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  1. #1

    Default best 4-day dispersal: Black Canyon / Aspen-Vail / Rocky Mtn / Denver

    Hello everyone,

    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.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default We're All Different, But Here's What I'd Do

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Time is not really a problem on this trip. You've got 4 days to cover what turns out to be less than 800 miles of actual driving, and even the leg from Centennial through the Black Canyon of the Gunnison to Montrose is only 275 miles. So I think what I'd be looking at, as a basic order of march, is to get a good early start one morning out of Denver to beat the rush hour and spend that first day driving to the Black Canyon and hiking around there. Then spend the forest night in or around Montrose. On the second day, I'd head up to Grand Junction and spend a little time, perhaps, at the Colorado National Monument but mostly enjoying the drive through the Rockies, particularly the smaller roads, CO-82 and CO-91 before spending the evening and night in either Aspen or Leadville. Day 3 would see me heading north to enter Rocky Mountain National Park from the West, hiking the headwaters of the Colorado River, and standing on the Continental Divide before heading into Estes Park. The last day would be spent seeing anything on the east side of RMNP I had missed the day before and coming south on CO-7 and CO-72 to Nederland before making one last stop on Pearl Street in Boulder.


  3. #3

    Default thanks for the advice!


    I hadn't considered the Grand Junction route. After reading up on the Colorado Monument, that would be a good way to go.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Central California

    Default Two thoughts


    Colorado is definately a great place to spend some time.

    Two thoughts come to mind to consider.

    First, from Montrose the drive down to Ouray is not far, and the location of the town of Ouray is unique and worth the trip. The drive up to Yankee Boy Basin is rough so you'll probably need to take a jeep tour, but that would be icing on the cake.

    Second, take Highway 34 through Big Thompson Canyon for a very scenic, dramatic route from Estes Park east out of the mountains, down to Denver (after a stop in Boulder as AZBuck suggests).

    If you are carrying a camera, get extra film or digital storage, you'll need it.

    Craig Sheumaker
    co-author of the travel guide: America's Living History-The Early Years

  5. #5


    Thanks for the tip! I've heard about Ouray, but just now looked at it in Google Earth. It looks like quite a cool town. Last year, the Ducati Monster Club had a big rally in Ouray, but I didn't put two and two together until now. Looks like I'll have to check it out.


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