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mariya May 16th, 2011 09:52 AM

week July in Colorado with 16 years old - what to do?
I'm planning trip in Colorado July 5-11 with my 16 years old son and he is notoptimistic about this trip. My plan is to fly to Denver, stay there probably 2 days, explore areas around, like Red Rock, RMNP, then probably drive to Breckenbridge, Aspen, maybe Gleenwood Spring. People saying it's mostly hiking, but what besides hiking to do for teenager? Whitewater RAfting?, zip line?, gondola ride? Alpine rides? Some cute towns, maybe scenic railroad? Any idea and itinerary are welcome, so I can make my son excited about this trip

Gretchen May 16th, 2011 10:03 AM

Well, RMNP could be on your way into the mountains by going all teh way through it on Trail Ridge Road. And Glenwood Springs is sort of on the way to Aspen.
Would he like to take a fly fishing lesson?
There might be a concert at Red Rocks. On July 6 there may be one of Elway's music "concerts" in Cherry Creek.
I'm sure there are zip lines, and the gondolas at most ski areas are probably working.
How about mountain biking?

Gretchen May 16th, 2011 10:03 AM

Well, RMNP could be on your way into the mountains by going all teh way through it on Trail Ridge Road. And Glenwood Springs is sort of on the way to Aspen.
Would he like to take a fly fishing lesson?
There might be a concert at Red Rocks. On July 6 there may be one of Elway's music "concerts" in Cherry Creek.
I'm sure there are zip lines, and the gondolas at most ski areas are probably working.
How about mountain biking?

emalloy May 16th, 2011 11:40 AM

Here is a web page for a zip line

I think they are in Durango.

If you go there you are not far from Mesa Verde NP, with its very interesting ancient Native American housing.

karens May 16th, 2011 02:18 PM

My kids loved the water park outside Denver.

In Breckenridge, there is an apline slide. Also, you can rent mountain bikes and take them up the mountain on the ski lift to bike down.

The hot springs pool at Glenwood Springs is a nice break. There is a really nice hike near GS - Hanging Lake. Also nearby is an alpine coaster - which we all thought was fun.

One of the most fun, and scenic, whitewater rafting trips we've done is on the Arkansas River - tour companies can take you there from Breckenridge. Many of the tour companies are located in Buena Vista.

fmpden May 16th, 2011 02:38 PM

I would spend the two days focused on Denver and skip Estes and RMNP. It would be day trip from Denver and you are not going to see anything that you will not see on the way to Breckenridge. And it will be crowded with tourists. Mesa Verde and Durango is too far to go. Save it for another trip focused on that area.

Besides what has been previously mentioned -- On the way to Breckenridge you have Georgetown and Georgetown Loop railroad and throw in the silver mine tour.

You have a gold mine at Idaho Springs and the Cowboy mine at Breckenridge. Mountain biking, alpine slide, etc.

For Aspen loop through Leadville, and Independence Pass into the back side of Aspen. Lots in Leadville -- a hidden gem is the Mineral Trail Loop -- 12 miles and, relatively speaking, flat. Walk it or bike it. It is terrific outdoor museum of what the mining looked like and how they lived at height of gold mining.

From Aspen swing through Glenwood Springs with a huge outdoor hot tub pool covering a city block. There is a chair lift. Bike along the Colorado river through Glenwood canyon. That is flat except for the mile getting out of the canyon.

Could always hit Vail on the return. It will keep you busy.

tomfuller May 16th, 2011 02:58 PM

Visit Glenwood Springs not only for the huge warm swimming pool but for Glenwood Caverns with the gondola ride up to the attraction.
For an interesting hike- hike up the trail to the cemetery where Doc Holliday is buried.
Lodging in GS should be cheaper than in Aspen.

wtm003 May 16th, 2011 04:47 PM

Why is your son not optimistic? What does he like to do?

Karens gave you some really good suggestions.

In Glenwood Springs you can also rent bikes and ride on the path along the river. Hanging Lake is one of our favorite hikes.

Stop in Idaho Springs at Beau Jo's Pizza for a Mountain Pie.

Make a donut run at Daylight Donuts in Breckenridge before hitting the alpine slide.

We haven't done this yet so I can't recommend a company but he would probably love an ATV tour up by Leadville or Copper Mtn.

We did the Georgetown Loop when our boys were young, but I'm not sure they would enjoy it as much now as teens. But since every teen is different you can look and the website and decide for yourself.

The name of the park is Water World.

edeevee May 16th, 2011 08:01 PM

My son turned 16 on a family road trip. He was not so optimistic either ;) It's the age for that. While the kids were careful not to seem too enthusiastic while they were actually on the trip, recently (9 years later) I heard them talking about the trip. The word "Awesome!" came up over and over.

They did enjoy the alpine slide at Breckenridge. There used to be a big maze at the bottom of the mountain that was fun too. If your son is a skateboarder, or just a fan of the sport, there may still be an excellent skate park in town where we watched some pretty amazing skaters do their tricks.

Persevere. They do grow up and appreciate you again :)

spirobulldog May 17th, 2011 05:50 AM

My 17 year old daughter loved Mesa Verde. We also did the Train/Zipline. AWESOME!!!

the last half of the pictures are of Monument Valley/Four Corners area

karens May 17th, 2011 07:25 AM

spiro - where are pics 111 and 113 taken? Looks like a cool area!

funtravlr May 17th, 2011 08:16 AM

16 year olds SEEM not to be impressed by things but you will be surprised (hopefully!) He may not show it till you get there but my experience in raising 2 teenagers was they realy do like it even if their face doesn't show it. Plan active activities though. They like to sleep alot if driving too much.
Anyway - I would suggest going to RMNP. We went with family last year and took a 16 and 21 year old and they loved it. Is he into photography - our 16 yr. old took hundereds of pics. If he is interested in wildlife - RMNP is awesome. Rafting trip will get anyone excited except the cold water!! There's a gondola in Estes Park. Lots of hiking trails to neat places.

