Arches to Monu. Valley to Mesa V

Jul 28th, 2008, 06:38 PM
  #1  
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Arches to Monu. Valley to Mesa V

We are putting together a seven night trip in late August and the tentative plan is to do the following,

Fly into Grand Junction, drive directly to Moab, stay 3 nights.
Next night Monument Valley area, stay at Gouldings?
Next night Durango to see Mesa Verde
Next night around Black Canyon in Colorado.
Final night, back to Grand Junction before return flight home.
Would appreciate suggestions.
mikec54321 is offline  
Jul 28th, 2008, 06:51 PM
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Suggestions on itinerary or what??

Deb
DebitNM is offline  
Jul 28th, 2008, 07:55 PM
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Looks like a pretty good plan ... you have a ? by Gouldings ... no doubt it's the best place to stay in the area as you're very close to the entrance to the Valley. If you can't get a room there then there are three good places in Kayenta 24 miles south, with Hampton Inn being our first choice.

Next night Durango to see Mesa Verde

Cortez is closer, though Durango seems positively cosmopolitan compared to Cortez ... we usually stay at Cortez though when visiting Mesa Verde.

Bill
Bill_H is offline  
Jul 28th, 2008, 08:03 PM
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Thanks for the quick response.
We couldn't get a room at Gouldings.
Is it feasible to drive from Moab to Monument Valley, see Valley of the Gods, and Gooseneck and end the day at Cortez, or is that too much driving in one day?
Also is there a better place to spend the night in Colorado than Montrose if we want to see Black Canyon?
mikec54321 is offline  
Jul 28th, 2008, 08:48 PM
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We couldn't get a room at Gouldings.

There are a couple of decent, passable places 22 north of MV at Mexican Hat, and in Kayenta 24 miles south there is a Hampton Inn, Best Western Wetherill Inn and Holiday Inn (in that order) that are all OK (Holiday) to very fine (Hampton). So you can work around no rooms at Gouldings (a common happening).

Is it feasible to drive from Moab to Monument Valley, see Valley of the Gods, and Gooseneck and end the day at Cortez, or is that too much driving in one day?

Goosenecks is basically just an overlook, Valley of the Gods might take an hour or so (I think it's about a 16 mile loop on a dirt road). Moab to MV is 2.5 hours plus the time you spend at VotG and Goosenecks ... you could definitely make it to Cortez but it would be more enjoyable to spend the night at Mexican Hat or Kayenta and spend some time in Monument Valley on a day tour, though in late August it's very hot and dusty.

Bill

Bill_H is offline  
Jul 29th, 2008, 09:59 AM
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If you can get a night @ Valley of the Gods B&B that is far far better than Gouldings. Personally Monument Valley didn't really do much for me. I would just drive thru and skip the tours. Gooseneck is worth seeing in my opinion. I would stay in Mesa Verde if available. You can do it in one day, but you probably will just get to see one house. Two days would be better. Do you not want to ride the train in Durango?

Arches is a really good park IMO. It will be hot!! Hike early. If you adventurous I can tell you about several really cool things to do at Arches.

Natural Bridges is a good Monument to see on your way. Sipapu Bridge is one impressive span. I know that Landscape Arch is longer, but Sipapu will get your attention just as much if not more. You would probably want to see Needles of Canyonlands along the way also.
spirobulldog is offline  
Jul 29th, 2008, 06:12 PM
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Hi Mike,

I like the idea of driving THROUGH Monument Valley on the way to CORTEZ and Mesa Verde-just a tad out of the way--check a map for the route. Try to stay in the park, if you can. Cortez is just fine, although I know some people find it fairly mundane and a bit pedestrian.

Montrose is a smallish town with a decent downtown and a variety of motels. I would definitely stay there if visiting Black Canyon. It is so close, you can spend lots of time in the park and not worry about having a long drive back.

