Colorado has a diverse landscape of river canyons, arid desert, and snow-covered Rocky Mountains. Visitors to the state are often drawn to its numerous state parks and various outdoor adventures, the landscape providing something for everyone provided you like the great outdoors.
From mountain peaks to desert landscapes to epic sand dunes, Colorado is a state as diverse as it is beautiful. Taking your RV on a road trip through this great state isn’t just a good idea, it’s a great one.
To that end, today we’re going to take a look at a quick, four-day road trip itinerary through Colorado. We’ll hit on all the great outdoor adventures the state has to offer from hiking the Rocky Mountains to boarding the highest dune in the United States. From Colorado Springs to the Great Sand Dunes National Park to Mesa Verde National Park to the Rocky Mountains National Park, here’s one of the best road trips you can take through Colorado.
Located at the foot of the Rocky Mountains, Colorado Springs is known for its lively tourist attractions and rugged natural beauty. Whether you’re into food, hiking, shopping, or bar-hopping, you’ll be able to find plenty to do here for couples, families, or solo travelers alike.
Those who love the outdoors will go wild for the scenery. Colorado Springs is home to rushing rivers and jagged lakes, all explorable on foot, by canoe, or via zipline platforms through the trees.
For those who prefer indoor fun, the city is host to a number of malls, theatres, museums, art galleries, and performance halls.
There’s something for everyone in Colorado Springs.
Garden of the Gods Park
Hike, bike, or climb some of the most breathtaking rock formations in the area. Admission to the park is free.
Cheyenne Mountain Zoo
Built into a mountain, this zoo is home to hundreds of species including some endangered. Pricing depends on what day and time you visit.
The highest summit of the front range of the Rocky Mountains, the sights from this peak aren’t to be understated.
Juniper Valley Ranch
Family-style meals with a homey atmosphere and some of the best fried chicken in the area
Lake Terrace Dining Room
Sunday brunch here is revered by tourists, locals, and resort guests alike
Sporting an eclectic, globally-inspired menu, the food here matches the decor for its homey but hodge-podge aesthetic
Colorado Springs Parking
Metered parking abounds in the more central areas. Metered hours are Monday through Saturday, 7 am to 10 pm, and Sunday, 1 pm to 10 pm. All other hours are free to park. Meters charge between $1 and $1.50 per hour, depending on how close to the city center you are.
City Admin Building Parking
A good choice for longer stays
2 N Cascade Ave Garage
A well-positioned, well-maintained garage. Rates from $1 to $3
Garden of the Gods RV Resort
This RV park sits among Colorado’s historical mountain towns making your RV campground experience ruly memorable. Prices depend on your date of travel
Foot of the Rockies RV Park
Located near downtown Colorado Springs with some of the best views in the area. Prices range from $45 to $55
Pikes Peak RV Park
Snug campground with all the amenities you might need. Prices depend on your date of travel
The Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve in southern Colorado is known for its massive sand dunes and for the seasonal Medano Creek at their base. Its highest dune stands at a towering 755 feet and visitors are invited to climb and explore any part of the 30 square mile dune field.
The park is crisscrossed with trails that lead to wetlands, forests, and alpine lakes including Medano Lake, which hosts trout and tundra wildlife. Whether you fancy a hike or want to try your hand at snowboarding on sand, this national park is well worth a visit.
Entrance to the park starts at $25.
Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve
from Colorado Springs
This is the highest dune in the United States. Hiking to the peak is a mission but one that’s well worth the effort
This is exactly what it sounds like. Hire a snowboard and take to the sand for a bout of extreme sports in the extreme sun
Attend a ranger program and get to know the area from an expert. These sessions are free and happen three times a week
Oasis Restaurant and Store
This is the only place to eat within 25 miles of the park. It’s open April through October
Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve Parking
There are a number of car parks throughout the park, however, some are only accessible via 4wd. You’re best to visit the visitor center before embarking and carefully checking the road conditions before traveling.
