Mid October Colorado Destination suggestion

Old Feb 13th, 2024, 07:11 AM
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Mid October Colorado Destination suggestion

We recently had Estes Park recommended as a great spot to take in Colorado's. beauty.
and it does look perfect for what we want, 7 days to relax and sightsee, light hiking, some nearby exploring of the surrounding area,
without too much driving. Basically get a taste of parts of Colorado that we haven't seen. Doing a little research we've learned
there's an ongoing construction project affecting the town of Estes Park, adding noise etc.(at night!) which has us looking for suggestions.
We've seen Durango/Mesa Verde and Black Canyon areas, looking for peaceful beauty without the National Park craziness.
Our usual road trips are a night or three in one spot then on to the next spot for more, trying to see everything. We want this to be different
Any suggestions are appreciated.

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Old Feb 13th, 2024, 07:40 AM
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YOu could take some fly fishing lessons in Dillon and maybe catch a huge fish in the tail waters of Dillon Dam. Outfitter right there for everything.
Do a loop driving on I 70 to Aspen/Carbondale. See the exhibit of the million dollar highway just outside Carbondale. Hot springs. Return via Leadville.
Grand Lake is often recommended here for a nice stop.
Be prepared for any kind of weather--we had 75*on Saturday in Denver, 6 inches of snow on Sunday and 17* on Monday to do that fly fishing described above.
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Old Feb 13th, 2024, 08:05 AM
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Manitou Springs might fit the bill. Wander around Manitou Springs eating saltwater taffy exploring art galleries and the historic Cliff House hotel. Nearby are Garden of the Gods, Cave of the Winds and Pikes Peak. There are hiking trails at Woodland Park. During the off-season some businesses may be closed and snow is always possible.
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Old Feb 13th, 2024, 01:31 PM
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Are you flying into Denver?

Estes Park is a zoo, as is RMNP which now requires timed entry permits.

Have you been to Buena Vista, Salida and Leadville?

Manitou Springs isn't remotely peaceful, it's a full on city (I know, I live in the area).

Pikes Peak requires a timed entry permit these days.

You say you've been to Durango and Mesa Verde, but have you been to Ouray and Ridgway?

Last edited by Melnq8; Feb 13th, 2024 at 01:40 PM.
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Old Feb 13th, 2024, 04:11 PM
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Check out Winter Park - Fraser. You can get there without a rental car by riding on the westbound Amtrak California Zephyr from the Denver station. There is good light rail from the Denver airport to the Amtrak station/transportation hub. When on time (sometimes), the train leaves Denver shortly after 8AM.
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Old Feb 14th, 2024, 02:58 AM
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I agree about Manitou Springs and I don't live there but went-once.
I will say that in Woodland Park there is a wonderful dinosaur exhibit where they also have a lab doing fossil recovery.
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Old Feb 14th, 2024, 10:06 AM
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Crested Butte--"Authentic, open and free of crowds, Crested Butte is a quaint 1880s mining town, a Registered National Historic District and the celebrated wildflower capital of Colorado. It is also a mountain biking capital with hundreds of miles of mt. biking trails nearby. It features rows of pastel Victorian storefronts which house boutique shops and restaurants. Crested Butte's Creative District encompasses the Center for the Arts, and 16 artist-owned studios and galleries. It is a major ski resort in the winter, but during the rest of the year there are lots of outdoor activities such as hiking, kayaking, and horseback-riding.
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Old Feb 16th, 2024, 11:43 AM
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Fine tuning Colorado road trip

I appreciate all the advise being offered, very much! Crested Butte sounds wonderful. This is a road trip from San Diego.
We're trying to see the fall colors as well. Ideally we would like to stay in 2 places, but see all we can (in a perfect world!)
Possibilities we have come up with are: Grand Junction(CNM), Grand Mesa, Crested Butte, Leadville and Aspen.
This is probably way to ambitious and needs some fine tuning, but it's a start. A round about would be ideal without too much back tracking.
I know snow is a possibility we be forced to deal with but only if we have to. Thanks in advance!.
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Old Feb 16th, 2024, 12:37 PM
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I would skip Leadville. It's the highest town in the America and its weather is BAD year-round. You might substitute Buena Vista for Leadville.
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Old Jun 11th, 2024, 04:33 PM
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Trying to fine tune Colorado road trip.

Starting in Grand Junction, 2 nights
Breckinridge next for 5 nights
Then a loop through Aspen, Carbondale, Paonia
and Crested Butte for a 2-3 nights.. Concerned about the drive
between Paonia and CB on Hwy 12.. How is it mid October?

From here its's back to GJ through Grand Mesa and then back home to SoCal

Any thoughts/suggestions are greatly appreciated
The trip is to celebrate an anniversary with fall colors in mind

Thanks again for any advice
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Old Jun 11th, 2024, 05:15 PM
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Kebler Pass is spectacular when the aspens change - October is getting a bit late for leaves though. Sadly, Crested Butte has been discovered big time. Be sure to book well in advance.

