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Please help w itinerary: Denver to/from Dunton Hot springs

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Please help w itinerary: Denver to/from Dunton Hot springs

My husband and I are splurging on a 3 night stay at DHS to celebrate a milestone birthday. The stay at DHS is embedded in 9 night trip we will be starting and ending in Denver. Would really appreciate any advice on our skeletal itinerary that can help us take full advantage of our time getting to and coming from DHS.

Outline of plan so far:

- Thursday: fly into Denver in evening

- Friday: morning business meeting, ready to start vacation after lunch. Drive 2-3 hours toward sw colorado (thinking 258 route). Need to pick somewhere to spend the night. Salida? Leadville? Other?

- Saturday: visit black canyon in morning before heading to ouray for night. Is this best place to stay? Hope to have time for a short hike and jeep ride this afternoon and Sunday morning

- Sunday: drive million dollar highway to Durango, stop by silverton. No interest in train but would like a little time to explore. Get to Mesa verde by Late afternoon. Stay at far view lodge in park.

- Monday: hike Mesa verde in morning. Head toward dunton hot springs to check in by early afternoon

- Monday, Tuesday, Wednsday nights at DHS

- Thursday mid day depart DHS. Visit Telluride. Where to stay? Telluride? Grand Junction?

- Friday, see national monument, drive back toward Denver and spend night somewhere interesting (vail?) but close enough to reach airport Saturday mid day without too much stress.

-Saturday- leave Denver in afternoon.

What would you change/add to make this a trip we will always remember? We don't mind splurging for a special experience but also can be happy in a simple and beautiful or quirky location. Our main objectives for this trip are to reconnect with nature (we live in manhattan so trees and flowers and non rodentia animals are rare), see awesome natural beauty, and enjoy each others company.

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Salida
Colorado
Leadville
Leadville
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Durango
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Telluride
Telluride
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Charleston, South...
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1. Re: Please help w itinerary: Denver to/from Dunton Hot springs

When are you coming? You may need to plan on having reservations along the way if coming during the summer. The mountain towns can be crowded with tourists.

WestSlope,CO
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2. Re: Please help w itinerary: Denver to/from Dunton Hot springs

Looks like you've put together a very good itinerary!

Thoughts:

Friday..Buena Vista or Salida would be good options. Maybe even Mt. Princeton Hot Springs or a B&B nearby. (I know you're going to Dunton, I'm so jealous! But maybe you'd like to try Mt. Princeton as well. Or for a more rustic hot spring stay, Cottonwood is nearby. I'd almost put it in the quirky category, and it would be an interesting contrast to Dunton! ) I like Leadville, but it is still very much an active mining town (with lots of history! if you like that) and there aren't lots of lodging options. You might check out one of the b&bs in historic homes, and there's also Twin Lakes to check out.

Saturday...If you're heading through Montrose at mealtime, our favorite is the Camp Robber Café. Or for the best views and a lovely atmosphere, Remington's at the Bridges can't be beat. Ouray is a great place to stay, IMO. For unusual, you might check out Orvis Hot Springs at Ridgway, a clothing optional hot springs pool. There are a couple of other nice inns in Ridgway, too, but since you want to hike and take a jeep tour, it's better to go on to Ouray. I'm sure you'll have time for a hike in Ouray, and I believe there are some late afternoon jeep tours. On your way, be sure to stop at the Dennis Weaver Memorial Park just north of Ridgway. The majestic eagle statue silhouetted against the mountains is a sight not to be missed, IMO, and it is a very peaceful spot, too. And for "quirky" you'll definitely want to take your picture with the jail wagon from the original True Grit movie. Ridgway's town park was used in the movie, too, and the row of buildings across the street to the west where the True Grit Café is now located. (If you want to get to Ouray in time for a jeep tour, you might save some of this for the day you drive to Grand Junction)

Sunday...good plan. If you'd like to visit a ghost town, Ironton is just off the highway to your left after the Corkscrew Gulch trailhead. The folks at Ouray visitor center can give you directions or let me know if you need help with directions. Try to plan your day so that you can get to the visitor center at Mesa Verde before closing time so that you can get your $3 ranger led tour tickets for Balcony House or Cliff Palace the next morning. You'll be able to explore some at Mesa Verde that evening. Keep an eye out for mule deer.