Piñon Flats Campground
A National Park Service campground that’s located just one mile north of the visitor center. You’re looking at $20 a night to camp here
Located just outside the park entrance, this park has all the amenities you might need. Fees depend on your date of travel
Zapata Falls Campground
Located nearby to the park, this RV park offers primitive camping. Prices start from $11 per night
This unique park is well-known for its incredible history and amazing sights. For over 700 years, the Ancestral Pueblo people lived and thrived in the cliffs of Mesa Verde and on the mesas. In the modern-day, the Mesa Verde National Park protects the impressive cultural heritage of 26 tribes and gives visitors to the area great insight into the past.
In this slice of the past, you’re able to tour ancient dwellings, gaze on petroglyphs, and learn more about the area at the local museum. The park is also home to a wide range of wildlife, giving visitors something to spot as they explore the surroundings.
The entrance fee to the park is $20.
Mesa Verde National Park
from Great Sand Dunes National Park
Attend a ranger-led tour of an Ancestral Puebloan cliff dwelling and experience the past like never before
Chapin Mesa Archeological Museum
This museum is an excellent way to learn more about the area. Take in a movie, explore ancient artifacts, and read up on those who used to live in the area
Petroglyph Point Trail
Petroglyph Point Trail is the only way to see petroglyphs in the park
Just off the lobby of the Far View Lodge, this comfortable restaurant sports excellent views and a great menu
Far View Terrace Cafe
A simple, full-service cafeteria with excellent views
Knife Edge Cafe
Located in the Morefield Campground, this simple cafe is famous for its all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast
Mesa Verde National Park Parking
There is free parking at the visitor center and at the start of each main trail throughout the park
The park’s only campground, you ought to plan ahead and reserve a spot early if you want to camp here. Pricing depends on your date of travel
Cortez/Mesa Verde KOA
Just 10 minutes drive from the entrance to the park, this RV park is a great choice if you want to basecamp. Pricing depends on your date of travel
Rocky Mountain National Park is one of the highest national parks in the United States. It sports 60 mountain peaks over 12,000 feet with its highest, Longs Peak, capping out at over 14,000 feet. As you can imagine, the views from these peaks are well worth the hike to get to them.
The Continental Divide runs north to south through the park and can be crossed either on foot or via the Trail Ridge Road – the highest paved road within the national park system.
There are several ecological zones within the park. The highest zone of the park is the alpine tundra where temperatures drop and wildlife becomes scarce. A little lower sits the subalpine region which is known for its forests and lakes. Finally, the lowest region features lush meadows and copious wildlife.
Whether you’re into hiking or climbing, the Rocky Mountain National Park is rife with adventure and stunning views.
Rocky Mountain National Park
from Mesa Verde National Park
Trail Ridge Road
The highest paved through road in the national park system, this road features dozens of lookouts and is the starting point of many hikes
Forest Canyon Overlook
Stand at 11,716 feet and gaze out over Longs Peak, Stones Peak, Hayden Gorge, and Gorge Lakes
This hike is extremely strenuous but well worth it for the experience and the views.
A mountainside eatery with rustic decor and some of the best burgers and steaks in the area
The Rock Inn Mountain Tavern
Featuring live music and outdoor seating, this is a great tavern with an excellent vibe
Bird & Jim
Offers locally sourced meats and casual, rustic dining. Stop in for a glass of hearty wine with your meal
Rocky Mountain National Park
Trailhead parking lots fill up quickly so you’re best to get there early in the day for a spot. There’s also parking at the Alpine Visitor Center and some pull-off stops along Trail Ridge Road.
Striking views of Longs Peak make this primitive campground well worth it for the views. Pricing is between $18 and $26
Just west of the Fall River Entrance Station in a beautiful pine forest near Fall River. Prices start at $26 per night
Primitive camping in a forested setting with excellent views. Pricing starts at $30 per night.
from Rocky Mountain National Park