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Revised Itinerary -Durango, Colorado Springs - Thoughts?

Revised Itinerary -Durango, Colorado Springs - Thoughts?

Jul 4th, 2010, 03:05 AM
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Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 62
Revised Itinerary -Durango, Colorado Springs - Thoughts?

Hi. We're planning our family vacation with 3 kids (ages 8,8, and 7) to Colorado in mid-August. We only have a week and based on some feedback, we've revised our itinerary to the Durango/Colorado Springs areas. Any advice would be greatly appreciated in terms of whether we are missing something, trying to cram too much in, or just missing the boat entirely!

- Arrive Saturday at noon via ABQ - drive to Mesa Verde (2 nights mesa verde lodge) - is that too long a drive? should we only spend one night at lodge?
- Sunday - Mesa Verde National Park
- Monday - Drive to Durango (2 nights doubletree) - no set plans for the day
- Tuesday - Durango - Silverton Railroad
- Wednesday - drive to Colorado Springs via Sand Dunes National Park (3 night Broadmoor?)
- Thursday - Colorado Springs - no set plans - perhaps jeep ride, air force academy. suggestions?
- Friday - Colorado Springs - Pikes Peak, Garden of the Gods, Caves
- Saturday - depart via Denver 5:45 flight - perhaps via Mollie Katzen Gold Mine?

One specific question - we understand we may be too late in the season for a family white water rafting trip. Would it matter if we did it in the Colorado Springs area v. Durango or not really? We want to take one adventure so were thinking either jeep ride or hot air balloon. Any thoughts?

Thanks in advance for your help!
ccb213 is offline  
Jul 4th, 2010, 04:04 AM
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We recently spent 4 days in Colorado Springs for a family reunion and have spent time there on another trip. Our nephew was graduating from a school right near the Broadmoor, and we walked around the grounds (we were staying at a more modest Marriott Residence which was fine and had the advantage of a kitchen). The Broadmoor is a beautiful place. I am not sure how kid-friendly it would be; maybe others would have more insight into this.

The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo and Will Rogers shrine (combined ticket) are very close to the Broadmoor and would be a good trip with kids. I am not a zoo fan but this one is very nice and interesting and the view from the shrine area is spectacular.

Pike's Peak is a long trip. It is a rather frightening drive IMO (others in the family, both drivers and passengers, agree) but there is also a cog railway.

Garden of the Gods is beautiful. Rock Ledge Ranch Historic site is near the visitor center for Garden of the Gods

West of Manitou Springs is Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument with impressive fossils. We saw quite a few junior rangers busily taking notes.

I am not a huge fan of the Air Force Academy but most people seem to find it impressive.

for your first day, the drive all the way to Mesa Verde seems very long after a plane trip (not sure where you are starting from), especially with three kids. We have not been to this area although it is trip we would really like to take so I am not sure of logical stopping points. I know the scenery looks beautiful
Vttraveler is offline  
Jul 4th, 2010, 04:27 AM
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I think I have suggested this to you in another thread but very near Colorado Springs is Woodland Park with a really really good dinosaur museum.
You have a lot of natural wonders to "see" that are sort of natural wonders but kids can get "caught up" on that pretty quick over the long haul.
Gretchen is offline  
Jul 4th, 2010, 04:28 AM
Join Date: Apr 2004
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As to your specific question about mid-August raft trip--the rivers won't be very high then--the trips may be more floating than running rapids. I suggest you call a couple of companies--one in Canon City (closest to Colorado Springs) and Durango and ask them some questions. Here are a couple of websites to help you--http://riverrunnersltd.com/ http://www.mild2wildrafting.com/lower_animas.htm
martym is offline  
Jul 4th, 2010, 04:41 AM
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The drive from ABQ to the Far View Lodge at Mesa Verde will take you about 4 hours. Do you have rooms booked already? If not, I would do that ASAP, as the Lodge gets booked up early.

I would not spend Saturday night at Far View; I would only spend Sunday night there. Saturday night can be spent in Cortez which is the closest town. There is a Holiday Inn Express and Comfort Inn and some good places to eat.

I would go to Mesa Verde on Sunday morning and spend the day at the park and the night. If you wanted to see or do more, you would have time to do it Monday morning [hike, Loop Drive etc]. Then you could head into Durango.

With kids that young, I would NOT take the train roundtrip, but rather take the train one way and their bus the other way. They will be board if you do RT.

