Denver Itinerary - 3 nights, 4 days

Old Mar 18th, 2014, 01:12 PM
  #21  
 
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I might agree with Tabernash for a longer trip--but it can be done on a day trip on that limited time, IMO.
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Old Mar 18th, 2014, 01:42 PM
  #22  
 
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Sure, if you enjoy driving by instead of stopping to smell the trees. haha

I just get tired of everyone wanting to just drive hither and yon in the shortest amount of time, instead of stopping to actually EXPERIENCE the space.
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Old Mar 18th, 2014, 06:37 PM
  #23  
 
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OMG. Puhleeze. I LOVE the navy blue skies of Colorado--I have even seen them IN Denver. And in downtown Denver. I LOVE the mountains.
Moving in and out of a hotel/motel takes time. I think your idea is great--I said so.
oh, I forgot ha ha ha.
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Old Mar 19th, 2014, 07:54 AM
  #24  
 
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Testy are ya, Gretchen?

You missed my point. But please carry on being the thread monitor.

For anyone else, I sincerely wish visitors would spend less time driving through and more time 'on the ground' in Colorado. You'll have more fun and we'll have less pollution and traffic.
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Old Mar 19th, 2014, 07:56 AM
  #25  
 
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PS You did not say my idea is "great". You only criticize whatever I say. Like protesting that Denver isn't HOT in August. You don't live here, do ya?
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Old Mar 19th, 2014, 08:39 AM
  #26  
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Thanks for the replies... Tabernash - where would you recommend staying for a night at RMNP?
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Old Mar 19th, 2014, 08:41 AM
  #27  
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Basically I just want someone to plan this itinerary for me! Haha...
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Old Mar 19th, 2014, 08:49 AM
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Taylor, I don't know RMNP. We have a place in Winter Park, which is why I recommend Grand County and Devil's Thumb Ranch. Everyone goes to RMNP or Summit County-- we like to be where the crowds aren't.

There are much less expensive places to stay there, too, but Devil's Thumb is truly special. There's a motel-ish property in Winter Park, called Alpenglo, which seems to get lots of business. And a B&B. And a very simple YMCA of the Rockies, called Snow Mountain Ranch.

The snowpack is so dense this season, that the runoff could possibly cause more flooding. As you know, the road up to Estes Park was seriously washed away last year. Many people are still displaced from their homes, and are very concerned about more flooding this year. I know they need the business, but I'd avoid it this year myself.
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Old Mar 19th, 2014, 09:28 AM
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There are a number of choices for lodging near RMNP. Google Estes Park lodging. As already stated you can do it in a day trip. As Tabernash said, people are still recovering from September floods, but I don't think you'll have any problem come August.
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Old Mar 19th, 2014, 10:30 AM
  #30  
 
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OK, Taylor, I'll take you at your word and provide an itinerary!
You said you didn't want to drive around a lot, but if you want to leave Denver, and head to the mountains, you're gonna drive a lot.

Get your rental car on Thursday morning and drive west on I-70 toward RMNP, stop in Boulder for a beer and a sandwich. Take Boulder Canyon road up to Nederland and connect with CO 119, (aka the Peak to Peak highway) and take that to the town of Estes Park. There's some spectacular scenery along the way. I've never found Estes Park all that interesting, but it's a good gateway to RMNP. You can buy a cheap cooler and provisions at the Safeway in town. Be sure those provisions include plenty of water; it's dry here. Spend Friday in the Park and drive back down to Denver Friday night.
At RMNP, you can do some hiking, drive up Trail Ridge Road, and check out the wildlife. You can turn around and go back to Denver via Estes Park or you can drive down the other side of Trail Ridge, exiting the park at the town of Grand Lake. From Grand Lake, you can get back to Denver through the town of Winter Park that Tabernash2 mentioned. You'll drive back via I-70. Or you can start your RMNP visit on the Grand Lake side of the park by going through Winter Park.

Spend Fri/Sat nights in downtown Denver. If you arrive on the 14th or 21st, you'll be able to catch a Saturday Rockies game. It's a nice ballpark and you can easily get there from your downtown hotel without driving.
Before the game, or on Sunday, before you leave, take a free tour at Stranahan's distillery and have lunch at the brewpub next door.
www.stranahans.com You will have to drive but it's about 10 minutes from downtown and has good parking.

