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williamscb13 Jul 27th, 2020 03:00 PM

Colorado & Texas & maybe Utah
I'm planning on driving back to East Texas from Crested Butte, Colorado in late August. It will be myself and my 8 year old son. I'm planning on taking about a week or so and stopping along the way. I have two/ three options.

1. The Long Way - Moab/Arches National Park - Mesa Verde - Great Sand Dunes National Park - Palo Duro Canyon - home
Mesa Verde is still partially closed and not allowing visitors into the Cliff Dwellings.

2. Still Long but more reasonable - Colorado Springs - Great Sand Dunes National Park - Palo Duro Canyon - home

3. A Bit shorter - Salida instead of Colorado springs.

Things to ponder
3 National Parks sounds pretty cool
My son would love a hot spring and pool.
He's not a huge hiker but will walk a mile or two. I'm not so concerned about visitors centers being closed as this is more of a fun trip.
Is Mesa Verde worth it if we can't climb in the Cliff dwellings?

Lastly, The Great Sand Dunes is highest priority since it's replacing a beach trip this year.

Any insights?

Melnq8 Jul 27th, 2020 03:45 PM

1) Your long way is seriously long (I came up with 1,074 miles and that only gets you to Palo Duro). All that driving doesn't leave much time to to see the places you're driving to.

We were in Mesa Verde in June and it was lovely, primarily because the cliff dwellings were closed, so the park was joyfully quiet. We loved it, and didn't miss the cliff dwellings one iota. Do you like the heat? It'll be damn hot in all three places, especially Arches.

2) Is there a reason you want to visit the Springs? If not, I'd just stay south.

3) Same with Salida...any reason you want to see it? Not one of the state's highlights. It's gorgeous around Buena Vista though and you'll find hot springs at Mount Princeton (book early, they fill up).

As you're looking for hot springs, how about driving from Crested Butte to Ouray (127 miles) then head over Red Mountain pass to Durango? Beautiful part of the state.

Or maybe try to incorporate Pagosa Springs? Easy to combine with Durango.

williamscb13 Jul 28th, 2020 04:57 AM

You are very right that it's a long way. It's 1000 miles from Crested Butte to where I live. So what's another 400? I need to plot out actual days and driving time and see if it's feasible.
No reason to visit the Springs, just trying to figure out some place to go for a few days. We'd go through Salida not to stay but to say hi to a friend and maybe lunch.

I'm going to look into Buena Vista and Mount Princeton. I've been to Ouray years and years ago but never Durango. So that's a definite possibility.

I need to do more investigating and perhaps I need to leave Arches and Mesa Verde for another summer.

Gretchen Jul 28th, 2020 07:24 AM

At 8 your son is "ripe" for a dinosaur tour. About 29 miles welt of Colorado Springs is Woodland CO and a real gem of a dinosaur museum. It is small, includes a laboratory where you can watch paleontologists working on artifacts. Has nice exhibits of various kinds of animals that roamed the earth at that time.
Also on the outskirts of Denver there is Dinosaur Ridge and Morrison with artifacts and a small museum.
CO Springs also offers the Air Force Academy for a sight to see.
And Denver offers good stuff to do--the zoo, Museum of Natural History, Aquarium if it is open.
The Great Sand Dunes are interesting but I'll bet HOT in August.

tomfuller Jul 28th, 2020 03:29 PM

FYI: The world's largest hot spring fed swimming pool is in Glenwood Springs CO. GWS also has a great hiking/bicycle trail along the Colorado River through the beautiful Glenwood Canyon.
Consider White Sands NM if you want to see some big dunes. They're not sand but gypsum.

wtm003 Jul 28th, 2020 06:03 PM

When my sons were young, they had a blast feeding the fish at the Mt. Shavano Fish Hatchery in Salida. I did a quick google search and it looks like it's open. During our visit, there was a short presentation and then we were all given large cans of fish food. We all had fun!

The Sand Dunes will be hot in August. I prefer going in the spring when Medano Creek is flowing. If you do go, make sure it's early in the day and consider renting a sand board - in Alamosa, etc.- before you enter the park.

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