10 days in Colorado-need advice

Oct 8th, 2006, 09:08 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 18
10 days in Colorado-need advice

We're planning to fly into Denver and spend 4 nights at RMNP. Then we want to see Mesa Verde. We want 3-4 nights in that area. I know it's a long drive between RMNP and Mesa Verde, so we'd like to spend a couple days in the middle somewhere else. We're hikers, not shoppers, so I need advice which roads to take and the best place to spend a couple of days between our two places.
PattyBikowsky is offline  
Oct 8th, 2006, 09:34 AM
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When is your trip? That makes a huge difference in suggestions because of road closures in the winter.
tekwriter is offline  
Oct 8th, 2006, 04:41 PM
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We're going next August. I plan vacations WAY in advance!
PattyBikowsky is offline  
Oct 8th, 2006, 07:04 PM
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Nothing wrong with planning ahead! And yes, it is a long and kind of difficult drive from RMNP to MV that is best appreciated if it's broken up by at least one or two nights' stay en route. But you can traverse some of the best scenic roads in Colorado (if not the country) and see some very interesting locations.

I'd recommend that you head west from Estes over Trail Ridge Road through Grand Lake to I-70 west, then south on Hwy. 91 through Leadville to Buena Vista. If you're interested in white water rafting, this is the best place to get a trip. Then go west on Hwy. 50 towards Gunnison, stopping for a visit at the Black Canyon of the Gunnison Nat. Monument. Great hiking there, and Gunnison or Crested Butte would be a good stopping point. Then continue on west on Hwy 50, then south on 550 at Montrose for a heck of a drive, over the Million Dollar Hwy to Durango. The town of Ouray is known as the Switzerland of America and is a tourist favorite. Once you're in Durango, you're close to Mesa Verde. Do be prepared for hot, hot weather at Mesa Verde. It is a terrific park, though, and 3-4 days is a good amount of time to see a lot.

Returning to Denver, you should go west on 160 all the way to I-25. It is a very long drive back to Denver, so you might consider Alamosa to stay overnight, and you could even take in a quick visit to the Great Sand Dunes National Park, a very unique and beautiful area. On your last day going back to Denver, you might stop for a half day in Colorado Springs to take a quick tour of the Garden of the Gods and maybe the Air Force Academy.

It will be a great trip and you'll see quite a bit. Have fun planning!
tekwriter is offline  
Oct 8th, 2006, 07:26 PM
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Let me suggest you make it a hot springs affair.

Take your time going over Trail Ridge Road from Estes Park to Granby. At Granby, take U.S. Hwy 40 west to Hot Sulphur Springs. Check in at the Riverside Hotel in Hot Sulphur Springs (a quaint, and clean old hotel along the banks of the Colorado River), and then spend the rest of the day soaking in the hot springs.

Next day, continue west on Hwy 40 to Kremmling, then south on Hwy 9 to Silverthorne. Then west on I-70 through Glenwood Canyon to Glenwood Springs. There are a myriad of hotels/motels of varying price range in Glenwood, (including the Hotel Colorado, and the Denver Hotel). Pick one and check in, then spend the rest of the day at the world's largest hot springs pool.

Next day drive south out of Glenwood on Hwy 82 to Carbondale, then Hwy 133 over McLure Pass to Hotchkiss, then Hwy 92 to Delta, then Hwy 50 to Montrose, then Hwy 550 to Ouray. Check in at a hotel/motel in Ouray and spend the rest of your day at the Ouray Hot Springs.

The next day.....on to Mesa Verde.
furledleader is offline  
Oct 8th, 2006, 07:30 PM
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We did a very similiar trip a few Summers ago and it remains one of my fav road trips. We did Glenwood Springs, Telluride, Mesa Verde, 4 Corners, Durango, Silverton, Ouray, Gunnison Natl. Park, and ended with Estes Park, RMNP and an ice cream stop in Grand Lake. We did it in about 10 days. It was very hot except in Telluride and RMNP, so it was nice to have those cool spots as respite. BEAUTIFUL places, one and all. My favorites were Telluride, Mesa Verde and RMNP. Have fun planning. I too like to savor the trip long before I go!!
AuntAnnie is offline  
Oct 9th, 2006, 03:58 PM
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Thanks for the great suggestions! Tekwriter, we are just traveling one way..flying out of Durango. So do you think our best way to travel would be through Buena Vista or through Alamosa? Furledleader, Thank you too, but we are definitely not hot springs relaxing type of people. I'm too hyper to sit still for more than 20 minutes, so either keep me hiking or watching beautiful scenery or I get ants in my pants! LOL
PattyBikowsky is offline  
Oct 9th, 2006, 07:07 PM
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Alamosa itself isn't worth a detour, although I do love the Sand Dunes... but I'd recommend Buena Vista, then to Black Canyon of the Gunnison. BCG is a very unique place in Colorado, very awesome canyon scenery and a place where you can hike. If you have time (which I believe you do) and a rental car (doesn't have to be 4WD), go over Cottonwood Pass, which is north of Buena Vista, off Hwy 24 and leads to Crested Butte. It's unpaved on the west side, but an astounding trip and in August would probably be ripe with high mountain wildflowers.

Check out this website for descriptions of the most scenic roads in the state, Colorado Scenic Byways:

You should have time to explore some of these roads and August is the best time!
tekwriter is offline  
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