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Itinerary Advice July

London, United...
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Itinerary Advice July

I am just starting to plan my itinerary for my (largely) Colorado holiday in July. I arrive on Thursday 11th and leave Tuesday 23rd. Flights are booked and fixed. I got a very good deal. On Saturday 20th and Sunday 21st I have concert/rodeo tickets booked at Cheyenne Frontier Days.

I am now thinking about what to do for the rest of the time I have. I would like to do mostly outdoor scenery/hiking but also take in some shopping and take advantage of the great US prices for clothes. I don't want to drive enormous distances as I will be the only driver.

Thanks in advance for your help.

Charleston, South...
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1. Re: Itinerary Advice July

Will you be flying in and out of Denver? Colorado is a beautiful state with much to see and do. Personally, I prefer the SW portion of the state, which is about a 7 hr drive from Denver. However, you can find beautiful areas that are closer to Denver as well.

Here are a few links to things in the SW part of the state that may interest you.

www.visittelluride.com

www.telluridemuseum.org

www.ridewithroudy.com

www.RidgwayColorado.com

www.OurayColorado.com

www.mesaverde.com

www.SilvertonColorado.com

www.mountainwestmuseum.com

Colorado Springs...
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2. Re: Itinerary Advice July

To really enjoy Colorado, you need a car. You probably can get better rental deals through your London travel agent or BA (if you are takling the London - Denver non-stop) than rentig after your arrival here.

If my counting on my fingers is correct, you have 9 uncommitted days after your arrival in DEN. If you are on the BA flight, you will get here late in the afternoon. I think you should spend at least a night after your arrival in the Denver area, to get over the jet lag pklus the change in altitude (Denver is about at 1,600 metyers).Leave the rest of Denver for after your return from your trip. There are many hotels/motels near the airport, mostly proprrties of chains. In my opinion, you should decide one chain and use it for your travels. July is vacation time here, and places fill up. So advance reservations are a good idea. But most chanins let you cancel the reservation by 16:00 hrs on the day of your arrival. If you have a change of plans, it easier to change within a chain. .

Here is a possible itineray: Day 1 (following the day of arrival) Denver Rocky Mountain National Park. The scenic drive via Boulder, Nederland CO 7to Estes Park takes about 2 1/2 - 3hrs Spend a full day in the Parkand do some hiking.

Day 3: Drive from Estes Park (RMNP) across the Trail Ridge Road (US 34) and Interstate 70 to Summit County, CO. There are several places to stay, all very close together - - - Dillon, Silverthorn, Breckenridge , Frisco, Keystone, Copper Mountain. Spend a day there and take one of the ski lifts up to the top of one the mountains, and walk down.

Day 5: From Summit County drive to Aspen, CO, via Leadville and the the Independence Pass (over 4,000m); visit Aspen, but stay in Glenwood Springs or Carbondale. (Aspen is very expensive) While in Aspen, take bus to the Maroon Bells, walk there.)

Day 6: Drive from Glenswood Springs to Carbondale and over the McClure Pass (CO 133) to Delta and Montrose. Overnight there.

Day 6: Short detour to Black Canyon of the Gunnison, then back to Montrose and south on the US 550 to Ridgway. If by now you are comfortable driving on good, but mountainous roads, continue on the 550 to Ouray - across the Million Dollar Highway to Silverton and Durangoi Otherwise, take the CO 62 to Placerville and then south on the CO145 to Cortez. Spend the night there. The Million Dollar Highway is definitely a more difficult higheay to drive than the CO 145. Both are very scenic, but different. If you take the 145, take the short detour into the Telluride, a very typical Western town in a great setting.

Day 7, from Cortez head east on the US 160 and visit the Mesa Verde Nastional Park and its ancient cliff dwellings. Continue to Durango an spend the night there. If you are early enough in the day, take the Durango - Silverton railway to Silverton, return to Durango by shuttle bus.

Day 8: From Durangodrive on The US 160 east past Alamosa to the turnoff for the Grand Sand Dunes National Park. Visit it, then continue on the CO 17 north to the US 285. At Poncha Springs take the IUS 50 for about 5 miles going east into Salida. Spend the night there.

On day 9, go back to the US 285, going north until it intersects with US 24 going East (just south of Buena Vista). Take US 24 east toward Colorado Springs. Before you get to COS, in Manitous Springs, watch for the signs to the Garden of the Gods. Drive through this phantastic rock formation and at the Visitor Center get directions for the quickest way to go to the Interstate Highway 25, going north to Denver. From the G o G iut takes about 2 1/4 hours to get into Denver, on the I-25.

If all this appeals to you, let me know. You can post it here, or write me a message.

All the routings are on very good roads, and no single day is a "all driving" day.

Windsor, Colorado
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3. Re: Itinerary Advice July

Treplow's itinerary is a great road trip around Colorado, but it is at least 1400 miles (2250 kilometers) including Cheyenne and back to DIA. I would scale back and plan more time for hiking, sightseeing and shopping since you said you did not want to drive enormous distances.

