Colorado vacation

Old Jul 7th, 2024, 09:35 AM
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Colorado vacation

We are planning to fly into Denver at the end of July for a week (I know it's late to be planning) We are thinking of driving straight to Colorado Springs so we can hike garden of the gods and Pikes peak. Plan to stay there one or two nights. What else are must do's in area? (we like wildlife-would love to see bears and hiking, Are there any water hikes ?) After that should we are thinking of going to st mary's glacier and then straight to estes park and use that as a base to go to rocky mountain NP (I know about times passes we will be at park well before 9 and hoping to snag a pass to bear corridor or go there after 6) I was originally planning to stay in vail for most of the trip but that seems far from the things we want to see, Thoughts, Itinerary help!!! Thanks
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Old Jul 7th, 2024, 11:26 AM
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What do you mean by water hikes? HIkes around lakes?

You need timed entry for Pikes Peak too.
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Old Jul 8th, 2024, 04:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Melnq8
What do you mean by water hikes? HIkes around lakes?

You need timed entry for Pikes Peak too.
thanks I didnít realise that about pikes peak.
by water hikes I meant hikes in the water - similar to the narrows
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Old Jul 8th, 2024, 12:38 PM
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Ah...not aware of any hikes in the water here in CO.
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Old Jul 8th, 2024, 02:58 PM
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It seems you're looking at Denver/Colorado Springs and points north, but if you ever want to consider Southwest Colorado, you'd probably find more water hikes kind of similar to the Narrows. Black Canyon of the Gunnison has stunning hikes above the canyon and down to the river beneath. Ouray has a famous waterfall you can hike above, down a series of stairs, and down at the bottom. Telluride and Silverton also have lots of adventure.

But in Rocky Mountain National Park, you can still hike along waterfalls that are invigorating and there's plenty else to see and experience. And Garden of the Gods is such a fun visit.
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Old Jul 8th, 2024, 08:23 PM
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Grand Mesa National Forest is at 10000 feet (you drive up there) and a nice break from summer heat. There's a Stay Wise Inn in Cedaredge that's pretty nice. If you are there in July, it's cherry season. There are some local orchard stands but the grocery in town is also good.

Rocky Mountain Arsena National Wildlife Refuge near the Denver airport has an auto tour as well as walking paths. There's a herd of Bison inside the fenced auto tour area.

https://www.fws.gov/refuge/rocky-mountain-arsenal

Last edited by mlgb; Jul 8th, 2024 at 08:29 PM.
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Old Jul 9th, 2024, 04:38 AM
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Thanks to all. There is definitely so much to see in Colorado that I will be back I especially want to spend more time in the southwest part of the state,
So far this is what I have come up for this trip
Day one-land in Denver and drive to colorado springs.
Garden of the gods
red rock canyon
Broodmore hotel-look around and hike 7 falls
(any suggestions for a stop on the way to CS ? )

Day two
sunrise hot air balloon ride
drive to Canon City-
sky line drive
royal gorge (not going to zip line or do rollar coaster there, maybe ariel tram )
north Cheyenne park
7 bridge trail
helen hunt falla

Day 3 (waiting til today to do pikes peak because of altitude)
Manitou springs
pikes peak(i saw online i can book for the shuttle which takes you after you drive up to mile 7 so i will do that as soon as we decide on a firm day, yesterday there were still plenty of passes for our days)
cave of winds
cliff dwellings
castle

Day 4
leave early and drive to RMNP and hike there today and tomorrow and maybe another half day
we are going to try and get there before 9 and try to get passes night before
so far have a pass to bear lake road at 4 (on day 5)
still working on what to do there. which entrance should we go to? first day there will be coming from Colorado springs . after that will stay in este park or vicinity, any hike suggestions? we can do long hikes(several hours each way) and will do steep elevations but if equally good hikes prefer ones without.
Also how much time would we need to drive up Mt Evens (can't remember it's new name) and also go to st mary;s glacier ? thiking we couls do that on our last day. we have an evening flight out of Denver.

Thanks again for all your help !
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Old Jul 9th, 2024, 01:08 PM
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Day one-land in Denver and drive to colorado springs.
Garden of the gods
red rock canyon
Broodmore hotel-look around and hike 7 falls
(any suggestions for a stop on the way to CS ? )


That's a pretty full day, what time do you land? Nothing worth stopping for en route to the Springs. Also, don't get too excited about Red Rock Canyon - mostly just a very busy locals hiking spot. You'll probably see all the red rocks you can stand in GOG, and it's much nicer.

