Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > United States
Reload this Page >

What Great Day Trips Up To 3 Hours From Denver, CO?

What Great Day Trips Up To 3 Hours From Denver, CO?

Jul 23rd, 2009, 06:54 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 32
What Great Day Trips Up To 3 Hours From Denver, CO?

My wife and I are making our first trip to visit our son in Denver during September,2009, and would like to take some day trips up to 3 hours while we are there. We are already planning on going to Estes Park, Breckenridge, Mt. Evans and Great Sand Dunes National Monument. Are there any must see places on the way to these sights or other day trips that we should take while we are there? Thanks for your help.
billnc is offline  
Jul 23rd, 2009, 07:43 AM
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 219
What about the cliff dwellings at Manitou Springs?
fun2travel is offline  
Jul 23rd, 2009, 08:26 AM
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 727
The Sand Dunes National Park is about a four-hour drive from Denver and is too far to make for a good day trip. Colorado Springs is less than a 90-minute drive and there's plenty to see in a day. Pike's Peak, Garden of the Gods, Olympic Training Center are all doable. September is one of the best times of the year to be here, so do enjoy the mountain scenery!
tekwriter is offline  
Jul 23rd, 2009, 11:10 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 8,586
Breckenridge is nice, we really like it there.

My kids liked the Glenwood Springs Hot Springs pool and Alpine coaster. From what I recall, this is about a three and half hour drive from Denver.
karens is offline  
Jul 24th, 2009, 12:34 PM
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 88
I'd consider the southern end of Rocky Park and perhaps spending time at Grand Lake. Devil's Thumb Ranch north of Winter Park in Tabernash has a nice spa, plenty of acreage to hike and fish -- and a very nice restaurant.

Going up Mount Evans, stopping for breakfast or lunch at Echo Lake Lodge is a nice treat, although depending on when you are going up there in September, it might be closed -- along with the road from Echo Lake to the summit of Mount Evans.

Along the way to Breckenridge, you'll find little gems of scenery and a few quaint old mining towns,but Breck itself captures some of that Western spirit so if you don't have time to stop en route, you'll see some of that there.

Great Sand Dunes is worth a trip, but it is more than a daytrip for most people leaving from Denver unless you can handle 8-9 hours in the car in one day, depending on traffic.
pisceantraveler is offline  
Aug 3rd, 2009, 12:50 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 32
We have given up on the Great Sand Dunes this trip because of the comments regarding the distance but we are going to try and get to the other places that everyone suggested. Plus this will give us a reason to go back to Colorado and make a southern trip. Thanks for taking your time to respond.
billnc is offline  
Aug 3rd, 2009, 06:23 PM
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 7,385
I know this is an old post but your responses were limited. I don't know if you mean three hours one way or round trip. Let me give you some suggestions for circle trips out of Denver that are about three hours if you don't stop.

Take 285 west towards Fairplay. That will take you through South Park which is a high meadow and an interesting contrast to the rockies. From Fairplay take 9 over Hooiser Pass into the southside side of Breckenridge. If a little adventuresome and it has NOT snowed recently in the high country prior to Fairplay turn off at Jefferson and take Borus Pass into Breck. Will be a gravel road in bplaces. Continue through Breck to I-70 and return.

Another longer loop would be I-70 through Idaho Springs, Georgetown through the Eisenhower/Johnston tunnel to Copper Mt., to Leadville and 24 over Tennessee pass to Minturn/I-70 back through Vail to Denver. Hwy 24 will take you pas Camp Hale, home of the 10th Mt. Division of WWII fame. Leadville has wonderful Mineral Belt Trail, a paved 12 mile hiking/biking trail that is really an outdoor museum. Best done on a bike.

I can give you a couple of longer ones if you like.
fmpden is online now  
Aug 7th, 2009, 02:20 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 32
fmpden-We would not mind driving out 2 hours one way to a destination and then have plenty of time to stop for hikes, sightseeing, etc. along the way. The loops you suggested sound perfect and would appreciate a couple of longer ones.
billnc is offline  
Aug 8th, 2009, 09:12 AM
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 7,385
All of the loops I suggested are two hour loops. You can drive via I-70 to Breckenridge in about 90 mins depending on where you start so what I suggested earlier would put you in the two hour range with just a few stops.

Of course, you could take longer with longer stops. At Georgetown you have the Georgetown Loop railroad run by the Colorado Historical Museum and very interesting silver mine stop on the railroad.

You could extend from Leadville by taking Independence pass into the south end of Aspen. And then home via Glenwood Springs and I=70 through Glenwood Canyon. The canyon is spectacular with a number of turn outs and short hikes available -- Hanging Lake for one. But the total drive time would be closer to six hours or so.

And, of course, a long drive would be through Estes Park, over Trail Ridge Road, and then home via US 40 through Winter Park and I-70. At I70/US 40 junction you could drive ten miles up to Georgetown if you hadn't caught Gerogetown on another leg.

A little short trip would be out the back side of Georgetown, over Guanella pass and return via Grant and US285. Guanella Pass has some good hiking opportunities at the summit. Don't let the distances fool you. These off the main road passes that I have recommended are very slowing going - 30 mph. There are the old style mountain roads with very sharp switchbacks as you climb and you will be in some fairly remote areas.
fmpden is online now  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 02:56 PM.