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Colorado-Help plz w/itinerary for SW Colorado &/or Aspen area...at a loss!

Colorado-Help plz w/itinerary for SW Colorado &/or Aspen area...at a loss!

Old Sep 4th, 2007, 03:42 PM
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Colorado-Help plz w/itinerary for SW Colorado &/or Aspen area...at a loss!

Hi, guys!

The amount of knowledge here is a wonder always to me. And, we're considering a very last minute trip to Colorado to visit a brother who has had a rough year of it. So, I don't want to burden him at all w/any of the 'logistics' I might come up with.

He is currently re-locating to the Ridgway area from Frisco region. (was a brief time there) My hubby & I aren't even sure where to fly into? Would consider an open jaw flight perhaps into Denver & out of either Montrose, Durango, Grand Junction or wherever makes the most sense! If it saves a lot of time, and everyone here thinks we could swing a decent trip w/only 5 days...I guess we could do RT to these smaller airports, but I lean towards not spending the time just waiting for connections...
and also flying on smaller planes, etc.

Hence, hubby & I were sort of interested in seeing Aspen region...the Maroon Bells, etc. Was there once many moons ago, but not to the Maroon Bells. Could be nice to hike maybe in later Sept? My husband is an avid photographer, as a hobby, so would like to give him a little fun too on this trip! (not make it just about visiting family, altho' that TOO is important to us)

If we will be concentrating our time near Ridgway, Ouray, Durango, & maybe Mesa Verde...do you think that's enough for one week...or doable in 5 days? Do you think adding Aspen in is too ambitious?
Drive to Aspen from Denver airport...not wise if any of it in the dark? Just wondering. I'll post more in another box.
Hate to make this one too long.
Thanks!
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Old Sep 4th, 2007, 03:48 PM
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Okay...more details of our wishes/desires, in case some of you willing to lend advice.

Also considered Rocky Mtn Nat'l Park as I realize it's not a bad drive from Denver. Could overnight in Estes Park. We LOVE elk in the autumn w/their bugling. So, if a one day trip through RMNP (if doing a full work week/wknds trip to Colorado) makes SENSE...if you all think there's enough different there to 'warrant' going that direction, we'd gladly add that in, for the elk.

Also, were there, but again, 20 yrs ago!

Otherwise, I was thinking of skipping it this time, since I read/heard that SW Colorado has so much beauty, TOO,
on its own. So maybe "enough"?
Any great elk viewing spots in this region, per chance?

So would love thoughts on including either RMNP, Aspen or skipping them in lieu of more time in SW corner.
Mesa Verde? Definitely have an interest, but again...if doing only 5 day trip, I think we'd have to skip?

However, if doing a full workweek off...plus wknds, like I said...
then, maybe could include. Not sure if many of the tours are closed this time of year, however, if worth it?
I was there when 6 yrs old! Not that I'm 40...seems time to see again! ;-)

So, if you would like to share what would be your ideal itinerary for this region, please do!!
(keeping in mind, I probably need a couple nights near Ridgway, to help my brother & see him too) ;-)

Please share your wisdom here!
All the best....

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Old Sep 4th, 2007, 03:50 PM
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Oooo...
if we WOULD do Aspen...perhaps
we could loop down from there,
and see Black Canyon of the Gunnison on the way to Ridgway area? Not sure.

Also, if doing Aspen first...
I wonder if there would be a nice spot to overnight along the way, that would be maybe halfway or 2/3 of the way there, without needing to make it ALL the way? (in case our flight doesn't arrive into Denver until 3pm) Thanks again!
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Old Sep 4th, 2007, 03:56 PM
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As I wrote in some of your earlier posts, there is as much or as little to do in SW Colorado as you want to fit in.

Flying to/from regional airports [even with connection time] makes sense in that it cuts out a lot of driving.

I don't think you can do Aspen, Rocky Mtn, Estes etc in conjunction with SW Colorado. You need to pick one area and go from there. Once you do that, then you can fine tune flights, hotels routes, sites, restaurants etc. Time is getting short and choice could be limited because of that.

Either area will have great foliage. SW CO will have Mesa Verde which I personally think should not be missed.

Hope this helps..
Debi
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Old Sep 4th, 2007, 04:24 PM
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Thanks, Debi!
Will skip RMNP, then, for sure, I think. Aspen, still mulling
only because flying into Denver really brings costs down for us...at least
doing it one way.

Would you recommend staying at that Far View Lodge near Mesa Verde, if I can find space? Or, is it in such dire straits, that the convenience isn't worth it? Have you been recently?

Some of the reviews of it on Tripadvisor were pretty nasty, as far as rodent droppings, etc. The rates are quite high for their better rooms...lots more than people discussing on TripAdvisor reviews seemed to indicate even.

So, if we can't splurge on the Kiva rooms (mid-200's this time of year or this late in the game)...is it best to simply avoid it? Generally, we are find w/park lodges, knowing many need work. But I've never before read so many reviews of a place having rodent droppings in rooms...

