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Itinerary help with vacation to Colorado for 10 days

Sterling, Virginia
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Itinerary help with vacation to Colorado for 10 days

Itinerary help with vacation to Colorado for 10 days with my husband and 17 year old son

We are flying in to Denver from Virginia on July 8th, arrival time 8am, will pick up a rental car from the air port. We are leaving from DIA around 7pm on Sunday July 17th. My 17 year old gets bored really fast so we want to do some activates besides hiking and sightseeing. Any addition, advice or changes to this itinery will be greatly appreciated

I would appreciate help with directions and what to avoid (road that are too challenging) I have not made any hotel reservation yet so I am starting to panic a little, Help!!

(Any suggestion will be appreciated)

Please let me know if this is too much for a 10 day trip as I tend to over schedule!

I don’t want it to be a fun vacation not an exhausting one.

• July 8: Pick up car and drive to Rocky Mountitan Notational park, should we stop and get lunch or there are restaurants in the park? Can we squeeze in seeing the Peak to peak scenic HWY or should we leave it for another day?

• July 9: Stay in Estes Park, Cow poke corner corral? Afternoon drive to Vail

• July 10: Vail, any suggestion on places to see, eat in and activities? Afternoon drive to Aspen

• July 11: Aspen help with activities and site seeing. Afternoon drive to Ouray

• July 12-13: Ouray and Telluride, but where is better for overnight stay? What to do? Afternoon drive to Durango

• July 14: Durango, what to do?

• July 15: Drive to Pagosa Springs, and Great Sun Dunes NP, evening drive toward Colorado Springs

• July 16: Colorado Springs : Royal Gorge in the morning and Garden of Gods in the afternoon

• July 17: we either can do something until noon in Colorado springs and then drive back to Denver for our departure or leave Colorado Springs first thing in the morning and see Denver for a half day?

WestSlope,CO
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1. Re: Itinerary help with vacation to Colorado for 10 days

My first impression is that you are going to be driving an awful lot and not have time to really DO much. (and I love road trips and packing in a lot) For a 17 year old that gets bored, it looks like way too much driving to me, unless maybe he's got his music and movies with him and doesn't get bored in the car. I would recommend that you skip at least one of your stops.

What kinds of things does your son like to do? Has he been researching this trip? What's your activity budget?

You haven't left any time for Mesa Verde National Park, and that is a must for most people. (Even teens!)

8th: Yes, since you are arriving early, go ahead and drive the Peak to Peak. And yes, get lunch in Estes Park or pick up things for a picnic. Read the Park website and the RMNP forum and pick out a couple of hikes or go for a horseback ride. (Since you are going to drive to SW Colorado, I'd actually recommend that you skip Rocky Mountain National Park and head out for Glenwood Springs today. Get your vacation started with a raft trip, zipline, and a day at the Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park. Another option would be to spend your first day in Denver.)

9th. Drive Trail Ridge Road to Grand Lake and on to Vail. This will take at least 4 hours plus you'll want to make some stops. You could go on to Glenwood if you wish, to soak and play at the hot springs pool)

10th. To Glenwood Springs. Maybe stop to do the zipline in Glenwood Canyon. Then spend the day at the Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park. Your son will love the Alpine Coaster. Here's another option:

http://www.aspenkayakacademy.com/

11th. Drive to Carbondale>Redstone>McClure Pass>Delta>Montrose. Take a couple of hours to see the Black Canyon of the Gunnison Natl Park. Drive the rim drive and take several walks to overlooks. My grandkids are never bored here. Be sure to stop at the Painted Wall, the highest cliff in Colorado, where the Empire State Building would easily fit. www.nps.gov/blca/planyourvisit/drives.htm Drive on to Ouray. Hot springs, mine tour, jeep tour, hiking.

12th. Check out San Juan Mountain Guides Family Adventure Day.

ourayclimbing.com/pages/show/Adventure%20Day Or talk to them about which of their adventures would be best for your son. Again, I guarantee he won't be bored here. Alternative would be a jeep tour.

13th. Ouray jeep tour. Or go to Telluride for a jeep tour, glider ride, free gondola ride, hiking, horseback ride (Ride with Roudy).

14th. Mesa Verde. Do the Balcony House $3 ranger tour and whatever else interests you. Spend the night in Durango. If your family truly is not interested in this World Heritage Site, then drive on to Durango and spend the day at the Durango Mountain Resort. (If you skipped Rocky Mountain National Park, you'd have time to do both Mesa Verde and a day at Durango Mountain Resort) http://www.durangomountainresort.com/diggler/

15th. Durango. Raft trip, or take one of the train ride combo trips--maybe the train/trail/cave adventure. Or the train/ATV ride. durangotrain.com/packages/adventure-packages…

16th. Drive to the Great Sand Dunes and on to Colorado Springs for the night. You'll likely have time for the Garden of the Gods near sunset. There's an arcade in Manitou Springs that might be fun for your family.

17th. Take the cog rail up Pikes Peak, or tour the Olympic Training Center or other Colorado Springs sights. Many suggestions on the Colorado Springs forum. Or back to Denver to sightsee as time allows before departure.

Hope this gives you some ideas.

Sterling, Virginia
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2. Re: Itinerary help with vacation to Colorado for 10 days

Thank you so much MisspWestSlop for your suggestions I will print it and discuss it with my son and husband. I had a feeling that I was planning for more than we can handle. It was very kind of you to take the time and make suggestions. Have a nice summer

Sterling, Virginia
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3. Re: Itinerary help with vacation to Colorado for 10 days

Hello MisspWestSlope,

I scaled down the number of places we would visit and leave the SW portion of the state for another trip. Here is what I came up with, please add any places, activities that are best in that area that I may have overlooked.

