Colorado Trip 9/15-20

Old Sep 6th, 2020, 12:35 PM
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Colorado Trip 9/15-20

Instead of the usual NFL/college football trips I usually give my boys for their bd's in Oct... I've decided since we have never been to Co, that would be their/ our 😉trip this birthday. Especially with wanting to be outside as much as possible. Since they are both away at college ... its my bribery to spend 24/7 with them lol! Not liking the empty nest.That said...my ocd self may be planning way too much. But we want to see as much as possible . Our base is Colorado City.

Wed- Fly in early .Garden of Gods. check in airbnb Colorado Springs. Manitou Springs that evening to meet friends.
Thurs- Only day I could get a 12-2 timed entry at RMNP. Every other day was 3-5. Drive up and hang out/lunch/ Stanley Hotel till 12.This is where I need help. We want to drive Trail Ridge Rd up to??? But want to take shuttle to Bear lake. Havent seen where we even get shuttle or should we chance it and just drive and try to get parking. We like to hike but wont have time for 1 day. Just want to see scenery and take pics etc. Then head back to Springs.
Fri- Pikes Peak, Old Colorado City?
Sat-Royal Gorge Bridge and Park
Sun- Seven Falls? Red Rock Amphitheater and Park, Explore Denver? Return rental car 3:30 for evening flight. Already want to plan another trip with just me. Besides a house in Springs, my friends also have a cabin in Pagosa Springs but its too far for a one day trip this time. Ordinarily we would stay with them but during these crazy times we will have our own lodging. I've asked them too, but wanted different advice as well

My one son wanted to go to Fairplay/ South park. Too far I think to fit it in and Mesa Verde. Again too far and closed anyway. My other son just wants to zipline ,chill etc

Anything else? Advice? Altitude? Scary mountain roads ? No I'm not letting them drive I'd be a nervous wreck!

Thanks!
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Old Sep 6th, 2020, 01:28 PM
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Are you flying into COS? I assume you mean your base is Colorado Springs.

Rocky Mountain National Park is a very long day trip from the Springs - it'll take you 2.5 hours to get there, barring traffic and weather issues. It can take all day to drive Trail Ridge Road, then 2.5 hours back to the Springs...on a good day.

However, according to the park's website there are closures due to the Cameron Peak Fire - This closure includes Trail Ridge Road, Old Fall River Road, and wilderness campsites, cross country zones and trail systems. Trail Ridge Road is closed at Forest Canyon Overlook on the east side and Colorado River Trailhead on the west side.

You'll find information regarding the shuttles here:

https://www.nps.gov/romo/planyourvis..._bus_route.htm

Sunday makes no sense. You want see Seven Falls in the Springs and then return to Denver to see Red Rocks and explore? There's just no way.

You're really underestimating drive times, distances and traffic.

Mesa Verde isn't closed - we were there in June and are going back this week. Tours aren't operating, but the park is open. It's a moot point though because you don't have enough time anyway.


Garden of Gods. Manitou Springs. RMNP. Stanley Hotel. Trail Ridge Road. Bear Lake. Pikes Peak. Old Colorado City, Royal Gorge. Seven Falls. Red Rocks, Denver. Pagosa Springs. Fairplay. South Park (which is an area that covers 1,000 square miles, not to be confused with the fictitious South Park television program). Do you meant South Park City? The open air museum located in Fairplay? Mesa Verde.

You'd need a good three weeks for this wish list.

Scary mountain roads and altitude are relative - where are you coming from?

Last edited by Melnq8; Sep 6th, 2020 at 01:45 PM.
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Old Sep 6th, 2020, 04:59 PM
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Oops...should of checked for typos. Staying in Springs. Flying in early Weds at Den from Atl
Yes I realize its alot. I drive 10 hrs a day in an out of accounts 3x days a week. Of course it's mostly highway/city ...but as far as driving. It's not a big deal to me. I'm not sure we will drive all of Trail Ridge Road but most??? The rest I think is very doable but who knows lol! I shall try. RMNP is the only day I wasnt sure about. Definitely not doing Pagosa Springs. Was just saying that's where my friends have a 2nd home I'll have to check out another time. Same thing for Mesa Verde. Too far. Meant Fairplay and the fictuous South Park. Too many other things to do then go there I think. I may be too ambitious Sun. But...Seven Falls is 15 min away from where we are staying. Shuttle, elevator up to landing. 20 min tops checking it out then 1 1/2 hrs to Red Rock. Check it out maybe an hour or so then maybe check out Denver for lunch??? 35 min to rental car drop off and our flights not till 6pm. Lol! I guess with our time restraints and wanting to see as much as we can we are going to be more like the "Griswolds" ok... let's go

This was a last minute impromptu trip with flights so cheap.With work and college only have 5 days. Already took 2 wks this summer but wish we had more time.

