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Help with Colorado 10-day August Itinerary...

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Jun 23rd, 2012, 05:22 AM
  #1
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Help with Colorado 10-day August Itinerary...

We are traveling first 10 days of August to Colorado with 11yo dcs. Fly in/out of Denver. We have 10 nights. We are going to see Rockies game the 2nd night we are there so I guess the first two days we will spend in Denver. Then we want to see the state - I know it's a big state with lots to see - I really want to go to Mesa Verde - figure we'd go west and then down thru Ouray to Durango. But how do we go back to Denver - what route and which towns to stay in? And do we have time to go to RMNP? Problem is my dh does not want to feel like he is just in a car driving our whole vacation and he does not want to stay in places for just one night the whole trip. Not sure I can figure it out! Any input is appreciated!

Was thinking something like:
Nights 1/2 - Denver

Night 3 - RMNP?

Nights 4/5 - Aspen

Night 6 - Ouray

Nights 7-9 Durango

Night 10? Somewhere on way back to Denver

Leave on the 11th day late in day

What do you think???
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Jun 23rd, 2012, 10:21 AM
  #2
 
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Seems like a car driving trip to me. In the interest of marital tranquility some modifications might be in order!

Probably drop RMNP since it's in the wrong direction from the other stuff.

Are you planning Mesa Verde as a day trip from Durango? That will short-change it. I first went there when I was 12 and thought it fascinating, so your kids might love it too. Maybe you should spend a night or two in Mesa Verde since that's what really want to see.

My wife and I like to stop in Salida / Buena Vista area on our returns from southern Colorado. Leadville is also an option with a lot of mining history. The National Mining Museum is worth seeing, kids might enjoy that.

But your itinerary as stated is way too much driving for my tastes.

Have a great trip whatever you decide.
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Jun 23rd, 2012, 10:27 AM
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If you want to really see and do Mesa Verde justice, take at LEAST 1 1/2 days there. You can try to stay at Far View Lodge, but my guess is that it's going to be booked. You can keep trying for a cancellation.

IF you are wanting to spend the 2 days visiting MV, consider staying in Cortez for the night in between the days. It is much closer than Durango and you can probably save a few $$ on hotel, food and gas.

I have threads on here about places to eat in Cortez as well as Durango.

You also might consider doing the Million Dollar [San Juan Skyway] drive; it has some pretty spectacular views.

This is worth a visit too, especially if you are going to do the drive:

http://www.blm.gov/co/st/en/fo/ahc.html
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Jun 23rd, 2012, 10:36 AM
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I thought you had asked this same question earlier or else someone is on the same trip. The big problem is that it is slow driving in the mountains other than the interstate and there is no interstate to the SW corner. It is hard day drive from Denver to Durango. Fastest is to Pueblo and across. If doing MV you need to plan on two nights in the park. It is the Far View Inn and it could be too late for reservations. It will be hot and very hard to do a full day of sightseeing in the park. Almost no shade anywhere. Need to take an afternoon break. The park itself is 15 miles off the main road on a very slow road - about 30 mph.
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Jun 23rd, 2012, 11:01 AM
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Opps, posted before I was ready. Skip RMNP - wrong direction and overrun by tourists in August. There are other areas of the state that is just as scenic or more so. From Durango work north through towards Glenwood Springs. But that still will be a lot of car time.

Personally I would save MV for another time when you could spend a week focusing on that area alone. For your time period I would do something like a few days in Breckenridge (Summit Cty), a loop through Leadville, Independence Pass, Aspen, and Glenwood Springs and back to Denver. Avoid returning to Denver on a Sunday afternoon via I-70.

I would not stay in Aspen as there is little to hold the interest of 11 year old daughters unless you have introduced them to mega shopping. Stay in Glennwood Springs - greater variety of activities including a huge hot springs swimming pool. That would give you a great view of the state without a lot of driving. No more than 3 or 4 hours in a single day.
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Jun 23rd, 2012, 11:04 AM
  #6
 
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I was wrong - similar question. But you might review this posting since it is very close to what you asked.

http://www.fodors.com/community/unit...n-colorado.cfm
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Jun 23rd, 2012, 12:12 PM
  #7
 
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Echo what others say about Mesa Verde--it needs more time, and if possible stay IN the park at Far View.
In Denver there is a good bit to do for museums, botanic gardens. Just outside in Westminster there is a butterfly pavilion.
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Jun 23rd, 2012, 12:43 PM
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This is how I would save dad a whole lot of driving:
Day 1/2 in Denver. Day 3 board the California Zephyr westbound at about 8AM. http://www.amtrak.com/servlet/Conten...=1237608341980
You will go through the Glenwood Canyon and then Glenwood Springs and will arrive at Grand Junction about 4PM. Rent a vehicle in Grand Junction and drive to Durango for the night.
Get an early start and go see Mesa Verde on days 4/5. Return the vehicle to Grand Junction and ride the eastbound CA Zephyr to Glenwood Springs. The world's largest hot spring fed swimming pool is across the Colorado River from the Amtrak station. There are 2 old historic hotels within walking distance as well. The kids would like the gondola ride up to Glenwood Caverns also within walking distance.
There is a good bus service out of GWS to go to Aspen if you must see it. Get on the next Zephyr and ride to Granby or Winter Park/Fraser to rent a vehicle to visit RMNP. It is your choice whether to ride the train back to Denver or just turn in the vehicle at the Denver airport.
I really enjoy the scenery in the Glenwood Canyon from the train east of Glenwood Springs. I don't enjoy driving I-70 and having to concentrate on the road.
I like the concept of going to the farthest destination first (Meas Verde) and then working back to the return airport.
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Jun 24th, 2012, 04:57 AM
  #9
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Thanks for all your input!

