Colorado Trip 9/15-20

Old Sep 9th, 2020, 04:28 AM
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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.[/QUOTE]

I think the boys and I would to explore the fort. I'll check it out as well.

Everyone will think I'm crazy but if we cant go to RMNP... I just saw Great Sand Dunes National Park. Yes I know its 3hrs away from COS. I'll have to talk more about it with my sons. It's up to to them. I may not mind not driving...but they really dont like feing cooper up in car lol!
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Old Sep 9th, 2020, 04:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Nelson View Post
If you can't head in that direction, check this loop out for scenery
I swear I just clicked on your link and saw it was exactly what I asked in my next post! Lol
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Old Sep 9th, 2020, 07:16 AM
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> 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?

Sure, if the smoke is not bad and since you have an RMNP permit. There are a couple of options but here's an idea. About the same drive time as that Sand Dunes loop, but not including time spent in RMNP. It's getting dark by 7:30.
https://goo.gl/maps/vkqvC65H8BzGFAyN9

The Sand Dunes loop included a stop at Florrisant Fossil Beds which is pretty interesting and close to the Springs.
Good luck.
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Old Sep 9th, 2020, 07:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Nelson View Post
>

The Sand Dunes loop included a stop at Florrisant Fossil Beds which is pretty interesting and close to the Springs.
Good luck.
As much as I would luv to see RMNP and drive TRR. You cant mess with mother nature. We already have plans Pikes Peak one day to see mountains. I'll see how it is next week.

Pretty sure my boys and frankly myself will luv going to Dunes and doing loop in previous link! Didnt know they were tallest dunes in North America.

Thx again!

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Old Sep 9th, 2020, 11:43 AM
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If you end up going to the Great Sand Dunes, your boys would probably like sandboarding or sledding. Check out the link for rentals outside of the park.

https://www.nps.gov/grsa/planyourvis...ndsledding.htm

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Old Sep 9th, 2020, 02:40 PM
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Originally Posted by wtm003 View Post
If you end up going to the Great Sand Dunes, your boys would probably like sandboarding or sledding. Check out the link for rentals outside of the
Yep your right! Talked to my son today and he is stoked about going there. Told him we can sand
board or sled. Think I'll pass on either and take pics lol! Still going to be a day trip so I dont want yo spend too much time there...I think. Lol!He wanted me to check about renting a dune buggy...but like I already thought...you cant have any thing like that in a national park.
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Old Sep 9th, 2020, 08:06 PM
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Hopefu
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Old Sep 9th, 2020, 08:14 PM
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Thx again to all who helped and made suggestions. Plus those who told me zo was crazy trying to fit do much in lol!

Hopefully this is my last question. I'm reading forums,trip advisor etc. I noticed question asking which road was scarier.Trails Ridge or the road to Pikes Peak? Especially for us eastcoast sea level people.
I assumed it was TRR...but the majority of people said " not again" to Pikes Peak.

Oh well...

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Old Sep 10th, 2020, 05:57 AM
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"Scarier" is subjective of course, but I'd say Pikes would win. TRR is more scary if traveling from west to east because most of the big dropoffs into Forest Canyon are on that side. It's less scary in the direction that you will likely be traveling.

As of now I plan to hike up Flattop Mountain in RMNP on Wednesday, so will have a better idea of the situation then. Hopefully the smoke won't be an issue.
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Old Sep 10th, 2020, 06:11 AM
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I'd say Pikes Peak is scarier. I last drove up before it was completely paved. You'll be taking the shuttle, so shouldn't be as nerve wracking as driving up yourself.

I don't remember Trail Ridge Road being scary at all, but it's been awhile since I drove the whole thing. Last time we were up there was in March 2017. We walked a section of the closed road just for grins.

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Old Sep 10th, 2020, 06:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Nelson View Post
"Scarier" is subjective of course, but I'd say Pikes would win. TRR is more scary if traveling from west to east because most of the big dropoffs into Forest Canyon are on that side. It's less scary in the direction that you will likely be traveling.

As of now I plan to hike up Flattop Mountain in RMNP on Wednesday, so will have a better idea of the situation then. Hopefully the smoke won't be an issue.
Hope it's not smoky for your hike. Let me know if you can!

As of now...even though I think I'd rather go to Estes then drive TRR...but when I told boys of suggestions of going to Great Dunes they wholeheartedly want to do that and go sand boarding . So I guess I'll be sledding though lol!

I think it was you Nelson that gave me that google map from Springs, Dunes, Salida etc? You said that route is scenic too? As far as I'm concerned the only place I've lived where it was truly beautiful was Hawaii and I'm pretty sure Colorado will be that and more!