Thanks for link . I was looking for info. Told me where it goes but not where to get it???

Its going to be alot of driving but not anything I'm not used to. EXCEPT it will be mountain driving. I've lived in Hawaii, Florida ,Georgia. Pretty much sea level and and born and raised in Pa but our "mountains" lol are more like hills compared to out west.

Didnt know if anyone had any other hints about altitude. Going to chill at 6k ft first day in Springs and drink ALOT of water.

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Old Sep 6th, 2020, 06:11 PM
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Just saw closures at RMNP. I originally thought fires were nowhere near where we wanted to go. Hopefully snow Tues helps or will just be able to go to Bear Lake and go back to Springs the way we came. But I would luv to drive onto Alpine Visitors Center, Grand Lake back to Springs via 34,40,70,25. Unless those roads aren't good at night lol! The unknown is scary to me and the You tube videos up to Pikes Peak are alittle scary Lol! But if I can drive Pacific Coast Highway and the road to Hana numerous times I should be good!🙂 Hindsight I booked same place for 4 nights when we should of stayed different places . Ce' la vie
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Old Sep 7th, 2020, 07:19 AM
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About Seven Falls - some friends from CA visited us last month and spent some time at Seven Falls - they said it was an ordeal because numbers were so limited on the shuttle that they had to wait forever. They also could only go as fast up the stairs as the slowest person and they were surprised at how hard it was to social distance.

I didn't realize you were flying out of Denver. Seven Falls doesn't open until 10 am, so I think you'll be hard pressed to do it and Red Rocks and get to the airport by 3:30. Red Rocks is west, the airport is east and there's a whole lot of city and traffic in between. Not sure how much of Denver you can realistically see before returning your car. I-25 is a bit of a mess these days with ongoing construction at The Gap. Even if you get in and out of Seven Falls in record time, you still won't reach Denver until lunchtime. That leaves very little time to head west to Red Rocks then back east to the airport.

As far as the RMNP shuttle - the link is confusing to me too. Suggest you give them a call for clarification.

Most of your driving route is highway. The only mountainous portion will be Trail Ridge Road (note closures mentioned above), RMNP and Pikes Peak, but that will be by shuttle. I assume you know that due to construction at the summit, taking a shuttle is mandatory.

Do I understand correctly that you're flying into Denver, then taking a flight to COS, then departing from Denver?

And that you plan to drive from COS to RMNP, back to COS, and then back to Denver the day you depart? That's a lot of driving back and forth in so few days.

We were planning to head to Durango tomorrow for four nights, but are considering cancelling. A big snow storm is headed this way and the Durango forecast is calling for three days of rain - not what we had in mind for hiking.
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Old Sep 7th, 2020, 07:29 AM
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This is the type of posting that I am not sure if you are wanting true advice or just slightly bragging about your plans. However, Melnq8 is dead on. And I could not put it any better. You have a poor comprehension of driving and timing. Pike Peak is fine. It is a paved road to the top. The predicted snow for the Denver area on Tues/Wed will not be a problem since it will melt quickly because of the hot ground. At high altitudes it could stay longer and certainly at the top of trail ridge. The road to Bear Lake is also closed at the moment. But it could all be open by the time you are here. We have several fires burning in the state but the hope is that the weather will dampen down the fires. The smoke and haze is an issue. O' bring some warm clothes the overnight forecast in Denver for Wednesday night is mid-20s.
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Old Sep 7th, 2020, 08:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Melnq8 View Post
About Seven Falls - some friends from CA visited us last month and spent some time at Seven Falls - they said it was an ordeal because numbers were so limited on the shuttle that they had to wait forever. They also could only go as fast up the stairs as the slowest person and they were surprised at how hard it was to social distance.

