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10 Nearby National Parks You Can Visit for Free This Weekend

From the Grand Valley, you’re no more than a few hours drive to some of the more beautiful National Parks/Monuments in the nation. In celebration of National Park Week here are five in Colorado and five in neighboring Utah.

These are in no particular order. How is possible to rank one better than the other? They’re all remarkable in their own way.

1. Dinosaur National Monument

It’s an amazing place to explore whether you’re into dinosaurs or not. So much to see and do.

2. Mesa Verde National Park 

Mesa Verde was one of the coolest places I've ever been. Can you imagine living here? #cliffdwellings

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The native Pueblo people once made this place their home for several hundred years. There are nearly 5,000 archegonial sites in the park.

3. Black Canyon National Park

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, CO. #blackcanyon #nps #nationalparks #colorado

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The Black Canyon of the Gunnison is a place like no other. The canyon walls don’t seem real. It took mother nature nearly 2 million years to create. You need to see this place.

4. Rocky Mountian National Park

 

With over 400 square miles it’s one of the nation’s largest parks. It’s also one of the highest with a mountain crossing at well over 12,000ft.

5. Colorado National Monument 

The Monument is home to one of the great landscapes in the West. Red-walled canyons, towering monoliths, and home to bighorn sheep, eagles, and other wildlife.

6. Arches National Park

Arches is a breathtaking landscape of formations, colors, and sights like no other place on planet earth. The park is home to over 2,000 natural stone arches.

7. Canyonlands National Park

Canyonlands is a place you could spend weeks and never see it all. The cliffs and canyon walls carved by the Colorado River are mindblowing. If adventure is your thing, this is your park.

8. Capital Reef National Park 

Capitol Reef National Park is not as popular as Arches and some of the other more famous parks. That’s a good thing. Here you’ll discover cliffs, canyons, and the Waterpocket Fold, a geologic wrinkle in the earth extending almost 100 miles long.

9. Glen Canyon/Lake Powell 

Horseshoe Bend AZ #horshoebend #glenncanyonnationalrecreationarea #nativeland #iphone

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At over 1.25 million acres, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area is one of the largest and more beautiful places in the west. With Lake Powell to cruise with its cliffs and scenic wonders, there’s nothing else quite like it.

10. Bryce Canyon

Love you national parks. #brycecanyon #queensgarden #utah #love @voilivoilavoili

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One of my favorites, there’s nothing like Bryce Canyon. The Hoodoos are mesmerizing and here you can find some of the largest in the world.

NEXT: Colorado May Still Be Home to Dinosaurs, or So They Say

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