Ever wished your vacation was more adventurous or unique? Do you have the desire to escape the crowds and disconnect? If you answered yes to these questions or are on the fence, look no further than an overlanding adventure in Colorado.
The Basics: What is overlanding?
Overlanding is just what it sounds like: travel over land. While this can be done by any number of modes of land transportation - train, truck, car, bike… camel… - the goal is generally self-reliant, vehicle-supported adventure travel. The emphasis in overland travel is the journey rather than the destination. And the journey through Colorado is quite magnificent.
Learn more about overlanding in our blog post: What is Overlanding
So, what makes Colorado a dream location for Overlanding?
1. Breathtaking Scenery & Wildlife
Colorado has some of the most varied landscapes in the world. From arid deserts, to river canyons and snow-covered mountains, there’s a reason its nickname is “Colorful Colorado”. Most people are familiar with Colorado’s epic skiing and the famous Rocky Mountains, but there is so much more beauty you’ll encounter in this western state. In a matter of hours you can overland through prairie grasslands, through alpine forests, and even make your way to the highest sand dunes in North America.
With magnificent landscapes, comes magnificent wildlife. An overland adventure will bring you up close to a wide array of animals- all shapes and sizes. You’ll have the opportunity to see bighorn sheep, mountain goats, moose, elk and over 400 species of birds in their natural habitat. Plus you’ll see the occasional black bear, but probably won’t run into any grizzlies since there hasn’t been a sighting since the 50’s.
2. National Parks Galore
You’re likely familiar with Rocky Mountain National Park- the most famous and visited national park in the area (4.5+ million visitors per year). But the national parks don’t stop there. Colorado has three more must-see national parks: Mesa Verde National Park, Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve, and Black Canyon the Gunnison National Park. These four parks truly represent Colorado and its varied beauty: Mesa Verde is known for its Ancestral Pueblan cliff dwellings. Great Sand Dunes features 30 square miles of sand dunes, with the highest dunes standing at 750 feet high. Black Canyon of the Gunnison features 53 miles of dramatic walls and sharp cliffs. And finally, Rocky Mountain National Park boasts 415 square miles of Colorado mountain beauty.
3. Endless Camping
Colorado is a camper’s dream. With thousands of campsites across the state, it’s easy to find the right spot to rest. You simply need to figure out what part of the state you want to visit, what activities you’d like to do, and the type of amenities you need while camping.
There are 41 Colorado State Parks that offer more than 4,000 campsites. These typically include full amenities like restrooms, electrical hookups, and shower facilities.
Similarly, the US Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management manage over 22 million acres of land combined, and offer campsites that range from developed (restrooms, fire rings, water, etc) to remote (no amenities). Reservations can be made at recreation.gov
For those looking for a different experience - whether you want more amenities or are looking for something that public lands can’t offer - there are many privately owned campsites and land in Colorado. You can locate and reserve some of these sites at colorado.com, or use some of the new mobile apps like Hipcamp to camp on private land or Harvest Hosts to camp at a winery, brewery, or farm.
4. Outdoor Recreation
There’s a reason people from all over the country are moving or visiting Colorado. Yes, industry is booming in cities like Denver, but most make their way to the Centennial State because of everything the great outdoors has to offer. From short day hikes, to rigorous treks along Colorado’s “fourteeners” (mountain peaks over 14,000 feet), there are endless trails for every activity level. In the warm months, locals and travelers enjoy backpacking, hiking, fishing, biking, overlanding, rafting, climbing, camping, and much more. In the winter, you can ski and snowboard, snowshoe, ice-climb, snowmobile, and even dog-sled.
5. Sun, sun and more sun!
Who doesn’t love a sunny day? With 300 days of sunshine (or so they say), it’s likely that you’ll wake up to the warm rays of sunshine almost every day of your trip. With more sun, comes more outdoor activities and more fun. You can plan your adventures assuming every day will be beautiful and bright. And if on the off chance that it’s cloudy or rainy, you’ll probably be grateful that you get a break from 70 SPF sunscreen and flaky skin.
Ready for the trip of a lifetime?
If you’re ready to escape mundane vacations and experience something a little different, why not consider an overlanding trip to Colorado? With Overland Discovery, your hotel, car rental, and camping gear are all taken care of, so you can enjoy everything this beautiful state has to offer. Our overland vehicles are meticulously designed and fully kitted out, so you can focus more on the adventure and less on the logistics. Just bring your sense of adventure. We’ll take care of the rest.
So… What are you waiting for? Book your overland adventure here