It would help if we knew how many places you want to stay. Some people prefer to spend several days in one lodging at a time as opposed to a different locale every other night or each night. How much driving time in a day is too much for you?

WestSlope,CO
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4. Re: Itinerary Advice July

I often suggest a similar itinerary to the one Treplow outlines, and it is very doable in the time you have, with fairly reasonable drive times since the distance is spread over a number of days. It certainly could easily be scaled back unless there are specific things you want to see or do. I'm with fv1989 in asking for more information about what you want your vacation to look like. Are there places like the National Parks (i.e. the Black Canyon or Mesa Verde) or scenic byways that you really want to see or specific trails you want to hike? How many shopping days did you want to allow, and are you looking for small local shops, malls, or outlets?

Edited: 3:37 pm, November 29, 2012
London, United...
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5. Re: Itinerary Advice July

Thanks very much for the help. You are correct that I will be flying in and out of Denver. The deal means I fly into Denver via Chicago on American arriving about 3.00pm and will have cleared customs in Chicago so should be out fairly quickly so I was wondering if the first night in Boulder would be doable? Flying back on the BA non stop which flies out late evening so will have a full day still on the 23rd.

I think I would prefer several night in fewer places although I agree that the area around Durango looks really interesting but the driving does put me off since Google maps suggests a lot of it isn't Freeway. I wonder if it's possible to fly to Durango Day 2 and hire a car there and drive back or would there be a hefty one way fee? If I were staying put say 3 nights then 3 to 4 hours driving would be OK between hotels. As to the shopping I would want malls and outlets really.

To sum up if I could limit the driving to one way then Durango might be OK but otherwise I would want to stay a little nearer to Denver. I would like to explore both options a little further.

Once again many thanks for the advice which is helping to crystallise my thinking.

WestSlope,CO
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6. Re: Itinerary Advice July

Yes, the first night in Boulder is definitely doable.

There very well could be a one way drop fee for your car hire if you chose to fly to Durango, but it can vary. If you prefer freeway driving, you could drive west on Interstate 70 toward Grand Junction (where you could visit Colorado National Monument) and then the highway to Montrose is 4 lane, as well. Taking that route, you wouldn't have much driving on 2 lane roads. You might make Ouray or Telluride your base for two or three days, then head for Cortez/Mesa Verde/Durango for a few more days if you'd really like to include Mesa Verde and the Durango-Silverton train.

Are you concerned more about the time/distance to get to Durango or the mountain driving? If it's the time/distance, with the amount of time you have, you could plot a course that would keep your driving to 3-4 hours. If it is the mountain driving, I don't think you'll find most of Colorado's two lane highways difficult to drive, and the Trip Advisor folks can advise you as to the best routes according to your comfort level.

WI
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7. Re: Itinerary Advice July

Consider visiting Colorado Springs, near to Denver, there's much to do in and around the area with several day trip options. Colorado Springs can easily keep you busy inside and out for several days.

Things of possible interest:

Pikes Peak Cog Railway

Cave of the Winds

Cheyenne Mtn. Zoo and Will Rogers Shrine to the Sun

Seven Falls ($) and Helen Hunt Falls (free)

Garden of the Gods

Pioneers Museum is wonderful

Air Force Academy

Olympic Training Center

many museums including:

Pro Rodeo, Money, Figure Skating, living history museum by Garden of the Gods

There's the Wolf Center in Divide

the neat town of Woodland Park

Florrisant Fossil Beds

Manitou Springs for shopping and dining

Canon City for the Royal Gorge Bridge and Park

Red Rocks in Denver

If you want to travel out farther but not as far as SW CO then consider Glenwood Springs, it's a beautiful area with lots to do Hanging Lake Trail, Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park (tram ride up, caves, dining, rides), hot springs pool, and more.

WestSlope,CO
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8. Re: Itinerary Advice July

Yes, and the Great Sand Dunes National Park is another scenic, interesting place to visit, approx 3-3 1/2 hours away from Colorado Springs. A little too far for a day trip for you, but perfect for an overnight.

If you decide that Mesa Verde and the SW Colorado sights are a priority and you make a loop down to Durango, you could visit the Sand Dunes and Colorado Springs on your way back to Denver as suggested in Treplow's itinerary. If not, and you want to curtail your mileage a bit and stay closer to Denver, a loop with Estes Park/Rocky Mountain National Park, Summit County area or Glenwood Springs/Redstone/Aspen and/or Buena Vista area plus Colorado Springs makes another great loop trip. You can hardly go wrong! Have fun planning.

London, United...
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9. Re: Itinerary Advice July

Thanks everyone for their help. So much to choose from. I really need another 2 weeks! I will look into your suggestions and come back later to let yopu know what I have finalised.

10. Re: Itinerary Advice July

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