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Iteneray help: Santa Fe-Taos-Durango-Colorado Springs

Iteneray help: Santa Fe-Taos-Durango-Colorado Springs

Apr 4th, 2013, 08:22 AM
  #1  
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Join Date: Apr 2013
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Iteneray help: Santa Fe-Taos-Durango-Colorado Springs

We are taking a family trip in June with our boys ages 10 and 12. We fly into ABQ but will be heading straight to a family reunion in Santa Fe and then fly out of Colorado Springs where we will see more family. We are from the East Coast so this area is all new to us. We have 7 days to enjoy this part of the country. Any recommendations on things to do/sights to see in this area that would appeal to the four of us would be greatly appreciated. Also, how long to stay in each area. Thanks!
MG70 is offline  
Apr 4th, 2013, 08:37 AM
  #2  
 
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Do the 7 days include the family visits at both ends?

Taos Pueblo should be a very interesting stop for the whole family. Besides the actual pueblo I love the cemetery there, have a look.

Take the road north out of Taos (522 in NM, 142 in CO) to Great Sand Dunes National Park. Then on over to I-25 for the drive to Colorado Springs.
MmePerdu is online now  
Apr 4th, 2013, 09:00 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
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When you are in Santa Fe, take the ride over to Bandelier NP. The kids will love going into the cliff dwellings that were carved into the hardened volcanic ash that makes up the park. There is a separate less developed section of the park, called Tsankawi that is about 5 miles closer to Santa Fe that has a very nice trail up onto a small butte with grooves carved into the rock over the years of people walking. I have a couple of pictures of it at www.flickr.com/photos/emalloy2009 in the 2008 set.
emalloy is offline  
Apr 4th, 2013, 11:26 AM
  #4  
 
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www.soaringcolorado.com super expensive, but super good. It was the #1 thing in all the USA for several years on tripadvisor. This also includes a ride on the Durango Train.

Mesa Verde National Park-Really need an entire day or more here. spend the night at Far View Lodge in the park. Might sound boring for kids, but it isn't at all. They will enjoy it.

The Great Sand Dunes National Park-The best time of year to go there is the first week of June(normally-this is when the creek is at its best) These are the tallest dunes in North American and even more remarkable because they are in the middle of mountains.

Pikes Peak
spirobulldog is offline  
Apr 4th, 2013, 01:55 PM
  #5  
 
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Will be back with more ideas but I have to say to skip the train in Durango. Your boys will be very bored. IF you feel you must do the ride, only go one way and take the bus back the other way. If you take the train from Durango to Silverton, sit on the right side of train. If you go in the opposite direction [you can take the bus either TO or FROM Silverton and then the train back] sit on the left side of train.

I would think the boys would rather do a raft ride on the River in Durango, or maybe rent a pontoon boat on Vallecito Lake for an hour or 2 or do a jeep, off road trip [guided, not on your own].
DebitNM is offline  
Apr 4th, 2013, 02:20 PM
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Debit,
what I was referring to is the Zipline/Train combo. The train ride is only about half way and is the most scenic section. I can guarantee if you can afford it, it is absolutely fantastic. The only way to get to the zipline is via the train. You cannot drive to it.
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Apr 4th, 2013, 02:22 PM
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I realized that spiro but wasn't sure OP would.
DebitNM is offline  
Apr 5th, 2013, 04:56 AM
  #8  
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Thanks for all of the suggestions. The zip line sounds fabulous but it's $459 per person, so out of our budget when we have to multiply by 4! To an earlier question, the 7 days doesn't include the family visits, just time for us to play.

Question: are Bandelier and Mesa Verde too similar? Would we want to pick one or should we do both?
MG70 is offline  
Apr 5th, 2013, 06:03 AM
  #9  
 
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Mesa Verde is far superior to Bandelier in many ways. A more varied site with a variety of "homes" and there are great trails too. Bandelier is worth a visit, but if you only are going to do one, MVNP is the way to go.
DebitNM is offline  
Apr 5th, 2013, 07:11 AM
  #10  
 
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Debit, How does Mesa Verde compare to Canyon De Chelly. I have been to Mesa Verde. My parents have been to Mesa Verde and Bandalier. They are doing CDC next month. They are having a guide.
spirobulldog is offline  
Apr 6th, 2013, 03:36 AM
  #11  
 
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Spiro, They're very different IMO. In CdC we had a very good guide who explained the history and lifestyle of the Navajos there. She had grown up in the canyon, and lives on the rim most of the year, but her family still has a place down in the canyon. We are interested in rock art and she had a mirror that she used to catch the sun and point out the places with art that weren't at eye level.

There are ruins in the canyon, but there are also places that people still live and herd sheep, grow crops, etc., mostly not in winter.

You can drive around the top of the canyon and stop at various pull offs to look down, but are not allowed on the "roads" in the canyon. There is one trail down into the canyon that people can climb down to see one ruin (white house ruin). There are several other ruins and a rich history of the area including the rounding up of Navajos and marching them away for several years, until they were allowed to return to their native lands.

We were able to go and see ruins but did not actually go into them as you can in Mesa Verde. CdC is Navajo land, not park service, although the park service has a VC on the rim where you can arrange for a guide if you don't already have one. There are some motels in Chinle that will get guides for you too. We stayed at Thunderbird Lodge, but found our guide at the VC and did not take the "Shake and Bake" tour Thunderbird offers.

