The Most Photogenic Places in Colorado
The Rocky Mountains started forming over 55 million years ago and feature the highest mountains in central North America. These dramatic peaks and valleys hold some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world. The raising of the Rocky Mountains is a perplexing geological wonder. Normally mountains are formed 200-400 miles from a subduction zone boundary, but the Rockies are hundreds of more miles inland. This unusual mountain-building plate activity has created some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world. If you’re going to Instagram Colorado, here are the most photogenic places in Colorado!
The Maroon Bells
The Maroon Bells are the most photographed mountains in North America and are also known as the “Deadly Bells”. In fact, in the summertime on busy weekends, tourists will find no parking and will have to take a bus to see the pyramid-like mountains. The “Deadly Bells” are composed of metamorphic sedimentary mudstone that hardened to rock over millions of years. This gives the mountains their distinctive maroon color but also makes these mountains very dangerous for climbers. The most popularly photographed location is the glacier-formed maroon lake with the Bells in the background at sunrise.
The Great Sand Dunes National Park
The Great Sand Dunes National Park contains the tallest sand dunes in North America. The dunes rise to a maximum prominence of 750 feet from the floor of the San Luis Valley. The dunes cover 19,000 acres and experts believe the dunes started forming around 440,000 years ago by sand and soil deposits of the Rio Grande and its tributaries. Photographers can enjoy the light and dark contrasts of the dunes with snow dusted peaks in the background best in the late afternoon.
Garden of the Gods
In the foothills of Pikes Peak near Colorado Springs lies the Garden of the Gods. This National Natural Landmark is composed of sedimentary beds of deep-red, pink and white sandstones and limestone that were deposited horizontally and tilted vertically over time. The result is impressive rock formations that draw in crowds from afar. The formations give off a warm glow at sunrise and sunset. Photographers can find opportunities to shoot at the Visitor Center or, with a view of Pikes Peak, the Siamese Twins Trail.
A tributary of the Colorado River, Hanging Lake is located in the Glenwood Canyon and features a waterfall and lake along Dead Horse Creek. The lake “hangs” from a small bowl-like basin into cliffs below. Hanging Lake is on a fault line and the turquoise colors of the lake are produced by carbonate materials and limestone that have dissolved in the water. The lake is a very popular tourist destination, with the 2.5 mile round-trip excursion receiving about 131,000 visitors per year. For the best photo opportunities at Hanging Lake, bringing a polarized filter will help reduce glare and fully capture the lake’s crystalline qualities.
These are just a few awesome places to capture Colorado’s natural beauty on camera, and with a little bit of exploring there are an abundance more to find. So, next time you’re planning a hike in the Centennial State, make sure you bring your camera along!