I really want to get to SW Colorado -- so I think we will skip RMNP then. I know that there will be a lot of cartime still by going SW but I think that my family will really like it.

I also checked that Far View Lodge in MV and there is room available so maybe revised itinerary is:

Nights 1/2 Denver

Nights 3/4 Aspen or Glenwood Springs

Nighst 5 Ouray

Nights 6-9 Durango/Mesa Verde

Night 10 - Buena Vista (stop and see Black Canyon on way)

Day 11 -- head to Denver Airport - flight is late in day

does that sound better?
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Jun 24th, 2012, 05:53 AM
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It might be too crowded in August to get a room, but you could look into the Mt. Princeton hot springs resort near Buena Vista. It is in a gorgeous location in the Collegiate range. The drive along the Arkansas River is beautiful.
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Jun 24th, 2012, 06:32 AM
  #11
 
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We love visiting Colorado-- visited RMNP in 2010 and Telluride/Ouray in 2011. We were blown away by the beauty of SW Colorado. We planned on getting to Mesa Verde but never got south of Silverton. We spent the whole week hiking and enjoying the Telluride/Ouray area

I don't know about going there from Denver. We flew into Montrose. We stayed in Telluride, in Mountain Village and never tired of taking the free gondola into town and to the trails. My husband played the golf course and said that it was one of the most beautiful he has played.

Here is my trip report from last year. I probably also have a RMNP and a Breckenridge report on these forums.
http://www.fodors.com/community/unit...ride-co.cfm?11
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Jun 27th, 2012, 04:55 AM
  #12
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Thank you all for your input. This is our latest (and I think close to final itinerary. Now, to find lodging! Any recos are appreciated!

Nights 1/2 Denver - go to Rockies game on 2nd night

Nights 3/4 - Aspen (not sure where to stay)

Nights 5 - Ouray (do jeep tour when here - any other musts?)

Nights 6/7/8 - Durango -- possible stay in Mesa Verde one of those nights

Nights 9/10 - Buena Vista - if we can we are going to stay at Mt Princeton Hot Springs Resort that was recoommended here

Do you think the drive back to Denver Airport is too far from Buena Vista? Our flight is not until 5PM so we wont' have to leave early.

Also - do I need rental car when I am in Denver or should I just pick up car at the start of Day 3?

thanks for all your help!
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Jun 27th, 2012, 06:19 AM
  #13
 
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I doubt you will need a car in Denver, of course it depends on where you stay and what you plan on doing besides The Rockies game.

We recently spent 4 nights at the Residence Inn on Champa and it was within walking distance to ballpark as well as to many other points of interest in Downtown Denver. It is also just 2 blocks to the free 16th St Mall bus, which will help you to get around as well. You can easily get to: The Mint, Fed Res Bank, Capital Building, Art Museums, Molly Brown House, from that area by using the free bus and walking a bit.
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Jun 27th, 2012, 07:50 AM
  #14
 
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The Denver airport is a 3-4 hour drive from Buena Vista--unless you are traveling on Sunday. The Sunday traffic coming out of the mountains on highway 285 can get really backed up.

If you have not checked with Mt. Priceton Hot Springs Lodge, do so immediately. I just checked their website and they have only one vacancy on August 9--a large cabin. You might want to give the a call to see if anything else is available.

If you can't stay there, you might check out lodging in Salida which is about 20 or so miles from Buena Vista. It has an indoor hot springs pool and a cool downtown with shops and restaurants. http://salida.com/
http://salidarec.com/public-pool/

Also Aspen gets very busy (and expensive in early August) so I would arrange lodging there ASAP.
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Jun 27th, 2012, 08:02 AM
  #15
 
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I have a friend whose children live in Denver (as do ours) and one trip she took taxis everywhere, to the delight of her granddaughters, of course. She said it was fun--and not expensive. I wouldn't have a car in Denver. They have a good light rail, the free trolley or something, and if push comes to shove, a cab. You'll pay a lot for parking at a hotel also.
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Jun 27th, 2012, 12:51 PM
  #16
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Thanks for the input.

Well - as it turns out Princeton Hot Springs is all booked - they are having a wedding party there during that time.

Now I am wondering if we should just go to Colorado Springs for the last two nights instead of Buena Vista/Salida. It might also be an easier drive to the airport on Saturday.

Let me know what you think! Thanks.
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Jun 27th, 2012, 01:23 PM
  #17
 
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Colorado Springs is about 1 1/2 to 2 hours from the Denver airport.

Depending on what you want to do in Colorado Springs, I suggest that you monitor the fire that is burning there now. Right now lots of the tourist attractions are closed. I would hope that the fire would be out long before you arrive in Colorado Springs and that it would not cause you a problem.
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