Colorado, Wyoming and Montana….possibly Utah?
We just planned a last minute trip out west in less than 2 weeks and we need the advice of other travelers. We are coming from the Island of Martinique so we’d like to see as much as possible. First we are headed to Florida for 5 days and then we will fly in to Denver for 7 days. We’ve visited Florida several times as well as the West and East Coast of the United States so we wanted to do something totally different. So we decided to take a one week road trip out west to get a sense of the heartland of America! Denver was the easiest way to book the flight with the airline carrier. Additionally, the cost of the rental car is cheaper if we start and end in Denver so we figured we’d drive up to Wyoming and Montana and loop around and see Utah on the way back. Our main question is what are the MUST SEE/DO places along the way? We don’t plan on camping but we do want to do outdoor activities during the day. There will be 4 of us so we can share responsibilities for driving. Do you think we should venture up to Montana or is it best to just loop through Wyoming and then back via Utah? We’d like to do some activities-fishing, hiking, rafting, visiting lakes, mountains, etc….Any suggestions or ideas? Is it feasible to visit all of the above mentioned states? Any ideas on how long it will take to drive to each state and back? Is there anything we should cut out of our trip? Thanks in advance!
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In the States you've mentioned, you've got more than a dozen National Parks to pick from, and pretty much the entire area you are looking at will offer the things you are talking about. The hard thing will be narrowing it down to 7 days.
What I would do is take a look at the National Parks Service website and see which of the many parks look most interesting to you. There's no way you'll be able to do everything, but you can certainly do a few of the ones that are most interesting to you.
With only 7 days I'd stick with beautiful Colorado and maybe venture as far as Moab, Utah. Rocky Mountain National Park, the drive between Denver and Grand Junction is one of the most beautiful stretches of Interstate. Keep going to Moab, Utah via Hwy 128. See Arches and Canyonlands Nationla Park. Head down to Monticello, Utah and then over to Cortez and see Mesa Verde National Park. Drive up the scenic Million Dollar Highway from Durango to Silverton and Ouray. At Montrose take the back highways back to Denver. This route is approx 900 miles round trip. I really wouldn't suggest any more driving than that in just a 7 day period.
If you drive north from Denver to Wyoming, you won't hit mountains unless you drive a full day. Driving to Montana is going to put you in a vehicle your whole trip. I'd stick with Colorado and maybe Utah.
Revised-Colorado, Wyoming and Utah
Thanks! We've decided to cut out Montana and just do a little bit of Colorado, Wyoming-Jackson Hole, Yellowstone and then loop back through Utah to see Canyonlands and Moab. We are coming from so far away so we want to see and do as much as we can. We figured 2 days in each state with an extra day to play around with would be good. We would only stick to the northern part of Colorado as I think we'll loose time by driving south. What do you think? Still too ambitious???
Looks Like a Plan
Your revised plan looks like a good sampler of the mountain west on a one week loop from Denver. You're looking at 3 roughly equal legs of a day's drive each, a day at Yellowstone, half days in the Tetons and at Arches (I'd strongly suggest Arches over Canyonlands, but that's my take,), a day in Rocky Mountain National Park, and the last day spread out in stops along the 3 major legs. The thing is, on a RoadTrip the Road is as much the destination as any of the stops, so plan on taking it a bit slower than just cruising down the Interstates.
To that end, look at a few of the stops that are possible on each of your major legs: Cheyene, Casper and Thermopolis on the way to Yellowstone; US-89 down to Salt Lake and Moab; and finally I-70 back to RMNP and Denver.
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