Colorado Trip - Is this doable?

Aug 5th, 2019, 06:22 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Aug 2019
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Colorado Trip - Is this doable?

Planning a trip to Colorado in September. We will be renting a car and want to do some exploring outside Denver. Originally the main objective was to get to Great Sand Dunes National Park and we tried to add things along the way as well as after to turn the trip into a loop. We have about 4 days- wanting to be back in Denver the evening of the 4th day. We are thinking about the following stops below - Question do you think this is "doable" and how much time would you allot at each? We know the RR would be a day long commitment. The thought about the trip to the Sand Dunes was that we would go there either early in the morning or more toward dusk one day - probably not spending an entire day there but hopefully having enough time to hike to Zapata falls- but would doing that turn that into a full day experience? The next thing we've found challenging is finding lodging around convenient to both Great Sand Dunes as well as to the RR. We were thinking maybe Alamosa area?

Depart Denver to Royal Gorge Bridge and Park
Stop at Bishop Castle
Great Sand Dunes National Park
Cumbres Toltec Scenic RR
Up to Aspen
Back to Denver
dkelly0425 is offline  
Aug 6th, 2019, 03:48 PM
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Have you already been to Rocky Mountain NP? IMHO one of the nicest natural areas of Colorado.
emalloy is offline  
Aug 7th, 2019, 03:14 AM
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Sort of my question too--this itinerary doesn't get as much of the beauty of Colorado. In 4 days, the Park would be a part of a real natural loop
Gretchen is offline  
Aug 7th, 2019, 07:18 AM
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This type of question blows my mind. Obviously no one has done any homework or put any pins in the map. Is this doable??? Absolutely not. Don't know when you arrive in Denver but it is at least five hrs to Antonito without any stops. The Royal Gorge is a major diversion in time and distance to the west. And the same for the Sand Dunes and a hike is out of the question. Bishop Castle ??? another somewhat out of the way site. You can easily spend a half day at each site.

There is no way you are going to land in Denver, hit those spots and be near Antonito on the first day. The only decent size town between the two is Alamosa. The RR is a full a day between the one way and the bus return. Aspen is another four or five hours from there. The same for the return to Denver from Aspen. Something has to give.

Unless you love spending hours in the car and just driving by a few rocks and trees, you need a better loop. For example -- Through RMNP via Trail ridge road, Georgetown and the Georgetown Loop Railroad, Breckenridge, Leadville (Mineral Belt Trail), Independence pass to Aspen, Glenwood Springs and Canyon, maybe Vail, and return to Denver. That will suck up your four days in a hurry.

Last edited by fmpden; Aug 7th, 2019 at 07:30 AM.
fmpden is offline  
Aug 8th, 2019, 02:42 AM
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We were trying to be nice about it but a reality check is always the bottom line. LOL
Gretchen is offline  
Aug 12th, 2019, 12:27 PM
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It has been a week. I am guessing the OP didn't like the answers and is not coming back. Inclined to believe that he/she didn't really have any interests in the answers in the first place.
fmpden is offline  
Aug 12th, 2019, 01:50 PM
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With the exception of Aspen, four days would be fine for your trip.

Day 1 Denver to Royal Gorge. Spend the night in Canon City.
Day 2 Canon City to Bishops Castle. Depending on time stop at the Great Sand Dunes. Overnight in Alamosa. I usually stay at the Fairfield Inn.
Day 3 Short drive to Antonito for Cumbres Toltec Scenic RR. Overnight in Alamosa again.
Day 4 Great Sand Dunes for first time or re-visit for Zapata Falls or head back to Denver. Stop to eat in Buena Vista on way back to Denver.
wtm003 is online now  
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