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Denver and the mountains

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Oklahoma City...
posts: 87
Denver and the mountains


I have only been to Denver once, almost 10 years ago, and visited Golden, Boulder and the RMNP.

We will be in Denver for a meeting, but will have two weekends to visit other areas.

I'm interested in the mountains, hiking, walking...

Sadly, I know more about the Swiss Alps than the mountains in Colorado.

We are thinking the first weekend to maybe explore Breckenridge? The second weekend we will have three days, so maybe Aspen or Vail? I really want that mountain feel like I had in Switzerland.

Are the gondolas, cable cars etc., running during summer?

Been trying to read about the different areas, but they don't seem as simplified as the Berner Oberland area (for example), in Switzerland so I'm a bit confused.

Please help?

23 replies to this topic
Park City, Utah
Destination Expert
for Utah, Travel Gadgets and Gear
posts: 9,938
reviews: 194
1. Re: Denver and the mountains

All of your proposed destinations are great. Both Breckenridge and Aspen are actual communities that have a history as mining towns going back to the 19th century. Vail is a self-created resort town, so a much different feel. I might also suggest that you consider Rocky Mountain National Park on one of the weekends, just 90 minutes from Denver.

All of the resorts will have lifts in operation to take you to additional hiking/biking, on-mountain resorts.

This isn't at all like the Berner Oberland. The nature of the geography and culture of the communities is quite different. The Berner Oberland is also unique in its interconnected transport of trains and lifts to go from community to community. Breck, as an example, is about a 90 minute drive from Denver on I-70. Once there, you can walk around town, drive to nearby attractions, take a lift up the mountain to explore, etc.

The Rockies are quite spectacular, but different from the Swiss Alps so I suggest you look for the unique differences you'll find in Colorado. For sure, the old western mining town feel of Breck, as an example, is something you won't find in Switzerland.

Have fun.

Nederland, Colorado
posts: 5,179
reviews: 8
2. Re: Denver and the mountains

Ouray is referred to as the "Switzerland of America"... http://www.ouraycolorado.com/

But honestly, I've been to both and I don't really "get" the comparison. You cannot compare the Swiss Alps to any place in the US. The San Juan Mountains in the SW part of the state will give you more of an Alps feel in my opinion. Rather than Vail I'd suggest visiting Aspen or Telluride and Ouray.

As Tumbleweed suggests, best not to compare but try to appreciate the uniqueness of our majestic Rocky Mountains.

Edited: 10:30 am, July 19, 2013
Oklahoma City...
posts: 87
3. Re: Denver and the mountains

Thanks. Sounds interesting. When I was up at Schilthorn, I experienced altitude sickness. Lasted over a day. Had noticed headaches when we were up in Murren three days prior to Schilthorn...now I'm wondering if Breckenridge is going to be an issue. Is the town itself over 10,000 ft? Or is that when you go up higher by cable car? After a week in the Alps, other elevations under 9,000 ft were fine.

It may have been the medication I was on which could cause some dehydration, but I was not on medication in Maui when we went up to the volcano and I hiked a bit inside and back up. Was sick all day after that.

Destination Expert
for Colorado
posts: 7,444
reviews: 82
4. Re: Denver and the mountains

But it is too far to go to Telluride/Ouray on a weekend trip, really. It would be possible, especially if you could leave the evening before and go part way... because we go to Denver for a three day weekend quite often...but I'd recommend Leadville to Twin Lakes over Independence Pass to Aspen (and don't miss Redstone) for the second weekend. Then drive back to Denver via Interstate 70 and stop at Vail and Frisco on the way.

And plan another week, some day soon, to visit SW Colorado. From Oklahoma City, if you don't want to drive, you ought to be able to find some reasonable flights to Durango, Albuquerque, or Denver. Other options would be Grand Junction and Montrose.

Edited: 12:02 pm, July 19, 2013
Oklahoma City...
posts: 87
5. Re: Denver and the mountains

I do understand the not comparing to the Swiss Alps. I don't think there is anywhere in the US that looks like anywhere in Europe!

Was really meaning height of mountains, and whether there is snow still up on top, and whether the gondolas, chair lifts, cable cars are efficient and running. But again, no one can beat the Swiss for efficiency and great transport :-)

Nederland, Colorado
posts: 5,179
reviews: 8
6. Re: Denver and the mountains

When will your trip take place?

Denver, Colorado
Destination Expert
for Colorado
posts: 8,542
reviews: 50
7. Re: Denver and the mountains

The lifts do run during summer. I enjoy Beaver Creek in summer months. Take a look at the Park Hyatt.

Know that Breck can get really busy on weekends. Just so you are prepared. If you go to Breck try and get some time on Lake Dillon, it is lovely and with all the recent rain it is fuller than I have seen it in a long time.

Oklahoma City...
posts: 87
8. Re: Denver and the mountains

We arrive in Denver on August 10th. That's the day we want to head out for one night and full day.

The following weekend we will have from Thursday - Saturday, so could cover a lot.

Oklahoma City...
posts: 87
9. Re: Denver and the mountains

Haven't heard anything recently about fires in Colorado, but was wondering if it's pretty common there to alert locals and visitors about the risks before taking trips to the mountains?

Nederland, Colorado
posts: 5,179
reviews: 8
10. Re: Denver and the mountains

If there is a fire that affects residents or tourists the media will be all over it. Fortunately there has been significant rain in the past month that has reduced the fire danger.

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