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Summer family trip Boulder, Grand Junction, Mesa Verde, N.M.

Rochester, New York
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Summer family trip Boulder, Grand Junction, Mesa Verde, N.M.

We're thinking of taking 9 days for a family trip to see my daughter in Boulder, and then tour a bit. I'm wondering how this works as an itinerary:

Fly into Boulder day 1, spend first night, second day, second night with daughter

Day 3 - leave for Grand Junction, tour a bit, spend night Grand Junction

Day 4 - 'Tour Grand Junction, overnight Grand Junction

Day 5 - leave for Mesa Verda, tour a bit in Mesa Verde, overnight Mesa Verde

Day 6 - Tour Mesa Verde half day, leave for Taos, overnight Taos

Day 7 - See Taos, overnight Taos

Day 8 - Drive to Santa Fe, tour, overnight Santa FE

Day 9 - Fly out Albuquerque

We'd like to see wildlife, landscapes, geographic formations, interesting towns, culture and the cliffside dwellings.

Thanks for any suggestions and advice you might be able to provide! We'll be either my husband (61), me (52), my son (13) and possibly my son (27) and his wife (23).

WI
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for Wisconsin, Colorado Springs
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1. Re: Summer family trip Boulder, Grand Junction, Mesa Verde, N.M.

Be sure and catch the Colorado National Monument and possibly Black Canyon of the Gunnison. Another area is Glenwood Springs which is a neat town and some things you may enjoy there:

Glenwood Caverns www.glenwoodcaverns.com

Hot Springs Pool www.hotspringspool.com

Taos and Sante Fe are wonderful! Sounds like you have a fun trip/visit planned.

WestSlope,CO
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2. Re: Summer family trip Boulder, Grand Junction, Mesa Verde, N.M.

Grand Junction is a nice small city, but I think one afternoon and evening would be enough there with the time you have. As it is, you are skipping some really scenic, historic, and picturesque places on your route to Mesa Verde. I would recommend you change day 4. Drive to Montrose and spend about two hours at the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, then head for either Ouray or Telluride for the afternoon and evening. If you go to Ouray, on day 5 you could drive the Million Dollar Highway to Silverton and then on to Durango ( 3 mountain passes, lots of old mines, a ghost town) or you could backtrack the short drive to Ridgway and head west/SW over Dallas Divide and to Telluride, Lizard Head Pass, Rico, Dolores, Mesa Verde. Both routes are legs of one of the best scenic/historic drives in the state, the San Juan Skyway; both have spectacular mountain scenery and picturesque, historic mining towns.

On Day 7 I would recommend spending the morning in Taos, having lunch, then heading for Santa Fe for the afternoon and evening, as you will need more time in Santa Fe IMO.

Rochester, New York
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3. Re: Summer family trip Boulder, Grand Junction, Mesa Verde, N.M.

Thank you so much for your suggestions. We haven't figured out all the sightseeing along the way, so we wanted to allocate our time well. We're not very familiar with the area and were trying to figure out good bases for day touring. I'll modify the itinererary and start looking at the places you suggested! Thanks again!

4. Re: Summer family trip Boulder, Grand Junction, Mesa Verde, N.M.

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Seattle, Washington
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5. Re: Summer family trip Boulder, Grand Junction, Mesa Verde, N.M.

Your daughter of course will know a lot about Boulder and you will be spending your time with her, but don't hesitate to ask if you have questions about things like places to have lunch or dinner etc. I agree with missp's suggestions about seeing more in SW Colorado and especially spending more time in Santa Fe. You are covering a lot of ground on this trip but it is very doable, and you should have a great time.

Rochester, New York
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6. Re: Summer family trip Boulder, Grand Junction, Mesa Verde, N.M.

Thanks. Actually that was going to be my next post. Based on suggestions, we modified this way:

Two nights Boulder

Drive to Ouray, see Grand Junction on the way and other sights

Two nights Ouray

Leave Ouray, scenic drive to Mesa Verde, sights along way

Stay in Far View Lodge Mesa Verde, tour Mesa Verde next morning

Drive to Taos

One night Taos

Drive to Santa Fe

Two nights Santa Fe

Drive to Denver, fly out next morning

So what are the "must see" sights in these places - anyone want to share their favorites?

Thanks for the great suggestions. I've planned a few trips in the past using Tripadvisor readers' suggestions (Alaska, Yellowstone, and a few out of the country) and have always had a great time.

Take care,

Jill

Windsor, Colorado
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for Estes Park, Rocky Mountain National Park
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7. Re: Summer family trip Boulder, Grand Junction, Mesa Verde, N.M.

USA Today lists Rocky Mountain National Park as the best place to see wildlife in Colorado. This is an easy and very scenic trip from Boulder either up 119 (Boulder Canyon Road) to Nederland to join the Peak to Peak Scenic Byway to Estes Park (72 to 7) or take 36/66 to Lyons and 7 through very pretty St. Vrain Canyon to Estes. Take one way up and the other back. This link is a great one day itinerary for RMNP. www.rmnp.com/RMNP-Things-RockyInADay.HTML Old Fall River Road normally opens around July 4. Before that, you will take Trail Ridge Road up and back. No one minds backtracking.

Smokin' Dave's has great BBQ in Estes Park. They also have a Lyons location which wiil be less crowded.

Rochester, New York
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8. Re: Summer family trip Boulder, Grand Junction, Mesa Verde, N.M.

Thank you!

Boulder, Colorado
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9. Re: Summer family trip Boulder, Grand Junction, Mesa Verde, N.M.

Happy to see you have altered your itinerary.

DEFINITELY try to get to Rocky Mountain Nat'l Parlk.

As for driving all the way back to Denver to leave, why not leave from Albuquerque.? It's shorter.

Rochester, New York
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10. Re: Summer family trip Boulder, Grand Junction, Mesa Verde, N.M.

Thanks. I sent your suggestion to my stepdaughter and she liked the idea of the day in the park.

I priced airfares and one way car rentals vs. same airport rentals and it was a lot cheaper to do it this way.