Colorado’s National Historic Sites and Monuments

Learn about Colorado’s National Monuments, National Historic Sites, National Heritage Areas and National Recreation Areas, and plan your visit!

Bent's Fort

Bent's Fort

credit: National Park Service

Bent’s Old Fort National Historic Site

  • Located in southeastern Colorado, east of the town of La Junta.
  • Founded in 1960
  • Bent’s Old Fort National Historic Site features a reconstruction of the 1840s trading post that was an important point for fur trade on the Santa Fe Trail.
  • When you visit, take a tour and watch a living history demonstration about fur trade and life at Bent’s Old Fort.

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Colorado National Monument

Colorado National Monument

credit: National Park Service

Colorado National Monument

  • Located in western Colorado, near Grand Junction.
  • Founded in 1911
  • Colorado National Monument preserves amazing sandstone towers and canyons, and desert ecosystems.
  • When you visit, drive or bike along Rim Rock Drive and stop for a snack at one of the scenic picnic areas.

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Curecanti National Recreation Area

Curecanti National Recreation Area

credit: National Park Service

Curecanti National Recreation Area

  • Located in western Colorado, near Gunnison.
  • Founded in 1945
  • The three reservoirs of the Curecanti National Recreation Area are great places for boating, fishing, hiking, camping, and bird watching.
  • When you visit, take a boat tour with a ranger on Morrow Point Reservoir and learn about the geology, wildlife and history of the Gunnison River.

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Dinosaur National Monument

Dinosaur National Monument

credit: National Park Service

Dinosaur National Monument

  • Located on the border of Colorado and Utah, near the town of Vernal, Utah.
  • Founded in 1915
  • Dinosaur National Monument preserves fossils, petroglyphs, and canyon ecosystems.
  • When you visit, stop at the Carnegie Dinosaur Quarry, and see nearly 1500 fossilized bones from Allosaurus, Apatosaurus, Stegosaurus, and other dinosaurs.

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Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument
Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument
credit: National Park Service

Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument

  • Located in Teller County, in the mountains west of Colorado Springs.
  • Founded in 1979
  • Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument protects 34 million-year-old fossils of redwood trees and insects.
  • When you visit, take a hike through a petrified forest and enjoy views of Pikes Peak.

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Hovenweep National Monument

Hovenweep National Monument

credit: National Park Service

Hovenweep National Monument

  • Located on the southern border of Colorado and Utah.
  • Founded in 1923
  • Hovenweep National Monument includes six prehistoric villages built by Ancestral Puebloan people nearly 800 years ago.
  • When you visit, take a short hike over mesa tops and through sagebrush to see ancient structures, including a three-story tower and kivas.

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Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site

Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site

credit: National Park Service

Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site

  • Located in southeastern Colorado, 24 miles from the town of Eads.
  • Founded in 2007
  • Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site commemorates the events of November 29, 1864, when Colorado volunteer soldiers attacked an encampment of over 500 Cheyenne and Arapaho people. The site was established to preserve and protect the cultural landscape of the massacre, enhance public understanding, and minimize similar incidents in the future.
  • When you visit, learn about the Massacre from an interpretive ranger (daily at 10 am and 2 pm).

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Yucca House National Monument
Yucca House National Monument

Yucca House National Monument

  • Located in southwestern Colorado, near the town of Cortez.
  • Founded in 1919.
  • Yucca House National Monument preserves the remains of an 600-room Ancestral Pueblo village, and one of the largest archaeological sites in Colorado.
  • When you visit, take a short walk through a desert shrubland, see the remains of the Upper House and the Lower House, and look for the spring that provided water for the people who lived here.

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More National Monuments, Recreation Areas and Heritage Areas:

Arapaho National Recreation Area
Arapaho National Recreation Area
credit: US Forest Service

Arapaho National Recreation Area

  • Located in northern Colorado, near Granby.
  • Founded in 1978
  • The Arapaho National Recreation Area contains five major reservoirs, often called the "Great Lakes of Colorado": Lake Granby, Shadow Mountain Lake, Monarch Lake, Willow Creek Reservoir and Meadow Creek Reservoir.
  • When you visit, take a hike, go boating or fishing, and view wildlife.

Arapaho National Recreation Area website

Browns Canyon National Monument
Browns Canyon National Monument
credit: Bureau of Land Management

Browns Canyon National Monument

  • Located in central Colorado, near Buena Vista and Salida.
  • Founded in 2015
  • Browns Canyon National Monument preserves the unique Arkansas River ecosystem and provides opportunities for people to experience the area’s scenery and solitude.
  • When you visit, plan carefully for a day hike into the wilderness area along the Arkansas River.

Browns Canyon National Monument website

Cache La Poudre River National Heritage Area
Cache La Poudre River National Heritage Area
credit: National Park Service

Cache La Poudre River National Heritage Area

  • Located in northern Colorado, near the cities of Fort Collins and Greeley.
  • Founded in 1996
  • The Cache la Poudre National Heritage Area tells the story of the river that set historic water law in the West. The contributions of the Cache la Poudre River to the development of water law in the Western United States, the evolution of water delivery systems, and the shaping of the region’s cultural heritage are all commemorated along the floodplain of this working river.
  • When you visit, walk or bike the 21-mile Poudre River Trail and look for birds and historic markers.

Cache La Poudre River National Heritage Area website
Poudre Heritage Alliance

Canyons of the Ancients National Monument
Canyons of the Ancients National Monument
credit: Bureau of Land Management

Canyons of the Ancients National Monument

  • Located in southwestern Colorado, near the town of Dolores.
  • Founded in 2000
  • Canyons of the Ancients protects archaeological sites from Ancestral Puebloan and other Native American cultures.
  • When you visit, stop at the Anasazi Heritage Center in Dolores to see artifacts including pottery, sandals, and more and to plan your visit to the sites in the monument.

Canyons of the Ancients National Monument website

Chimney Rock National Monument
Chimney Rock National Monument
credit: Chimney Rock Interpretive Society

Chimney Rock National Monument

  • Located in southern Colorado, south of Pagosa Springs.
  • Founded in 2012
  • Chimney Rock National Monument preserves important Ancestral Puebloan archaeological and astronomical sites.
  • When you visit, take a guided walking tour of the structures on the Chimney Rock mesa during the summer months.

Chimney Rock National Monument website