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  1. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default This and that.

    When it comes to the challenge between the Moab area and the Durango area, we are wondering if some the positive factors related to the Durango area could be achieved "well enough" somewhere else. E.g. Is the Million dollar highway still a true must-see for us WHEN we consider the fact that we have just been on the Trial Ridge Road the day before or so. Aah. This is difficult. :)
    All great 'problems' to have though ! Only you can decide what is a 'must see' for you, but when comparing different mountain routes, it's like comparing National parks. Yes, most have similarities, [great scenery, mountains, forest etc] but each are also very unique in there own way. [Yeah, I know. That's not helping much lol]

    Trail ridge road, Loveland pass, the 'Million dollar highway,' Utah scenic 12 from Torrey to Bryce are all spectacular and I couldn't get enough of either, or all of them TBH.

    On our last day in Denver we will leave the city in late afternoon and drive to Estes Park. We believe that this will give us a better start for the next day that we will spend on the Trail Ridge Rd,
    I would try and leave earlier or add a day, again spectacular scenery along the way and there are some nice easy walks to the lakes and mountain scenery not far from Estes park along the Bear lake road.

    It looks as though you will be visiting at least 4 main National parks. If so, when you arrive at RMNP you should purchase the annual pass for $80, it would have 'payed for itself' [and some] by the time you enter a 5th park. That's for all occupants of the vehicle included.

    I also like Michaels suggestion of going to Monument valley from Durango and 'up.' Near Durango is Mesa Verde NP. Much will come down to the amount of time you want to dedicate to the section from Denver to Grand canyon from your 4 week total. To get to Durango via the 'Million dollar highway', you could use US 50 that goes over Monarch crest, through the Currecanti Recreation area to Black canyon. To get to US50 you would take CO91 at Copper mountain [from I70] down to Leadville, which happens to be a historic mining town and the highest incorporated town in the US, and then down past Twin lakes to Poncha Springs.

    The pictures in this report might help you to decide if it's "worth it".

  2. #12

    Default Comeback to the thread

    Hello again and thank you for all the valuable input that we have received in this thread.

    Our trip is approaching fast and pretty much all the arrangements have been taken care of. The only thing that still needs work is the masterplan. We know, that we should leave some things open and make final decisions when we are "on the road". However, we would like to hear some comments and opinions on our current plan. Does it seem lika a reasonable plan. To us it looks like a nice trip -keeping in mind that we are travelling with a toddler (14 month by then) and two senior first-timers.

    So here is our plan:

    Day 0 - Arrival (late afternoon) - Denver
    Day 1 - Denver
    Day 2 - Denver to Estes Park (afternoon drive via Peak to peak?)
    Day 3 - Estes Park to Glenwood Springs? (Trail Ridge Road, taking us40 or us9 south to I70)
    Day 4 - Glenwood Spring - Moab (4th of July -perhaps not the best area to for celebrations?)
    Day 5 - Moab (Arches)
    Day 6 - Moab to Kayenta? (Dead Horse Point, Monument V)
    Day 7 - Kayenta to Flagstaff
    Day 8 - Flagstaff (Daytrip to Sedona?)
    Day 9 - Flagstaff to Grand Canyon SR (to Williams)
    Day 10 - Williams to Las Vegas (Route 66, Hoover Dam)
    Day 11 - Las Vegas
    Day 12 - Las Vegas to LA
    Day 13 - LA
    Day 14 - LA to Santa Barbara
    Day 15 - Santa Barbara
    Day 16 - Santa Barbara to San Luis Obispo
    Day 17 - San Luis Obispo to Monterey (Hearst Castle/Aquarium)
    Day 18 - Monterey to Yosemite (17 mile drive)
    Day 19 - Yosemite
    Day 20 - Yosemite
    Day 21 - Yosemite to Berkeley
    Day 22 - Berkeley to SF (Via Muir woods?)
    Day 23 - SF
    Day 24 - SF
    Day 25 - SF to Airport (for the night)
    Day 26 - Flight out (early morning)

    Yes, it is an action packed 25 days and our intention was to avoid having too many back-to-back driving days (long ones).
    We also thought that it would be smarter to have shorter driving days towards the end of our trip. We are still open for all suggestions and ideas (sights, routes etc.).

    Thank you for your time! :)


  3. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Looks good.

