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Grand Lake, Co or Breckenridge For 2 1/2 boys (no skiing) & renting cabin

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Feb 3rd, 2013, 09:12 AM
  #1
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Grand Lake, Co or Breckenridge For 2 1/2 boys (no skiing) & renting cabin

Hi All. My original plan was for Estes Park in late Dec 2013 but it seems they don't get much snow there. Will these 2 other options be better? We want to rent a cabin (away from the husle and busle) but close enough to visit. We want mountain winter scene (we're from Texas so the purpoae is to see snow).

Right now I am looking at 2 cabins in my price range. Breckenridge area with no hot tub and Grand Lake with hot tub for the same price, same 2 bedroom. Which is a better location?

(not fussed by the hot tub really, just an added bonus). staying 4 nights 12/28 to 1/1/2014.

Thanks!
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Feb 3rd, 2013, 09:37 AM
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also, if we decide to go for breckenridge (which I am leaning towards), is it an easy (and open) drive to the south entrance to RMNP?
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Feb 3rd, 2013, 10:28 AM
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From Breckenridge, you will have to go over Berthoud Pass (Interstate 70 to 40) through Winter Park (past Grand Lake) to enter RMNP from the west. Otherwise, you would have to go to 119 (Peak to Peak) or even 93 to 36 (through Boulder)to Estes Park for the other (east) entrance.
Lots of dead/brown trees in the Grand Lake area these days, by the way. It's an easy drive to Sulphur Hot Springs (http://hotsulphursprings.com) from there, which you might enjoy.
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Feb 3rd, 2013, 12:30 PM
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Why did you start a new thread?
Will the west entrance even be open if Trail Ridge Road is closed. What would be there--I don't recall much. Estes Park is on the east side.
Can she not go to Silverthorne, up Route 9 to Kremmling and then 40 to the Park. It's a flatter road to travel for sure. I wouldn't necessarily add Berthoud Pass to the mix especially if there is snow. DD lived in Winter Park for a year, and after I went over that road (in good weather) I prayed for her through the winter!!
I haven't stayed in Grand Lake but is there much mountain scenery there? Like you would have in Breck.
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Feb 3rd, 2013, 01:25 PM
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Yes, the West entrance is open if Trail Ridge is closed. It is closed on both sides part way up.http://www.nps.gov/romo/planyourvisi...CP_JUMP_587766
We've always gone over Berthoud Pass to Winter Park with no trouble, but 9 to 40 would work, too (a bit longer drive?).
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Feb 3rd, 2013, 02:05 PM
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Hi, I called the park. They said the west entrance will be open for only 10 miles but that 10 miles is right at the bed of the moose and elk area - which is why we want to go. The ranger said if it's dry, it's perfectly safe. Just take our time. So just to check the weather.

In any case, I went ahead and submitted my request for the ouse in Breck.

Thanks!
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Feb 4th, 2013, 08:58 AM
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I think you will do better in Breckenridge. We love Grand Lake, but it is relatively isolated.

I would not do the drive from Breckenridge to Grand Lake's west entrance to RMNP. Especially as a day-trip, because it can be a long drive. We drive it in the summer, to Winter Park via Kremmling, and it's a nice drive through rolling hills and ranch country. But there can be LOTS of deer on that road which makes it tricky.

There are so many day-trips from Breckenridge, I suggest you stay closer to your home base.
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Feb 4th, 2013, 12:04 PM
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It has been a while since we did our loop through the Park and back to Denver so I checked. We even stopped to do some trout fishing so time was seemingly OK.
It seems that Breck to the Park is about 100 miles or so via the Route 9/Route 40 route I suggested, and a bit further (in addition to going over Berthoud Pass) via 70 and 40. Estimated about 2 hours or so.
That doesn't seem too difficult for a day trip to see the elk and moose, hopefully. ;o)
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Feb 4th, 2013, 12:08 PM
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OP, if you haven't quite made your plans yet, Frisco might offer you something also. Or it might be a good place to spend a day. They apparently have a sledding hill but you have to bring your own (it says).

