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Thoughts on my SW Colorado and Northern New Mexico plans

Thoughts on my SW Colorado and Northern New Mexico plans

Jul 30th, 2007, 06:21 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2004
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Thoughts on my SW Colorado and Northern New Mexico plans

I'm hoping for some input from the resident experts on a planned trip for early fall 2008. We will have around 2 weeks for this trip not including flights from and to the UK.

We like hiking and outdoor activities rather than cities, shopping and galleries and such like. Our hikes can be up to 8-10 miles with some reasonably strenuous uphill if needed. We are not climbers or back country hikers.

This is the current outline plan. We will almost certainly fly into Denver as we can do this in a single flight from London without worrying about losing bags on transfers. From there the places we plan to visit in a loop are as follows:

Telluride (or Ouray? We lean towards the former but are persuadable)(4 nights)
Mesa Verde (2 nights)
Santa Fe (4 nights)
Taos (3 nights)
Colorado Springs (as an overnight before returning to Denver for flight home)

My specific questions are:

How many nights in each place? Does the above look about right given what we want to do?

Any thoughts on the pros and cons of driving from Denver to Telluride as against flying (with Great Lakes Airlines?).

We think it will take a good 5-6 hours to drive from Mesa Verde to Santa Fe. Is this about right?

Any thoughts on the detour to Mesa Verde?

Any other suggestions!?


Diz01 is offline  
Jul 30th, 2007, 06:50 AM
Join Date: May 2005
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You are going directly from near sea level to extreme elevations, so be forewarned and don't jump into any 10 mile hikes without acclimating, or at least taking that into account. Taos is only an hour from Santa Fe, and both are known a little more for galleries, buildings (e.g., Santa Fe center, Taos Pueblo are musts) etc. than your outdoor activities. If you plan to visit Chaco Canyon (or volcanic fields or caverns), you might want to rethink your number of nights in those New Mexico towns and stop along the way in other places as you visit various sites, so as to avoid extrra driving and back-tracking. Have a splendid visit!
sylvia3 is online now  
Jul 30th, 2007, 06:51 AM
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p.s. the drive from Denver will be very scenic, and the rental costs probably less than picking up a car in Telluride or thereabouts.
sylvia3 is online now  
Jul 30th, 2007, 06:52 AM
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p.p.s. The drive to Santa Fe from Denver (via I25) is about 7 hours; the drive from Mesa Verde much less, of course.
sylvia3 is online now  
Jul 30th, 2007, 06:56 AM
Join Date: Apr 2006
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While in Mesa Verde area, I would suggest staying in Durango which is about 40 miles from Mesa Verde. Lodging will be very limited in Mesa Verde as there is no town right there. Cortez is about 10 miles for the park, but Durango is a much nicer place to stay with more choices for lodging. I would also suggest staying another day Durango and take the Durango/Sliverton steam train. It is an all day trip from Durango to Silverton and back. I would spend one day less in Taos, as it is a small town and time would be better spent in Santa Fe. Here is a link to the Railroad if you're interested:

dgassa is offline  
Jul 30th, 2007, 07:01 AM
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I am headed out the door, but if you have not booked your flights - it is much closer to fly to Albuquerque and then drive to the places you want to go. Durango is 3 hours for example. Denver to Durango is over 6 hours by car. What airline are you flying? If United, make Durango your final destination and save yourself more time. IF flying Delta, go through Salt Lake City with Durango your final destination. Unless there are compelling reasons, I wouldn't fly to Denver since it doesn't seem like you are spending any time there.

MUST DO Mesa Verde. 4 nights in Telluride is a lot. Do Ouray, maybe add Grand Junction and see Colorado National Monument.

Will post more later today.

DebitNM is offline  
Jul 30th, 2007, 07:03 AM
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Diz, if you are going the first two weeks in September then the itinerary you have is fine.

But if you are going the last two weeks in September then the aspen trees in the high country will (usually) be on fire, changing colors to red and orange, and with the high mountain peaks this is one of the most beautiful parts of the country (at least for two weeks)

So if you are going the last two weeks I would spend more time in SW Colorado and cut back 2-3 days out of the Taos and Santa Fe areas (which are lower elevation and have their aspen color a bit later).

We usually drive up from Arizona and spend a night at Cortez or Mesa Verde to get used to the elevation change (one night is enough, in my opinion), one or two nights near Durango (usually at the Sheraton Tamarron (a resort north of Durango) or get a cheap condo at the ski area north of Durango, then two nights at either Ouray or Ridgeway (8 miles from Ouray), then 2-3 nights at Telluride (Mountain Village area is fine). Something like that, to see all the various great aspen areas ...

But regardless of how you divide up the days I would not pass up a chance to spend more time in the aspen mountains if going the last two weeks of September, and less time in Santa Fe (which is a great place, but 4 days is a lot of time) and Taos.

Bill_H is offline  
Jul 30th, 2007, 07:12 AM
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Taos is nice, but I think 3 nights it too many. One or two max, IMHO. Maybe one less night in Santa Fe, too, unless you're doing day-trips from there.

Telluride and Ouray are both beautiful. Take your pic of the two, depending on activities you might be interested in. I personally like Telluride best.

Also think it's a good idea to stay in Durango.

Have fun planning your trip.
Jul 30th, 2007, 07:20 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 258
Thanks for all the quick responses.

A couple of qualifications:

We would be flying British Airways to Denver using some airmiles so there is some logic to this (hey lasy year we drove to Moab, Utah from there - now that was a long drive....)

When staying in Santa Fe we would be using it as a base to get into the surrounding area rather than "doing" the city itself so would not even necessarily want to stay in the city. However we are looking forward to a dinner at the Coyote Cafe!

I hadn't even considered the fall colours but I suspect we will be too early - our thinking is to visit shortly after Labor Day

Diz01 is offline  
Jul 30th, 2007, 02:57 PM
Join Date: Aug 2004
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I love Taos and Santa Fe, but I agree with the post above about you are possibly over-budgeting time at each. (Particularly Taos.) A week or two after Labor Day will put you pretty close to good fall foliage viewing.
sundown is offline  
Jul 30th, 2007, 03:43 PM
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Check out Far View Lodge in Mesa Verde; it's a spectacular setting, and in the fall ther are ofen 2 nights/1 deals.
sylvia3 is online now  
Jul 30th, 2007, 05:10 PM
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Santa Fe has a very authentic southwest feel to it, if you look further than the main tourist areas. It's a very unique, interesting and scenic city and surrounding area, I think. I don't mean to suggest you skip Santa Fe.
Aug 1st, 2007, 01:52 AM
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Hi Debi

Are you around? You said you post more!


Diz01 is offline  
Aug 1st, 2007, 03:39 AM
Join Date: Aug 2005
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Having spent a lot of time in Taos and Santa Fe I would disagree with the above posters that 3 days in Taos and 4 in Santa Fe is too much. Most Tourist drive to Taos, do the Plaza some shops and then say"well Thats it:. Hardly. You could easily spend a day doing the town shops and galleries. Then another day going out to the Rio Grande Bridge, the Millicent Rogers Museum and driving up to the ski Basin. The another day doing the MArtinez Hacienda Museum..( a must), the HArwood Museum( another Must). And then another day returning to shops you wanted to revisit ,visiting Arroyo Secco. And Santa Fe..welll you just can't do all that SF has to offer in 4 days. IMHO
artman is offline  

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