I didn't realize you were flying out of Denver. Seven Falls doesn't open until 10 am, so I think you'll be hard pressed to do it and Red Rocks and get to the airport by 3:30. Red Rocks is west, the airport is east and there's a whole lot of city and traffic in between. Not sure how much of Denver you can realistically see before returning your car. I-25 is a bit of a mess these days with ongoing construction at The Gap. Even if you get in and out of Seven Falls in record time, you still won't reach Denver until lunchtime. That leaves very little time to head west to Red Rocks then back east to the airport.

As far as the RMNP shuttle - the link is confusing to me too. Suggest you give them a call for clarification.

Most of your driving route is highway. The only mountainous portion will be Trail Ridge Road (note closures mentioned above), RMNP and Pikes Peak, but that will be by shuttle. I assume you know that due to construction at the summit, taking a shuttle is mandatory.

Do I understand correctly that you're flying into Denver, then taking a flight to COS, then departing from Denver?

And that you plan to drive from COS to RMNP, back to COS, and then back to Denver the day you depart? That's a lot of driving back and forth in so few days.

We were planning to head to Durango tomorrow for four nights, but are considering cancelling. A big snow storm is headed this way and the Durango forecast is calling for three days of rain - not what we had in mind for hiking.
Thx...I think we will probably scratch Seven Falls off the list. Just wanted to take advantage of a later flight and do something instead of just flying out. We will get up early and definitely go see Red Rocks. High on my sons list. Mine too. Especially since we cant go on brewery tour or Mile high Stadium.

We are flying in and out of Denver. Driving everywhere else .

Yeah...it shows stops but not where to get it. I did see on video last night someone said you get them at either entrance? But yes I will call especially with visitor centers closed. Already have permit, but it is refundable up to day before. So I'll have to see. Still would hopefully be able to drive in and see something if not being able to drive TRR. I saw forecast was 9' in Park. Hoping that's enough to squash it but what do I know. I'm just a girl who has spent 58 years mostly living by the ocean. Lol!

I'm actually glad for the PP shuttle the last few miles scardy cat that I am.

Yes alot of driving...but I'll do it. Want to see as much as we can. Garden of Gods is probably the only hiking we will do. Mostly alot of drive by sightseeing.

Hope you get to go to Durango. I did see how crazy Colorado weather could be. 90's today then snow and 20's tomorrow. Actually Georgia is crazy with 30 degree temp dif at times. We go from heat right to ac etc most of the time. It's been 90+ all summer and high humidity. Looking forward to layers🙂

Anyway...I really appreciate the advice. I'm just a mom who wants to still give her sons a nice trip for their bds despite this craziness. Colorado was the first place I thought of where we can mostly be outside and see beautiful scenery. Plus see friends I havent seen in 5 years . 6 ft apart of course .
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Old Sep 7th, 2020, 08:39 AM
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Originally Posted by fmpden View Post
This is the type of posting that I am not sure if you are wanting true advice or just slightly bragging about your plans. However, Melnq8 is dead on. And I could not put it any better. You have a poor comprehension of driving and timing. Pike Peak is fine. It is a paved road to the top. The predicted snow for the Denver area on Tues/Wed will not be a problem since it will melt quickly because of the hot ground. At high altitudes it could stay longer and certainly at the top of trail ridge. The road to Bear Lake is also closed at the moment. But it could all be open by the time you are here. We have several fires burning in the state but the hope is that the weather will dampen down the fires. The smoke and haze is an issue. O' bring some warm clothes the overnight forecast in Denver for Wednesday night is mid-20s.
I'm certainly not bragging. Just stating the truth that I'm used to and dont mind driving. That's all.

As far as RMNP...like I just replied to Melnq8 I will have to play it by ear.🤔 Hopefully we can drive in and see something🙂

Definitely going to be layers. We are staying in Springs and I think my friends said its warmer then Denver?

Thx




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Old Sep 7th, 2020, 10:38 AM
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Denver tends to have hotter summers and cooler winters than Colorado Springs - although it's probably not something a casual visitor would notice.

The temp in Colorado Springs is currently 81 F, and it's 85 F in Denver.
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Old Sep 7th, 2020, 02:40 PM
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And tomorrow's forecast has 26 F for the Springs airport and 29 F for DIA.
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Old Sep 7th, 2020, 02:53 PM
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And the fires rage on:

https://www.denverpost.com/2020/09/0...peak-wildfire/
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Old Sep 7th, 2020, 04:03 PM
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Yep. Along with the temperature the wind is supposed to do a 180 tonight and maybe blow the fire onto itself. We live in hope.

