Colorado: Home to the Rocky Mountains, rivers, parks and other incredible natural wonders. In addition to all of this organic goodness, did you know that the Centennial State is also home to several amazing man-made landmarks? Take for instance these 10 enchanting examples:
1. Mesa Verde National Park (Montezuma County)
Originally built sometime around 650 AD, Mesa Verde National Park features more than 4,300 sites (including 600 cliff dwellings) and is considered to be one of the best preserved Ancestral Puebloan archeological sites in the country. The designated Park was created by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1906 and earned a spot on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places in 1966.
2. Bent's Old Fort National Historic Site (Otero County)
Located near La Junta, Bent's Old Fort National Historic Site was built in 1833 as a place for trade among Southern Cheyenne and Arapaho Plains Indians, as well as buffalo trappers. The impressive Fort was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1960.
3. Bishop Castle (Rye)
Your eyes do not deceive you; that is indeed a three-story tall stone castle that was hand-built by just one man.
4. Lowry Pueblo (Pleasant View)
Another Ancestral Puebloan archaeological site in Colorado is the Lowry Pueblo, which is estimated to have been built around 1060 AD. The 40-room, multiple kiva dwelling was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1966.
5. Royal Gorge Bridge (Canon City)
While the Gorge itself is a natural wonder, the breathtaking 1,260-foot long bridge (that cascades 955 feet above the Arkansas River) is an incredible man-made structure that became a member of the NRHP in 1983.
6. Red Rocks Amphitheatre (Morrison)
Much like the Royal Gorge Bridge, Red Rocks Amphitheatre isn't completely man-made (the rock formations are thought to be 290-296 million years ago), but features a popular 9,525-seat venue.
7. Manitou Cliff Dwellings (Manitou Springs)
Located just down the road from the Royal Gorge are the extravagant Anasazi Indian Manitou Cliff Dwellings, which were moved from the Four Corners region to Manitou Springs in the early 1900s.
8. Botanic Gardens (Denver)
Perfection. Absolute, beautifully landscaped perfection.
9. United States Air Force Academy Cadet Chapel (Colorado Springs)
The spectacular, 17-spired structure has won multiple awards (including the American Institute of Architects' National Twenty-five Year Award) and was named a National Historic Landmark in 2004.
10. Hovenweep National Monument (Montezuma County)
A landmark we share with our neighbors to the west is Hovenweep; six groups of Ancestral Puebloan villages that were occupied between 6000 BC to approximately 200 AD. The well-kept villages became a National Monument in 1923.