredible 65-foot-tall freestanding natural arch. Arches National Park is often referred to as the red-rock wonderland, and you’ll have the opportunity to see some 2,000 natural sandstone arches along with an abundance of giant balanced rocks, fins and pinnacles.
Hiking enthusiasts will have access to nine trails that are considered easy and perfect for families with young children, one trail that is rated moderate and five strenuous trails that should only be taken on by those in great shape who are looking for an excellent workout. These various trails may take you right through several arches, require rock climbing and may be led by an experienced ranger.
During your visit, you may expect to see an abundance of wildlife that includes mule deer, foxes, porcupines, black-tailed jackrabbits, bobcats, chipmunks and many different birds. Cactus and dessert wildflowers may be seen around every corner, and you may also choose to explore the park by horseback or bike. Camping is available if you’d like to spend the night before returning to Telluride.
2. Canyonlands National Park
A day spent at this fabulous park is well worth the three-hour trip from Telluride, and you’re sure to be delighted by the stunning beauty of the Canyonlands National Park.You’ll find an amazing wealth of canyons, mesas and buttes and both the Colorado and Green rivers running right through the park. There’s so much to see and do that you’ll most likely want to explore the park by its distinct areas.
• Island in the Sky:This is the point where most visitors begin their exploration, and you can enjoy an easy two-mile hike that allows you to get a good look at the Grand View Point and the Mesa Arch. You may also access the popular 100-mile White Rim Road for some fun on a four-wheeler, mountain bike or motorcycle.
• Needles District:This area is home to literally hundreds of incredible hiking trails that range from easy enough for small children to extremely strenuous for those looking for a real challenge. Whichever trail you take, you’ll see wonderful sights that include Pothole Point and Cave Springs. You’ll also find some world-class off-roading experiences in this area.
• The Maze:This area is designated as difficult but worth the trouble. As the most remote area in the entire park, you’re encouraged to proceed with caution, good maps and plenty of extra water. A great deal of untouched, natural beauty awaits you in this area.
This park also offers a wide selection of activities that include whitewater rafting, desert biking, guided tours, rock climbing and a dinosaur park. Camping is available by permit if you’d like to stay a night or two.
3. Mesa Verde National Park
Only 84 miles stands between Telluride and this excellent park that is known as the world’s top destination for monuments. Early home to the Anasazi Indians, you’ll find a wonderful sampling of their dwellings right inside of the park where you can explore to your heart’s content. Mesa Verde National Park is home to more than 5,000 archeological sites, and that includes over 600 well-preserved cliff dwellings.
Both ranger-guided and self-guided tours are available, and you’re encouraged to keep in mind that a visit to any of the cliff dwellings can be quite strenuous. They are located at an elevation of 7,000 feet, and you’ll need to be able to handle some difficult trails that are often steep and uneven to get there. Many other trails are available for hiking that won’t be quite so difficult, and you’ll still be able to see some wonderful sights.
This park is also quite popular with bird enthusiasts because it features habitats that support both local and migratory birds. You’ll find protected areas and breeding centers for the endangered Mexican Spotted Owl, and more than 200 species of birds call the park home. Other animals that you may expect to see include herds of deer, foxes and coyotes.
Other park activities and offerings include programs specifically for children who may like to earn a badge as a junior ranger, an onsite museum, various special evening programs, plant walks and stargazing. Camping is also available for those who’d like to stay overnight.
Start Planning Your Trip to Telluride Today
Here at Telluride Rentals, we offer a wonderful selection of luxury vacation residences for you to enjoy during your stay. Whether you need a romantic weekend getaway or room for a huge family trip, we have just what you’re looking for. Just contact us today, and we’ll help you select the perfect vacation rental where you can relax after your trip to these great national parks and everything else that wonderful Telluride has to offer.