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3 day road trip

Michigan
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86 posts
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3 day road trip

Is this itenerary reasonable for a road trip . I would like to have a few hours per day for stopping and activities:

Fly into Denver Wednesday evening , pick up rental car and drive to Boulder or Estes Park. On Thur morning take the drive through Rocky Mountain Nat Park and then on to Grand Junction for the night. Friday drive to Mesa Verda park stopping in Telluride on the way. Saturday drive from Mesa Verda to Montrose via Durnago and the Skyway. Sunday drive from Montrose back to Denver via Gunnison. Monday morning catch a flight back home out of Denver.

I was looking to do this over the labor day weekend. Will the traffic be a lot worse then as I could postpone it a month but really prefer not to.

Edited: 18 July 2010, 19:54
Colorado
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1. Re: 3 day road trip

Your trip plans sound very ambitious for a 3 day weekend, when traffic will be heavier than usual. With that type of plan you would spend all day, every day in the car driving. I, for one, would cut that plan by at least 2/3 and try to see just one area over the long weekend.

Enjoy your trip, wherever it takes you in Colorful Colorado!

Pagosa Springs...
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for Durango, Pagosa Springs
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2. Re: 3 day road trip

I personally love a road trip, but I'm going to lean towards your itinerary being more on the aggressive side, leaving very little time to explore.

Day 1 - Denver to Boulder or Estes Park is very reasonable - 1-2 hours

Day 2 - Estes Park via RMNP to Grand Junction is easily 7-8 hours in the car (you will want to stop and explore along the way)

Day 3 - Grand Junction to Mesa Verde via Telluride is at least 5 hours driving, leaving very little time to explore Telluride and no time to explore Mesa Verde

Day 4 - Durango to Montrose is about 3 hours - however, you will likely want to spend time in Ouray and explore a little on the drive (beautiful drive)

Day 5 - Montrose to Denver is about 5 hours

I would recommend either aiming directly for SW CO or focusing on the northern half of the state. Your route covers almost 1000 miles and quite a few mtn passes, which will slow you down. Also, Mesa Verde takes at minimum 1/2 a day - and even with that, you probably won't feel you've done the park justice.

I did a SW CO road trip from Denver area over Labor Day weekend a few years ago - it is doable if you don't mind spending time in the car. We camped and had touring kayaks with us and had time to paddle Clear Lake, Electra Lake and a few others - as well as hike and enjoy the various towns we drove through. I think your current route would be easier if you skipped RMNP. Although, I hate to suggest it, because it is a fabulous part of the state. You could just as easily explore RMNP, Steamboat, Grand Lake - and areas around.

Labor Day weekend will be busier on the highways, but should be manageable - just avoid Fri afternoon and Mon on main thoroughfares, as much as possible!

WestSlope,CO
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for Colorado
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3. Re: 3 day road trip

So you really have 4 days plus day of arrival and day of departure? If you like road trips, are willing to get early starts each day, and your main focus is scenic drives and getting a sample of the National Parks, your itinerary is doable. Knowing the distances, you'll have to decide if it's reasonable for you.

I don't think you're going to have time to include Colorado National Monument. If you are able to stay in the park at Mesa Verde, you could explore a bit Friday evening and then for most of the morning on Saturday. Staying in the park would maximize your time. Then drive to Ouray via Durango or plan to drive on to Montrose if you wish. Sunday morning you'd have time to visit several overlooks at the Black Canyon before driving back to Denver.

Michigan
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4. Re: 3 day road trip

You are abolutely right, It is 4 days plus the arrival and departure day. Somehow I messed up on the title of the thread. . From your commenI just made a reservation to stay in the park Friday night. Sounds like Ouray may be more innteresting for the next days final destination as opposed to Montrose.

Edited: 19 July 2010, 08:45
5. Re: 3 day road trip

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