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Thread: Colorado Loop

  1. #11

    Default Colorado with toddler - itinerary help?

    Hi all,

    At the risk of being told off for asking too many questions of you guys, I'm back again as I just can't seem to get our itinerary right. My husband and I, my parents and my daughter (will be just under 2) will be arriving in Denver on 31 May. We have 14 nights and plan to spend the first 3 in Denver, and probably the final 2 in Colorado Springs. We don't want to spend huge amounts of time driving because I don't think it'll be that great for my daughter.

    So, basically what we want to see is as folows but I'm a bit stumped as to the best way to do it, what order, and where to spend the nights? With 9 nights left we want to see:

    RMNP (I was going to allow 2 nights?)
    Colorado National Monument
    Black Canyon of the Gunnison
    Million Dollar Highway (and surrounding towns: Ouray, Silverton etc), possibly a loop to incorporate whole San Juan Skyway but where best to stay?
    Mesa Verde
    Heard the drive over Monarch Pass was scenic and via Salida/St Elmo/Mt Princeton/Buena Vista towards Colorado Springs?
    Any other suggestions?

    Any thoughts gratefully reveived, else I will return to my maps again and stop harassing you guys!
    Jenny :-)

    Moderator Note: Please keep all questions about the same trip in the same thread.
    Last edited by Midwest Michael; 01-08-2017 at 02:16 PM. Reason: Merged Threads

  2. #12
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    With the time you've got available, I don't think doing a loop of the entire skyway is probably in your best interest.

    From Montrose (Black Canyon), I think I'd spend a day making your way down the Million Dollar highway, and then spend a couple of nights in Durango. That will also make a good base for a day at Mesa Verde.

    On the way back to Colorado Springs, rather than going all the way to Monarch Pass, I think I'd look to make a stop at Great Sand Dunes National Park to break up the drive.

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

    Default Including the Skyway.

    Given what you have laid out, I would do it something like this. RMNP to Colorado National monument. From there head to Cortez and Mesa Verde NP via Telluride and Dolores taking in that section of the San Juan Skyway and then head to Durango and North to back to Montrose on the 'Million dollar Highway' section of the Skyway. So I slightly disagree with Michael in that you can do the Skyway without adding significant time or mileage. Then Black canyon, Currecanti Nat Rec area and over Monarch Pass to Colorado Springs. You have the option of continuing further on US50 through the canyon alongside the Arkansas river to Penrose and north on CO115. That would take you close the Royal Gorge bridge near Canon city if it appealed to you and you had the time to stop.

  4. #14

    Default Durango to Salida - most scenic route?

    Thanks both for your advice. We've decided to stay a couple a nights at Durango to vist Mesa Verde, and from there we will be making our way to Colorado Springs. I'd like to go into CS via US24 so we can visit St Elmo Ghost town and possibly detour up to Fairplay, but I'm wondering if from Durango we should retrace our route up the Million Dollar Highway to Montrose then head over Monarch Pass, or should we take the US160 from Durango? Is one more scenic than the other? They look approximately the same mileage?

    Also I was wondering about an overnight stop in Salida, or would you recommend somewhere else instead?

    Many thanks!

  5. #15
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Scenic Colorado.

    When it comes to CO, it is hard to find a route which is not scenic. US 50 from Montrose would still allow you to take US24 into CS. Another thought is, since you will have already driven down the Million Dollar Highway, take US160 east out of Durango through Pagosa Springs - lovely hot springs - and over Wolfe Pass to Alamosa. If time allows this will give you an opportunity to call in at Sand Dunes NP.

    Here is a picture I took in May 2009, of the creek at the base of the dunes. (Dad was just out of the picture.)


  6. #16
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    Another option you might consider going from RMNP straight down to South Park (Fairplay) and the across Monarch to Black Canyon. I would probably do that, skip the Colorado Monument, and give yourself more time elsewhere, possibly giving yourself time for Sand Dunes.

    I did both drives last year, as a Mountain Pass, I probably liked Wolfe Creek better than Monarch, but the rest of US-50 through the Curecanti Rec Area was quite nice. Really no bad choice there.

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