OP, as has been stated already your RMNP is totally brutal. If you are set on that consider packing a toothbrush and booking a room in Grand Lake that night.
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Old Sep 8th, 2020, 02:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Nelson View Post
Yep. Along with the temperature the wind is supposed to do a 180 tonight and maybe blow the fire onto itself. We live in hope.

OP, as has been stated already your RMNP is totally brutal. If you are set on that consider packing a toothbrush and booking a room in Grand Lake that night.
That would be smart. I'm certainly not obligated to try to get back to where we are staying 🙂

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Old Sep 8th, 2020, 03:51 AM
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Don't want to be a Debbie Downer but if both are away at college I hope they are staying safe where they are. Then getting on a plane. Might be worth a covid test because it is going to be a difficult road home if anyone is positive.
Others have commented on the last day in particular. Denver/I25 traffic is an ordeal any day of the week. The fires have only added to the Covid problems. Sorry.
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Old Sep 8th, 2020, 06:02 AM
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Yesterday was 83 degrees at my place (elevation 8,500 feet) in Colorado. This morning it's 30 degrees with snow on the ground and this is the warmest it's supposed to get today. From summer to winter in one day. The good news...maybe this early cold and wet snap will help quell the fires.

Warmer weather expected to return by Friday.
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Old Sep 8th, 2020, 07:44 AM
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OUr Denver family are here at the beach in SC with us and wondering at the weather at home!! SO funny.
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Old Sep 8th, 2020, 06:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Gretchen View Post
Don't want to be a Debbie Downer but if both are away at college I hope they are staying safe where they are. Then getting on a plane. Might be worth a covid test because it is going to be a difficult road home if anyone is positive.
Others have commented on the last day in particular. Denver/I25 traffic is an ordeal any day of the week. The fires have only added to the Covid problems. Sorry.
Thanks... but my kids are away at college in their house off campus with classes online. Frankly I feel better with them in their county with very low cases as is mine. We have all been safe and will continue to do so.

I've definitely scratched Seven Falls. We are going to get up early ,go to Red Rocks and then head to airport unless we have extra time in which case we'll find something to do.

As you know I've been told about the traffic. Checking my waze everyday different times between COS and Denver has always been around 90 min. Maybe I'm missing it but I dont think we will have a problem. But the fires have put a damper on things... Not just for us but for you all there . I am hoping the snow will help🤔

I'm a bit ocd with planning but I've been known to just say forget it and do whatever.🙂
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Old Sep 8th, 2020, 06:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Melnq8 View Post
The good news...maybe this early cold and wet snap will help quell the fires.

Warmer weather expected to return by Friday.
I'm hoping the snow helps too!
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Old Sep 8th, 2020, 07:30 PM
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The latest news I heard is that the snow is helping but won't put it out completely. Less wind in the forecast too, which is what really blew it up over the weekend. But there a current voluntary evacuation less than 10 miles from Estes.

If you can't head in that direction, check this loop out for some good scenery.
https://goo.gl/maps/guEAkzvUc5FF772RA

For something completely different Bent's Old Fort is a couple hours drive (very boring to most people) from the Springs. The fort is pretty cool and it looks like it's open.
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Old Sep 9th, 2020, 04:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Nelson View Post
The latest news I heard is that the snow is helping but won't put it out completely. Less wind in the forecast too, which is what really blew it up over the weekend. But there a current voluntary evacuation less than 10 miles from Estes.
For something completely different Bent's Old Fort is a couple hours drive (very boring to most people) from the Springs. The fort is pretty cool and it looks like it's open.
I'm glad it at least helping a bit. I found a video last night with the firefighters in charge. They said while it most definitely helped from getting worse when it was hot and dry, it's on the top layer and once snow melts and drys later this weekthere is most likely warm embers that can start again. I'm hoping not😥

Thx for link. I'll check it out later. I saw where parts of Trail Ridge Rd is closed . It's going to be a last minute decision. Is it worth it to just explore Estes Park, Stanley Hotel then just make a small loop and go back to Springs via Estes Park? Or just go somewhere else.🤔🙂

Thx again
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