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12 Day Trip Starting from Denver - Where to go?

12 Day Trip Starting from Denver - Where to go?

Old Sep 2nd, 2012, 10:30 AM
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12 Day Trip Starting from Denver - Where to go?

I'm flying into Denver and I want to see the Western States; I have about 10-12 days. Where should I go and spend my time? I can leave Colorado but i need to return the rental car back to the airport. Thanks for your tips!
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Old Sep 2nd, 2012, 10:50 AM
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When? What do you enjoy seeing/doing?

Need more info before giving any real detailed advice. But I would cross Washington and Oregon off your list for sure, if you want to visit those states fly into Seattle or Portland.

Perhaps Yellowstone? There is a lot to see and do in Colorado as well, plus you aren't far from Utah if you get to SW Colorado.
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Old Sep 2nd, 2012, 06:30 PM
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Take I-70 west into Utah and turn left on 191. That will get you pointed at the red rock country. Off the top of my head, I would recommend Arches National Monument (Moab), CanyonlandsNational Park, Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon, Canyon DeChelly, Zion....the mind boggles. Get a good map of Utah or do some Googling. A few moments using Google Earth and you will fall in love. After you have seen as much red rock as you can handle, take I-15 back up to I-70 and onward to Denver.
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Old Sep 2nd, 2012, 07:34 PM
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This query is a little bit wide-open for what we typically address here on Fodors, but I'll give it a whirl:

The first thing one should think about, within hailing distance of Denver, is Yellowstone N.P., and if one heads in that direction the scenery of western Montana seems to beckon nearby.

No doubt that another major attraction to the west is The Grand Canyon, and while awkward, one can make use of Interstate 15 for a fairly straight-ish trip from Butte, Montana to St. George, Utah, where you might cut off to go to the Grand Canyon.

Don't know how (hell bent, sometimes...) you are about getting to the actual Pacific Coast, but IF that isn't a priority you might enjoy a circuitous route connecting Denver-Yellowstone-Western Montana-Eastern Idaho-Salt Lake City-Grand Canyon-New Mexico(???)-Colorado Rockies-Denver.

Guessing:

Night #1 - central Wyoming?
Day 2 - arrive at Yellowstone
Night #2 - Yellowstone
Day 3 - explore Yellowstone
Night #3 - Helena, Montana???
Day 4 - drive around the MT rockies
Night #4 - Idaho Falls, ID area ???
Day 5 - Drive to Salt Lake City
Night #5 - Salt Lake City, UT
Day 6 - bit of exploring SLC - then driving on
Night #6 - St. George, UT area ??
Day 7 - arrive at Grand Canyon
Night #7 - Grand Canyon area
Day 8 - explore (more of?) the Grand Canyon
Night #8 - Flagstaff, AZ ???
Day 9 - drive to New Mexico
Night #9 - Santa Fe or Taos, NM
Day 10 - explore Santa Fe/Taos
Night #10 - southwest Colorado
Day 11 - mountain drive to Denver
Night #11 - Denver
Day 12 - Fly home


Now IF, say, you live in Vermont, and your idea of "the west" has long been the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and you've never been, and if you long to put your feet in the Pacific Ocean (for the first time) then obviously you wanted more from such a trip.

Outside of that, the outline I made there might give you a backbone of something to consider.

(just guessing...)
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Old Sep 2nd, 2012, 07:50 PM
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Here's our whirlwind plan with about your amount of days traveling (before we settle down in Breckenridge for a bit). We leave Friday. (!!!)

arrive in Denver, then...
Cody, WY
West Yellowstone
Old Faithful Lodge
Grand Tetons
Panguitch (Bryce)
Grand Canyon south rim
Cameron, Az
Moab, UT
Breckenridge
back to Denver

We will see Yellowstone, Grand Tetons, Bryce,(maybe Zion), Grand Canyon, Arches, Canyonlands, Rocky Mtn NP and amazing scenery along the way. Most people will hate our trip. It's going to be work, but we are going to see so much. I wouldn't have dared mention it until I saw NorthwestMale's potential itinerary include Yellowstone and Grand Canyon in the same trip. (unheard of here on Fodors!)
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Old Sep 3rd, 2012, 08:36 AM
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Awesome! Thank you everyone! I plan to go in Mid-Sept and I would love to see the major natural sites and key historical cities/capitals...
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Old Sep 3rd, 2012, 10:49 AM
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The most I can say is "inside of car doors" trips. Whatever floats your boat.
One plus may be that in September the OP might be able to travel with minimal advance hotel reservations.
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Old Sep 3rd, 2012, 11:18 AM
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With 10-12 days, I would focus on Colorado and Utah.
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Old Sep 3rd, 2012, 12:02 PM
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Thanks Happytrails.See and enjoy things, and not do a driveby.
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Old Sep 3rd, 2012, 01:27 PM
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Mid-Sept? Like in 2 weeks or next year??

Sept and October are prime times for visits to the West/Southwest. Don't count on staying in any NP at this late date if it's for this year.
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Old Sep 3rd, 2012, 03:15 PM
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I feel vindicated already!

The very idea that somebody else is actually soon to do much of the itinerary that I randomly guessed-at, is comforting.

And, when driving throughout the west, it is noteworthy how many times the interstate freeways do NOT give you a direct path from point A to point B. Too often you have to dart off on two-lane highways, going in a direction that seems awkward.

In the case of Yellowstone-ish to Grand Canyon-ish, it is really significant that I-15 gives you a pretty straight-ish path between the two, all at freeway speeds. Not only that, but Salt Lake City is worth seeing, along that path (and I think visitors should go and see the lake itself)

Hope it all works well for both traveling parties.


PS - I once made a trip that included both the "Tomb of the Unknown Soldier" and the "Tomb of the Unknown Confederate Soldier" on the same driving trip.
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