Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

Overview

Rocky Mountain National Park is one of the most popular parks in the US National Park System, due to is close proximity to the city of Denver. It is a great representation of the Rocky Mountain ecosystem which can be found throughout much of Western Colorado. Getting to the park is very straightforward. The gateway to the park is the town of Estes Park, which is one of the first mountain towns you encounter. It is about a 90-minute drive from the Denver International Airport or from Downtown Denver.

Rocky Mountain National Park was one of the earliest national parks established President Woodrow Wilson in 1915.
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Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado

Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado

Overview

The Great Sand Dunes National Park is a national park near Alamosa, Colorado and is one of 13 National Park Service sites in Colorado. The park covers 149,028 acres of land area and was established as a National Monument in 1932 by President Herbert Hoover, and was upgraded to National Park status in September 2004. Since then, it has reached an average of less than 400,000 tourist visits per year. The Great Sand Dunes National Park was established to conserve the sand dunes on the eastern edge of San Luis Valley which are the largest in North America.

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Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, also known as the Black Canyon National Park, is a national park in Montrose, Colorado. It is managed by the US National Park Service since it was established as a national monument in 1933. It was later upgraded to national park status in 1999. The entire park spans a total land area of 30,750 acres. Meanwhile, it has an annual tourist visit of over 238,000 (as of 2016).

The area covered by the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park includes the deepest and most dramatic part of the canyon in the area. This canyon continues to travel upstream towards the Curecanti National Recreation Area until it merges into the Gunnison George National Conservation Area. The canyon is named after the fact that the depth of the canyon means that it only gets up to 33 minutes of sunlight per day. While there are many other canyons in the US that are known for their depth, this one is unique as it comes to the narrowness and darkness to its quality.
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Southwestern Road Trip Update

In the last week I’ve put on a lot of miles and seen many amazing things. The Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, Four Corners, Mesa Verde, Chaco Canyon, the Very Large Array, and the dunes of white sand desert. I’ve also been polishing off audiobooks and podcasts during the hours I’ve had to sit behind the wheel.

The trip has been satisfying but I’m getting really tired. I wake up, answer some email, get a photo ready for the day, drive several hours, take photos and find a room for the night tired from sitting all day. The thing with driving all day long is that you don’t get much exercise and most of the food options along highways aren’t very good.

Tonight I’m in Carlsbad, New Mexico where I got my oil changed and will take off tomorrow for Carlsbad Caverns. The town seems pretty empty this time of year. The motels are advertising walk-in specials and there are few cars in the parking lots.

From here I have a long drive to Dallas where I’ll be able to work for several days before heading to Florida on November 5. I have thousands of photos and stories to work on during December before I take off again and leave the US in January.

If you are in the Dallas/Ft.Worth area and would like to meet sometime next week let me know. I’ll probably be doing a formal meet up with my friend Scott Kurtz sometime next week in the Dallas area. More details to follow.