http://www.townoffrisco.com/activiti...er-recreation/
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Feb 4th, 2013, 12:13 PM
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Thanks everyone. I just booked a house in the outskirts of Breckenridge, 4 miles to be exact. So where else can we see elk and moose in abundance in the area?
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Feb 4th, 2013, 12:27 PM
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PeaceOut, can you suggest some day trips? We'd like to see some moose please!
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Feb 4th, 2013, 12:34 PM
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Leadville has a great mining museum and other sites (1 hour drive if weather is good).
Moose are often seen in the stream area just inside RMNP on that side.
p.s. mapquest gives the total mileage as a bit more going on 9 and 40, but it would probably be less traumatic than Berthoud Pass if you aren't used to mountain driving.
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Feb 4th, 2013, 12:45 PM
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If you go to Leadville, your 2 1/2 year old boys would probably love the Leadville National Fish Hatchery where they can see and feed trout.
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Feb 4th, 2013, 12:45 PM
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maria, I think it is a lucky occurrence if you see moose in the wild, especially in the winter. We drive to and from Winter Park all the time, and rarely see them. When we do, it is in the springtime, and one might be seen at the bottom of Berthoud Pass, in a swampy area just past Mary Jane ski area. But there's no guarantee.

One spring a few years ago, a female moose seriously chased my husband on his bike. DH was on a very rocky trail, going uphill, and must have inadvertently come between the cow and her calf. He said he was going as fast as he could (he's a very good mountain biker), and the moose was literally breathing down his neck and charging him. Finally, she gave up, thank goodness. It could have been nasty.

When you drive I-70, west from Denver, you can often see bison around Genesee.

If you are deadset on seeing moose, you might contact RMNP and ask what are the chances to see them on that west side in December. It would be a drag to drive that far and not see any.

From Breckenridge, you can easily go to Vail for the day, or Beaver Creek. Of course, Keystone and Frisco are practically next door to Breckenridge.

Glenwood Springs isn't too far, and Aspen is another 45 minutes from there.

This map shows the area near Breckenridge. http://breckenridgecolorado.whattodo...mit-County/40/

With only 4 nights, you will have plenty to see and do right near Breckenridge.
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Feb 4th, 2013, 12:52 PM
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I live in Texas. 2 hours is nothing. My husband drives 45 min each way to work every morning. I'm more concerned of road conditions. Thanks sylvia3. At least that still keeps it an option for us. I was a bit worried about going over the pass. Having said that, we've done the hoosier pass in April. Is that lame compared to berthoud pass?
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Feb 4th, 2013, 12:58 PM
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thanks peaceout. similar story, we were camping at a ranch near Austin where they raise long horns. the guys went mountain biking and carried their walkie talkies with them. the ones at camp overheard one of the guys over walkie talking sayins "[email protected]#!, the cow is after me!!!". We all laughed but of course it wasn't that funny.

Good idea to call the park. the ranger I talked to did say the 10 miles that the park was open was where the herd hangs out in so I took that to mean we could see some but perhaps we should just double check to make sure we don't waste our time. ;-)
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Feb 4th, 2013, 01:08 PM
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Berthoud Pass isn't as bad as some think, because it is well-maintained and there are passing lanes and retaining walls. DH and I actually prefer it to the straight up and down freeway experience of Eisenhower tunnel. We feel you have more control on the pass.

But if it's snowy, windy, foggy-- it can be a white knuckle experience on Berthoud. You could go that route there, and return the other way, weather permitting. The other route takes you along the Blue River for awhile, and it has wide open vistas. Both drives can be spectacular, given clear weather.

If you go through Winter Park, eat dinner at Hernando's. It's a great family place with wonderful pizza. In Grand Lake, we like to eat at Grand Lake Lodge, but it will probably be closed in December. I don't think the new owners keep it open in winter, nor did the previous owners. Good Mexican food in Grand Lake is Pancho and Lefty's.
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Feb 4th, 2013, 01:09 PM
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PS What if you stayed two nights in Breckenridge and two nights in Grand Lake or Winter Park?
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Feb 4th, 2013, 01:22 PM
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Sorry to monopolize your thread. I just looked up Pancho and Lefty's and its reviews aren't great. We have eaten there yearly since the 70s, and always thought it was fine for our family.
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Feb 4th, 2013, 02:31 PM
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Even if the weather turns too nasty for driving distances, there's plenty to see and do locally; ice skating (in Breckenridge, and Keystone Lake is also nice), sledding, sleigh rides (even some with dinner at the end), all the winter fun stuff.
If you do go on a day excursion to the western entrance of RMNP, it's fun to wander the main drag of the village of Grand Lake; lots of shops and restaurants, pretty setting.
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