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Old Sep 4th, 2007, 05:20 PM
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IF you can work it out, Far View Lodge has a special $49 rate for Thursday nights. It is good through 9/30.

http://travel.latimes.com/articles/la-tr-deal5aug05

You can call 1-800-449-2288 and book with them. Tell them you want the LA Times $49 night deal. Their online booking doesn't seem to work to well.

There is also a Th & Fr 2 night deal with dinner and a tour for $269.

If you go on another night, Kiva is $140 or $127 with AAA for a night; not sure where you got the $200.

Do a search on here by typing in Far View Lodge and see threads and reports - there are some. Don't remember reading about droppings...
Debi
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Old Sep 4th, 2007, 07:31 PM
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I would skip RMNP on this trip. If you have a full week, I think you can add a quick trip to Aspen on the way to SW Colorado. Since your husband is into photography, I think a visit to Maroon Bells is a must - especially in the fall. If you arrive in Denver late afternoon or evening, I recommend driving as far as Frisco. The best part of the drive to Aspen is from Leadville and over Independence Pass. The scenery is spectacular and you don't want to miss this part of the drive.

We've made the stop at Black Canyon of the Gunnison on the way from Aspen to Ouray a few times. It is a nice way to spend a few hours and break-up the drive.

We stayed in a basic room at the Far View Lodge in July. I never saw any mouse droppings and the room was clean but worn. We only stayed one night - two would have been too many - but I do think it was worth it for the convenience. We arrived mid-afternoon, got tickets for the last tour of Cliff Palace and next day tickets for Balcony House. That same day we toured the museum, Spruce Tree House and Cliff Palace. That evening we enjoyed a margarita on the patio while watching the stars appear and then off to bed. The next morning we hit Balcony House first thing and left the park around noon.

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Old Sep 5th, 2007, 01:00 AM
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Debi & wtm...
Thanks so very much for the tips for specials for Far View Lodge, Debi.
Truly appreciate it! Rates I
saw were on the hotel website for dates I was looking at, but perhaps I somehow misunderstood the rates, and it included some perks. Not sure. Will look again. WTM...thank you too! Helpful advice on where to stay if including Aspen. Thanks for understanding why my hubby might enjoy seeing the Bells, most esp. (sees it mentioned so often in photog. mags, I think) Scenery might be every bit as spectacular in SW corner, but not knowing yet...
just the same, I know if we only do 5 days, we'll stay in the corner only.
But if we do get a full week, will probably try doing more. Thanks again,
everyone!
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Old Sep 5th, 2007, 01:16 PM
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Debi, thanks also for other replies
to my earlier threads! I'd forgotten about them, in fact, having posted them JUST before we had friends in town. (so it's all a blur now) ;-)

Found lots of helpful info again via those, too. Thanks again!
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Old Sep 5th, 2007, 04:04 PM
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Aspen is a favorite of ours, but if you can't fit it in, how about considering Telluride or Crested Butte? They are both charming, beautiful and historic Colorado areas.
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Old Sep 5th, 2007, 10:36 PM
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Thanks, Maureen!
Will have to see if we'll have a week.
If not, won't be able to do Aspen, it seems. Nice to know that Telluride is
also worthwhile...and Crested Butte?
I'll have to do some reading on that,
as I'm not that familiar w/it.
Thanks again!
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Old Sep 7th, 2007, 06:59 AM
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Howdy dreamer,
If you go by way of Denver, on your way to Aspen, take CO. Hwy. 24 (Minturn exit off I-70) west of Vail to Leadville. (more scenic then the turn at Copper Mtn.) As wtm advised over Independence Pass through Twin Lakes. When leaving Aspen, go to Carbondale and take CO. 133 through Redstone (which is worth a stroll), past Marble (or stop), and you will drive along the North Rim of the Black Canyon. It is a little back tracking, but well worth the drive.
As for the Elk! Just between Ridgeway and Ouray, there is a spot where they will be coming out at dusk on the East side of the road. It is private land, but you can stop by the road and take pics and listen.
One of the top photo spots I enjoy in Colorado is just west of Ridgeway, the Dallas Divide. (http://www.mikebartonphoto.com/Color...asDivide1.html)
Enjoy your trip. I will be there the last week of September as always enjoying the area.
Happy trails,
SandBilly
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Old Sep 7th, 2007, 08:44 AM
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If you are considering Crested Butte, you might be interested in the trip report I wrote about my short stay there last year:

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...1&tid=34804638
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Old Sep 7th, 2007, 05:33 PM
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Thanks, Sandbilly for the tip
for elk, as timing-wise, might not make it to RMNP this time around.

However, airfare is just awful to the smaller towns, so on the *other* hand,
just might have to do a RT to Denver to save money. Also, the same goes for car rentals vs. open jaw car rentals. Will see.

Appreciate the road recommendations.
If we *would* do a quick tour through RMNP, best way to get to Aspen from there? Or...maybe we only do RMNP...hurry on down to see my brother in Ridgway area...spend 3 days there (w/day trips out to Ouray & Telluride)...then, if time, do a day or so at Mesa Verde....then, back up through Aspen on way back to Denver airport? Thoughts on that?
Crazy?! ;-) Thanks again, everyone!

And Nikki, thanks for the trip report link for Crested Butte.
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