Map of Colorado's National Natural
Landmarks, Historic Sites, Recreation & Fossil Areas
Click on the Colorado Historic Sites & Landmarks below to view More Information
Designated a National Historic Place on January 31, 1978, The Argo Tunnel connected Idaho Springs to the gold mines in Central City, Virginia Canyon, Gilpin Gulch, Russell Gulch, Quartz Hill, and Nevadaville from 1893 until 1943 when the Mill closed. The Mill reopened in 1976 as a museum and in 2018, the Tunnel reopened for tours. This hillside Mill is visible from I-70, 30 miles west of Denver.
Near La Junta. From 1833 to 1849, it was the only major white settlement on the Santa Fe Trail from the Mississippi River to Mexico. Settlers stopped for supplies, wagon repairs and trade; today, visitors stop for interactive tours with living history guides.
Between Gunnison and Montrose. The largest body of water in Colorado is perfect for water sports. Land lovers can enjoy hiking, tours of the old Narrow Gauge Railroad of Gunnison and a 5,000-acre archaeological site. Best parts - huge marina, no entrance fee.
Designated a National Historic Landmark on October 16, 2012, this San Juan Extension of the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad was the longest and most complete representation of train transportation from 1879 to 1929. The original route extends from Durango, Colorado to Chama, New Mexico. In 1970, this historic track started taking passengers over Cumbres Pass and through the Toltec Gorge while traveling between Antonito, Colorado and Chama, New Mexico.
In Colorado Springs. Contains 20 breathtaking sandstone formations sculpted by erosion, including one that looks like two camels kissing. Eight miles of trails for bikers and hikers run through the park, and an informative nature center offers talks, walks and guided bus tours.
Garden Park Fossil Area is an internationally known paleontological site that was one of the primary areas responsible for generating worldwide interest in dinosaurs during the late 1800's. Fifteen species of dinosaurs, nine of which were new, were recovered from here at that time. Fish, crocodile, turtle, and mammal fossils have also been recovered, making this site one of the oldest and richest fossil sites in the United States.
Along I-70 in White River National Forest is Hanging Lake National Natural Landmark. Plan for a 2 hour round trip hike, walk along Dead Horse Creek. Be sure to take breaks on the benches and experience the beautiful scenery: waterfalls and hanging gardens. Hanging Lake is one of the most recent addition to Colorado's Natural Landmarks. 10 miles east of Glenwood Springs, Colorado.
Indian Springs Trace Fossil Site is considered the best trace fossil locality in North America for illustrating the markings and movements of ancient Ordovician animal life. Designated: 1979 - Private Ownership
Lost Creek Scenic Area illustrates unusual rock formations and underground stream channels resulting from weathering along joint planes. Located within Pike National Forest, the site contains spires, pinnacles, narrow ridges and steep, narrow gorges. Lost Creek disappears and reappears at the surface at least nine times, a drainage pattern atypical in granite.
The Morrison-Golden Fossil Areas provide a trail through time for the late Jurassic and Cretaceous Periods that is unparalleled in the western US and unique globally.
Just outside of Manitou Springs off Highway 24. Rising 14,110 feet above sea level, this mountain inspired the song "America the Beautiful." See why by climbing, driving or riding the cog railroad to the top of the mountain for breathtaking views and historic information.
Raton Mesa illustrates a mesa preserved by a thick lava cap that has resisted destruction from weathering and erosion. It is the only significant reference available illustrating the magnitude of erosion involved in developing the land surface of the Great Plains adjacent to the lower foothills of the Rocky Mountains.
Red Rocks Park & Amphitheater is a unique place in that it attracts lots of different kinds of visitors: music lovers, outdoor enthusiasts, historians, foodies, geologists, and athletes. It is one of America's best-known performing arts venues; famous for it's natural acoustics, design, and setting.
Roxborough State Park provides an excellent example of the titled and faulted sedimentary strata of the Colorado front range environment. The site contains significant fossil remains, fine exposures of hogbacks, unusual erosional patterns in Fountain sandstone, and atypical occurrences of at least two front-range plant communities.
The most extensive bulrush marsh in Colorado, Russell Lakes represents one of the few remaining large, high-altitude, alkaline marshes in the southern Rocky Mountains. The site supports large numbers of flora and fauna and is an outstanding resting and breeding site for waterfowl.
Slumgullion Earthflow is an excellent illustration of the geologic process of mass wasting. Seven hundred years ago, a huge mass of volcanic rock slumped from the mountainside and flowed into the main valley where it spread laterally to form Lake San Cristobal. The older flow is presently being overridden by a new flow moving up to 20 feet per year.
Spanish Peaks National Natural Landmark, located within the San Isabel National Forest,is one of the best known examples of exposed igneous dikes. Dikes are formed when molten igneous material is forced into a fracture or fault before becoming solidified. There may be over 500 such dikes in the area.
The Summit Lake area is one of the best examples of Arctic tundra in the conterminous United States. Located within Summit Lake Park at nearly 13,000 feet elevation, this area provides habitat for a variety of rare alpine-arctic plants, some of which occur only here and at the Arctic Circle.
Near Colorado Springs. Since 1954, the academy has trained the Air Force's future officers. Check out the stunning architecture of the academy's famous chapel, visit its athletes at the field house and watch a video about cadet life in the visitor's center.