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Colorado, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas (Not all!)

Colorado, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas (Not all!)

Old Dec 23rd, 2019, 08:49 AM
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Colorado, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas (Not all!)

DH and I have visited Colorado frequently over the years, and we've done some traveling through western Wyoming as well. We've seen nothing of Kansas or Nebraska. We've booked flights for Denver for the middle to end of June. I've booked us into one of our favorite places from past visits, Estes Park for a couple of days to begin our two week itinerary. We may want to see more of what's in southeastern Wyoming, Western Nebraska, Western Kansas, and southeastern Colorado. We enjoy natural attractions, rather than man-made, easy to get to, perhaps with easy, one mile r.t. walks. We've visited 25+ National Parks, including Yellowstone, and many National Monuments, including Devil's Tower. People tell us there's nothing to see in Kansas or Nebraska, but I have the impression that there must be lots of outdoor sites in the western parts of those states. We like to drive no more than three, maybe four hours between overnights and hope to stay at least two nights in most places. DH is 83 now and he's the driver, in good shape, but has his limits. I've been so fortunate in getting advice on Fodors forums, and I know some of my old favorite advice-giving travelers will come through, and perhaps some new ones, I hope. I am in search of an itinerary that includes the above, beginning with those two days in Estes Park and ending at Denver Airport. Is it worth going as far into Kansas as Dodge City before heading north? I know we'll want to see Chimney Rock and Scotts Bluff in Nebraska. Hoping to go not much farther north than Casper in Wyoming, but will if the map and time indicate we should. We will be grateful for all advice in planning this itinerary! Please do let us hear from you!
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Old Dec 23rd, 2019, 10:21 AM
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I don't like to say there's no there there, but I do think there are moreinteresting places than western Kansas.
Maybe Wyoming--thee are dinosaur sites somewhere.
Have you "done" New Mexico-- Soutwestern Colorado?
One point of interest to your planning might be the statistic that it is a 3 hour, 200 mile drive to Goodland Kansas which is relatively near the Kansas/Colorado border--and I have been there and can tell you that you can pass it by.]
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Old Dec 23rd, 2019, 11:46 AM
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Thanks, Gretchen. We have traveled extensively over the years, and the only states we have yet to get a look at are Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa and North Dakota.. We may decide never to try, unless we can find a good reason. I'm still hoping frequent travelers here will have some relevant info on western Kansas and western Nebraska. Otherwise, we will likely re-visit old Colorado and Wyoming or New Mexico or Utah favorites. They never disappoint.
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Old Dec 23rd, 2019, 07:28 PM
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I love the mountains and dramatic scenery as much as anyone, but I like your idea, and in fact there is a lot to see out there.

"You have to know how to look at this country. You have to slow down. It isn't pretty, but it’s beautiful."
- Kent Haruf from the book of photographs by Peter Brown titled “West of Last Chance”. (Last Chance was a town in eastern Colorado.)

A few ideas to consider for starters:

Laramie has the American Heritage Center, a fantastic rare book library, with probably a good display of something going on. We were wandering around there and saw Leonard Bernstein's original handwritten score for West Side Story laid out on a table in a research room.
Toppan Rare Books Library | American Heritage Center | University of Wyoming

Cheyenne for a great railroad museum (among other good museums), and a tour of the very impressive state capitol building:
Wyoming Capitol now open for self-guided tours ? Wyoming Capitol Square Project

Both towns are fun to wander in and have decent restaurants, including, in Laramie, one of the best vegetarian places (whodda thunk?), called Sweet Melissa’s Café.

North of Cheyenne is Fort Laramie National Historical Site, well worth some time. Nearby are Guernsey Oregon Trail Ruts and Register Cliff sites. Scroll down this page to get ideas:

If you want to stay in a B&B totally out in the middle of nowhere then check this out. .

The town of Lusk has an excellent small town museum.

Then there is Chimney Rock in Nebraska, and Burlington Colorado has a nice Old Town Museum and a very cool 1905 carousel, one of the only ones still in existence as far as I recall.

Greeley has Centennial Village, which is similar but different.

These places won’t blow your mind, but they are memorable and can impress. You have to slow down.

Have a good trip whatever you decide.

Oh, and central Kansas, possibly too far east for you, has the World's Largest Ball of Twine, which I have not seen.
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Old Dec 23rd, 2019, 08:12 PM
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The most memorable thing that I went out of my way to see in western Kansas was the oldest active geocache on planet earth. It is near the Mingo exit off I-70 southeast of Colby. In early May the cache will be 20 years old and there will be a celebration event in Colby. Over the past 14 years, I have found geocaches in all 50 states and have attended geocaching events in about 7 states and 1 where we walked over into Los Algodones Mexico.
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Old Dec 24th, 2019, 06:43 AM
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Years ago I was making something of a high-speed drive across the country (Philly to Seattle in 4 1/2 days) in April, and poor weather along I-90 in South Dakota forced us south to Nebraska. We spent a day in Lincoln (where we had been before - nice town with an impressive state capitol building) but then drove diagonally across the state toward the Black Hills. In doing so I "discovered" the Sand Hills - a lonely and beautiful area of rolling, prairie grass-covered hills with more antelope than cattle visible. It was an altogether unexpected and delightful part of the country. My only regret is that we didn't realize we'd missed Carhenge until we were past it. Next time. Map - https://goo.gl/maps/YPmZY52dtsYwx9xC7

Open road

Coffee drinkers at roadside cafe

Carhenge (not my picture, alas)

Black Hills road scene, for what it's worth

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Old Dec 26th, 2019, 09:01 AM
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I grew up in KS and have made the trip a few times driving from Denver to KC. Kansas City itself is nice especially for BBQ lovers but I doubt you will get that far east-or maybe you have already made it there?

In western Kansas a couple of things come to mind. There is a small town called Oakley (we spent the night at the Annie Oakley motel on our way east) that has a pretty natural formation nearby called Monument Rocks. They also used to have a Prairie Dog town but it looks like that has closed down.

Not too far off I-70 is Wilson State Park which is nice in the Smokey Hills area of the state. Here is a link to a state parks site that give you a map of parks for KS:



And in the town of Wilson south of the freeway is the World's largest Czech egg:


And here is a site that discusses the most interesting National Parks in KS. I think the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve would definitely be worth a visit-it is further south off of I-35



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Old Dec 27th, 2019, 08:44 AM
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Thank you to all who have replied! Though we have visited Colorado many times over the years, it never disappoints for the mountain scenery we love. I am going to re-post in only the Colorado forum. The forums have always been so helpful!
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