They are both worth visiting, MV is more of an interesting museum, but CdC is physically very different as well as being a place where the traditional way of life is still going on, crops growing, sheep herds, weavers making rugs, women making jewelry, etc.
emalloy is offline  
Apr 10th, 2013, 11:12 AM
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Mesa Verde is way cooler than Bandalier, and much much bigger. A lot more to see at MV. If you want even more cliff dwellings, there are some in Manitou Springs just west of Co Springs. There is a lot of fun stuff to do in Co Springs. Seven Falls, the zoo (it's up the mountain), train up Pike's Peak, Cave of the Winds, Garden of the Gods. It's a fun place to spend a few days.
Tally is offline  
Apr 10th, 2013, 05:03 PM
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Because of the prevailing winds @ Sand Dunes the creek will probably display the geological phenom. of a "bore". Water that flows then rises a bit like an incoming tide. Interesting if you can see it. Also there are fugilites.. sand melted into globs from lightening strikes.. Pikes Peak is a 14er..14,110ft high and you can drive up. There are many 14ers in Colo. Taos plaza is the only place the Stars and Stripes can fly day and night.Taos Pueblo is the oldest continually occupied "Apartment house" in USA. Interesting country..One of my favorite spots in the world..Happy Trails to you and yours!!!
amer_can is offline  
Apr 10th, 2013, 07:52 PM
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Skip the cliff dwellings outside of Manitou springs. Not much there compared to either bandalier or Mesa Verde and they are not original dwellings but reproductions. Another vote for MV. We were there last year for the first time and did not allow enough time to see the entire park though we were ankle to do 2 of the cliff tours in 1/2 day. If you go, make sure you sign up for whichever yours you are interested in first thing as they can fill up during the summer months. Lots to do in Colorado spring- I second Garden of the gods, cave of the winds and pikes peak (you can optionally drive to the top instead of taking the train).

Enjoy!
tarfan24 is offline  
May 20th, 2013, 01:12 PM
  #15  
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Thanks for all of the help. It's a work in progress, but this is what we are thinking right now. Please let me know if this sounds good and what I should change. There just doesn't seem to be enough time for everything!! (As a reminder I have 2 boys-10 and 12. We are visiting family in Santa Fe and Colorado Springs on either side of the trip.)

Day 1: Leave Santa Fe early-spend day/night in Taos
Day 2: Great Sand Dunes Park-drive to Durango-Spend 3 nights
Day 3: Durango area: hike or raft or zip line or bike or horseback ride. So many options, not enough time!
Day 4: Mesa Verde
Day 5: Telluride:
Day 6: Colorado Springs-tour with family-I will let them plan this part


Any suggestions for lodging in Taos and Durango? It seems that most of the reviews on trip advisor say the majority of hotels in Taos are old and dirty. In Durango we have booked at the Double Tree but now are thinking that it doesn't seem to have much character and for 3 days we should probably get a condo, however, most reviews for the condos at purgatory say that are very dated, unfriendly staff. Maybe I'm just spending too much time reading things on the internet...

Alternatively we are thinking of doing fewer days in Durango and more in Telluride due to better lodging options in Telluride. Thoughts?
MG70 is offline  
May 20th, 2013, 01:21 PM
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Much more to do for a family in Durango than in Telluride. Also food costs are a bit lower and a much greater diversity of places and prices.

I am surprised that lodging options better in Telluride; usually more costly if going hotel route.
DebitNM is offline  
May 22nd, 2013, 04:54 PM
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Telluride is a great place to beat the summer heat (about 9,000ft in town), and good for hiking, but it wouldn't be my choice for kids. The drive from Durango to Silverton to Ouray to Telluride is one of the best, though. Durango is the best place for the whole family. We stayed in a condo in Durango that we booked with no real info and were very happy.
slcbbrown is offline  
May 22nd, 2013, 05:01 PM
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Condos at Purgatory are pretty far out of town for eating and just walking the town. I would stay at Double Tree. Not sure if they family rooms, but The Strater and General Palmer have lots of character and are right in town.

El Pueblo in Taos has SW character, we have stayed there and found it to be ok for a few days.
DebitNM is offline  
May 22nd, 2013, 05:22 PM
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We spent a week at the Wyndham in Durango this past September. Now, that is a timeshare, but they also release some inventory to nightly stays. It's condo style, so you might want to check it out. The location is excellent, we thought. It IS right next to the train station, so there would be train sounds. http://www.hotels.com/ho261688/wyndh...FY3m7AodSg8APw

Now, it's on a little cul de sac. The other property there is a Best Western, and it looks really nice also. Check that one out. We walked all over from our hotel easily, and that would be a real plus.

As for what to do - a day at Mesa Verde would be tremendous. We actually went on 2 separate days. If you don't want to do the train ride, and are still interested in trains, there are tickets available just to tour the roundhouse and associated areas. The boys might enjoy that; I certainly did. At any rate, it's not very costly and doesn't require a big time commitment.

We also spent a day just strolling around town and thoroughly enjoyed that. One gem of a restaurant we found was actually a sort of deli in front, but was actually a restaurant with really good food - think it may be Guidos? DH liked the Irish pub/restaurant a couple of blocks from where we stayed. Lunch one day, breakfast another.

Sounds like a fun trip.
sludick is offline  
May 22nd, 2013, 05:27 PM
  #20  
 
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We have stayed at Wyndham too. It was nice. Good location.

Yes, mostly likely was Guido's. great food. 12th and Main.

Great restaurant on the way to/from Mesa Verde is Kennebec Cafe. It's our favorite. Had a great lunch there last week.
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