    It looks a reasonable plan to me and I'm sure you will have a truly wonderful adventure !! Are you planning on visiting the Grand canyon on the day you travel from Kayenta to Flagstaff ? It's not that far to travel between the two, although there is Sunset Crater and Walnut canyon in the area. Have you checked out the Cameron Trading Post which is convenient for visiting the GC from the east entrance along Desert View drive ? It could save you going down to Flagstaff and back up to the GC. Another option would be to stay another night in Moab and visit Canyonlands/Dead Horse point, and then go to Kayenta or Cameron via Monument valley day 7 and GC on day 8.

    Overall, a good solid plan.
    Last edited by Southwest Dave; 03-20-2012 at 01:42 AM. Reason: Correction.

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default July 4th.

    It might be a good idea to book all accommodation in the week of July 4th as soon as possible. This could very well be a busy time, with some taking an extended holiday from the weekend before, and others from Wednesday to the weekend after July 4th.

    Looks like you are in for a great trip.


  5. #15


    Thaks again! :)

    SW Dave: We have discussed including the Cameron Trading Post on our way from Kayenta to Flagstaff. We will spend some time there since we know the place from our previous trip and really liked the view from the "east". This does not mean that we would not take another look at "the ground hole" (on our way from Flagstaff to Williams since that would be the "classic view" over the canyon. This is one of those things that we will decide on the road.

    Lifey: You are making a very good point. We will book some motels/hotels/tents well ahead (next weekend) and the independence day has to be one of them - since we will not be spending it in a location with unlimited accommodation resource. After this booking our early travel schedule will be pretty much ready since now we have a fixed date on our arrival to Moab. :)

  6. #16


    Hello all,
    Once again we return to you for some advise/views.

    Since this trip will take us to Colorado for the first time, we would really like to see as much as we can (We know, it is a state that one could spend a year and still keep finding new and exciting things). This might be overplanning things, but we are missing a final piece of our Colorado puzzle (at least when it comes to our planned route):

    We would like to hear if someone has an opinion on the following:

    When we have completed the Trail Ridge Road and arrived to Grand Lake, should we take US 40 South (via Winter Park) to get on the I90 OR should we continue on US 40 (N) until we get to Kremmling and then head towards Silverthorne on US 9 South.

    Since we will wake up in Estes Park and we are trying to make it comfortably to Glenwood Springs, we are looking at a quite long driving day. We have understood that we should not hurry to GS, since the highlights of the day will be on the way there. Therefore we would like to hear which one of the two roads will give us more in terms of scenery and overall "Colorado experience".
    Thanks in advance!


  7. #17
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    From a time/distance standpoint, US-40 south is only 10 miles longer and not much slower, but it does take you over Berthoud Pass. It would also allow you to take US-6 over Loveland Pass instead of going through the Eisenhower Tunnels on I-70.

    If you go this way, allow at least 4 hours from Grand Lake to Glenwood Springs.

  8. #18
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Plans A & B.

    Quote Originally Posted by A&M View Post
    When we have completed the Trail Ridge Road and arrived to Grand Lake ...
    In planning this section of your trip, I highly recommend that you have a plan B. From experience I can assure you that there is no guarantee that the Trail Ridge Road will be open in summer. At that altitude, blizzards do occur any time of the year. On previous trips, I have found it closed by blizzards in summer on four ocassions. One of those times, I was assured at 4pm in the afternoon, that the road would be open the next day, and by 6.21pm that day, the road was closed... and remained closed for three days. My fifth attempt some days later, was successful. But it is by no means a given.

    It may be a good idea to have alternative plans... just in case.


  9. #19


    Thanks glc and Lifey,

    We are sure we will end up going the route glc is suggesting. We can't wait to get started. :)

    We have plan Bs for pretty much everything, but this is one of the hardest parts of the trip to have one - a good one that is. When we have driven to Estes Park from Denver and found out that the TRR is closed, there aren't that many options besides driving back south towards I 90 (maybe visit Boulder on our way) and then continue to west. Of cource there are lots of beautiful alternatives if we continued driving north from Estes Park, but since we have a somewhat tight schedule, the reasonable plan B, is to dissappoint, eat well and head south on either I 25 or by zig-zagging on those smaller roads.

    We will keep our fingers crossed. :)

  10. #20
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default 'Peak to Peak' Highway.

    You would have no need to go back to Boulder, you can take the Peak to Peak Highway through Nederland and Central City on CO7/72/119 to I70 [not I90]. That's as quick as either of the other routes if the Trail Ridge was not an option. Hopefully that won't be the case.

    Loveland Pass is an awesome detour from I70 !

    When you travel on to Moab get off I70 before the 191 onto US6 and UT128 through Castle Valley. It makes little difference to time but is very scenic as you follow the river as it winds it's way through the red rock formations.

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