Planning Your Time

The remoteness of northwest Colorado makes it appealing for those looking to escape the big crowds of more heavily visited areas of the state, but it also requires more careful planning. Steamboat Springs is a good place to start and usually requires 2–3 days to explore, particularly if hiking, biking, skiing, horseback riding, or other adventure activities are on the itinerary, with optional day trips to Craig. From there, it's a commitment to spend time at Dinosaur National Monument, but one that is well worth the effort if dinosaurs or white-water rafting are on your must-do list.

Dropping down to Grand Junction is possible from Dinosaur through Rangely—which gives you the chance to do a little fishing—or you can skip the fossil tour and go through Meeker, secure in the knowledge that you'll still get your dino fix around this part of the Western Slope. Plan on several days to explore Grand Junction, with wine tasting in Palisade and the extensive outdoors options on the Grand Mesa nearby.

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