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driving trip to national park colorado. Mesa verde

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driving trip to national park colorado. Mesa verde

Old Aug 4th, 2012, 05:24 AM
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driving trip to national park colorado. Mesa verde

Hello, I am estela from barcelona, we would like to travel to Colorado/arizona together with my father for ten days.
I am totally new in making rotes and plan a travel, my father definitely wold like to visit, Mesa verde, Grand Canyon, Meteorite Barringer and Monument Valley.
Our idea is to fly to Denver and rent a car to go through this nice places, but I am bit lost knowing which rotes should i take to start the trip, we also wanted to end up in las vegas and take the plane back to new york . Is that a good Idea?
We have time in 1o days to visit all this sights, also if someone could also give me some information if is easy to get motel during the road-trip without booking in advance just stopping in the hair-way and if prices are reasonable.

Thank you very much looking forward, estela
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Old Aug 4th, 2012, 06:33 AM
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What time of year are you planning this trip? Winter will bring snow and difficult driving conditions.

You will need a guidebook to find out the best information. Lonely Planet makes a good USA guide, and they may have a Spanish version.

Also, make sure to read on the National Park Websites for the parks you are interesed in.

http://www.nps.gov/grca/index.htm

http://www.nps.gov/meve/index.htm

Monument Valley is not a National Park. It is under the administration of the Navajo Tribal Park

http://www.navajonationparks.org/htm/monumentvalley.htm

You might also ask this question on Lonely Planet Thorn Tree USA forum.
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Old Aug 4th, 2012, 06:49 AM
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Do not fly into Denver! It is way too far a distance to get to where you want to go.

Fly into Albuquerque (ABQ) and start with Mesa Verde. It is just under 4 hours drive time; from Denver, it is close to 7 hours. If you can ,try to get a room in the park at Far ViewLodge. If not, you can stay in Cortez which will be the direction you'd head to continue on to your other destinations.

I can help with this leg of the trip, having homes in both places. I will leave others to answer on other parts.
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Old Aug 4th, 2012, 08:32 AM
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Or, you could fly into Phoenix, add the Grand Canyon - which is awesome - to your itinerary, do your other points of interest and fly out of ABQ or do it in reverse. 10 days should be enough time but, as another poster mentioned, time of year is important. Summer is hot and crowded, winter could be snowy in some spots. Spring and fall would be the best, IMO. Once you have looked at a guide book and settled on your what you want to see, we can help with route recommendations.
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Old Aug 4th, 2012, 08:35 AM
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OP wants to fly out of Las Vegas:
"we also wanted to end up in las vegas and take the plane back to new york "
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Old Aug 4th, 2012, 10:56 AM
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I agree with DebitNM's suggestion. Flying into Albuquerque is much more convenient for Mesa Verde.

From Monument Valley, you can head southwest to Flagstaff, backtrack east to the Barringer Meteor Crater, then back to Flagstaff. Take Hwy. 89 from Flagstaff and enter the Grand Canyon from the east - you'll travel past some great lookout points.

Lee Ann
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Old Aug 4th, 2012, 11:34 AM
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I agree that I wouldn't fly into Denver.

Two years ago, we did about a 10-12 day round trip from Albuquergue through a lot of this same area. You might want to think seriously about visiting Santa Fe, one of the two oldest cities in the U.S. (dating to 1609), which has a strongly Spanish character with lots of art galleries and shops. But Santa Fe can easily occupy a couple of days, and you'd probably have to cut something else out if you visit there.

Mesa Verde is well worth visiting. I strongly endorse the idea of staying at the Park Service accomodations (the Far View Lodge) inside the Park (assuming spots are available). The rooms are perfectly comfortable, there is a good restaurant, and you can start your touring at least a full hour sooner than if you stay in Cortez. (Or, to put it another way, you can have an extra hour of touring at the end of your day.) And the feeling of having the Park to yourself in the morning and late afternoon is amazing.

It sounds like your father may have an interest in history. The Indian ruins at Chaco Canyon, which you could visit on your way from Albuquerque to Mesa Verde if you go directly there without passing through Santa Fe, are certainly worth a visit as well (although it involves driving 20 miles on an unpaved road to get there). Here is a link to some pictures of Chaco Canyon that I took on our trip:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/2768598...7624957575155/

And here's a link to the Park Service brochure:

http://www.nps.gov/chcu/planyourvisit/directions.htm

From Mesa Verde, you could easily head west to Monument Valley and the Grand Canyon, and then come back through Flagstaff and see the Meteor Crater and the Petrified Forest on your way back to Albuquerque. Or you could do the Meteor Crater, then drive down to Phoenix and fly back to New York from there.

If you really want to see Las Vegas, you might want to go to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon from Monument Valley, and then continue on to LV from there. That would cause you to miss the Meteor Crater.

Keep in mind that the hotel accomodations in our more popular National Parks can book up months in advance, at least during the high (summer) season).
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Old Aug 4th, 2012, 12:52 PM
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Dear all, thank you for your answers! this is really fast, we are travelling to arizona/colorado from the 9th till the 18th september! so i guess the weather will be fine,
so I will definitely check for the ticket to alburquerquer, and maybe avoid las vegas because crater is more interesting, but definitely we will have 8 full days to make the route and tour.

I will also be checking the routes you told me, and a car to rent in alburquerquer, I might be asking some more questions in some days, thanks again!
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Old Aug 4th, 2012, 01:22 PM
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I doubt you are going to get a room at Far View Lodge in Mesa Verde. You are going at a great, but busy time of year. If you decide to stay in Cortez, I can recommend motels and restaurants.
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Old Aug 4th, 2012, 06:32 PM
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The issue with flying to Albuquerque is there are very few direct flights and there is a lot of direct service to Denver. You can take a beautiful drive down from Denver to Rte 160 (goes to Mesa Verde) through the San Luis Valley. Stay in Durango and go to Mesa Verde the next day. From Mesa Verde you can go to Monument Valley and then to the Grand Canyon. You can spend a few days in the places that interest you along the way. It depends on if you want to spend the extra hours on the road with beautiful scenery or in an airport waiting to change planes. I love Santa Fe and live here. You can come down this way and visit Chaco Canyon on the way and then go out to Grand Canyon. To be efficient, you'd have to skip Monument Valley. Renting a car at one place and dropping at another can be very expensive. If it is, go out through Monument Valley and return from the Grand Canyon on Route I-40 and you can go back to Denver through Santa Fe.
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Old Aug 12th, 2012, 09:54 AM
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Dear all, we finally decided to fly to Vegas and drive next day to Barringer crater and Grand Canyon Village. we will go on to Monument Valley Mesa Verde and then we will hit up the road to Yellowstone and will be flying to New york from there -I heard there are several airports in the park-
I would like to know if you know any reasonable lodging in the surrounding of Grand Canyon Village, thank you all again!
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