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Mesa Verde/Durango to Grand Tetons/Yellowstone

Mesa Verde/Durango to Grand Tetons/Yellowstone

Old Dec 11th, 2016, 08:21 AM
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Mesa Verde/Durango to Grand Tetons/Yellowstone

Hi. We are planning a trip out to this area next August. We would like to fly in near Mesa Verde and Durango, spend some time there, and make our way up to Grant Teton and Yellowstone flying out of that area. Can anyone give me an idea of how long to spend at each, as well as ideas of where to stop on the way? We have a family with an 8 and 10 year old. Thank you.
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Old Dec 11th, 2016, 11:48 AM
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Best bet is to fly into Albuquerque (ABQ) to get the most cost efficient fares for 4 people. Southwest flies here, so if they are at your airport, check them out. You can fly into Durango, but it is usually very pricey especially for 4 tickets.

It is about 3 hours drive from ABQ to Durango. You might consider making a slight detour to see Tent Rock; very unique. Another stop along the way would be Chaco Canyon, which is on the road NMSR 550- to Durango, but is a drive to reach once off SR 550.

It's nice to stay in Mesa Verde NP at The Far View Lodge but it gets booked out pretty far in advance. You can always book somewhere else with a reservation that can be cancelled without penalty and keep checking Far View; people book far in advance and then end up having to cancel, so it's possible.

Durango is a great "small" town with a great vibe. It is about a 30 minute drive from Durango to the entrance and then another 25 minutes or so to get into the actual park.

If you want to stay closer, Cortez is just 10 minutes to entrance. Motels, restaurants, a nice town park but not the same vibe as Durango.

Anasazi Heritage Center [museum] in Delores & Canyons of the Ancients National Monument another good spot to see.
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Old Dec 11th, 2016, 02:30 PM
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I agree with everything DebitNM said and will add that when you leave Mesa Verde, head up to Moab and visit Arches and Canyonlands. It is a bit less than 3 hours away and is on a logical route. Spend a couple of days there.

It will be 8 or 9 hours drive from Moab to Jackson WY to start the Grand Teton/Yellowstone part of the trip.

Another alternative to Durango would be Grand Junction, CO. You could do a loop from there and visit Moab and Mesa Verde, then drop the car and fly into/out of Jackson, WY. The difference in cost might not be too much since you wouldn't have the drop fees for the car rental.

For Mesa Verde, Yellowstone and Grand Teton my first choice would be to stay in the parks. As Debit said they fill up early, but because people make reservations so far in advance, they often cancel when time gets close. I would check on lodging before making air reservations in case doing the northern areas first is better for finding rooms.
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Old Dec 11th, 2016, 03:20 PM
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A possible idea. Fly in and out of Grand Junction or Montrose and drive down to Mesa Verde. Some of best scenery in the country. Then up to Moab seeing Bryce and Arches and Canyonlands depending on time. Then up to Teton and YS and back to GJ. No drop fee. How long do you have? From where are you flying? Google all the options for mileage and time. So many variables--flight costs, car rental cost,how long you and kids can spend in car.
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Old Dec 12th, 2016, 03:38 PM
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The family might enjoy the train ride from Durango to Silverton.

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Old Dec 12th, 2016, 05:51 PM
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The train is nice but takes up a huge chunk of time. And truthfully, I think average 8 and 10 year old would be pretty bored.

IF OP wanted to do this, taking the train one way only and then the bus in other direction but this still takes a good amount of time.
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Old Dec 12th, 2016, 07:33 PM
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I don't think the train is so great for kids. It gets very long even for adults. As Debit said it takes all day. Not much can spoil vacation like bored kids.

My grands loved horseback rides at that age and felt western to boot, especially if a relatively inexpensive cowboy hat can be the souvenir. Fun to wear the rest of the trip too. Kids still have theirs 7 years later.
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Old Dec 15th, 2016, 02:47 AM
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We crack me up (I include myself).

Thousands travel from all over the world to take this train and the one from Chama got Antonito, but it is too long and boring for others.

We covered some of this same ground with friends, traveling from Santa Fe with overnights in Durango, Cortez, and Mexican Hat to see Mesa Verde, Hovenweep, Arches, and Monument Valley. We could have used another two days.

It is really hard to give travel advice!
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