Colorado Itenerary

Old Apr 10th, 2010, 07:49 AM
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Colorado Itenerary

Going to Colorado this summer (late June or early July) for 10 nights with wife and three kids 10, 12, and 14. First and probably only time to Colorado. Flying in and out of Denver. My thought is to change locations every two nights to see more of the state. I am thinking of several alternatives. First choice is Denver, RNNP, Steamboat Springs, Vail, and Colorado Springs. Also considering combining Steam Boat and Vail into a 4 night stay at one or the other and getting a cabin or condo to have more room. But I want to see as many different places as possible. Also considereing extending the trip to 12 nights and maybe go into Utah to see national parks (Arches, even as far as Zion). Any suggestions? Are most resort towns similar? If not, which one or two are best for a family? Aspen , Vail, Breckenridge, SBS, etc? Denver and RMNP are musts, but the rest of the trip is being debated.
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Old Apr 10th, 2010, 08:22 AM
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I think your itinerary is too much. If you change locations every 2 nights, you end up seeing each place for about a day and you are going to spend a lot of your trip in the car. I have a 12 and a 14 year old, and they would think your trip sounds miserable (and they've been to Colorado 11 times to ski and twice in the summer).

Vail is just a ski resort along the interstate. I'd skip it. Start in Denver for a couple of nights, go up to RMNP for several days and then over to Steamboat for a few days and then back to Denver to fly home. On your drive back from Steamboat, you can check out Vail and Breckenridge. Alternatively, you could fly out of or into Colorado Springs so you could enjoy that area instead of Denver.

Adding 2 nights doesn't give you enough time to go to Utah and spend any time there to see it. Spend at least 3 nights at places so your kids can get out of the car and enjoy being outdoors in Colorado. Colorado is a beautiful place but it's not one where you need to see the whole state (even if it's your only trip there).

Lastly, let me suggest that your kids are at an age where they might love staying at a ranch for a week. By staying in one spot, they can ride horses, fish, hike, possibly raft, etc. They would have much better memories of their trip to Colorado than if you spend every other day packing up and driving in the car. Check out ranchweb.com for ranches. We've stayed twice at Lane Guest Ranch near RMNP and recommend it.
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Old Apr 10th, 2010, 10:08 AM
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It is difficult to see the whole state in ten days. You might make it a little more compact. RMNP, Trailridge road, etc. is great to drive through but Estes Park at that time of year is very tourist. I would consider Breckenridge. There is nothing in Steamboat that you could not see or do in Breckenridge. It is has gold mines, alpine slides, and a number of other things for the boys. Lots of paved bike/hiking trails. You could day trip to Vail and Leadville. Leadville has a terrific 12 mile hiking/biking loop -- Mineral Belt trail -- that everyone would love. Move on to Glenwood Springs -- worlds largest hot tub actually a huge, natural hot springs pool. The trail along the Colorado through Glenwood Canyon is spectacular. Day trip to Aspen and Maroon Bells. Could do some floats trips in the area. Could circle back through on CO 9/US 285 - Fairplay, Alma. Interest outdoor museum at Alma. Of if a little more adventuresome try Gold pass to Como. Then there is Tiny Town off 285 that the boys would love. You would see a lot of Colorado, some of it off the beaten path, with a min amount of driving.
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Old Apr 10th, 2010, 12:53 PM
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Just my personal opinion, but I like Utah far more than Colorado. Each National Park there requires a couple of days at each. There is a ton of things to see along the way. I probably would not go in the summer, and you are probably to late this year to get any of the lodges. Durango/zipline/train is my favorite thing in Colorado. Mesa Verde is probably my next favorite. Great Sand Dunes, RMNP, Black Canyon of the Gunnison are all worthwhile, but not as outstanding as other national parks. If you like mountains in the cool summertime, then a lot of the other places you mention would be great. There are things to do there, but just aren't me. With your boys, I would for sure find an Alpine Slide. There are several in Colorado. I think my favorite would be at Winter Park, but they are all similar.
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Old Apr 10th, 2010, 01:10 PM
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I was in Colorado last year and loved it. I would highly recommend Durango and the steam train that goes to/from Silverton. I am far from a train buff and wouldn't have done the trip unless my travel buddy had insisted on it, but it was excellent. We took the bus up and the open car back. It was amazing!

I also loved Great Sand Dunes and RMMP. Was there in May and both Saturday nights we had trouble arriving at some places and finding somewhere to stay, so make sure you have reservations. Have a great time - it's an amazing state!