Good luck.

Gretchen May 17th, 2011 08:36 AM

I would not skip RMNP, since you can essentially drive through it to get to Breckenridge.

spirobulldog May 17th, 2011 10:15 AM

Natural Bridges National Monument. Sipapu Bridge there is the most massive Span that I have ever seen. Even more massive than those at Arches. You need to walk down to it to get the full effect. This requires a couple of ladders, but it is fairly short and easy. The other two bridges there are decent ones as well, but Sipapu is very impressive.

furledleader May 18th, 2011 10:40 AM

Whitewater rafting at the time you will be here may be winding down a little, but still going. Individual rafting outfits usually run rafts on several rivers. Considering where you are going to be at any particular time, the rivers you may want to consider are:

1) the Arkansas River between Buena Vista and Salida. Several outfitters have their headquarters right on the river or very close by.

2) the Eagle River between Avon and Eagle.

3) the Colorado River in Glenwood Canyon, just east of Glenwood Springs.

4) Clear Creek along I-70 between Georgetown and Golden.

I've come to the conclusion that there really is no one rafting company that is any better or any worse than the others. Pick a river that is convenient for you; do a google search for rafting on that river (i.e. Colorado River rafting); and pick an outfitter that fits your price range. Most will offer both half-day and full-day trips. Half-day trips will take up about 5-6 hours of your time from the moment you get in your car to go there to the moment you get back in your car to leave, depending upon where you are coming from and how long you linger after the raft trip. Half day trips will give you about 2-3 hours on the actual river. The water will be cold. Even in early July the water you are rafting on was probably snow 24 hours earlier.

How about bungee jumping off the world's highest suspension bridge. Bet your 16 year old would like that!! Actually, you can't bungee jump any more, but you can swing out over the 1200 foot deep canyon that the bridge spans.

Glenwood Canverns Adventure Park in Glenwood Springs also offers a ride that swings you out over the Colorado River.

And there's always girls around the Glenwood Hot Springs Pool.

BetsyG May 21st, 2011 04:58 PM

One thing I would not do is spend too much time in the car.

I have 2 16yr olds, boys(twins), live in Denver suburbs. Just asked them favorite things to do in Denver - Rockies games(does he like baseball?), Elitches and Waterworld. I would only do either Elitches or Waterworld, not both unless you are the greatest Mom in the world. Actually our Museum of Science is very good if he is into that. It would help if you said what he likes to do. There are cool skateparks in Denver, by the way. If there is a concert at Red Rocks, that could be a big hit. It is an amazing setting.

I also would skip RMNP, hit Breckenridge & Glenwood. We did the Glenwood Adventure Park a couple of years ago & the boys loved the ride, guess they still would. The caverns are fascinating. I love the pool at Glenwood and they used to have a water slide there. Rafting, yes & you have gotten good info on that.

Would he do any research himself? May help to get him engaged?

What do you want to do?

BetsyG May 21st, 2011 05:03 PM

Forgot to add, as has been said, Durango, Mesa Verde is much too far for this trip. Get him an Itunes gift card before you go.

PeaceOut May 24th, 2011 09:11 AM

"I would not skip RMNP, since you can essentially drive through it to get to Breckenridge." Uh, not a good drive plan.

"People saying it's mostly hiking" is also incorrect. There is so much to do here, you need to identify what you are interested in, and you can get advice where to go for that. Flyfishing, rafting, music concerts-- lots to please a 16 year old.

We love Aspen, but I don't know how much driving you want to do.

I suggest you stay in Denver the 2 nights, then stay in one other location the rest of the nights.

KendraM May 30th, 2011 08:32 PM

We just returned from Vail, CO with our 15 year old daughter and her friend. Vail is centrally located, and has easy highway access to explore the state.

Here are our trip highlights and recommendations:

Rent bikes from Canyon Bikes in Glenwood Springs. They will take you to the top of the bike trail and drop you. We biked the canyon, and stopped for a picnic lunch and a two hour hike up and back to Hanging Lake. It was truly unique and beautiful.

Go white water rafting with Kodi Rafting located in Buena Vista.
This was our second trip with them. The guides are fun, and very well trained.

Hike Black Canyon in Montrose. If you like hiking, it is rugged and beautiful.

Bike down Vail Pass. You can get your bikes in Frisco at and they will take you to the Summit. Then stop at Butterhorn Bakery or The Boathouse for lunch in Frisco.

Seriously, on your way up to Summit County grab a pizza in Idaho Springs at Beau Jo's. It is AWESOME.

There are tons of things to do in the summer: Boating and fishing on Dillon Reservoir, mountain biking, ATV's, kite boarding, hang gliding, golfing, horseback riding and fly fishing.

The only thing I recommend NOT doing is zip lining at No Name in Glenwood Canyon. It's a rip off. Find another place. My daughter thinks the alpine sled is a waste of money too.

If you have never been on a mine tour, you should go to one. There are plenty to choose from.

As for Denver, if you son is "into" vinyl, checkout Twist and Shout. I'm guessing he doesn't want to hit the museums, but if he does, the locals tout the Kirkland ... take the tour.

Don't worry, you all will have fun!!!

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