Point is mute now...but we would of gone west to east so that would of been good.
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Old Sep 10th, 2020, 06:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Melnq8 View Post
I'd say Pikes Peak is scarier. I last drove up before it was completely paved. You'll be taking the shuttle, so shouldn't be as nerve wracking as driving up yourself.

I don't remember Trail Ridge Road being scary at all, but it's been awhile since I drove the whole thing. Last time we were up there was in March 2017. We walked a section of the closed road just for grins.
If I remember correctly...dont you still have to drive most of the way then get shuttle last 3 miles? Which I'm stoked about that! I rather be looking out then white knuckling it driving. I can hear my boys now giving me grief for driving slow lol! Oh...I'm glad there are pulloffs so I can let people by.
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Old Sep 10th, 2020, 07:14 AM
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I think the last few miles are the scariest, but don't hold me to that.

Note that the Pikes Peak website states "there are limited views and access on the summit due to construction activities"

*Notice: The 2020 Complimentary Shuttle will be running beginning May 22nd through the end of September. In response to COVID-19, modifications are being applied to shuttle service. This includes physical distancing for all waiting lines, less than 50 percent capacity in each shuttle and increased cleaning and disinfection of shuttles throughout the day. For the safety of all staff and guests, face coverings are required for all guests riding the shuttle, drivers and parking attendants. Guests who do not have a face covering to use in the shuttle will only be allowed to drive to the 16-mile parking area. Face coverings are available for purchase at the gift shops. ​

Visitors who use the shuttle will drive part way up the Pikes Peak Highway to one of three parking lots before taking the shuttle to the summit. Shuttles will arrive at the shuttle parking lots approximately every 5-10 minutes:
  • 16-Mile Lot: The shortest shuttle ride is from the 16-mile lot (aka. Devils Playground) and will take approximately 15 minutes to drive up and 20 minutes to drive down.
  • 13-Mile Lot: The 13-mile lot (aka. Glen Cove) will take approximately 25 minutes to go up and 35 minutes to come down by shuttle.
The drive from Colorado Springs to the Sand Dunes is part gorgeous, part not-very-pretty.

The route will take you west on Highway 24 through Woodland Park and Divide, over Wilkerson Pass (stop at the visitor's center for nice views of the Colligates if the parking lot is open), through the South Park basin and towards Buena Vista. Keep your eyes peeled for bison and antelope as you drive through the basin.

You'll then join 285 near Buena Vista and turn south towards Salida - this stretch of the drive is gorgeous - a good place to pull over and take photos. You'll then drive towards Poncha Springs alongside the beautiful Sangre de Cristo Mountains. The scenery peters out a bit after you cross Poncha Pass. You'll still see the Sangres to your left, but the terrain goes a bit flat until you reach the Sand Dunes.

Last edited by Melnq8; Sep 10th, 2020 at 07:31 AM.
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Old Sep 10th, 2020, 07:30 AM
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Driving towards Buena Vista
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Old Sep 10th, 2020, 08:06 AM
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It looks like Mel answered your question about the drive. It's not the up close views you'd get in RMNP but more distant mountain scenes, still beautiful. You'll be in a high concentration of Colorado 14'ers, both in the Sawatch Range and the Sangres.

Mel's excellent photo is one of the peaks on this poster from the Salida website.


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Old Sep 10th, 2020, 06:01 PM
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Thanks for the great info! So appreciated! I watched a you tube video on Salida. Looks like a really cute town. Glad we can still be on the lookout for bison etc.

Weather looks great the whole time we are there!

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Old Sep 16th, 2020, 06:42 AM
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RMNP report: I hiked up a12K mountain in RMNP yesterday. Trail Ridge Road is currently open. There was hazy smoke in the air both from nearby Cameron Peak fire and the California fires. Not too bad but much hazier than normal.

In this photo, looking northwest, the sky would usually be intensely blue, not this kind of milky blue.





Same thing here, looking northeast, ordinarily those distant hills would show a lot more detail, and again there's that milky sky. But not bad like it was last week. Always subject to change of course.





Right now there is less haze down by the Sand Dunes than in RMNP. Good luck on your trip.
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Old Sep 16th, 2020, 12:03 PM
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... PS. And today it's worse, you wouldn't even see any of those distant hills.
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Old Sep 16th, 2020, 03:19 PM
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On the flip side...the weather has been gorgeous the last few days and until today, not at all smoky, but I'm a few hours south of Estes.
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