Family Trip in August? Suggestions?

Old Jul 11th, 2022, 12:09 PM
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Family Trip in August? Suggestions?

Hello. Just stumbled upon these forums and was wondering if I could seek itinerary advice. My family and I have flights booked to Denver for 8/27-9/4 arriving in the morning. Will be traveling with wife and two kids (7-3) who have an interest in many things Colorado seems to offer; outdoors, national parks and adventures Have/had my eyes set on SW Colorado but seems like alot of driving. Any thoughts on if the below is feasible or better ideas?

Saturday - Arrival and Georgetown Loop train. Overnight Salida
Sunday - Black Canyon Gunnison NP (possible rafting in route at Gunnison). Overnight in Ouray
Monday - Ouray Jeep tour. Overnight Ouray
Tuesday - Silverton. Overnight Ouray
Wednesday - Check out Telluride and head to Mesa Verde National Park. Overnight Mesa Verde
Thursday - Mesa Verde. Overnight Mesa Verde
Friday - Long drive to Great Sand Dunes National park. Overnight at Great Sand Dunes Lodge
Saturday - Drive to Denver Airport and stay outside in Aurora. Depending on time stop in Co Springs or Florissant to break drive
Sunday - 830AM flight
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Old Jul 11th, 2022, 12:44 PM
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A few thing to be aware of - there’s road construction on Highway 50 between mile markers 123 and 127 (Little Blue Creek Canyon) - check times here so you can plan the Black Canyon/Gunnison portion of your trip:

https://www.us50info.com/

Salida to Ouray is a 3:15 drive; this will make for a full day if you also plan to raft and explore Black Canyon. I assume you know that rafting in the canyon isn't possible and that the rapids within
the national park are considered Class V; very technical, difficult and dangerous.

I guess you know that going to Mesa Verde from Telluride instead of from Ouray prevents you from going over Coal Bank Pass and Molas pass into Durango - a very pretty drive.

If it were me, I'd visit Telluride as a day trip from Ouray on Tuesday, and then visit Silverton on the way to Mesa Verde - this would also enable you to see a bit of Durango - a Colorado gem - on the way to Mesa Verde.

The drive between the Sand Dunes and Aurora, via 285 and 24 will take you through Florissant and down to Colorado Springs - then from there it's on to Aurora - but this drive will take about five hours without traffic - and there's no such thing as no traffic in CO these days - so it doesn't leave you much time for Florissant (assume the Fossil Beds?) or the Springs, which is a huge city these days. You will pass nearby the Garden of the Gods as you come down 24, and you might enjoy a drive through the park.

Last edited by Melnq8; Jul 11th, 2022 at 12:47 PM.
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Old Jul 11th, 2022, 02:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Melnq8 View Post
A few thing to be aware of - there’s road construction on Highway 50 between mile markers 123 and 127 (Little Blue Creek Canyon) - check times here so you can plan the Black Canyon/Gunnison portion of your trip:

Salida to Ouray is a 3:15 drive; this will make for a full day if you also plan to raft and explore Black Canyon. I assume you know that rafting in the canyon isn't possible and that the rapids within the national park are considered Class V; very technical, difficult and dangerous.

I guess you know that going to Mesa Verde from Telluride instead of from Ouray prevents you from going over Coal Bank Pass and Molas pass into Durango - a very pretty drive.

If it were me, I'd visit Telluride as a day trip from Ouray on Tuesday, and then visit Silverton on the way to Mesa Verde - this would also enable you to see a bit of Durango - a Colorado gem - on the way to Mesa Verde.

The drive between the Sand Dunes and Aurora, via 285 and 24 will take you through Florissant and down to Colorado Springs - then from there it's on to Aurora - but this drive will take about five hours without traffic - and there's no such thing as no traffic in CO these days - so it doesn't leave you much time for Florissant (assume the Fossil Beds?) or the Springs, which is a huge city these days. You will pass nearby the Garden of the Gods as you come down 24, and you might enjoy a drive through the park.
Thank you for the reply. Thought was a family float (ages 2 and up) in Salida which they are running that weekend per my call. This would be a Sunday and I believe then help me avoid the US-50 closure as it's the weekend?

5 hour leg sounds like a bear even with the stop. Perhaps best if I did I-25 up skipping Florissant to knock an hour off I assume.
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Old Jul 11th, 2022, 03:11 PM
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When in Salida try to eat at the Boathouse which has an open-air deck right on the rushing, clear Arkansas River. https://www.boathousesalida.com/ and I agree that taking a brief tour of Garden of the Gods would be worth it.
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Old Jul 11th, 2022, 04:07 PM
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Thank you both.

The plan was to drive US-50 on Sunday when I believe there is no construction and do the rafting either in Salida or Gunnison.

a five hour drive sounds rough. Probably worth it to skip Florissant (wanted the fossil quarry) and just do garden of the gods.
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Old Aug 21st, 2022, 09:39 AM
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One problem with float trips or rafting is that you need water. By the end of the summer you have low water levels on most mountain streams. Low water means more exposed rocks and makes the trips for risky. I would put any water activity on the "Iffy" list. The monsoons have dumped a lot of water recently but it drains in a hurry.
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Old Aug 25th, 2022, 03:00 AM
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Please tell me your budget and location priority so I can suggest you according to your requirements.
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Old Aug 25th, 2022, 05:41 PM
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Wow, I really hope you your itinerary works out because it sounds like a great time! I've not been to Colorado so I can't make any suggestions, but I hope you have a safe and really fun trip!
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