Laura
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Old Apr 10th, 2010, 01:30 PM
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Thanks for the advice. I do tend to over plan. My wife would prefer to get a cabin for a week and make day trips. But I try to get as much into the trip as possible. Especially if it is a place we will not be back. We live in Florida so we like the mountains for a change. Been to the smoky mountains three times. It is cheaper since we can drive. I have heard the rockies are different. But with 5 plane tickets and a rental car, we probably will not be back. It will be back to the smoky mountains next summer. Originally I wanted to see north and south Colorado. I conceded to stay with-in a reasonable drive of Denver. I was still working on getting my wife to agree to a road trip through Utah. I think it probably is best to pick a one place to stay four nights in a cabin or condo so we can enjoy a more relaxed pace.
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Old Apr 10th, 2010, 02:32 PM
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Rocky Mountains stretch a lot further than just Rocky Mountain NP. And yes, they blow the Smokey's away, IMOP. If I were going to stay somewhere for 4 or 5 days with boys that age, it would be Yellowstone. This way you get a taste of the Tetons as well. I thought the train was okay, but the zipline(only available by riding the train) was fantastic. If you get a chance to see Arches, go for it. I think Zion is a bit far from Denver to even consider it.
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Old Apr 10th, 2010, 02:53 PM
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Colorado and Utah are vastly different. Colorado is mostly a mountain country while Utah has a decidedly more arid climate and geography. If flying into Denver, I'd stick to Colorado as it'd be about a five hour trip from DIA to the Utah border or Moab.

I agree with fmpden that Estes is very touristy and while a trip through RNMP is proably a plus on any itinerary, I'd avoid staying or spending much time in Estes. In fact fmpden's plan is a good one. Southwest Colorado including the Great Sand Dunes, Durango, Ouray, Telluride amd Mesa Verde would be another option but takes you further from Denver.
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Old Apr 10th, 2010, 04:21 PM
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I like fmpden's plan too.

We enjoyed riding the Leadville train into the mountains. Kids out-numbered the adults.

http://www.leadville-train.com/

fmpden, I assume the I-70 repairs in Glenwood Canyon will be completed by the end of June...?
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Old Apr 10th, 2010, 04:34 PM
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To add to all the fine suggestions,be sure to check out the drive to the top of Mt Evans, close to Denver and higher than
Pikes Peak, its been many years ago, living in Denver this was a cheap Day trip. Check it out.
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Old Apr 11th, 2010, 06:36 AM
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Thanks for all the imput. I appreciate all the suggestions. I need to book the flights and accomodations soon. So, I'll be making a decision soon.
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Old Apr 11th, 2010, 10:06 AM
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I got some good ideas on places to visit west of Denver when I posted a question a few months ago. There are descriptions of different resort towns, historic sites and easy hikes
http://www.fodors.com/community/unit...n-late-may.cfm

On an earlier trip to Colorado our kids enjoyed seeing the Buffalo Bill museum in Golden on top of Lookout Mt with a great view. This time we are planning to visit the railway museum and maybe the National Earthquake Information Center at the Colorado School of Mines.

On our earlier trip the kids also liked Garden of the Gods and the Rock Ledge Ranch historic park in Colorado Springs
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Old Apr 11th, 2010, 10:21 AM
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I-70 through Glenwood Canyon is open but single lane in the damaged areas. I assume it will be completed by June as this is always 24/7 project to complete.

One thing I always notice is that some responses in their eagerness to push their own agenda don't response to the OP's question. He said they were flying into Denver and had ten days. Going to Yellowstone is out of the question -- it is an 8/10 hr drive. Same for Utah. If you want to go to Utah fly into Salt Lake City.

I didn't mentioned Durango/Silverton for the same reason. It is a long drive, especially with three young boys.

Forgot about the Leadville train. There is also a great train ride out of Georgetown that is actually pulled by narrow guage steam engines very similar to Durango. The Leadville train is actually a switch engine disel on standard guage. On the Georgetown rail which is operated by the Colorado Historial Museum is a stop at an old silver mine camp. It provides a very authentic feel for silver mining since very little has been done to the mine except to string some lights. And the cork screw to climb out of the canyon is unique. Again, I would think the boys would love it. I know our sons did -- several times.

There is an enormous amount of lodging in and around Frisco, Breckenridge, Keystone where you could park for severals days. If you wife is a shopper there is a hugh discount mall, actually four malls hooked together, at Dillon/Silverthorne.
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Old Apr 12th, 2010, 04:07 PM
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Thanks again. After looking at flights last night we are going either June 23rd or 24th till July 4th. So it will be 10 or 11 nights. I decided to get a cabin for four nights to get some room to spread out. No one wants to share beds for 11 nights straint. I was thinking Steamboat Springs since my brothers family went there several years ago and enjoyed it. But Breckenridge was suggested above. I looked at VRBO and see some possibilities for both locations. Although there are many more condos than cabins. Reading the site I don't see many suggestions for Vail. I don't see many cabins around RMNP. Any sugestions on a good base for four nights? We would want easy hikes, rafting and maybe horseback rideing. I assume you can do that near any of the resport towns.
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