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first time visitors to Colorado

South Carolina
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first time visitors to Colorado

Hello Experts!

My husband and I are planning a trip to Colorado the beginning of August with our 3 kids (ages 15, 12, and 10). We are planning to stay 8 nights. We figured we would spend 4 nights visiting Rocky Mountain National park (I guess the best place to stay is Estes Park~right outside the gate of RMNP?). We are trying to decide where to spend the other 4 nights. We would like to only have to unpack one more time, so we're looking for 4 nights in one other location. Our family loves to hike, see mountains, and view wildlife. We prefer the less populated places~we really have no interest in seeing the big cities and would actually prefer to stay away from them!

I would appreciate any suggestions you have on a second location to visit.

Thanks so much!!

Kim

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White River National Forest
Forests, National Parks, Nature & Wildlife Areas, Hiking Trails
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National Parks, Nature & Wildlife Areas
Pike National Forest
National Parks, State Parks
San Juan National Forest
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Denver
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1. Re: first time visitors to Colorado

Lucky for you, Colorado doesn't have many big cities, but is full of beautiful mountainous places.

Look at the information for Rocky Mountain National Park, and make sure there's enough to interest your group for four days. If I were you, I'd probably cut back on the time in RMNP and spend that time elsewhere.

You didn't mention how far you're willing to drive. The most unique sight in Colorado, I think, is Mesa Verde, in the far SW corner of the state. But there many other places to visit - the mountains generally have lots of towns to stay in (Breckenridge, Vail, Aspen, Telluride, Durango), and then there are places like the Black Canyon of the Gunnison, another National Park.

I would suggest any of the mountain towns, if Mesa Verde and that part of the state are further than you want to drive. Enjoy!

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Santa Fe, New Mexico
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for Santa Fe, Mesa Verde National Park, Boulder, New Mexico
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2. Re: first time visitors to Colorado

I agree that RMNP for 4 nights may be a bit too much considering all the other places in Colorado to visit.

Travelling with tweens and teens... I would consider a visit to Summit County CO, Breckenridge, Dillon, Frisco, Keystone. Plenty of things to do including biking, hiking, sailing, fishing etc. You could take day trips from there to Glenwood Springs, with hot springs pool, caving, adventure park http://www.glenwoodcaverns.com/

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Colorado
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Dillon
Dillon
Colorado
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Colorado
Keystone
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Breckenridge...
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3. Re: first time visitors to Colorado

I actually think Estes Park is a great place for 4 nights as you stated you only want to have 2 "base" areas. Great hiking, ranger programs... in the area. I am not sure what others would have in mind if you were going to be say 2 nights in one area and 6 nights in another area.

I would look into staying at YMCA of the Rockies as there is a LOT of things for kids to do there.

For you 2nd place to stay:

Frisco/Breckenridge area:

this allows you to enjoy all that Summit County has to offer (hiking, Lake Dillon, resort towns and activities, biking...) plus you are a short drive to

Buena Vista- rafting and hot springs

Vail- walkabout

or

Steamboat Springs-

more or less the same activities as Summit County

-tubing down the river (easy going river, fun on a hot summer day)

-http://www.strawberryhotsprings.com/2005/ (hot springs)

SW Colorado is nice, but assuming it would take a full day to get down there and a full day to get back, that is a lot of time in the car. The only way I would recommend that is if you spent your entire time in that area rather than trying to go from Rocky Mtn. NP to SW Colorado on limited time.

-Mesa Verde

-Durango- train ride

-Ouray- hot springs

-Moab and SE Utah

Enjoy!

Matt

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Colorado
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Dillon
Colorado
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South Carolina
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4. Re: first time visitors to Colorado

Thanks, everyone for your advice! I will do some research on the other places you all suggested and make a decision.

I appreciate your feedback!

Kim

WestSlope,CO
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for Colorado
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5. Re: first time visitors to Colorado

In general, the further you get from Denver and Colorado Springs, and also from Interstate 70,the less people you will see. Consider Grand Lake instead of Estes Park for part of your RMNP stay if you prefer a less congested area.

Check out places like Marble, Lake City, Pagosa Springs, Steamboat Springs, Paonia, Cedaredge, Ouray....

or any of the small towns along the scenic and historic byways, paying more attention to the mountain byways. I.E. the West Elk Scenic Byway: http://www.byways.org/explore/byways/2120/

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Grand Lake
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South Carolina
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6. Re: first time visitors to Colorado

Sounds wonderful! Can't wait to sit down and do more research to find out more about the places you suggested!! Colorado sounds so beautiful...

Thanks,

Kim

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Colorado
Colorado
United States
7. Re: first time visitors to Colorado

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