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One week in Colorado

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Campinas, SP
posts: 3
reviews: 22
One week in Colorado


We are a family from Brazil planning our trip to Colorado to visit friends in Denver. We want to spend a couple of days to know some sights within a max radius of 200 miles from Denver.

Estimated arriving day is May, 20 (Denver) and we'll be in the region until May, 26.

We are travelling with a baby (8 mo) and grandma (very active). Looking for outdoor activities, wildlife, nice driving with amazing landscapes, and we want to spend two or three nights in a mountain lodge and/or nice hotels up to 200 usd/night.

Any suggestions for us?

Destination Expert
for Wisconsin, Colorado Springs
posts: 5,098
reviews: 102
1. Re: One week in Colorado

consider Estes Park, CO and Grand Lake, CO on the other side of RMNP (Rocky Mtn. National Park). Also consider Colorado Springs taking in Garden of the Gods and the Cog Railway if you can www.cograilway.com and www.gardenofthegods.com Those are some close ones to enjoy as well as Denver without straying too far. Also Steamboat Springs would be a good consideration www.steamboat.com All will give you a good representation of CO without having to travel outside of the 200 mile radius.

Campinas, SP
posts: 3
reviews: 22
2. Re: One week in Colorado

Thanks hatchpal4u !!

I just read your answer and some reviews, they will be helpful for us.

Windsor, Colorado
Destination Expert
for Estes Park, Rocky Mountain National Park
posts: 6,308
reviews: 98
3. Re: One week in Colorado

The timing of your visit could be a little tricky for visiting both Estes Park (town literally adjacent to the eastern side of Rocky Mountain National Park) and Grand Lake (town literally adjacent to the western side of RMNP). Trail Ridge Road (highway 34 between Estes Park and Grand Lake) is considered the crown jewel of RMNP. Due to snow, the national park service aims to have Trail Ridge Road completely open by the Friday before Memorial Day each year. That will be May 24 this year. www.nps.gov/romo

I would plan Colorado Springs for May 20, 21 and drive to Estes Park on the 22nd. This is a scenic route including the Peak to Peak Scenic Byway from Colorado Springs to Estes Park. Be sure to stop in Nederland for the Carousel of Happiness. http://mapq.st/YKlb9o


Plan to drive Trail Ridge Road from Estes Park to Grand Lake through Winter Park and back to Denver on the 25th. I am assuming you will want to be close to DIA for your return flight on the 26th. Trail Ridge Road is much more than just a drive as there are many short trails and scenic overlooks along the way. Snowfall has not been abundant in RMNP and chances are good that the short trails along Trail Ridge Road even at upper elevations will be suitable for walking. You can pick up a $2 guide to Trail Ridge Road from any RMNP visitor center.

"Outdoor activities, wildlife, nice driving with amazing landscapes"--that is definitely Rocky Mountain National Park and Estes Park and Grand Lake, too.

There are many stroller friendly trails in RMNP plus you can rent a baby hiking carrier from Estes Park Mountain Shop to enjoy wonderful family friendly trails.

Stroller friendly trails in RMNP. Distances are one way unless noted.

Alluvial Fan .2 miles (from the second parking lot is not as steep) a must do to the waterfall.

Sprague Lake .5 mile loop (off Bear Lake Road and a must do in RMNP)

Bear Lake .6 mile loop (off Bear Lake Road and a must do in RMNP)

Lily Lake .7 mile loop but put the baby in the carrier and do the 1.1 mile Lily Ridge Trail (off highway 7/Peak to Peak Byway)

Hidden Valley Nature Trail guessing .5 mile loop (off Trail Ridge Road)

Tundra Communities Trail .5 miles (upper elevation of Trail Ridge Road, great views and good area for wildlife)

Holzwarth Historic Site .5 miles (western side of Trail Ridge Road and good area for deer, elk and moose)

Coyote Valley Trail 1 mile loop (western side of Trail Ridge Road)

Other family friendly hikes in RMNP--

The most popular hike in RMNP is off Bear Lake Road and is Bear Lake to Nymph Lake to Dream Lake(1.1 miles) and on to Emerald Lake (.7 miles from Dream). From either the Bear Lake TH or the Glacier Gorge TH (both off Bear Lake Road) Alberta Falls (.9 or .8 miles) is a favorite as is Mills Lake which is 2.8 miles from Glacier Gorge TH.

