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1st time to Colorado

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Tucson, Arizona
Level Contributor
63 posts
35 reviews
1st time to Colorado

My husband and I will be spending a week in Creede at a painting workshop starting the 1st wk of June 2014. Afterwards we would like to spend approx. 3 wks in Colorado. We're looking at Durango, Mesa verde, Telluride areas, not planning to go North to Denver etc. Please suggest your favorite 'don't miss' experiences, places etc in this general area of Colorado. Also, if you can recommend cabins or quiet places to stay where one might paint for 4-5 days, that would also be a great help.

Santa Fe, New Mexico
Destination Expert
for Santa Fe, Mesa Verde National Park, Boulder, New Mexico
Level Contributor
19,322 posts
42 reviews
1. Re: 1st time to Colorado

I would look at spending a night inside Mesa Verde NP at Farview Lodge. Not a lot of amenities, but quiet.

Destination Expert
for Colorado
Level Contributor
8,598 posts
128 reviews
2. Re: 1st time to Colorado

This is one that came to mind, but there are many other great spots.


Tacoma, Washington
Destination Expert
for Road Trips
Level Contributor
4,589 posts
1 review
3. Re: 1st time to Colorado

What sort of budget will you have?

I know you said you didnt want to venture up to denver...but if you are going for 3 weeks seriously think about visiting Rocky mountain National Park area.

You probably can find some rental properties in the ski towns.

Another option is look in the Telluride/Ouray area.

Another location to look is a little farther south in durango/Cortez

Destination Expert
for Breckenridge
Level Contributor
2,792 posts
23 reviews
4. Re: 1st time to Colorado

If you want quiet, scenic and off the tourist radar...try Lake City Colorado. Beautiful area with lots to do outdoors.

Ouray, CO is another of my favorite small mtn. towns.


Charleston, South...
Destination Expert
for Charleston, South Carolina, Telluride
Level Contributor
8,860 posts
34 reviews
5. Re: 1st time to Colorado

Take the narrow gauge railway between Durango and Silverton, beautiful scenery. Drive the Million Dollar Hwy btw Silverton and Ouray ~ drop dead gorgeous views!! Do some hiking in the Ouray and Telluride areas, trails range from pretty easy to more difficult. Horseback ride around Telluride, go fishing at Trout Lake, check out the Telluride museum - details the local history from before the white man to the present, very interesting. Visit Ridgway, where the original John Wayne version of True Grit was filmed. Local Telluride painter Roger Mason is often found out on the street painting sunsets, etc I'm sure you would enjoy speaking to one another. Check out the Black Canyon of the Gunnison just beyond Montrose. Take a glider ride above Telluride with Glider Bob. Not inexpensive, but a fantastic thing to do, life long memories, I thought it was worth every cent!!










Glider Bob 970-708-0862

Norfolk, Virginia
Level Contributor
10 posts
22 reviews
6. Re: 1st time to Colorado

My daughter lives and works in Telluride. Take the free gondola ride from Telluride up to Mountain Village( runs all year) at night during a full moon, then back down again. It is the ride back down that post cards are made of- Full moon at night might inspire some painting. telluride has good hotel prices during the summer, there is a river that runs through it and a park at the end of town. The other suggestions in previous posts are right on.

Destination Expert
for Colorado
Level Contributor
8,598 posts
128 reviews
7. Re: 1st time to Colorado

The Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park would be one of my musts, as well, in addition to Mesa Verde. There are several art galleries in Montrose, and I think you might like to stop and visit Mike Simpson at the Simpson Gallery. Or perhaps you'd like to follow his blog for suggestions/inspiration. http://www.mikesimpsonart.com/artist-bio

Have a drink or meal at Remington's at the Bridges for some beautiful views of the San Juan Mountains to the south.

Animas Forks ghost town would be on my list in addition to the things others have mentioned. And I always recommend at least one jeep tour high into the mountains...Imogene Pass is awesome. Yankee Boy Basin, too. Well, really, any of the jeep tours out of Ouray and Telluride.

Here are a few more lodging ideas:



If you have a "champagne" budget for a few days, Dunton Hot Springs would be the ultimate quiet, beautiful spot.

Columbia, Maryland
Level Contributor
1,240 posts
11 reviews
8. Re: 1st time to Colorado

Must dos in the area:

Durango and Silverton Train

Jeep tour from Silverton into the mountains

Mesa Verde


Drive the San Juan Scenic Skyway (multiple highways that make a circuit route - google it)

Black Canyon of the Gunnison

You are also within easy reach of Canyonlads and Arches Natinal Parks in Utah. Moab is the place to stay.

Monument Valley is not out of reach - only 3 hours from Durango.

And as a bit of a stretch and definetly not a day trip, but with 3 weeks you could venture west to the Grand Canyon (but I see you are from Tuscon so you may have already been there and want to focus on CO).

As for a neat place to stay in the Durango area try this one:


We looked at staying here but it was just a bit too far from Durango for our itinerary. Its about 25 miles north of Durango. To me it seems like an ideal quiet spot to settle and paint for a few days.

Edited: 9:59 am, February 24, 2014
Tucson, Arizona
Level Contributor
63 posts
35 reviews
9. Re: 1st time to Colorado

Wow! so many great suggestions. thank you thank you thank you. I'll review all your suggestions and may come back for more help!


10. Re: 1st time to Colorado

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