Spotlight on Colorado’s National Parks

Colorado Mountains

With four distinctive national parks that each offer a completely different experience, Colorado is a true playground for the outdoor enthusiast. For those looking to explore the ins and outs of mother nature, the Centennial State is a good place to start. 

Each national park boasts world-class landscapes, as well as a plethora of adventurous activities. Whether a lover of the sand or skies, there’s something for everyone. 

See the stars at Black Canyon of the Gunnison

Carved over millions of years by the Gunnison River, the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park boasts steep, narrow walls that plunge dramatically into the depths below. Daring travellers can hike along the rim trails, enjoy breathtaking vistas, and explore the wilderness routes of the Inner Canyon.

One of nature’s greatest creations, visitors should also take advantage of the stargazing opportunities in this International Dark Sky Park. Throughout the year, The Black Canyon Astronomical Society conducts stargazing programmes in addition to an Annual Astronomy Festival which takes place each September. Black Canyon of the Gunnison NP is one of ten International Dark Sky Parks and five International Dark Sky Communities in the State.  

Take an archeological journey to the past in Mesa Verde National Park

An archaeological wonder, Cliff Palace at Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado is the largest cliff dwelling in the park and is crafted of wooden beams, sandstone and mortar. Today, the park protects the rich cultural heritage of 26 Pueblos and Tribes, offering a great view into the past.

This World Heritage Site and International Dark Sky Park is home to over a thousand species that can’t be found anywhere else. With over 700 years of history and preservation, the establishment has over 150 individual rooms and more than 20 kivas (spaces for religious rituals). It is said the Palace once had a population of 100 people. It’s a must visit for history lovers who enjoy the outdoors.

Reach new heights at Rocky Mountain National Park

Encompassing a spectacular mountain environment, the Rocky Mountain National Park landscape boasts beautiful botanical colours and even better views. For wilderness wayfarers, features include mountains, alpine lakes and a wide range of wildlife in various climates, from green forests to snowy mountaintops. Its diverse and varied landscape offers opportunities for hiking, cycling, camping, rock climbing and water sports.

A bucket list stop for hikers, those looking to stretch themselves can head to the highest summit of the southern Front Range of the Rocky Mountains. Pikes Peak is an American icon whose 14,115 foot summit challenges visitors from all over the world, including famous travel writer Isabella Bird. Expect an alpine wonderland, mountain reservoirs, flora and fauna and overtake the clouds on the way to the top of America’s most famous mountain.

Discover the magic of Great Sand Dunes National Park

One of the lesser-known national parks in the state, Great Sand Dunes National Park is home to the tallest sand dunes in North America. This unique blend of desert and mountainous terrain offers an enchanting landscape which can be accessed through hikes and exhilarating sand boarding adventures. Explorers can also try their hand at horseback-riding, camping or the challenging four-wheel scenic drive on Medano Pass.

Medano Creek is a secluded swimming beach in the national park which reappears every spring. The gentle flowing Medano Creek emerges from the Sangre de Cristo Mountains behind the pristine sand dunes. Forming an oasis for travellers wanting to build sand castles and cool off in the waters, popular activities include swimming, sand sculpting and discovering the famous dunes. Travellers need to be quick, as come late August the oasis disappears for another year. 

Aer Lingus launches new route between Dublin and Denver

If you’re looking to immerse yourself in the adventures that Colorado’s National Parks have to offer, we’ve got good news for you! Next month, Aer Lingus will launch new nonstop flights between Denver International Airport (DEN) and Dublin Airport (DUB) beginning 17 May 2024. This will be the first-ever service by Aer Lingus to Denver. Aer Lingus will become the 24th airline to serve DEN and will operate four days per week, Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. The flight will connect Irish travellers to the creative city and act as a gateway to the Rocky Mountains.

If you purchase your tickets before the 6th of May 2024, you can avail of a unique offer from Aer Lingus. To celebrate this new connection, they’re giving you €100 off return flights to this brilliant destination, plus €200 off return Business Class fares!

For more information on what to see and do in the Centennial State, please visit Colorado.com.


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