Rafting in Durango will be only a float trip, if that.
Hot air balloon, your kids may be too young, they could "freak out" in the air and you would have paid a LOT of money [$275 per person] for nothing.
If you do go, I recommend:


DebitNM is offline  
Jul 4th, 2010, 09:51 AM
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For your adventure. Ziplinning/Durango train. Amazing. It was rated #1 on tripadvisor for the entire USA(not sure if it still is or not). This way your only on the train halfway(which is the most scenic).


I think your kids will enjoy the Great Sand Dunes. If the creek is flowing and you have a 4 wheel drive, definately drive the primitive road a little ways. It can be brutally windy there, but hopefully it will be calm when you are there. Get some cardboard boxes to slide the down the dunes, or those really cheap plastic thin sleds work well.

Normally I agree with Debit, but I would just go ahead and stay 2 nites at Mesa Verde. Not sure your kids will like 2 days worth of it or not. We loved it, but my daughter was like 13 when we went.

Here is a link to our Mesa verde/Durango pics

This link is to Great Sand Duneshttp://www.photoworks.com/slideshow/album/A0504A31FF3F?c=pw59560&CS_003=4433951
spirobulldog is offline  
Jul 4th, 2010, 10:04 AM
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There are several Alpine Slides in Colorado. They are at various ski resorts and they are fairly inexpensive and great fun for a couple of hours.
spirobulldog is offline  
Jul 4th, 2010, 12:20 PM
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Normally I agree with Debit, but I would just go ahead and stay 2 nites at Mesa Verde.

Since they would be getting to MV in late afternoon, they really wouldn't get to see much on Saturday so "why the expense to stay at Far View", is my thinking. You can stay in Cortez for half the price I think and get to MV first thing in morning.

I am also not sure of availability this late for Aug.
DebitNM is offline  
Jul 4th, 2010, 01:53 PM
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I was just thinking why unpack twice, when you are less than an hour away. Plus you can relax getting up the next morning while one of the parents gets tickets to the tours, etc. Availabilty will be the key either way.
spirobulldog is offline  
Jul 5th, 2010, 05:23 AM
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Hi. Thanks to everyone for your feedback.

The reason we thought 2 nights in MV was because we didn't want to unpack and pack but if the drive is long - perhaps we will take DebitNM suggestion and stay someplace in Cortez. We already have our reservations in Far View but they can be changed. Should we skip staying at the lodge entirely and just do the park in and out in one day?

DebitNM - If we stay in Cortez, any suggestions on what to do in Cortez?

With respect to the railroad, we will only take it one way and bus back the other way.
For Pikes Peak - in order to ensure family peace - we had planned to take the cog railway!

Thanks for the suggestions of the dinosaur museum, zoo, and woodlands park - I'l be sure to look into those.

We don't have to stay at the Broadmoor but several people had suggested it because in case we got tired and wanted to come back to the property, there would be lots to do on the grounds. I am open to other suggestions for lodging so please send them along.

It seem like we should skip white water rafting so maybe we will try a jeep ride or something else. I think our kids may be too young for the zipline, but I will check.

Thanks again!
ccb213 is offline  
Jul 5th, 2010, 05:32 AM
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Spriobulldog - your photos are absolutely beautiful!

How long is the drive from Mesa Verde or Durango to four corners? I know my husband would like to go there if possible.
ccb213 is offline  
Jul 5th, 2010, 05:56 AM
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I just looked quickly at the Broadmoor web site and it seems there are plenty of activities for families/kids. As I said, it is a beautiful place.

Our family said that the Cheyenne Mountain Resort is also a good choice in Colorado Springs
Vttraveler is offline  
Jul 5th, 2010, 09:38 AM
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For me, I would definately stay in the park. You could save a little money, but you will spend two hours each day driving back and forth to Cortez. It is just so much easier to stay in the park. the Far View Lodge food is very good. Also, there is a cafe in the park that serves Navajo Taco's that you will probably want to try for lunch. One would probably be enough for two kids. I think your kids would be old enough for zipping. it is expensive. Four Corners is a pretty long drive, just to see it. We were going that general direction. I can't remember exactly how long it was. Debit lives in the area and has a lot better info than I do. She knows all the places to eat and has visited MV many times. I have only been once. I didn't see wetherill area of the park and I hope to go back. I would suggest seeing as many of the different sites that you can in the park. The ruins are all very interesting. I think there is like 5 or 6 ranger guided tours. We did 2 of them, 1 on our own, and hiked petroglyph trail. I am not sure that it would hold your kids interest for 2 full days, but it might.
spirobulldog is offline  
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