Big enough to be overwhelming, still intimate enough to feel the pulse of time, Black Canyon of the Gunnison exposes you to some of the steepest cliffs, oldest rock and craggiest spires in North America. This western Colorado landmark was sculpted by the Gunnison River and the forces of weather over 2 million years. Photo of a snowy and fog-filled canyon by Judd Clark, National Park Service.
A lavender sunrise reveals the marbled and cracked surface of Dream Lake at Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado. If not for the chill, this would be the most beautiful floor in the world. Photo courtesy of Eric Schuette.
On this day in 1915, Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado officially became a national park. Even in cold weather, you can explore the park’s spectacular mountain environments by snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, sledding and wildlife watching. In fact, winter is an especially good time to look for elk, mule deer, moose and other large mammals. Sunrise photo of Dream Lake in 2014 by C. Brindle, National Park Service.
At a quick glance, you might miss the ancient cliff dwellings that blend effortlessly into the sheltered alcove of the canyon wall at Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado. These elaborate stone communities contained as many as 150 rooms, some of which still feature smoke-blackened walls and ceilings from fires that burned during cold winter months. The park protects nearly 5,000 archeological sites, inspiring visitors to imagine what life was like over 700 years ago. Photo courtesy of Chris Wheeler.