Input needed on Colorado itinerary

Old Jul 8th, 2021, 03:58 PM
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Input needed on Colorado itinerary

I値l be in Colorado in September, going from Great Sand Dunes National Park to Ft Collins. We have reservations at GSD NP on September 25. We値l be driving there from Santa Fe and hopefully stopping at Taos Pueblo and then taking the Los Caminos Antiguos Scenic Byway.

After GSD NP my plan was to just drive via the I-25 up to FT Collins for 2 nights and spend the day in between them at RMNP but the stories of horrid crowds and reservations required has turned me off to that plan. I know much of Colorado is very scenic so now I知 trying to put together a plan taking a 壮cenic route to Ft Collins over two days. I actually lived in Colorado for a year but it was decades ago and unfortunately none of my photos are labeled and I can稚 remember what痴 where.

I知 thinking we壇 go up from GSD to Buena Vista to Leadville to Dillon Lake to Loveland Pass and spend the night outside Denver (probably Golden). The next day we壇 go to Boulder, then to Nederland and up the Peak-to-Peak Scenic Byway to Estes Park and then on to Ft Collins. We値l be stopping frequently to photograph things but not planning on any hiking (just short walks) this is the end of a several week National Park trip so we値l be hiked out by this time.

Questions: Is there any route more scenic than that? Possible detours if we have time: St Elmo and Mt Evans Scenic Byway the first day and Gold Hill the second day. Are any of those 'not' worth while? I definitely want to stop at Dillon Lake (my first dog, who I got a few years after I lived in Colorado, was named Dillon after that lake) is Sapphire Point the best place to view it?

Thanks in advance for any input or suggestions.
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Old Jul 8th, 2021, 05:52 PM
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Unless you're dead set on Boulder/Denver area, I'd suggest, from Dillon, going north on 9 to Kremmling, then take 40 through Hot Sulphur Springs to 125 that takes you to/through the North Park. You could continue all the way to Walden, but at Rand, there is a secondary road shortcut, 27, (as in gravel) that connects with 14 which takes you through Poudre Canyon all the way to Fort Collins. The Poudre River has Colorado's only Wild and Scenic designation.
Anyway, I think route would certainly be more scenic and have less traffic.
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Old Jul 8th, 2021, 06:00 PM
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I think you original plan is ok. It is hard to suggest that one route is more scenic than another. The suggestions from baldone is good.

There will be some problems in the areas NW of Ft. Collins because of forest fires last year and recently.
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Old Jul 8th, 2021, 07:41 PM
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Although I've recently advised against RMNP due to the reasons you mentioned, in this case I'd say the biggest scenic bang for your buck is to go over Trail Ridge Road. Follow the route baldone suggests but at Hot Sulphur Springs continue on to spend a night in Grand Lake. You can go into the Park that evening to see the elk bugle, likely in full swing at that time. Go over Trail Ridge Road the next day. Either get permits or go before/after hours.

True the fires were through last year, but there are no current travel problems. Keep an eye on the CDOT site for conditions:
https://www.cotrip.org/map.htm#/roadConditions

No way would I go down I-70 into the metro area when you can stay in the mountains. Good luck.

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Old Jul 11th, 2021, 09:26 AM
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Although you don't intend on hiking much, this particular trailhead is a good place to park and get out a bit when you are in Estes Park. Address is " Ute Trail, Estes Park, CO 80517 ". In the summer there are many flowers.
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Old Jul 25th, 2021, 05:46 PM
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Originally Posted by fmpden View Post
There will be some problems in the areas NW of Ft. Collins because of forest fires last year and recently.
Sadly it has started, a deadly flash flood in the Poudre River last week when heavy monsoonal rain triggered a mudslide in last year's burn area.
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Old Jul 26th, 2021, 07:19 PM
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You mentioned that you want to go to the Pueblo in Taos. It was closed for covid when we passed that way in June.
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Old Jul 28th, 2021, 04:28 AM
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Their website has a note that they are closed due to covid. However, if you click on the calendar it appears they will start opening on September 1 (looks closed for all of July and August still). So I am hopeful that is their plan and that the recent resurgence won't affect that. Obviously I will have to just wait and see but I am at least a little hopeful.
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