Some photos from Kebler Pass in 2017 can be found attached here:

Colorado Shows Off

As for thoughts...highly recommend Hotel Maverick in Grand Junction, as well as Pufferbelly's for breakfast, and Enstroms for chocolate, toffee and ice cream (love their toffee and coffee ice cream).

Are you a wine drinker? I can suggest some cellar doors in/around GJ and Palisade if you're interested.

Last edited by Melnq8; Jun 11th, 2024 at 05:26 PM.
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Old Jun 12th, 2024, 03:15 PM
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Thank you very much for taking the time to reply
This is exactly the type of recommendations I was looking for.
Driving from Breck to CB would you recommend staying a night in between
or spend that time in CB?
I appreciate your advice
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Old Jun 12th, 2024, 03:30 PM
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The drive between Breck and CB is only 165.5 miles via US Hwy 285 S and US-50 W, just over three hours give or take, a bit longer via 24. I'd not stop for a night personally, but if you have time to spare you might want to stop at Nathrop to check out Princeton Hot Springs, or to just take a drive through Chalk Creek Canyon up to the ghost town of St Elmo.

https://mtprinceton.com/

https://www.colorado.com/saint-elmo/...lmo-ghost-town

A good lunch stop in Buena Vista is Simple Eatery.

https://www.spoon-it-up.com/
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Old Jun 12th, 2024, 05:19 PM
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A story. I lived in Golden for a time. My sister in San Diego & I made plans for a trip together to New Orleans. September 21st arrived, I remember because it was sister’s birthday, a heavy wet snow had fallen overnight & with leaves still on the trees the wreckage of limbs down was everywhere, roads blocked. I’d booked a shuttle to the airport but never imagined I’d make it. My shuttle driver was a heroine, showed up & got me there. My flight was late into DFW where we were to rendezvous for the flight to N.O. But I made it with seconds to spare.

All this to say early snow in Colorado is a possibility. I didn’t read all the responses so someone else may have mentioned it. Anyway, not to say it’s probable, but a possibility. Keep it in mind.

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Old Jun 13th, 2024, 08:25 AM
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Oh boy, more to consider. I hoped early October we would be ok, but...
Thank you, I appreciate the heads up We will need to be flexible wit
our lodging reservations.
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Old Jun 13th, 2024, 08:51 AM
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More great tips. I really appreciate your time and effort with this.
My original thought was to go from Breck on the 91 to Aspen for a few hours
on to Carbondale. From there down the 138 through Paonia and Gunnison
to CB. Then either the 50 or the 92 and 65 back to GJ.

I know this a lot of info. Now I'm thinking Breck through Leadville, Buena Vista Gunnison to CB
Then I can take Kebler Pass up to Carbondale and back to GJ on the 70. I think this makes
more sense. I will be cutting out Aspen with the paid parking I read about
Thanks for bearing with me and for the beautiful photos of Colorado showing off!
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Old Jun 13th, 2024, 08:53 AM
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Everything Melnq and MmePerdue said is true. I will just add that the southern part of Colorado, near the New Mexico border, can sometimes hold color later in the year than the central or northern parts of the state. For example, last year we saw some of the best color ever south of Alamosa on October 10 (40 years in CO).

No way to predict this far in advance. It all depends on where snow and/or wind may have blasted through. Could be the other way around and central CO is better.

I would not necessarily skip Leadville. Yes, it is high and cold, but has a colorful history and if you are interested in mining there is an excellent museum, plus views of the two highest 14'ers in the state.
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Old Jul 9th, 2024, 12:28 PM
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How is the drive to through Kebler Pass (Hwy 12) from Crested Butte to to the 133,as far as road condition? And it evidently closes in winter,
We will be in that area the 3rd week of October. if that road is closed we tried planning going south on the 135 to hwy 50, but is
subject to closure for extended bridge repair. The attempted goal is to go from Breck south to Crested Butte and back to Grand Junction
on the way back to San Diego

I hope this isn't asking too much,
Thanks in advance for any advice
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Old Jul 9th, 2024, 12:33 PM
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It's been a few years since I drove Kebler Pass, but it wasn't a problem (also in autumn). As I recall most of it is unsealed, but some sections are paved. I don't remember it being particularly challenging. It's usually closed from Nov-May.

Here's the update on the Blue Mesa bridge repair:

https://www.codot.gov/projects/us50bluemesa

Last edited by Melnq8; Jul 9th, 2024 at 12:35 PM.
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Old Jul 12th, 2024, 06:51 AM
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Melnq8, thanks you again for the input. I appreciate it.
Very much looking forward to this trip and this helps a great deal
with planning the last leg of our road trip.
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