July 8: Drive to Rocky mountain National park and see Peak to Peak (driving from Denver which of the two comes first?)

Over night stay in Estes Park

July 9: Fly fishing with Kirk/Estes Angler or Sasquatch half day and go hiking after lunch to Bear lake Trail Head

Leave Estes Park by 5/6 pm start driving toward Vail (140 miles)

Over night stay in Vail

July 10: Vail, what are some of the most popular attraction/activities in Vail? We need your input?

Over night stay in Vail again

July 11: Drive to Glenwood (61 miles from Vail)

Glen wood Caverns Adventure Park

Overnight stay in Glenwood Springs

July 12: Spa? Glenwood Hot Springs Pool and Spa. Are there other places just with hot springs specially a gender segregated one that is not a pricey Spa?

What else can we do in Glenwood Springs?

Leave Glenwood for Aspen by 6pm (41 miles)

July 13: Aspen: Aspen Mountain/Ajax or Maroon Lake Scenic Trail, any other suggestions?

We can leave Aspen to go to Canon city (139 miles) or stay overnight at Aspen or any other suggestions for stops along the way?

July 14: Canon City Royal Gorge Zip line tours or Royal Rafting or white water adventure outfitters or Lost Paddle, Which ever is fit for beginners , we are not good swimmers.

Overnight stay in Canon City

July 15: Canon city activities or drive to Colorado Springs/Mantou Springs (45 miles)

July 16: Pikes Peak Cog Rail way first ½ of the day and Garden of Gods second ½ of the day

Is it better to stay in Colorado Springs or Mantou Springs?

Overnight stay in Colorado Springs or Mantou Springs

July 17: Drive toward Denver (70 miles) see Denver for ½ day and go to the DIA by 5pm

Edited: 11:39 am, July 04, 2011
WestSlope,CO
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4. Re: Itinerary help with vacation to Colorado for 10 days

That looks more manageable overall. I hate to advise you to skip SW Colorado, but for this trip it seems better. Either that or you would have needed to skip either Rocky Mountain National Park or something else.

I'm not too familiar with activities in Vail, except that I like the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens. I'd suggest scanning the Vail forum and visitor websites for ideas. There's bound to be a lot going on. It wouldn't be my choice of places to stay for two nights, however. Just my opinion. And IMO you really should stay that second night either in Estes Park or over Trail Ridge Road to Grand Lake. The 137 miles you're talking about is over the Peak to Peak Highway, I believe, so if that is the route you're taking to reach Interstate 70 and Vail, then that would come after Estes Park and you might want to take a different route from Denver to Estes Park. Also, that 137 miles will take you around three hours or more of mountain driving. After a full morning and afternoon of activities and hiking, plus getting used to the altitude, I just think you'd be better off to spend another night in Estes Park rather than setting off at that hour of the day. Perhaps drive the Peak to Peak Hwy TO Estes Park, spend two nights there, then drive Trail Ridge Road to Grand Lake and spend a night there. Then spend a day driving to Glenwood Springs, exploring along the way. The reason I originally suggested Glenwood Springs over Vail is the Glenwood Adventure Park & the area activities for your son.

I do not know of a gender-separated hot spring, but perhaps you will hear from someone who does. You can get a natural spring mineral bath at the Yampah Spa for $30 (or 20 with any treatment) and that would be private.

After Aspen, I'm assuming you are planning to drive over Independence Pass? You might want to hike or rent a boat at Twin Lakes or visit the museums and mining area around Leadville. A train ride on the scenic railroad at Leadville would be fun, too.

I would recommend the Buena Vista/Salida area over Canon City as your next stop for rafting, zip line, etc. Visit St Elmo ghost town, hike to Agnes Vaille Falls. It is more scenic and more to do IMO.

I doubt you'll want to spend an entire afternoon in the Garden of the Gods. (could be pretty hot) You'll likely have time to visit it on the afternoon/evening you arrive, and the evening light is beautiful on the red rocks. That will leave you some time for other activities that day after Pikes Peak. Scan through the Colorado Springs forum and Top Questions for ideas.

Windsor, Colorado
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5. Re: Itinerary help with vacation to Colorado for 10 days

Shilijan, you are confused about the Peak to Peak Scenic Byway and Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park. Do a mapquest or google search from DIA to Nederland to Estes Park and that will give you the route on the Peak to Peak from the airport to Estes Park. Trail Ridge Road is considered the highlight of RMNP. I assume you are planning on going over TRR (Highway 34) to Grand Lake and on to Vail. If so, you need to leave Estes Park before 5:00 pm or you will not have a chance to experience Trail Ridge Road. Many people take most of a day to drive TRR and stop at all the overlooks and take the short walks along the way.

nps.gov/romo/…trail_ridge_road.htm

Windsor, Colorado
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6. Re: Itinerary help with vacation to Colorado for 10 days

I was typing and did not see Missp's post. She is telling you the same thing about TRR and Peak to Peak. Take Peak to Peak on your way to Estes Park from DIA and allow more time for TRR. She is giving you good advice.

Colorado Springs...
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7. Re: Itinerary help with vacation to Colorado for 10 days

With a 17 year old, ziplining and rafting is a great activity. You might want to look at the Big Horn Sheep Canyon half day trip that many outfitters offer. Royal Gorge is a more exciting trip, but if you aren't good swimmers, it isn't right for you. BHS will give you some excitement, but is a bit tamer. I believe Raftmasters in Canon City offers a combination rafting and ziplining trip.

Sterling, Virginia
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8. Re: Itinerary help with vacation to Colorado for 10 days

Thank you everyone for taking the time to give such good advice. We are at the airport with a delayed United airline flight. I will report when I get back.

9. Re: Itinerary help with vacation to Colorado for 10 days

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