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Suggestions on July 2011 itinerary?

midwest
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1,156 posts
71 reviews
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Suggestions on July 2011 itinerary?

Hi,

we're already planning for a 2 week trip next summer :)

We (husband, wife and 22 yr. old son) enjoy nature, wildlife, a little off the beaten track areas, enjoy culture and handmade things, and we're on a fairly tight budget.

We've never been to the Southwest, but have camped once at Divide, Colorado in a State Park for a week.

We're from Indiana and at first thought about driving from Indiana to Colorado, Utah, Arizona including Grand Canyon, and New Mexico. soon found out that was not nearly enough time!

Re-thought it and now are thinking about flying to Denver, renting a car and doing a round trip from there. Probabaly not camping this time.

We can get very reasonable airfare from Indiana to Denver.

We're interested at this point in areas like Zion, Bryce Canyon, Grand Canyon, Sante Fe, Taos, maybe visiting a Native American area that is interesting.

I've browsed through the forums and wondered if I could get some itinerary ideas to start off with?

I always feel so overwhelmed at the very beginning stages of a new trip. Too much to see and do and so little time and money :) But, we always get it whittled down and have a great time when we finally get it all worked out!

Suggestions?

Pagosa Springs...
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for Durango, Pagosa Springs
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1. Re: Suggestions on July 2011 itinerary?

I had a response written and lost it...so here's a condensed version:

Fly into Denver

Drive to Taos, NM (5 hours)

Drive to Santa Fe, NM (1 - 1.5 hours)

** in this area, you can check out Bandelier National Monument, Taos Pueblo

Drive to Chama, NM or Pagosa Springs, CO (2-3 hours) - taking hwy 84, you will drive though Abiquiu, NM (an hour north of Santa Fe) - home of Georgia O'Keefe

Drive to Cortez, CO - Mesa Verde (2 - 3 hours)

Drive to Grand Canyon (4 hours) - south rim, but north rim could be an option too

Consider a stop in Page, AZ - Lake Powell or even the North Rim of Grand Canyon

Drive to Zion / Bryce (5 hours)

Drive to Moab, UT (5 hours)

Drive to Denver (6 hours)

Not sure if you are just wanting desert SW or also interested in mountains. There are many options to break up the trip more, if you don't want to drive 6 hours in one day.

Hope this helps get you started...good luck!

WestSlope,CO
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for Colorado
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2. Re: Suggestions on July 2011 itinerary?

Of course on the Colorado forum we are probably biased, but I'd encourage you to spend some time in Colorado as well, especially in the summertime!

Consider scaling back a bit so you will have some time to explore and experience instead of driving quite so much. With such a lot of miles to cover, you'll only be hitting the highlights and not have time for "off the beaten track." Perhaps include a route through Colorado to Taos and Santa Fe, then Durango/Mesa Verde area, Canyonlands

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horseshoe_Canyon_(Utah), Moab and Arches, then more of Colorado.

If you'll use the search feature on the forums, and enter topics like "10 day loop," "Denver Mesa Verde loop," etc. you'll find lots of suggestions. I.e.

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g60900-i3111-k3395…

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g28927-i252-k24854…

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g33450-i1252-k3527…

For wildlife you can hardly beat Rocky Mountain National Park but it could hardly be considered off the beaten path. However, there are many, many hikes available there that will take you off that path if you're willing to walk a bit!

Here are a couple of my favorite "a little off the beaten path" places that might fit your interests:

Mancos, Colorado... A tiny little town with real old west roots and a surprising amount of local art and artisans. http://www.mancosvalley.com/

Visit the Goodnight Trail Gallery, Artisans of Mancos, and for the ultimate in off-the-beaten path handmade things with historic/cultural ties, visit Nathaniel's Hats, where Nate Funmaker makes hats using vintage equipment and techniques. After visiting here, I finally understood why the fur trade was so important. http://www.nathanielsofcolorado.com/

Unaweep Tabeguache Scenic Byway...http://utbw.org/

http://www.hangingflume.org/ with a stop at the Gateway Auto Museum for a fun,educational, and historic perspective on the American love affair with the automobile. http://www.gatewayautomuseum.com/

The "other than Mesa Verde" sites such as:

http://www.blm.gov/co/st/en/nm/canm.html

http://www.blm.gov/co/st/en/nm/canm.html

http://www.utemountainute.com/tribalpark.htm

The Silver Thread Scenic Byway: byways.org/explore/byways/2116/stories/56243

Hope this gives you a few ideas.

midwest
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3. Re: Suggestions on July 2011 itinerary?

Thanks PagosaSprings and misspWestSlope_CO for the new places and ideas.

We are pretty set on the Grand Canyon, now we just have to plan the rest of our time with that in mind. We're kind of looking into the north rim of the Grand Canyon now. It looks like it would be beautiful and a little more quiet than the south rim.

It was already a looong trip and now everyone has given me even more ideas :)

That's how my trip planning always goes--I start out too big and then ask questions and it gets even bigger and then I spend lots of great and enjoyable time weeding out and fine tuning.

I really enjoy the research in the meantime though. I'm not much of a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants traveler, my family on the other hand could be persuaded to do that.

See, that's why I start planning so early :)

WestSlope,CO
Destination Expert
for Colorado
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4. Re: Suggestions on July 2011 itinerary?

If you are definite about Grand Canyon, then you might consider skipping Santa Fe this time and loop through Grand Junction/Moab one way and back through Mesa Verde area, then through Colorado back to Denver.

5. Re: Suggestions on July 2011 itinerary?

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