I'm flying into Denver on 8/18. I'm staying with a friend Sat/Sunday. Saturday we're driving up Pike's Peak. Sunday we're hanging out.
I fly back out of Denver on Friday afternoon 8/24, but the rest of the week is open. My friend has to work all week, so I figured I'd go see some cool national parks and such.
Right now I'm thinking of a loop from Denver (Centennial), over to Black Canyon of the Gunnison, then north through either the Aspen / Independence Pass or Vail area, then up to Rocky Mountain National Park. Or should I go in the reverse direction? Denver to Gunnison (5/6hrs) is the longest stretch, so I thought that might be good to do the first day. I've got a lot of west driving miles under my belt, so I'm not too worried about long drives, but I also would like to stop and take it all in.
My question is, what would be the best day-dispersal on that route? I'm looking at staying at least one night--maybe two--at the Stanley Hotel near the Rocky Mountain Park. I definitely want to do the Black Canyon. Anything in-between would be a bonus.
Thanks in advance for your thoughts.