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  1. #1

    Default NYC to Colorado, 3 weeks

    My trip this year will be to Colorado-wanted to do it last year but only had 2 weeks- which wouldn't have given me enough time I thought. I have 22 days in which to do it this year, with not too much sightseeing on the way to, but for a quick few places/sites.

    The tentative plan is to visit Great Sand Dunes, Black Canyon of the Gunnison and Rocky Mountains.
    I'm wondering if I could also squeeze in a visit to Arches ( loved it last time!) and Mesa Verde, or will that be too much?
    And is there any other must see places along the way??
    And how could I fit in a visit to Garden of the Gods without going back and forth too much?

    And does anyone know the best plan for seeing the Rockies in about 3 days? I'm interested in the views- with the lake in the foreground type thing :) and hiking trails, but not too strenuous.

    We( the husband :) also want to pass through Nebraska, Oklahoma, Kansas, Arkansas Kentucky and Missouri.... are we being too ambitious? And if not, what are places there or not too far off that we should see and restaurants you suggest in these places?

    Tentative plan:
    Morgantown, WV
    Louisville, KY
    Memphis, TN (Graceland)
    Little Rock, AR (Diamond mine )
    Oklahoma City, OK
    Amarillo, TX
    Santa Fe, NM
    Great Sands, CO
    [if possible- Mesa Verde]
    Black Canyon, CO
    [if feasible- Arches, UT]
    Glenwood Springs, CO ( think there's a famous road here? or Hanging Lake?)
    Rocky Mountains, CO
    North Platte or Kearney, NE (should we go Omaha or is it too much?)
    Tokeka, KS
    St. Louis, MO (Arch)
    Cincinnati, OH
    Pittsburgh, PA

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default To Each His Own

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    I think I would find your schedule 'invigorating' but I know that my wife would hate it. It looks like you're planning on spending about a week each way getting to and returning from Colorado. You could comfortably do those drives in 5 days, even leaving yourself a few hours each day for time out of the car seeing some places that intrigue you. That would leave you more time at your destination and let you fit in all the places that seem like a squeeze at the moment. With 10+ days at your disposal in Colorado, here's one possible itinerary: Great Sand Dunes, Black Canyon of the Gunnison, Mesa Verde, Four Corners, Grand Canyon (You can't come all that way, get this close, and not see it!), Monument Valley, Arches National Park, Colorado National Monument, and Rocky Mountain National Park. Still, that's a venue per day and might be a bit much.

    Some specifics... While I thoroughly enjoyed Garden of the Gods and was there for a very nice sunset dinner and show, I would trade it for any of the other places I've listed above. The days spent in the Black Canyon, on I-70 and in Rocky Mountain NP will give you three different samples of the Rockies over three separate days. You'll not miss out on the mountains on this trip. In each of the National Parks you visit, be sure to talk to a ranger or someone at the visitor center and get their advice on the trails that best suit your needs. I'm a fairly avid hiker, while my wife has a mild handicap and they've never failed to suggest something that suited us both. As for those mountains behind the lake shots, you'll do best in the Black Canyon and as you enter RMNP from the southwest. Actually, although it didn't make for a particularly stunning photograph, one of my favorite spots in RMNP was the trail up the headwaters of the Colorado River, where you can easily jump across the waterway that will eventually carve the Grand Canyon.

    I understand your desire to 'check-off' a number of states on this drive and with some well chosen roads, I think you can easily hit all the ones you've listed. I would start out by just using I-78 to get to Harrisburg and then heading south into Tennessee on I-81 and finally head west on I-40 to Santa Fe. That could be done very easily in 4 days of about 500 miles a day. Adding a fifth day would give you some time to really enjoy it. On the way home from the Boulder area, you could take I-76 into Nebraska and use I-80 to follow the Platte River and the old Oregon Trail. A short jog down US-183 to Hays, KS would give you a good taste of what the high plains are all about and put you on I-70 for the drive through Kansas City and St. Louis. From there I-64 would bring you through southern Illinois and Indiana, into Kentucky to West Virginia. I-68 east from Morgantown will reconnect you with I-81 for the final leg home. This return drive is just about the same number of miles as the drive to Santa Fe so again, 4 days would be sufficient, 5 days makes it fun and or allows for slight deviations to see other places aor things that appeal to you.

    AZBuck

  3. #3

    Default Thank you!

    Wow! Thanks a lot AZ! Hearing that I could get to Colorado in 4-5 days is music to my ears :D I did want to see the high plains too... the Nebraska portion sounds pretty good- have to look up the old Oregon Trail now :)

    I took a previous cross country trip in 2006, so I saw Grand Canyon already :) I'm going to save that for another trip (rafting through it more like!) but you give me hope that I could reasonably see Mesa Verde and Arches ( and what the heck Four Corners!) Thank you very much for the photo and hiking tips! And I'll follow your advice and forgo seeing Garden of the Gods- think I'll spend more time in Black Canyon.

    Another thing- do you know the latest on the trails that are open in Arches? I know one of the arches fell recently, but not sure if they're reopened the trail or not.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,271

    Default

    Four Corners is something you drive in, pay your 3 bucks, park the car, walk around for 15 minutes, and get back in the car. Plan accordingly, you won't be spending any time actually in there unless you want to buy trinkets at the stalls or eat a Navajo taco. If you do go there, either go via or return via Monument Valley - I didn't see that mentioned.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,318

    Default Don't forget the mandatory photo!

    Quote Originally Posted by glc View Post
    Four Corners is something you drive in, pay your 3 bucks, park the car, walk around for 15 minutes, and get back in the car. Plan accordingly, you won't be spending any time actually in there unless you want to buy trinkets at the stalls or eat a Navajo taco. If you do go there, either go via or return via Monument Valley - I didn't see that mentioned.
    The main reason for going there is to get a photo of yourself with each hand and foot in a different state at the same time, right? :)

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,749

    Default Trials.

    Wow, you are in for a real treat, great trip!

    Another thing- do you know the latest on the trails that are open in Arches? I know one of the arches fell recently, but not sure if they're reopened the trail or not.
    It doesn't give any info that I can see on the official N.P.S site but as I far as I know it only closed one trial when it occurred last August and that was the Devil's garden trial[A 7mile round hike]. It is in the hiking list without any warnings of it being closed, but if it was there's plenty more to choose from.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,271

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by PNW Judy View Post
    The main reason for going there is to get a photo of yourself with each hand and foot in a different state at the same time, right? :)
    Yeah, that's really about it. Thing is though, the public monument is not really at the exact 4 corners due to a surveying error. If you are a purist you have to hike a ways into the desert.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,318

    Default Really?

    Well, then my picture isn't really all that cool after all, is it?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,271

    Default

    Sure it is - you were just symbolically in all 4 states at the same time. The Supreme Court says it's so.

    It is located on the Colorado Plateau west of U.S. Highway 160, 40 miles southwest of Cortez, Colorado. It is centered at 36°59′56.31532″N 109°02′42.62019″W / 36.9989764778, -109.045172275. The point was originally declared by Congress to be 37°N, 109°W, but an early surveying error misplaced the location. The United States Supreme Court later ruled that the current location had become so standard that it should be officially recognized as the actual boundary between the four states.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,318

    Default Thanks!

    So I am officially still cool. :)

    (What a funny thing for SCOTUS to get involved in.)

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