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2 weeks in CO this summer for 4 Brits.

Grimsby UK
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2 weeks in CO this summer for 4 Brits.

I (UK female 65yrs young) will be arriving in Denver on the CZ from Emeryville on Monday July 22nd 2013. I will meet up with a friend at DIA who is arriving BA from UK at 20.30 same day.

We have a condo booked in Keystone from Saturday 27th to Sunday 4th August which covers a convention taking place there on that final weekend, after which we shall all return to UK from DIA.

I have been researching what to do for those few days before we get to Keystone, and think a round trip taking in Manitou Springs, Durango, Million $ Highway and Glenwood Springs is doable.

The other option is to base ourselves in another condo at somewhere like Breckenridge or Glenwood Springs and do day trips from there to see the sights in the SW and do the RMNP and Denver from Keystone.

We do have to pick up more family members from DIA on Saturday 27th July who are flying in from UK for the Keystone part of our trip.

I realise we can only see a tiny part of all the great things to do and see, but would appreciate any suggestions you can make.

We will both be able to drive the hire car,so will be reasonable happy driving long distances. We do not need to do anything scary,lol, so no white water rafting, or leaning over edges for the view--(on a personal note I would rather look up at Yosemite than down into the Grand Canyon, any day,lol)so we will maybe take the train up to Peaks summit, rather than drive. We are interested in the history of the area/gold rush towns etc.

So Itinerary could be

Mon meet & stay o/n near airport

Tues Collect car and drive Col Springs, do Peaks Train and Garden of Gods.

Weds Drive Durango via Sand Dunes NP.

Thurs Mesa Verde

Fri Million$ Highway to Glenwood Springs,

Sat to Keystone

Su,Mon Tues, can do day trips to RMNP and Denver for sightseeing.

Thank for any help you can give me to make the choices:)

Destination Expert
for Colorado
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1. Re: 2 weeks in CO this summer for 4 Brits.

Glenwood Springs and Breckenridge are too far away from most of SW Colorado to do day trips, so if you particularly want to see Mesa Verde, your itinerary will work. You have allowed two days with short drives (Colorado Springs and Mesa Verde days) so I think your longer drive days will work. However, you haven't allowed much time to visit and explore any old mining towns, which is one of your main interests.

Are Pike's Peak and Garden of the Gods "bucket list" items for you? (They are famous and great places to visit, but believe it or not are not mandatory!) If so, you might make a quick drive through of Garden of the Gods and head for Cripple Creek after Pike's Peak. It is one of the towns where casinos/gaming are allowed in Colorado, so can be "touristy" but there's lots of history there.

If you'd be willing to skip Colorado Springs, you could head for Creede (also famous for its mining-town history) via the Great Sand Dunes on Tues. On Wednesday, get an early start and drive to Mesa Verde. Stay at Far View Lodge if possible to make the most of your time. It takes a good chunk of time to drive in to the park, so if you stay the night you can spend the afternon/ evening exploring and then attend a ranger talk and stargaze that night. (and get your tour tickets for Cliff Palace or Balcony House for first thing Thursday if you didn't get to do one of those on Wednesday) On Thursday, depart Mesa Verde and head for Ouray, either via Durango/Silverton/Million Dollar Highway or via Telluride. If you don't like dropoffs, go around by Telluride/Lizard Head pass for a ride on the free gondola-- some of the most beautiful scenery anywhere. Telluride also has lots of history! Then drive on around Dallas Divide to Ridgway and on to Ouray for the night. More scenery, more history. Then on Friday you'd have time to take a morning jeep tour to Yankee Boy Basin--more scenery, old mines, ghost town. (Alternatively, you could drive the Million Dollar Highway to Silverton and back) Then on to Glenwood Springs via Redstone. For a picturesque place to stay plus lots of history, I'd stay the night in Redstone instead of Glenwood Springs. Then on to Keystone as planned on Saturday.

IMO, if you are going to go to SW Colorado, your limited time would be better spent by heading that direction on Tuesday, perhaps to Creede or on to Durango. You will see awesome mountain scenery, just as beautiful or more so than Pike's Peak. (Please understand, I'm not knocking Pike's Peak, Colorado Springs, etc. It's just that you have limited time.) And to substitute for Garden of the Gods, you might fit in a visit to Red Rocks Park near Denver, part of the same geological formation as Garden of the Gods.

Now, if Colorado Springs is on your Must-do wish list, then I'm going to suggest you skip SW Colorado in favor of a little more time in Colorado Springs/Cripple Creek, then to the Sand Dunes if you wish, Buena Vista, Leadville, (Collegiate Peaks scenic byway) then maybe drive over Independence Pass to Aspen and Redstone, then to Glenwood Springs, ending up at Keystone as planned.

Have a wonderful visit!

Edited: 05 March 2013, 14:44
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2. Re: 2 weeks in CO this summer for 4 Brits.

Just want to mention that driving Independence Pass or the Million Dollar highway is considered "white knuckle" material by some... no problem by others. You should gauge how comfortable you are driving windy mountain roads. That having been said, they are both beautiful drives with numerous turn outs where you can pull over to see the view (both up and down) and take a breather.

Windsor, Colorado
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3. Re: 2 weeks in CO this summer for 4 Brits.

From Keystone, it will be at least 6 hours driving time only to make the loop to Grand Lake over Trail Ridge Road to Estes Park and back to Keystone.

This is the most scenic route for this trip which also includes the Peak to Peak Scenic Byway.


Trail Ridge Road has numerous stops, short trails and overlooks. Allow at least 4 hours to get from Grand Lake to Estes Park along Trail Ridge Road, not the two hours just for driving. By the time you add a lunch break and other stops, this will be a long day.

The Mount Evans Scenic Byway is NOT for the faint of heart but it is an amazing drive to over 14,000 ft. Mount Evans. Some people prefer it to Pikes Peak. Drive all of the byway including the section between Echo Lake and Bergen Park. Juniper Pass and Eagle's Aerie have great overlooks along this section. This is a much easier day trip from Keystone. If the drive is too hair raising for you, you can turn around at Summit Lake which is 5 miles from the summit. Even the drive to Summit Lake is well worth the trip. www.mountevans.com


Grimsby UK
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4. Re: 2 weeks in CO this summer for 4 Brits.

Thanks so much for your replies.

My bucket list is totally flexible:))

I did the drive in & out of Zion to Bryce (Highway 9, I think) in 2011 and have no problem driving windy roads with 'edges' its a different matter if I'm walking,lol.

I put Mesa Verde on the list 'cos its a world heritage site,(and the night sky is something I am really looking forward to seeing--it was full moon in Arizona in 2011-- and will not be this year) but I think we might enjoy the more historical/mining towns even more, so still lots to think over.

We also live at sea level in the UK so will have to acclimatize to the altitude-- might be easier for me as I shall not be jet lagged, and my friends have skied in Vale with no problems, so we are not too worried.

I think I will let someone else in the party do the Mount Evans drive!! if they so wish.

I shall do more research on the places you have mentioned, do you think we should pre-book accommodation? Or would we just be able to ring ahead for the next night,

Thanks again for your help

Colorado Springs...
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5. Re: 2 weeks in CO this summer for 4 Brits.

Yes, Muchan5 has a very good point, I just thought the same.

6. Re: 2 weeks in CO this summer for 4 Brits.

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