We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Lodging choices for the weekend trip to RMNP

Seattle, Washington
Level Contributor
534 posts
57 reviews
Save Topic
Lodging choices for the weekend trip to RMNP

Sorry, seems like that's a very popular question, but have to ask again :)

We'll be arriving to Denver on Fri night (beginning of August) at 10:30 pm and we'll be renting a car.

The plan is to spend weekend in Rocky Mountains, and fit as much as possible - preferences scenic drives, viewpoints, short hikes, nice places for lunch/dinner.

I'm a bit worry since it's a weekend there might be some traffic going to RMNP on Sat morning and I'd like to make some headstart on Fri night, leave the city and stay somewhere closer to the park, but I also want to find a budget place, since during our week in Colorado I'll have to stay at places where finding cheap accommodation is impossible.

I also would like to check Boulder on our way to RMNP or on our way back, but if spending Sat morning in Boulder will result in staying in traffic to get to the park I'd just would head to the park.

On Mon we plan to visit water park in Denver first half of the day and go to Vail (stay there overnight), so on our way back we can stay somewhere closer to Denver, maybe in Boulder?, but I also would like to avoid possible morning commute traffic and hopefully find some reasonable price.

Maybe I'm too paranoid about traffic, but here in Seattle it can get crazy if you hit the road in the wrong place at the wrong time, so I'd like to avoid it as much as possible.

Can you recommend a place to stay:

on Fri night - can't be to far from the airport, because it will be late, but 40 min is OK, budget place if possible

on Sat - to get the most of RMNP Sat afternoon and most part of the day on Sun (my guess the choice would be the Estes park, but would like to confirm), afraid no budget option there

on Sun - so it would be easy to visit the waterpark in Denver on Mon morning, and maybe spend Sun late afternoon in Boulder, hopefully budget choice and to avoid morning commute.

Thanks!

Windsor, Colorado
Destination Expert
for Estes Park, Rocky Mountain National Park
Level Contributor
10,336 posts
129 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Lodging choices for the weekend trip to RMNP

Other than arriving at DIA on Friday night and departing on Wednesday (?), is any of your itinerary set yet?

My initial impression would be to put Vail first in your trip, next RMNP/Grand Lake/Estes Park and then Boulder/Denver. Weekends are busier in RMNP.

Friday - arrive DIA and spend the night in Golden.

Saturday - Drive the Mount Evans Scenic Byway www.mountevans.com entering from Bergen Park to Echo Lake and exiting through Idaho Springs. Drive to Vail and spend the night.

Sunday - Drive from Vail on highway 9 to Kremmling and highways 40/34 to Grand Lake (part of the Colorado River Headwaters Scenic Byway). Drive time is a little more than 2 hours. Explore the western side of RMNP and spend the night in Grand Lake.

Monday - Drive and explore Trail Ridge Road from Grand Lake to Estes Park. See the last question over to your right in Top Questions for a timeline and highlights. Drive to Boulder along the Peak to Peak through Nederland and 119 through Boulder Canyon. Spend the night in Boulder.

Tuesday - Boulder and Denver waterpark. Spend the night in Boulder or closer to airport.

Wednesday - fly home.

Seattle, Washington
Level Contributor
534 posts
57 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Lodging choices for the weekend trip to RMNP

Thank you very much for suggestions!

We have to be in Grand Junction on Wed morning and Sat morning week of Aug 6th for Western Zone Swim Championship, so my plan was to combine it with vacation in Colorado.

I did more research and booked all the hotels yesterday night and I believe the plan is intense, but can work, I also made some changes to first part.

Fri night (Aug 3rd) - arriving to Denver, night near the airport

Sat: spend morning in Boulder, then head to Estes Park, see something in the evening, stay at Estes Park (Nicky's Resort)

Sun: spend full day at RMNP, stay another night in Estes (Nicky's Resort)

Mon: head on peak to peak highway to Idaho Springs, visit mt.Evans, then move to Vail to stay overnight to catch some festivities - I believe there is something going on on that day (booked Christiania at Vail). Maybe we will be able to fit train ride on that day as well, but probably it would be too much

Tue: Explore some area around Vail, move to Grand Junction

Wed: swim meet in the morning, move to Mesa Verde NP via 145 highway (have Far View Lodge booked), if we have enough time to catch one of the tours go for it, or maybe we can still have some time to explore ruins on our own at sunset

Thu: spend morning at Mesa Verde, go on a tour, move to Ouray (stay there overnight Ouray Chalet Inn)

Fri: spend some time in Ouray, make quick stop at Black Canyon Gunnison park, head back to Grand Junction

Sat: swim meet in the morning, explore area around Grand Junction in the afternoon, stay at Grand Junction

Sun: head to Denver in the morning to avoid evening trafic, maybe go for train ride at Georgetown, and maybe even catch the afternoon session at the Denver Water Park (probably it will be crowded and maybe we won't have enough time, but water park is lower priority) catch 9 pm flight to Seattle

I believe I still have some flexibility to cancel most of the hotels, so I probably can make changes to my plan, but we have to be in Grand Junction on Tue night and Fri night to attend swim meet, I have plane tickets and car rental - gosh car rental is expensive in Denver, but I believe I found not a bad deal (relatively speaking of course - only $550 for 9 days vs $760 - same price I paid for 2 round trip tickets from Seattle)

Any comments on final plan are welcome! :)

Windsor, Colorado
Destination Expert
for Estes Park, Rocky Mountain National Park
Level Contributor
10,336 posts
129 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Lodging choices for the weekend trip to RMNP

For your late afternoon and early evening in Estes Park, drive up Bear Lake Road (can only do this after 4pm due to reconstruction - see www.nps.gov/romo and click on red alert for details) and take the walks around Bear Lake, to Alberta Falls and Sprague Lake as time allows.

On your full day, I would do the drive over TRR to Grand Lake and back on TRR (I could not return on TRR as it was closed for weather) as outlined in the Top Questions. Add the Alluvial Fan in Endovalley. It is on your way shortly after the Fall River Entrance. All the walks mentioned are worth doing.

Visit Colorado National Monument while in Grand Junction and drive the Grand Mesa Scenic Byway.

Edited: 12 June 2012, 23:27
Seattle, Washington
Level Contributor
534 posts
57 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Lodging choices for the weekend trip to RMNP

Thank you very much for suggestions! We'll try to get the most of that visit. :)

5. Re: Lodging choices for the weekend trip to RMNP

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 21 June 2013, 07:41
Get answers to your questions about Rocky Mountain...