Linda in Grand Junction
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Jul 29th, 2008, 07:22 PM
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We liked the Silver Bean for coffee and breakfast burrito in Cortez. Smoothie's were good as well.
spirobulldog is offline  
Jul 29th, 2008, 09:27 PM
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Thank you all.
Please explain the tour of Mesa Verde and what the "house" reference is about?
I also don't know about the train ride in Durango. Is there anything else to do around Durango?
Anyone know about Ouray or Teluride as far as if it would make sense to stay there on the way to Black Canyon instead of Montrose?
How far is Durango from Cortez.
We are easy to moderate hikers, so any suggestions for hikes on this trip would be appreciated. We have hiked to Landscape Arch and were planning to hike to Delicate Arch.






mikec54321 is offline  
Jul 30th, 2008, 06:41 AM
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I second the idea of Valley of the gods B and B. look at their website. It is a wonderful and unique place!!!!!
going_places is offline  
Jul 30th, 2008, 06:50 AM
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In Mesa Verde NP the "houses" are ancient cliff dwellings that the Ancient Puebloans [formerly known as Anasazi] lived in in over 1000 years ago [from approx 600 AD to 1300AD]. Cliff Palace, Spruce Tree House, Balcony House and Long House and Step house are availabe to view. It is an an incredible place to be and to see what life was like here in the SW at that time.

In addition, there are wonderful trails to hike. A full day is highly recommended as a minimum; 2 is even better. http://www.nps.gov/meve/

The drive from Cortez to Durango, should be around 50 minutes.

Cortez to the entrance of Mesa Verde NP is only about 10 minutes, but it will take another 30 + minutes to reach visitor's center. Tour tickets are purchased there and are necessary for visit the cliff dwellings. If you want to go where the crowds aren't - go to Long House and Step House. It is another 40 minute drive, but it is unique because you can walk into the dwellings and look out and see exactly the same view as 1000 years ago. Only 10% of park visitors venture back there and it is great. [Only open Mem. Day to Labor Day.]

Durango has a narrow gauge steam railroad that does an excursion to Silverton and then back. It is a nice ride, but only take the train one way [they have a bus that will bring you back to Durango]. Round trip takes too much time and the trip back isn't anything different. Also, don't eat in Silverton, wait until you get back to Durango as the few places available in Silverton are expensive and so so at best.

http://www.durangotrain.com/

There's lots to do in Durango, it is a wonder place to spend a few days:
http://www.durango.org/Activities/SummerFall/index.asp

Ouray is nice little town with Box Canyon Falls to hike and a large hot springs pool open to public. Yankee Boy Basin is a great hike too. I think it would be a nicer place to stay than Montrose which is a bit bigger but has no real charm factor.

Telluride is a upscale, trendy town with high prices but some great trails to hike. Tom Boy is an old mining town above Telluride and is pretty neat to see all the abandoned stuff there. Restaurants and hotels will be $$$ especially if weekend as they have festivals almost every weekend. Also makes for 2 night minimums at hotels.

If you click on my name, I have lots of threads on all of these places as I live in the area.

Hope this helps,
Deb
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Jul 30th, 2008, 07:32 AM
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I might add, we did the zipline with the trainride. It is expensive and adventurous, but very worth it.

I would see as many houses at Mesa Verde as possible in the time that you are there. I think the best park is The Petroglyph Point Trail. I have not hiked many of the trails. I did do Petroglyph along with a couple of others.
spirobulldog is offline  
Jul 30th, 2008, 08:14 PM
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Thanks to everyone for the great suggestions.
It sounds like we will have plenty to do on this trip.
mikec54321 is offline  
Jul 31st, 2008, 08:10 AM
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Ouray is the place to stop.

Try to get a room at the Weisbaden Hot Springs Spa. They have thier own hot spring that heats the pool and, best of all, The Vapor Cave with a very hot pool in it. Unique. All the hot springs in Ouray are non-smelly...no suphur smell at all.

The Vapor Cave:

http://www.pbase.com/peterb/image/49876614

Ouray:

http://www.pbase.com/peterb/image/49876625

It is an about an hour and a half to the Black Canyon from Ouray as I recall.

I also agree that you should stay inside the park at Mesa Verde..the entrance road is at least a half hour of twisty road so, about an hour from Cortez just to the MV visitors center. Great food at the Metate Room in the park as well...rare for a Nat'l Park.

One of the "houses" in Mesa Verde NP:

http://www.pbase.com/peterb/image/49929788

I also second the Valley of the Gods B&B...a special place to stay but reservations will be tough this late. Another option in striking distance is the San Juan Inn near Mexican Hat.

