Colorado road trip - any suggestions?

Old Jul 6th, 2013, 09:28 AM
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Colorado road trip - any suggestions?

Taking a road trip from Louisiana to Colorado, we love hiking, nature, good food, and beer.

Day 1: drive from Shreveport to Durango.
Day 2: Durango: plan about a 1/2 day here, then head to Ouray where we are staying in a little camping cabin by the river. Plan to do one of the hikes around that area, take it easy as we will still be getting used to the altitude.
Day 3: Ouray to Gunnison, stopping for scenic interest along the way. Good hike or suggestions? Maybe check out Crested Butte. Night in a hostel in Gunnison.

Day 4: No place to stay this night-- not what direction to take on our way to Boulder- do we do Leadville, or head towards Buena Vista/Salida. Opinions?

Day 5. Boulder. Hang with friends here, do some easy hike around town.
Day 6. Head out to RMNP with friends and do part of the park, returning to Boulder for dinner and to stay the night
Day 6 : Head out to estes Park, do more of RMNP, have a cabin rented in Estes for the night.
Day 7: estes to colorado springs. Check out Garden of the Gods and Pikes Peak. Staying in Manitou at a cute little place.
Day 8. Head back towards Louisiana, stopping in Pueblo to look around , will make the trip back 2 days to take it easy.

Any must sees along this itinerary? I am specifically looking for gorgeous hikes that will be good exercise and give us incredible views, and also any recommendations for places to stop for lunch or dinner and beers along the way.
Bonus round: I am really into sour beers and want to try local brews, so any suggestions greatly appreciated.

Thanks !
jmessi is offline  
Old Jul 8th, 2013, 11:27 AM
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Day 4: Leadville or Buena Vista? We've stayed in both and it just depends on what you want to do. I will say that since Leadville sits at over 10,000 ft. it makes for some sleepless nights unless you're completely acclimated to the altitude. The only hiking we've done around Leadville are 14ers. Buena Vista is a small town with a brewpub (at least it had one a few years back).

Day 6&7: Depending on what time you arrive in RMNP, you may have to take the shuttle into the park since there's road construction on Bear Lake Road. If you get there by 9AM, you can take your own car in but will have construction delays getting out.

Be sure to make the drive along Trail Ridge Road up to the Alpine visitor's Center. Stop and make the small walk along the Tundra Communities Trailhead to see some unique rock formations called Mushroom Rocks.


Both Sprague Lake and Bear Lake are great in the early mornings for spectacular photography opportunitites.



Estes Park does have a brewery, Estes Park Brewery. The beer is great and the food is okay. Ask for outdoor seating!
wave725 is offline  
Old Jul 23rd, 2013, 06:07 AM
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If you can stay in Durango area longer- Mesa Verde National Park/Cliff Dwellings
teachandtravel is offline  
Old Jul 23rd, 2013, 06:33 AM
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The drive from Durango to Ouray is spectacular esp the portion between Silverton and OUray. Love the views of the Red Mountains. In Ouray there is a fabulous hike called Bear Creek Trail ( It's right outside Ouray and has wonderful views. Ouray has a relatively new hike, Ouray Perimeter trail ( that circles the town and its a nice hike to get acclimated to the altitude.
Down the road is Ridgway and they have a nice State park with a couple nice hikes, a lake some swimming.
Foodwise, good luck! Colorado Boy had some good pizza but that's in Ridgway. In Silverton we had some good barbecue -- bldg has a big sign BBQ and it was featured on the Food Network - easy to find. Other than that cant say we loved any food we had in those areas, but the hiking and scenery is outstanding.

Lots of wonderful hikes in RMNP -- one we loved is to Lake Haiyaha. You pass dream Lake & Nymph Lake which are both very pretty. After that the trail really gets empty and you have spectacular views. Again food was just so so in Estes park.

The road closings are NOT on weekends so if you are there on a Saturday or Sunday, no problem. On the weekdays we got out before the road closed at 9 and had no trouble getting back. The parking lots do fill up but there is an overflow lot that you can park in and take the shuttle to the trail heads. Not a problem.

Buena Vista didn't seem to have much of anything. Maybe look at Salida? Leadville was very scenic. I didn't stay in any of those town, just walked around and had lunch in each of them.

Enjoy your trip -- its beautiful in CO.
yestravel is offline  
Old Jul 23rd, 2013, 08:55 AM
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Since you are staying in Boulder, Avery Brewing is a good stop to sample some beer. There should be a sour beer on tap. They also have food available which is delivered from a little shop across the parking lot and is surprisingly good.
wtm003 is online now  
Old Jul 23rd, 2013, 05:46 PM
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There's a hostel in Gunnison? I"m pretty sure there's one in Crested Butte. Don't know when you are doing this trip, but youll find quite a few Sheveporters in CB.

in Gunnison, Garlic Mike's is supposedly very good. Gunnison is a western town, and not much to see in my opinion, but definitely make the drive up to Crested Butte, I think it's different than any other place you've mentioned in your list. Super cute old Victorian mining town, but not as hardscrabble as some of the other old mining towns you've mentioned.

As far as hiking, there's an area called Hartman Rocks somewhere outside of Gunnison that people mountain bike or dirt bike on. I don't know which and I don't know if it would be a good area for hiking, but google it and see if you can find something out.

I would drive up to Crested Butte and hike the Lupine Trail. Fairly Easy, short right out of town. There's tons of hikes around Crested Butte, what kind of hike do you want?
williamscb13 is offline  
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