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wildblueyonder Nov 17th, 2007 12:11 PM

Estes Park or Loveland?
We will be just 'passing through' Rocky Mountain National Park next year and want one night's accommodation, close-ish to the park. Most places in Estes park won't allow you just one night in the summer - but I have managed to book a room at the Comfort Inn. I could get a room (brand new HIE) in Loveland though, for $100 less. Would it make an awful lot of difference? Is there anything particularly worth $100 more in Estes Park, apart from the closeness to the NP?

sylvia3 Nov 17th, 2007 02:52 PM

If you're already done with the park, Loveland is only a short drive away. Id go for the cheaper rate!

wildblueyonder Nov 17th, 2007 03:07 PM

Hi Sylvia
Thanks for this. What if we haven't already done with the park?? Actually, we will be on our way to it, but we'll only have time, in any case, to drive over Trail Ridge Road, as we then have to move on (long trip across country).
I must say that I'm very tempted by the new hotel at much cheaper price.

TheWeasel Nov 17th, 2007 03:53 PM

My preference would be to stay closer if possible. Loveland is almost an hour away. RMNP gets pretty crowded and busy in summer, so the earlier you get there the better - driving an extra hour in the morning just means more traffic and people to contend with in the park. Plus, if you get slightly ahead of schedule, it would be a waste to sit around in Loveland when you could be in EP and/or RMNP.

At this point, I'd keep the Comfort Inn reservation and keep looking as you have plenty of time to cancel if you find something else. Are you planning on staying on the weekend or during the week? The 2-night minimum is common on the weekends but otherwise you should be able to find something relatively cheap.

sylvia3 Nov 17th, 2007 05:28 PM

I usually make the drive in about 40 minutes. And, I would avoid Estes in the summer if possible (unless I had a nice place on the river)/

tekwriter Nov 17th, 2007 07:12 PM

I've made the drive from Loveland to Estes many times, and it's about 40-45 minutes, depending on how traffic is through the city of Loveland. One thing to keep in mind is that it's a spectacular drive (if somewhat curvy) through the Big Thompson Canyon and you'd be better off doing it first thing in the morning to get the good light. If you're just staying in Estes only briefly, you're not missing a heck of a lot other than summer crowds. I'm voting for staying in Loveland and starting off your day's drive fresh.

furledleader Nov 17th, 2007 07:23 PM

"Is there anything particularly worth $100 more in Estes Park, apart from the closeness to the NP?"


wildblueyonder Nov 18th, 2007 06:07 AM

Thanks all for your thoughts and suggestions. How 'flat' the roads look on maps! I had no idea that the Big Thompson Canyon was so lovely! I am rethinking our plans a bit ...
We were scheduled to drive from Black Hills (where we're staying for 3 nights) to Estes Park and then down to Aspen for a night (before heading on to Moab, Monument Valley etc). But now I think that Estes Park - Aspen, taking in the Trail Ridge Road and the Independence Pass would be too much in one day. Sooo, I think we will drive Black Hills to Lovedale, stay the night there in the HIE - up nice and early to drive the Big Thompson Canyon and then through RMNP - and we'll spend the night either in Vail or Breckenridge. I like that better! Thanks! :)

Grassshopper Nov 18th, 2007 07:15 AM

Oh my gosh, I agree! RMNP, Trail Ridge and Independence Pass is too much for one day! That said, Independence Pass is my favorite drive. But it sounds like you intend to do it from Breck, through Twin Lakes and over the back into Aspen? I usually go the other way. I hope you're getting a chance to drive through Glenwood Canyon as well. It's really beautiful.

One thing I should have mentioned on your altitude thread is chapstick and lotion! It's very dry in CO. You'll have a great trip!

wildblueyonder Nov 18th, 2007 07:28 AM

Alas, no, Grassshopper, we will be moving on from Breckenridge/Vail, wherever, to Moab. I love the mountains, but love the red sandstone geology even more (as we don't get this in Europe!)
Glenwood Canyon .... just had to look it up. Along I-70. Yes, we will be doing that stretch!
There is so much more for me to check out before we finally get going. I've done the main route, but there are those little bits of pieces of road and the interesting stuff along the way, still to check out!

sylvia3 Nov 18th, 2007 12:43 PM

I think you've made some good decisions; enjoy this lovely part of the world!

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