Enjoying a rare rainstorm at Valley of the Gods B&B...love the place!

http://www.pbase.com/peterb/image/21346500

Have a great time and take lots of pictures


peterboy is offline  
Jul 31st, 2008, 08:24 PM
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If we were to leave Moab at around 9:00 am, can someone give me a timetable of the ride to Monument Valley, visiting Gooseneck and Valley of the Gods and then heading to Cortez.
In otherwords, I am trying to figure out if it would be too much driving in one day, or whether it is practical.


mikec54321 is offline  
Aug 1st, 2008, 11:36 AM
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Mapquest puts the drive from Moab to Monument Valley at 2h 50m. Then 2h 42m from MV to Cortez. That's about 6 hours of just driving w/o stops. The loop through Valley of the Gods is good for an hour at a leisurely pace. Might as well drive up the Moki Dugway since it is right there...add an hour. Goosenecks overlook add a half an hour. Monument Valley is good for 3 hours minimum.

Looks like an 11+ hour day without accounting for meals. Too long for me.

I'd slow down and end at Monument Valley to watch the sunset then backtrack to the San Juan Inn for the night. You need to backtrack anyway from MV to go to Cortez.

You could add Natural Bridges to that day since you've freed up the time you'd spend driving to Cortez.
peterboy is offline  
Aug 1st, 2008, 11:45 AM
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If we were to leave Moab at around 9:00 am, can someone give me a timetable of the ride to Monument Valley, visiting Gooseneck and Valley of the Gods and then heading to Cortez.

It's about a 5 - 5:30 drive if you go straight thru ... add an hour to 90 minutes to drive thru VotG and a 15 minutes at the overlook.

So you can probably make it to Cortez around 4 PM.

Bill
Bill_H is offline  
Aug 1st, 2008, 12:54 PM
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Bill, you forgot that they want to visit Monument Valley also.
peterboy is offline  
Aug 1st, 2008, 01:00 PM
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Bill, you forgot that they want to visit Monument Valley also

From his last post I got the impression he was skipping doing a Monument Valley tour since he couldn't get a room at Gouldings ... if he does a tour then for sure it adds another 3 hours or so, but doing a MV tour in the middle of the day in August is pretty miserable, I think. Sunrise and sunset are the two best times to be there.

Mike, some of the places peterboy suggested between Moab and Mexican Hat are pretty interesting (Natural Bridges, Needles district, Moki Dugway etc) and I personally would fit in as many of these as possible, then in the afternoon or early evening do a tour thru Monument Valley and then over-night at Kayenta. This is a more relaxing, productive day, I feel (at least for my tastes). Then the next day you have plenty of time to get to Cortez or Durango and fit in Mesa Verde the same day ...

Bill
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Aug 1st, 2008, 02:56 PM
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Mikec: if you're deciding whether or not to tour Monument Valley, my vote is YES. Do spend time there. If you or anyone with whom you're traveling has ever had any desire to see this part of the US in living color, you will not be disappointed.

It is truly magical in person. I would allow at least two hours to drive through the valley and hop in and out of your car. There are guided tours, which I guess would possibly give you some background, but you have more freedom driving the dirt road loop yourself. It takes you to all the main formations.

I had huge expectations before going, but I kept thinking I'd be disappointed. From about 60 miles out, I thought I should be able to see everything - but you can't. We drove into Monument Valley from the south, and even driving up the dirt road entrance, I remember thinking "Is this it?????". Even from the main overlook, you only really see a few formations, so definitely do the drive!

We spent about 3.5 hours, but we hiked from the main overlook to the "Mitten" formation and back (a fairly easy hike, although we might not have done it if we had known how close you can get to other formations!), then did the scenic loop, stopping at nearly every formation. We were there in the middle of the day in early September - yes, it was hot. We wore shorts and long sleeve light cotton shirts, which I think is the perfect combo in the desert.

I would think sunset would be absolutely spectacular, and it's on my list to go back. Don't let lack of lodging keep you from going (we stayed in Page, AZ the night before and stayed in Capitol Reef NP that night!).
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