Day 3 (waiting til today to do pikes peak because of altitude)

Manitou springs
pikes peak(i saw online i can book for the shuttle which takes you after you drive up to mile 7 so i will do that as soon as we decide on a firm day, yesterday there were still plenty of passes for our days)
cave of winds
cliff dwellings

castle

Also a very full day. Pikes Peak can take a half day, longer if you plan to hike. Cave of the Winds and Cliff Dwellings are just tourist traps, but hey, you're a tourist. What castle? Miramont? It's open from 9-4:30.

Day 4

leave early and drive to RMNP and hike there today and tomorrow and maybe another half day
we are going to try and get there before 9 and try to get passes night before
so far have a pass to bear lake road at 4 (on day 5)
still working on what to do there. which entrance should we go to? first day there will be coming from Colorado springs . after that will stay in este park or vicinity, any hike suggestions? we can do long hikes(several hours each way) and will do steep elevations but if equally good hikes prefer ones without.
Also how much time would we need to drive up Mt Evens (can't remember it's new name) and also go to st mary;s glacier ? thiking we couls do that on our last day. we have an evening flight out of Denver.


The drive to Estes/RMNP from Colorado Springs will take three hours on a good day. That's a pretty early start. Don't count on getting timed entry permits the day before. The park is hugely popular. Have you made a dummy booking to see if this is even possible? Bear Lake is a popular hike in RMNP, but there are loads to choose from. Have you secured your accommodation in Estes? It's crazy busy these days.

Mount Blue Sky (Mt Evans) also needs a reservation. It takes about two hours to drive the scenic byway, plus a two hour drive from Estes/RMNP. St Mary's glacier is in the same area so you could do both of these on the same day, but not combined with RMNP.

You're really underestimating the time needed to get from A to B and the time needed to see the places you're traveling to.

Keep in mind the traffic in CO can be pretty awful and a smash up on I-25 or elsewhere will cost you precious time.

Last edited by Melnq8; Jul 9th, 2024 at 01:12 PM.
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Old Jul 9th, 2024, 01:19 PM
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Oops, I missed Day 2

Day two
sunrise hot air balloon ride
drive to Canon City-
sky line drive
royal gorge (not going to zip line or do rollar coaster there, maybe ariel tram )
north Cheyenne park
7 bridge trail
helen hunt falla


The drive to Canon City will take an hour each way, Seven Bridges is a moderately difficult six mile hike; it will take time.

This reads like a grocery list. I suggest you narrow down the many options and choose a few things that you really don't want to miss and go from there.
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Old Jul 10th, 2024, 08:17 AM
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Thanks for all your feedback in some ways this was "a grocery list" of things to narrow down from so thanks for input
day one we are landing at 8am
We will drive straight to GOG
I thought going to Broodmare hotel would be a way to take a break and then the 7 fall hike does not seem that strenuous.
I guess we will see if we have the time or interest to go to red rock canyon.

day 2
Hot air balloon
sky line drive
royal gorge
Definitely will have to research more about the 7 bridge trail hike

Day three
pikes peak is definite priority
if have time cliff dwelling looked cool but i understand its not "real"
Cave of the winds isn't anything special? We will probably just skip it
yes, Miramont castle-is it worth seeing if we have time?

RMNP you are probably right that we will not get there before 9. I have set up an account online and in the app and it seems like they will add availability the night before. A friend that went last year said she was able to get tickets. I know it's all luck. So far i do have an entry to the bear lake corridor at 4 one day, If we cant get tickets earlier and have to wait until 2 to enter then when we get to estes park (yes we have reservations)
we will go to the riverwalk or estes park itself. any other ideas outside the park, (I thought about going the night before but I feel like we will be too tired)

maybe if we can get tickets to Mt blue sky we could do there from Colorado springs and do mt blue sky and st mary's glacier.. Im going to see what that availability is. If not might do that our last day as our flight is in the evening,
thanks again

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Old Jul 10th, 2024, 08:38 AM
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There are multiple hikes at Seven Falls. It's been years since I was up there, so can't remember specific hikes. Not to be confused with the Seven Bridges trail which is moderately difficult.

https://dayhikesneardenver.com/seven...orado-springs/

https://manitousprings.org/where-to-...bridges-trail/

Cave of the Winds gets pretty good reviews, take a look here. I drive by it multiple times a week and it's pretty popular, just not something locals think about doing, so take my comment with a grain of salt.

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attracti..._Colorado.html

Miramont - it's been years since I was there - once took my Mom for tea and she got food poisoning - can't remember much about the actual castle. Reviews here:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attracti..._Colorado.html

Enjoy our beautiful state.




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Old Jul 14th, 2024, 03:23 PM
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Jul4, I returned from Colorado 2 days ago. Traffic on I-25 from Denver Airport is really bad, due to construction in both directions. I traveled mainly north of Denver. You mentioned Estes Park~I was in that area (Boulder, Longmont, Loveland) & traffic was horrid. Be sure to take traffic into consideration when planning.
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