Where/what to do in Golden, Colorado

Old Jun 26th, 2005, 07:03 AM
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Where/what to do in Golden, Colorado

I am completing a few last minute details before our trip to Colorado in July. We arrive in Denver just after noon and are planning to drive to the Golden, Colorado area for the first night before leaving for Gunnison and Ouray the next day.

I would appreciate suggestions for a moderately priced motel such as La Quinta not far from Goldens historic area. Also an interesting restaurant in the area.

What would be a suggestion for sights to see? Lookout Mountain? What is at Clear Creek History Park?

Thanks for any suggestions.
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Old Jun 26th, 2005, 04:25 PM
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Hi Margo,

Just curious--why are you only driving to Golden instead of going farther west for the first night? Golden is only about 40 minutes from the airport, and although a nice enough suburban town, there is not a lot to do there. If itwere me, I would drive about 2 1/2 hours from the airport on I 70 and spend that first night in Vail or about 3 1/2 hours west and spend it in Glenwood Springs.

If you choose Vail, there are lots of places to stay and good restaurants and the ride up the chairlift is splendid. If you choose Glenwood Springs, the Hot Springs Resort pool is so enjoyable--just sitting back and looking at the scenery as you soak. The Hotel Colorado, although somewhat pricey, is a glorious historic property right behind the pool.

What route were you planning on taking to Gunnison and Ouray? Is there a special reason to go to Gunnison?

If you will write with more information, I would be able to offer better ideas.
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Old Jun 27th, 2005, 05:18 AM
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GJLinda--Thanks for asking, and this may not make sense to some, but we were planning to stay near Denver just to get used to the altitude after coming from the east coast. Originally our plans called for us to stay in Leadville but the altitude there is over 9000 ft. We have never had a problem with altitude, except for headache, but didn't want to risk anything. What do you think about that?

The next day we will drive to Gunnison. Not sure if we should take 285 or 70/91 south to Salida. Which is more scenic? The following day we will check out the Black Canyon of the Gunnison.

So back to Golden---

Also would like to hear from people as to whether we are being overly worried about altitude problems.

Thanks, Margo
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Old Jun 27th, 2005, 05:44 AM
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I second GJLinda's suggestion of going farther west to the Summit Cnty or Vail area. Altitude problems really don't occur much below 7,000 ft. so Golden wouldn't help you in that regard, IMO. We are in our 60's and spend 4-6 weeks in Summit Cnty, 9,000 ft., (Breckenridge area) every winter skiing. We live at sea level. We experience the usual shortness of breath but it gets better after a few days. We wait a couple of days to ski but if you're not going to be doing any strenuous exercise, I don't think it will be a problem for you. While beautiful, Vail is pricey. There are a couple of chain motels, like the Comfort Inn, right off the highway in Silverthorne/Dillon which is about 2 hrs west of the airport and about 20 minutes from Breckenridge which you would enjoy exploring - lots of shops and restaurants. Altitude in the area is about 9,000 ft. Have fun.
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Old Jun 27th, 2005, 06:40 AM
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I really dont think you will have a problem with altitude if you are reasonable with alcohol intake and drink plenty of water. The main street in Golden is historical and will give you an idea of what the old west was like. The Coors Brewery gives free tours. Lookout Mountain has nice views of Denver (better at night but a big lovers lane type thing) and the only historical thing there is Buffalo Bill's grave.

As for your drive, I live up hwy 285 in Conifer, and it is a gorgeous drive to Salida. If you go west on I-70, that too is stunning and as you pass towns like Georgetown and Silver Plume you will see all the old mine tailings on the mountainsides. As others have said, it is a short drive to some very majestic surroundings. Have a fun trip!
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Old Jun 27th, 2005, 06:47 AM
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Another endorsement for going further west. Also,if you are only going to Gunnison to visit the Black Canyon, you might want to re-think your plans. Montrose is closer to the park entrance. A few years ago, we spent the night in Glenwood Springs and then headed south on 82/133 towards Montrose. The drive from Carbondale to Paonia State Park was beautiful.
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Old Jun 27th, 2005, 04:44 PM
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Hi Margo,

Me again!!

As far as adjusting to the altitude, I have lived in Colorado for more than 40 years and have had lots of visitors from the midwest. Different people react differently to the altitude, but I don't think one night at 5,500 feet will serve to acclimate you anyway. Just take it easy for a couple of days, but not too easy, after all.

I would opt for I-70 to Grand Junction and South to Montrose and east the few miles to Black Canyon. You might want to spend one night in Montrose--a nice little downtown and several antique stores--a friendly, neighborly type of place. From there, travel to Ouray and any other points south.

