1st timers seeking advice for Colorado trip

Old Apr 6th, 2021, 09:31 AM
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1st timers seeking advice for Colorado trip

My husband and I are traveling (we are in our 30s) to Colorado for the first time on July1st-9th. We are flying into Denver and plan to stay the night there for one night only. We have considered heading out the next day and seeing hanging lake (if its worth it). From there we plan to eventually make our way to Ouray/Telluride where we want to stay 3-4 nights. We are trying to find a 1-2 night stay before hitting Ouray/Telluride as well as at least a one night stay when heading back to Denver. We are interested in the quaint mountain towns with the scenery and downtowns you can walk to so trying to avoid all the big tourist spots. There are so many beautiful places it is is hard to know what loop to plan to do. We want to soak in all the scenery we can but also don't want to bog ourselves down. Looking to be a relaxing trip but hike and see all things outdoors. Don't mind day trip to other areas from where we are staying. We have looked at crested butte, palisade, Durango, creed, black canyon, etc but not sure where to focus our efforts and find a loop that is the most efficient to see what we can but also take our time. Very overwhelming. Any suggestions/recommendations on itineraries?
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Old Apr 6th, 2021, 10:19 AM
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You may know this, but Hanging Lake requires a reservation - last I heard it was still closed though due to the damage from the Grizzly Creek Fire.

https://visitglenwood.com/hanginglake/

I can't comment on its worthiness as I've never been.

A possible option with your limited time might be Hanging Lake to Telluride (just under four hours) - Telluride to Ouray (just over an hour) - Ouray to Durango via Red Mountain Pass (1:45) - Durango to Denver via Colorado Springs (almost eight hours though). Alternatively you could spend the night in Colorado Springs and head to the Denver airport from there, depending on what time your flight leaves. I'd suggest Manitou Springs or Old Colorado City as a base for this night as you can walk from place to place if you choose your accommodation wisely.

Telluride, Ouray and Durango all fit your requirement of 'quaint mountain town' although Durango is more of a small city.

Other towns that fit your description are Idaho Springs, Leadville (very small though), Buena Vista, Salida, Crested Butte, Steamboat Springs and Pagosa Springs.

Gunnison is a nice little town too, you might stay there before heading back to Colorado Springs/Denver, depending on your chosen route.

Sadly the quaint mountain towns often are 'the big tourist spots.'

Just be aware that parts of the Western Slope, in particular Grand Junction and Palisade will be very, very warm in July. The higher in elevation you go, the cooler the weather.

Last edited by Melnq8; Apr 6th, 2021 at 10:29 AM.
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Old Apr 6th, 2021, 10:22 AM
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Welcome to Fodors! I have no knowledge of Colorado, but have advice for posting to get the best responses. Include the destination in the title.. Use some paragraph breaks for the different portions of your questions. I will ask the moderators to fix your title (triangle method).
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Old Apr 6th, 2021, 10:42 AM
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tell me about crested butte? worth the trip? It seems to be kind of out of the way but a lot of people talk about how pretty it is and I wouldn't mind to go for a night or two. Also, the maroon bells?

Some people have suggested creed or grand lake also as well as pagosa spring but someone mentioned pagosa would be absolutely packed. Maybe Manitou is the better option.

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Old Apr 6th, 2021, 11:57 AM
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Pagosa probably would be packed. It is every time I drive through anyway.

Crested Butte is only a 34 minute drive from Gunnison. It's a pretty little town, but gets plenty of visitors in summer.

We visited a few years ago on one of our local road trips. My report is here, might give you a few ideas.

Thank God I'm a Mountain Girl
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