Yup, it gets hot in Denver in August, sometimes up to 100 degrees. But if you step into the shade you can cool off, pretty effectively. Hope you have a good time here!
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Old Mar 19th, 2014, 10:43 AM
  #31  
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ccipups - thanks! one other question... where would you recommend staying Thursday night?
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Old Mar 19th, 2014, 11:24 AM
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That's not a bad plan, except you can't "drive west on I-70 toward RMNP, stop in Boulder for a beer and a sandwich."

You can take the Boulder turnpike, hwy 36, to Boulder. Then Foothills highway to Lyons, to Estes. Or I think you can take 1-25 north, another way entirely, that bypasses Boulder and isn't so scenic.
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Old Mar 19th, 2014, 11:39 AM
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...You said you didn't want to drive around a lot, but if you want to leave Denver, and head to the mountains, you're gonna drive a lot......

I was in the process of making the same point but was beaten to it. Most of the driving suggestions will put you in a car for four or five hours or more. You have three nights. Where do you want to spend it. You can easily fill two full days in Denver because that is really all you have. Or you can spend the two days in the mountains. You could come in on Thursday and spend Thursday night in the mountains and then back in Denver for Friday and Saturday night. You have a number of options but it would help if you would decide on the options that appeal to you.
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Old Mar 19th, 2014, 11:45 AM
  #34  
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I like the option of driving to and staying in the mountains Thursday night, then spending Friday and Saturday nights in downtown Denver.
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Old Mar 19th, 2014, 11:50 AM
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If you do a loop through RMNP, it would be about three hours driving each way.

About three hours from Denver to Grand Lake over Berthoud Park, through Winter Park, and Granby.

Then about three hours, I think, from Grand Lake, into RMNP, over Trail Ridge Road, into Estes, back to Denver.

That's without stops, but you will want to stop a lot!

As I said, I'd do that and stay the night in Grand County or Grand Lake.
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Old Mar 19th, 2014, 11:51 AM
  #36  
 
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Berthoud Pass
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Old Mar 19th, 2014, 01:37 PM
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Tabernash2, I was giving general directions, figuring Taylor07 would consult a map.
Taylor07, consult a map before you go anywhere we're suggesting!

I'm afraid I don't have any suggestions for you re: lodging in Estes Park. We're in Denver, so we either go up for camping or just make a day trip out of it. Most lodging is small scale and usually family owned. You might check on Trip Advisor. I've had good luck using TA recommendations for hotels in other towns. Tabernash2 might have some recs for hotels on the other side of RMNP if you want to enter from that direction. You can't go wrong either way.

I'll apologize in advance for sounding like your parent, but I don't know if you have spent much time at this altitude. Drink plenty of water; you'll have way more fun if you stay hydrated. Otherwise, you start to feel just generally crappy. There's a bit less atmosphere between you and the sun, so you'll appreciate a ball cap and some sunscreen.

If you like Indian food, there's a great little place in Estes Park called Nepal's Cafe. Seriously good food. There are a bunch of shops on Riverside Dr. (the main street). Behind those street facing shops are quite a few more that face the creek. Nepal's is located on the creek side.
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Old Mar 19th, 2014, 02:29 PM
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A second to Nepal's Cafe as the best place for a good cheap meal in Estes, provided you enjoy that style of food. It's small and can get crowded, but worth a wait.

Estes will be annoyingly crowded in August. But if your goal is to minimize driving while maximizing easy access spectacular mountain scenery, then Estes is hard to beat.

To avoid the crowds just head out onto a trail early in the morning - the earlier the better. You'll hit crowds on the way down, but by then you'll already have had a great day.

Estes is about 90 minutes from Denver via I-25 -> Hwy 66 -> Hwy 36, in normal traffic. There are several other routes, slightly longer. A caveat this year is there will be construction on the roads to Estes due to last year's flood. Check the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) website for info on current activity.

And yes, drink lots of water and watch out for the sun.

Have a great trip.
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