Hople this helps.
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Old Jun 28th, 2005, 11:47 AM
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Here's an easy 1st day... stop in lodo or downtown Golden for late lunch... tour Coors if you wish (my son liked it, I've never done it)... visit Red Rocks (I love this - it is very close to Golden and just off I70 heading west) ... and stay either in Denver West (no real chain hotels in Golden) or at the Evergreen exit at the Quality Inn (right at I70 - about 10 minutes west of Golden). Have dinner in downtown Evergreen or at Beau Jos in Idaho Springs. My friends from out east do think they have an easier time when they don't push the 1st day ... and stay a bit lower.
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Old Jul 3rd, 2005, 05:21 AM
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Julie--good advise. We have made reservations at the Quality Inn Evergreen. How do we best enjoy the Red Rock Park? Is there a walking trail, driving tour? Also is there something to see in the Dinosaur Ridge Park?

We have also decided to take 285 south to Fairplay then on to Gunnison. In Fairplay there is noted the South Park City Museum. Should we devote our "ghost town" experience to this museum or go further down the road to St. Elmo, also a ghost town?

Thanks, Margo
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Old Jul 3rd, 2005, 12:08 PM
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Red Rocks is a natural stone amphiteater that you can walk around in/on, etc. You are sometimes asked to pay for parking... but otherwise, you just walk in. There are some hiking trains in the area (nothing too great).. and a Red Rock's museum which is quite nice. My son's highschool graduation was in Red Rocks. The dinosaur ridge is fine - my daughter (12) enjoyed it. But its nothing too spectacular. You drive over this road - and there are 8 or so stops where you can see a few footprints or other geological things. It is across the street from the entrance to Red Rocks. Morrison is a quaint town - antique shops, etc. And the drive up the canyon into Evergreen is lovely. Enjoy...
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Old Jul 3rd, 2005, 02:03 PM
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Go west, unless you want to tour the Coors brewery.
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Old Jul 6th, 2005, 04:26 PM
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If you stay in Evergreen, eat at El Rancho. It's a log cabin type place with a good menu and reasonable prices.
 
Old Jul 6th, 2005, 06:07 PM
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I really enjoy Red Rocks. It's so beautiful. That was a great suggestion.
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Old Jul 7th, 2005, 05:16 AM
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And El Rancho is right next door to your hotel. I only ate there once - a few years ago - and it wasn't good. But it has sold since then - and it is getting great reviews on this board.
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Old Jul 8th, 2005, 06:09 AM
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Two questions?
I am rethinking which road to Buena Vista from Denver (Evergreen exit). Is it more scenic to take 70 to 91 then south, or 285 through Fairplay.

Also, can someone tell me if St Elmo, the ghost town near Nathrop is worth the extra drive? In fact is it accessible with a regular car, not a jeep-type vehicle? Or should we visit the South Park City Museum near Fairplay for a ghost town experience?
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Old Jul 9th, 2005, 04:36 AM
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Any help with these questions? Julie?

Or should I start another thread on ghost towns?
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Old Jul 9th, 2005, 07:55 AM
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Sorry, I can't help. But I think it's definitely worth starting a Ghost Town thread. I hope you enjoy Colorado.
 
Old Jul 9th, 2005, 05:27 PM
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The drive to St. Elmo goes by the hot springs (Mt.Princeton)1/2 hour along the river. It is dirt/gravel after a while, but easily drivable. When you get there, it is a little eerie, and I think worth seeing. (But people do reside there, so is it still a ghost town?)Lots more complete buildings than other ghost towns, which hold only foundations.
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Old Jul 10th, 2005, 04:40 PM
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Personally, I prefer some of the little Colorado towns to ghost towns (Idaho Springs, Georgetown, etc)... so I haven't visited a ghost town in years. As far as scenary... I go 285 as it is the fastest. If I had to guess, the other route is more scenic - but both are pretty. I think the prettiest place you are going to is Crested Butte - so I would just tend to get there as soon as possible. In Crested Butte there is a "famous" restaurant called Slogars. It is an old victorian that serves a german type fried chicken meal (not my typical thing to eat - but it's very fun to do when in Crested Butte). Sadly (unbelieveably?), I have never been to Crested Butte in the summer (so I am envious)... but we go at Thanksgiving when they often have free skiing. I think the coolest thing you can do on the way to Crested Butte is white water raft (you go past some really good destinations). But I'm not sure how long you have to plan to spend as we usually do this as a day trip ( I'm assuming they offer trips of various lengths).
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