Copeland Falls (.3 mile) to Calypso Cascades (at 1.8 miles) to Ouzel Falls (at 2.7 miles) hike in Wild Basin should be really nice with spring snowmelt.

The Gem Lake hike (1.8 miles) from the Lumpy Ridge TH is not about the lake but about the views and the impressive boulders. Drive to this TH even if you do not do the hike. Note the balanced rocks.

Although impacted by the Fern Lake Fire in late fall 2012, both Cub Lake trail (2.3 miles) and the Pool (1.7 miles) from the Fern Lake TH are popular family friendly hikes.

Great hiking site to check these trails and others--


www.estesparkcvb.com has tons of information about Estes Park. Other activities to consider would be horseback riding (if grandma will babysit), bicycle riding (you can rent bikes including trailers and tag alongs for the baby at Estes Park Mountain Shop), fly fishing, boating on Lake Estes, whitewater rafting (grandma has to babysit) on the Poudre River is about an hour and 20 minutes down dramatic Big Thompson Canyon near Fort Collins, rock climbing, golf and more.


www.shoprma.com/poudre_river_rafting.htm (There are several companies that raft the Poudre.)

If you go rafting near Fort Collins, you might also want to include the #1 brewery tour here on TA. New Belgium Brewery is so popular, make your reservations for the tour on line up to 2 months in advance.

In Estes Park, people enjoy the 90 minute Stanley Hotel History and Ghost Tour, wine tasting at Snowy Peaks Winery and the Estes Park Museum.

About lodging in Estes Park, book soon!! You will be there over the Memorial Day weekend. May 27 is a national holiday in the United States. The cvb site has lodging summaries and links to websites. There are hotels, condos, cabins and vacation rentals. You can check reviews here on TA at


Some two bedroom options to check in your price range would be:

Riverwood on Fall River

Woodlands on Fall River

Mary's Lake Condos

Cabins at the YMCA of the Rockies Estes Park Center

Aspen Winds on Fall River

Mary's Lake Getaway

McGregor Mountain Lodge

Rockmount Cottages

People have had great success with vrbo, homeaway and flipkey finding vacation home rentals.

Denver, Colorado
Destination Expert
for Colorado
posts: 9,938
reviews: 54
4. Re: One week in Colorado

A great deal for Glenwood Springs


Fruita, Colorado
Destination Expert
for Fruita, Grand Junction
posts: 4,541
reviews: 185
5. Re: One week in Colorado

That is a great deal, alli. I also suggest Glenwood Springs. Under 200 miles from Denver. Drop dead scenery. Voted the Most Fun Town in 2011. http://www.glenwoodchamber.com/

Denver, Colorado
Destination Expert
for Colorado
posts: 9,938
reviews: 54
6. Re: One week in Colorado

I know I am a bit tempted to buy one myself!

Campinas, SP
posts: 3
reviews: 22
7. Re: One week in Colorado

Thanks fv1989, your post will help us a lot!

Hot Sulphur...
posts: 876
reviews: 6
8. Re: One week in Colorado

Unfortunately, this year, Trail Ridge Road will unlikely be open for Memorial Day. It seems the RMNP budget doesn't allow for snow plowing this year. If it doesn't open until the snow melts - it could be July.

Check the Colorado Road Conditions (cotrip.org) the condition of all the roads that close for the winter season.

Safe travels!

Windsor, Colorado
Destination Expert
for Estes Park, Rocky Mountain National Park
posts: 6,308
reviews: 98
9. Re: One week in Colorado

Currently, the park service is still planning to have Trail Ridge Road open by May 24, 2013. Snowpack in RMNP is well below normal and barring late spring snowstorms, the snow plow operators should be able to get Trail Ridge Road open without substantial overtime pay. The park is cutting budgets in other areas. You can check the status of Trail Ridge Road by calling the TRR status line at 970-586-1222 or the Rocky Mountain National Park information office at 970-586-1206. Rangers will also post updates on Twitter and Facebook.


If Trail Ridge Road is not entirely open, Fer and Ju can spend more time in Estes Park and the eastern side of RMNP or plan a day in Boulder.

10. Re: One week in Colorado

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