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Need advice for last-minute trip to Colorado

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Jul 18th, 2013, 09:00 AM
  #1
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Join Date: Jul 2013
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Need advice for last-minute trip to Colorado

Hi,

I'm planning a last minute, unexpected trip to Colorado, flying into Denver with my wife and 12-yr-old daughter on July 27 thru August 3 (1 week). We don't want to spend too much time driving, so I think we will probably limit our stay to two locations, and explore from there. I 'm thinking maybe Estes Park and Breckenridge? Any advice about that? I really don't know much about Colorado and what's where...

We want to do some nature tours, wildlife watching and light hiking, and some fun things that would interest our 12--yr-old.

Would also appreciate any advice on lodges/hotels/cabins where we might stay. Would prefer a moderate-to-upscale place with separate living and bedroom(s), and a pool.


Thanks!
rstarns is offline  
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Jul 18th, 2013, 10:04 AM
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The Amtrak California Zephyr leaves Denver every morning. Take it to Glenwood Springs. Some of the best scenery in Colorado is the Glenwood Canyon east of Glenwood Springs. From the train you get to see it without having to drive through it on I-70.
There is a good bus service from Glenwood Springs to Aspen.
If you wanted to stay in Glwnwood Springs, you can stay in one of the 2 big old hotels that are next to the largest hot spring fed swimming pool in the world. These hotels as right across the Colorado River and I-70 from the Amtrak station. There is also a gondola ride up to see Glenwood Cavern (also within walking distance).
Leaving Glenwood Springs, you can take the eastbound CZ to WinterPark/Fraser and spend a day with a rental car to see part of Rocky Mt. NP. The ride down to Denver on the eastbound train in the dark is fantastic with all the lights of Denver in view.
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Jul 18th, 2013, 10:15 AM
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I think Glenwood Springs/Aspen could be a nice base for part of your trip. You need a car!!
And RMNP should not be missed. Wildlife and views.
Breck is also cute, and there would be hiking. There is also a recreation center. Maybe zipline?
Horseback riding could be an activity somewhere. How about a day of fly fishing?
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Jul 18th, 2013, 10:16 AM
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If your timing is right on the front or back end, a Rockies game in Denver could be fun.
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Jul 18th, 2013, 12:28 PM
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I think Estes Park would be a great location to keep everyone happy. You're right next to Rocky Mountain National Park and there's plenty of restaurants and shopping along the main strip.

As far as the activities, Rocky Mountain Nature Association offers nature tours, there's also whitewater rafting, horseback riding, Green Jeep Tours, and there's boat rentals at Estes Lake Marina.

http://www.rockymountainhikingtrails...ings-to-do.htm

Some beautiful short hikes are Sprague Lake which offers spectacular photography just as the sun comes up (might be too early for a teenager!) Emerald Lakes is one of the most beautiful lakes in the park and offers lots of rocks above the lake to enjoy lunch. Take the scenic drive across Trail Ridge Road, the highest paved road in a national park, and stop at the Tundra Communities Trail and check out the odd formations of rocks called Mushroom Rocks.

For accommodations, we normally stay in the Woodlands on Fall River, but they do not have a pool. Check out Rams Horn Resort they look very nice and I'm pretty sure they have a pool. I would avoid anything in the heart of town and focus on Fall River Road or Highway 66. YOu'll find lots more information on accommodations here:

www.visitestespark.com
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Jul 18th, 2013, 01:14 PM
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We are on your heels! We fly in on Tuesday also for a week. For what its worth' here are our plans. Our group also includes kids. We are staying in Estes park for 4 days. There are numerous lodgings available and you are bound to find something that suits you even at this late hour. Activities we have planned are : hiking, horseback riding, white water rafting and bike riding. On day 4 we head over to the west side where we are staying for 3 days at Grand Lake. Activities here are: hiking, kayaking & zip lining. We'll leave Grand Lake on day 7 and head straight for the airport via I70.
Also Considered spending time in Winter Park area which I am told has lots to do as well but decided Grand Lakes suits us better. Enjoy and let me know if you have any questions regarding the companies we are using for our activities.
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Jul 18th, 2013, 06:08 PM
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Mabella, what attracts you to Grand Lake vs. Estes Park? Is it just the lake, or is there more stuff there that you wouldn't get in Estes Park?

And so far, no one has mentioned Breckenridge. Sounds like maybe Gretchen and Tom think Glenwood Springs/Aspen would be better?

Thanks ya'll!
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Jul 18th, 2013, 06:51 PM
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I like the Estes Park side far better, IMOP. My bro and sis n law take their kids just about every year to the Grand Lake side. Check out an Alpine Slide somewhere too.
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Jul 18th, 2013, 07:10 PM
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I said Breck is fine and fun, and has things to do. I just think Aspen area is prettier and more interesting for one base. The other can be EP/RMNP.
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Jul 18th, 2013, 08:28 PM
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Rstarns; Grand Lake, from what I've read and have been told is much more laid back then Estes. It also has less to do and has less 'spectacular' sights, so is therefore less crowded. I thought it sounded like the perfect place for our family to regroup and have some down time doing as much or as little as we wanted.While on the East side we plan on leaving our rental early and basically staying out all day. While on the west side we plan on just relaxing and doing whatever comes to mind. Does this make sense ?

Even though the west side doesnt have as much 'wow" factor, the views are still pretty amazing. When I was researching where to stay, the Grand Lake Lodge website came up, and I was completely sold on their view.

The alpine slide by the way I believe is in winterpark.

If you search under my name you'll see my original post when I was first planning this trip. I received lots of great suggestions that might be of help to you.

Enjoy
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