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Thread: Colorado Loop

  1. #1

    Default Colorado Loop

    Hi All,

    Following some great ideas from you guys a few months back about where to travel to with a little one in tow, we have now settled on Colorado. However as ever, I’m after a few extra pointers on timings and things to see.

    So we plan to travel end May/start June next year for 2 weeks, and will be a party of 4 adults and one toddler (just under 2) so I wanted to bear that in mind with the travelling as I don’t want to be stuck in the car for a whole day travelling. I’ve been researching Colorado and it looks like there’s so much to do! I have initially come up with the below loop, but am not sure of the following:

    - How long we may need in each stop (particularly some of the smaller stops like Silverton/Boulder – eg can we just spend the afternoon?) bearing in mind we may do some walks, but won’t be out hiking for hours!
    - Have I missed any key sights? I know there are quite a few ghost towns but many seem to be out of the way of our loop? Are any worth the diversion?
    - Is the loop too ambitious?

    Here it is:
    Denver – Rocky Mountains NP (via Boulder) – Glenwood Springs – Grand Junction – Black Canyon – Silverton – Durango( Mesa Verde) – Alamosa (Great Sand Dunes NP) – Colorado Springs – Denver.

    I’m currently guessing we’ll spend 2 nights in each of Denver/Colorado Springs and Durango/Mesa Verde (or would you recommend more in any of these?)

    It’s almost painful that we are soooo close to Monument Valley and Arches NP but I think to do either (certainly not both) would be a stretch too far and we would have to cut something else? Both my husband and I have been to both and LOVED them!
    Last edited by AZBuck; 08-15-2016 at 08:08 AM. Reason: Added link to trip idea discussion

  2. #2
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    Default Arches.

    Your trip is set at a very relaxed pace compared to many but as always, it's your trip and it's what suits you and how you want to spend your time that is important. An option I would prefer is to visit Arches and Canyonlands NP's even at the expense of the Great sand Dunes NP. I wouldn't spend more than 2 nights in Denver, 1 would be enough for me so I could get out into nature, but again that's me. So if Arches were included, this is how the loop would work out. Denver > RMNP > Glenwood Springs > Grand junction [Colorado National Monument] > Moab for Arches and Canyonlands > Durango > Silverton > Black canyon > [Sand dunes ?]Colorado Springs > Denver.

    From Grand junction to Moab you can cut through Castle Valley on UT128 which is a lovely drive alongside the Colorado river in parts. US50 from Black canyon will take through the Currecanti Nat Rec area and over Monarch pass.

  3. #3

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifircone View Post
    Hi All,
    <snip, snip>

    Durango (Mesa Verde)
    Mesa Verde is fully worth two nights/3 days. Durango is an hour from the Mesa Verde National Park entrance. It is an additional 30 to 45 minutes, or more, drive to the main sights (an hour more out to the Wetherill Mesa). Two closer towns are Mancos and Cortez. Also, in Cortez, you can make tour reservations at the Mesa Verde Country Visitor Information Bureau on the afternoon or your arrival to the area. Cortez also has some good restaurants and brewery pub. Mancos has a great coffeehouse/breakfast eatery for your getaway day east.

  4. #4
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    Default Mesa Verde.

    I'd agree with the above. Mesa Verde is well worth all that time, however, I think landmariner meant to Say 2days/3nights..

    If you want to do both the Cliff Palace tour and Balcony House on the one day, be sure to book at least 24 hours beforehand. The tours book up quickly, because it is the only way you can see these attractions, with the ranger's commentary. They are the most magnificent and historically significant attractions in the park.

    When I did them there was a family with very young children in the group.

    Don't overlook the Durango Silverton Railway, which the toddler and parents might enjoy.

    Lifey

  5. #5
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    Default Great place, but ....................

    It's all about personal tastes and what you wish to see in the time you have, for me 2 nights and one full day at Mesa Verde would be enough when in area of such outstanding natural beauty with limited time.

  6. #6

    Default Ghost towns?

    Thanks everyone. I think I'll research Mesa Verde a little more to see what the options are.

    Re ghost towns - does anyone have any thoughts on these? Are there any close enough to our proposed route or any that are worth a diversion?

  7. #7
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Southwest Dave View Post
    for me 2 nights and one full day at Mesa Verde would be enough when in area of such outstanding natural beauty with limited time.
    If you can do both tours on the one day, that would be ideal. So get onto booking them a few days before you get there.

    Lifey

  8. #8

    Default

    Sorry another question. If the Trail Ridge Road from RMNP is closed, what is the next best alternative when heading towards Glenwood Springs?

    Also, if we were to spend one night somewhere, would you recommend Glenwood Springs or Grand Junction, if we were then heading on to Moab afterwards as per Southwest Dave's suggestion?

  9. #9
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    Default

    I would take the 'Peak to Peak' scenic Highway if the TRR was closed. This is using CO7/72/119 through Nederland and Central City to I70.

    If you are booking in advance then I would choose Glenwood Springs as it's not too far from Moab and would allow you time to stop along the Trail Ridge road without being rushed. You could also drive over Loveland pass which crosses the Continental divide at almost 12000ft. It's a short detour from I70 onto US6.

    I am not sure about genuine Ghost towns along your route, by their very nature they are often out of the way and difficult to get to, and if on dirt roads would most likely violate the terms of your rental contract which state you must not use on unpaved roads. I have searched for Ghost towns using this site in the past, but a general search of Colorado/Utah ghost towns will show results and difficulty to get to.

  10. #10
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    Default I'll second that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Southwest Dave View Post
    I would take the 'Peak to Peak' scenic Highway if the TRR was closed. This is using CO7/72/119 through Nederland and Central City to I70.
    That is the route suggested to me by the ranger, when the TRR was closed. It did not disappoint. I recall there was a lovely souvenir shop by a railway crossing, with fuel available and all...... but that was in 2001, so no guarantee that it is still the same.

    Lifey

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