will we enjoy southwest colorado?

Old Jul 16th, 2002, 06:30 AM
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will we enjoy southwest colorado?

we had planned a trip from boston to arizona and southwest colorado for August. given fires and draught we are now wondering whether we will truly enjoy this trip. We tend to prefer outdoors (we loved Zion national park) and stay away from super commercial places (hated las vegas) we dont enjoy real isolation--but are not urban types. out boys are 10 and 5. We planned to go to telluride and maybe crested butte. were not interested in the train ride although it sounds fun. any infor that will help us decide is appreciated.
Old Jul 16th, 2002, 07:14 AM
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We just returned from 10 days in Colorado and did not have to change our plans because of the fires and drought. Check the following site for current information: http://wildfires.nwcg.gov
Telluride and Mesa Verde were highlights of our trip. We really enjoyed the jeep ride to Imogene pass. Where else are you plannin on going? Did you think about Arches Nat'l Park? I think your boys would really enjoy that, too.
Old Jul 16th, 2002, 09:41 AM
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I was in both Telluride and Crested Butte last week. I saw no evidence of fire anywhere...
Old Jul 16th, 2002, 10:10 AM
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thanks for the reponses so far. We are planning to start out in sedona. Unfortunately, we hear that all the hiking trails in the area are closed due to drought and fear of fire. We then head north to canyon de chelly and then mesa verde. Some of the trails in mesa verde are also closed because of drought. So we wonder whether this trip will be fun. We have never been to colorado. We have no idea what it is like and wonder whether it is interesting enough to make this trip still worth it. Its hard to change all out plans at the last minute. Last summer we did zion, bryce, and the grand canyon. that was great. what's southwest colorado like?
Old Jul 16th, 2002, 12:56 PM
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I can't imagine anyone not enjoying this part of the country, especially if they have liked National Parks in the Southwest USA.

SW Colorado has a lot in common with the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. There are high desert areas (over 5000 feet elevation) near Cortez, and the San Juan Mountains go up as high as 14,000 feet. This area is quite green despite the drought, especially at higher elevations, say 10,000 feet.

It is a sparsely populated area, no crowds, certainly not "super-commercial" if you stay out of T shirt shops.

I have lived in several places in the USA and Asia, I have traveled extensively, and this is where I chose to live. My house is at 7400 feet. I have a view of 12-13,000 foot peaks out my window, ponderosa pines all around, and still have lettuce and peas producing in my garden. We don't have air conditioning because we only need it for a few days every couple of years. This area is worth seeing!
Old Jul 16th, 2002, 01:42 PM
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Yes - definitely take the trip. You are heading to very interesting / worthwhile countryside. Canyon de Chelly is beautiful & one of the highlights of my trip. I took the jeep ride down into it.

Mesa Verde - interesting & a learning experience. You have to take at least one tour (book in advance if you can, some fill up during peak seasons) - so that you can go right down to the sites & hear the history & info from the guides. Lots of ladders to climb down cliffsides - not sure if there are age/size limits for the children.

Stop at the "4 Corners" - just to say you did & plant your feet on the spot & take a picture of yourself standing in a few different States at once.... The kids will think that's neat.

You won't be far from Monument Valley / Arches National Park. Check out info on these as well. You'd hate to drive past something worthwhile since you are already in the area.

Have fun! Give us an update of your travels after.
Old Jul 16th, 2002, 01:56 PM
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To clarify Syv's comments: you cannot book the ranger-led tours at Mesa Verde in advance. In fact, they will only let you book one of the two tours available, either Spruce House or Long House. As I mentioned in a previous post, my friend and I felt compelled to go against the system by splitting up and each requesting a tour for two for each of the houses. However, you could book a full- or half-day guided tour in advance to one of the two houses, but I think your boys would not appreciate all the talk and sitting.

Also, think about a rafting trip. We watch many rafts go by with young children riding in them. In some areas, the waters are very calm.
Old Jul 16th, 2002, 06:54 PM
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Re Syv's comments, your 5 and 10 year olds should be fine climbing the ladders into Long House at Mesa Verde. My 5 yo daughter and 8 year son did it with no problem. They were fascinated with the cliff dwellings. In spite of the closed portion of the park, we still spent an enjoyable full day there. It was hot and moderately strenuous, so take plenty of water! (I just returned from a 10 day road trip through Colorado and Utah. I'm trying to get a trip report posted but can't seem to find the time. Hopefully tomorrow.)

I would definitely still go on your trip, you will have a great time. We did!
Old Jul 24th, 2002, 08:47 AM
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Western Colorado has great things to see and do. Drive the "million dollar highway" from Durango to Ouray. keep going north to The Black Canyon of the Gunnison. Whereas the grand Canyon is so vast it kind of ends up looking like all the postcards you've seen and is almost too vast to comprehend, the Black Canyon is a very deep gash in the earth and you can actually see people on the opposite rim. Consider a rafting trip on the Colorado through Glenwood Canyon near Glenwood Springs. The kids and you will love dinner at the J Bar D outside Durango. We so tourist groups at the dinner and show from France, Australia, England, and we were seated with a family from Germany. Their kids were wearing cowboy boots and hats and enthralled by the excellent music and fun.
In Telluride which you can't miss there are numerous high mountain hiking trails. Make sure you take the gondola up to Mountain Village at night or stay in Mountain Village and ride it down to Telluride for dinner it is a magnificent view in daylight and seeing the twinkling lights in the bottom of the box canyon where Telluride is situated is magnificent. The Peaks is a great hotel in Mountain Village.
One of my favorite spots on earth is the summit of Independence Pass just east of Aspen. Your kids will enjoy a summer snowball fight at 12,000 feet. You really do feel like your on top of the world.
I haven't even mentioned Rocky Mountain National Park which is a grand old park. As long as this response is I have left alot out. Have fun.
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