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Summer trip to Colorado

Old Apr 16th, 2009, 11:56 AM
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Summer trip to Colorado

My husband and I are planning a trip to Colorado this summer and we are looking for suggestions on places to go, things to do, and hotels/lodges to stay at. Our plan is to spend 7-8 days in Colorado, so we would need to squeeze a lot of activities into a short amount of time. I've never been to Colorado before so I'm not sure what areas to focus on, but I think Boulder, Vail and Aspen sound really nice as they have a nice mix of things to do and beautiful scenery. However, I'm not sure how active Vail & Aspen are in the summer since they tend to be more popular for skiing in the winter. We love the mountains and since I've never seen the Rockies in person, we would like to spend the majority of our time exploring the mountain towns. We are not what you would call "adventurous" people but we do enjoy spending time outside, including hiking, as well as seeing the local sites and scenery and trying the local cuisine. If you have any suggestions on an itinerary, please let me know. Also, if you have any recommendations for accomodations, that would be very helpful too. We are open to B&B's, inns/lodges, and hotels. Thank you!
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Old Apr 16th, 2009, 12:26 PM
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Try Glenwood Hot Springs http://www.hotspringspool.com/ for a day.
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Old Apr 16th, 2009, 12:39 PM
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You need to go to Rocky Mt. National Park. Check on www.nps.gov then on Colorado then RMNP. The road through it is the highest in the cont. US and has views that boggle the mind. For something very different, go to Mesa Verde NP or take a ride on one of the scenic railroads.
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Old Apr 16th, 2009, 02:05 PM
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Aspen and Vail are incredibly busy in the summer. Lots of people like Colorado better in the summer than the winter.
Hiking the Maroon Bells outside of Aspen are beautiful.
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Old Apr 17th, 2009, 05:38 AM
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The prior responses are rather scattered. The driving distance between RMNP and Mesa Verde is a hard 7,8 hours. Not sure you want to do that on 7 day trip.

Boulder is a college town and personally I don't think it is all that interesting beyond what it is -- a college town in a very pretty setting with a beautiful campus. Certainly worth a part of a day. To the north is Estes Park, a very popular tourists attraction in the summer but at the eastern end of Trail Ridge Road. It is the highest continuous highway in the country and is worth driving for the views and as route into the mountains. Vail and Aspen are major ski resort complexes and are busy in the summer with lots of special activities. Depending on the week could be very crowded -- more so at Vail than Aspen. You could have a nice week trip by spending a day or two in Denver, drive through Boulder on the way to Estes Park, another day or two, Trail Ridge Road over the mountains to Steamboat for another night, on the Glenwood Springs and another night or two. The drive through Glenwood Canyon (I-70) is spectular. From GS catch Aspen, Independence Pass and Leadville. Leadville has a hidden gem called the Mineral Belt Trail -- 12 mile paved trail that loops into the old mining area -- truly an outdoor museum with nothing staged. Final day or two in the Breckenridge/Frisco area. You have the Cowboy mine at Breck. You could pickup Georgetown and the Georgetown loop railroad on the way back to Denver.

This would give you a great exposure to the mountains, the mountain towns, the mining history, etc. You would never have more than two/three hours of driving, good restaurants, and light hiking. At Glenwood Springs you are within an hour of our wine country.
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Old Apr 17th, 2009, 06:37 AM
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Fmpden's plan is a nice layout. You'll see a variety - and likely will see snow if you drive up Trail Ridge.
If you stop in Boulder, a great lunch can be had at The Med - pizza or tapas & wine in the sunshine! see TheMedBoulder.com; or a memorable dinner at Frasca.

Hotel choices include Hilton Homewood Suites & Marriott properties.

Plenty of choices for condo rentals in Steamboat & Vail; Glenwood has a hot spring pool to partake in. Another vote for Maroon Bells if it fits in the schedule.
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Old Apr 17th, 2009, 07:03 AM
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Be sure to work Trail Ridge Road into your sightseeing plans.
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Old Apr 19th, 2009, 04:56 AM
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Totally agree about RMNP. It is wonderful. And Fmpden's route would be very nice. I might not do Steamboat, and spend more time down toward Leadville, Aspen, Glenwood Springs.
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Old Apr 19th, 2009, 05:30 AM
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I also think fmpden's route is good... with or without Gretchen's suggestion to maybe skip Steamboat. Keep us informed. There are some interesting, scenic, easy backroads I can get you on if you decide to do this route.
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Old Apr 20th, 2009, 05:30 AM
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These are all great suggestions, thank you very much! I really like the itinerary suggested by fmpden, this seems right up our alley. I do have one question... How far is the RMNP from these towns. Is it on the way or should we allocate a day or two to go there? Also, any suggestions on how much to budget for in terms of meals/tours/etc? I wasn't sure how expensive these areas were and if the prices were relative to where I live (St. Louis). In addition, any recommendations for lodges/hotels to stay at in Aspen & Vail? We would prefer something more cozy and private but not too expensive. Thanks again for all of your assistance, this is extremely helpful information.
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Old Apr 21st, 2009, 04:51 AM
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RMNP is an easy drive from Boulder/Denver--a few hours. You'll want to spend a little time there--maybe an overnight in Estes--and then drive through and go to Steamboat (if you do that). A few hours actual driving time, but you will want to dawdle throught the Trail Ridge Road.
The distances are not great--hours apart basically. Do a mapquest search to get the idea.
I am not sure if you have to come back to I70 to get to Glenwood Springs, but you will enjoy some time in that area for sure.
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