You don't have to travel any farther than Grand Junction's own back yard to find Mesa Verde, one of the nation's Top 10 hidden gems according to a national publication.Country magazine's June-July issue has a special section entitled Hidden Gems: Best Parks in the United States. Mesa Verde is highlighted along with other awe-inspiring parks like Apostle Islands National Lakeshore in Wisconsin, and Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park in California.

(Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

These 10 parks represent the nation's most magnificent yet unheralded parks. If you are looking for an awesome vacation but want to avoid the theme park and beach crowds these are great options. And, Mesa Verde is only four hours from Grand Junction so you won't spend a fortune on airfare, or gas, but you can have a fabulous vacation.

Lodging options at Mesa Verde include the Fairview Lodge, or tent and RV camping in the Morefield Campground.

Guided and self-guided tours are available as you explore the cliff dwellings of our early Western Colorado ancestors.There's plenty of hiking trails and wildlife viewing for the casual hiker as well as for the die hards.

(Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

Sometimes we don't have to look any farther than our own backyard to find a hidden gem. Maybe we think that because it's in our home state it can't be that spectacular, or maybe it seems too familiar, even though we have never experienced it.

Mesa Verde has been recognized as a national hot spot and we might be well-served to explore our own backyard before seeking out new adventures in far away lands.

(Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)