Thursday...Telluride is a wonderful place to stay, with plenty of lodging choices. I prefer the historic town to the ski resort area Mountain Village, but they are connected with a gondola, arguably the most scenic public transportation in the country, and it is free. I'm wondering, though, since you want to see Colorado National Monument and also drive closer to Denver the next day, if you might want to go ahead to Grand Junction. Maybe you could visit Telluride as a day trip on one of your Dunton days, and maybe stop again on your way through. Then drive on to Grand Junction. See the Colorado National Monument this evening. I'd recommend staying downtown so you can walk to your restaurant if you wish, and see the downtown Art on the Corner. http://downtowngj.org/ Or stay at The Wine Country Inn, a 2012 Trip Advisor Traveler's Choice for Best Wine Destinations. http://www.coloradowinecountryinn.com/

Friday...I'd recommend going on back to Denver (maybe stay the night in Golden? Evergreen? or downtown). There's construction on Interstate 70 and traffic can be heavy. I wouldn't want to have to worry about getting through that on my departure day unless my flight were in the late afternoon. You could take the entire day to explore along the way... Redstone is a very picturesque, historic village not terribly far off your route, then you could drive through Aspen and over Independence Pass to Twin Lakes. Take a look around Leadville if you didn't stop there on your way, or head for Breckenridge. You could stay the night in Breckenridge, but I think I'd go on toward Denver. Or, I believe there are a couple of well-reviewed b&bs in Georgetown and Idaho Springs.

Have a wonderful trip and feel free to come back with any questions.

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Salida
Colorado
Leadville
Leadville
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Twin Lakes
Twin Lakes
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Montrose
Montrose
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Ouray
Ouray
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Ridgway
Ridgway
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Telluride
Telluride
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Evergreen
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New York City, New...
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3. Re: Please help w itinerary: Denver to/from Dunton Hot springs

Thank you so much for the expert ideas! It's been very helpful as we firmed up plans over last few weeks. Looking forward to arriving next Thursday evening, with general plan as follows:

- Thursday: Arr Denver, overnight in hotel selected for business purposes

- Friday: after finishing morning meeting, pick up car (small suv) in downtown Denver, and head to Salida. Try Amicas pizza for dinner.

- Saturday: drive Salida to Ouray with stop at black canyon np, lunch montrose? Evening short hike/explore Ouray

- Sunday: early jeep tour, drive million dollar highway, late lunch Durango, arrive Mesa verde in time to get tickets for Monday morning tour of cliff house explore some this evening, overnight at far view lodge

- Monday- weds at Dunton hot springs

- Thursday-depart Dunton, head to grand junction w stop through telluride. See national monument this evening

- Friday- full day drive/explore from grand junction via aspen, twin lakes, Leadville. Stay in vail. Rodeo at eagle county fair this evening.

- Saturday vail to Denver airport for late afternoon flight.

Please make any suggestions you think can help our trip. We still have time for tweaks!

Thank you again.

Laura

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Salida
Colorado
Ouray
Ouray
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Durango
Durango
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Leadville
Leadville
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WestSlope,CO
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4. Re: Please help w itinerary: Denver to/from Dunton Hot springs

Looks great to me! I'm looking forward to your trip report and hearing about Dunton.

Edited: 8:35 am, July 10, 2013
Colorado
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5. Re: Please help w itinerary: Denver to/from Dunton Hot springs

I love Salida, I was just there. We had dinner at Amica's it is good but our meal at Fritz was better. For a

<<happy in a simple and beautiful or quirky location.>> We stayed at the Simple Lodge and Hostel in the downstairs private room and would gladly do so again. It was fun, clean and a great bargain. We stayed 4 nights, the other guests were fun too and from all over. The other option is the Palace Hotel I have heard good things but have not been myself.

http://www.simplelodge.com/

http://www.salidapalacehotel.com/

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6. Re: Please help w itinerary: Denver to/from Dunton Hot springs

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