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9 days 8 night trip ; with under 2 yr old and 6 month old

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9 days 8 night trip ; with under 2 yr old and 6 month old

Any idea what iten. would be best for wanting to visit the best scenic spots to see/sightseeing Mid May for my family for a week +1 day; we are limited with babies (We obviously can't do sporting activities or night activites) Best to go to stroller accessible spots, or shorter hikes with them on our backs.

Be open to driving or paying more for "must see" or "stay here" spots

We plan to fly round-trip to Denver from Toronto

Any suggestions?

Edited: 15 April 2013, 19:37
Windsor, Colorado
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1. Re: 9 days 8 night trip ; with under 2 yr old and 6 month old

Are your dates fixed? Mid-May in the mountains of Colorado is often referred to as "mud season." Snow is melting and trails are wet. Many of Colorado's scenic mountain roads and passes do not open until Friday of Memorial Day weekend which is May 24 this year. Could you make the trip in early June?

If not, there are lower elevation and drier hiking trails in mid-May and plenty of scenery to enjoy. Biking with trailers/tag alongs, boating and shorter scenic train rides could also be options.

With the little ones, how many different lodging locations do you want? People with small children often do not want to have to constantly pack up and move. They prefer some base locations with day trip options. How many hours in a day traveling by car from one lodging location to another is OK for you?

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2. Re: 9 days 8 night trip ; with under 2 yr old and 6 month old


I recognize to see more we have to pack n move;which is ok; I was thinking 2 night in some places like mountains would be nice.

Driving in intervals of 1hr to stop is preferable and max 3hr a day. I would like a few stay put days to relax as well; thanks for advice!!!

Which roads/trails will be closed and what do we do instead?

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3. Re: 9 days 8 night trip ; with under 2 yr old and 6 month old

If wanting to go to the mountains in May, with those criteria, I would probably go

Denver to



Glenwood Springs

Frisco back to



Denver to


Steamboat Springs


back to Denver


Windsor, Colorado
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4. Re: 9 days 8 night trip ; with under 2 yr old and 6 month old

This is the route I would take considering the age of your children and the timing of your trip.


2 nights Colorado Springs--very family friendly.

Visit Garden of the Gods which has both stroller friendly and easy trails. www.gardenofgods.com/parkinfo/index_114.cfm

North Cheyenne Canon Park for Helen Hunt Falls and the Starsmore Discovery Center


After an overnight to acclimate to the altitude, drive to the top of Pikes Peak. The road is completely paved. You need to be aware of altitude sickness which can affect infants and adults. It is the second question over to your right in Top Questions.

Both Mueller State Park and Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument have family trails. The National Monument has the Wee Wasp program for your 2 year old plus other ranger programs.



If you do a search on the Colorado Springs forum, there is lots of info there about visiting with toddlers.


2 nights Frisco

Boating on Dillon Reservoir, biking the paved bike paths, drive the Top of the Rockies Scenic Byway to Leadville on highway 91 and then highway 24 back to Frisco. http://mapq.st/15fn6XI

Stay on Main Street Frisco and there are plenty of shops and restaurants within easy walking and stroller distance. http://www.townoffrisco.com/

2 nights Grand Lake

Grand Lake is the town on the western side of Rocky Mountain National Park. www.nps.gov/romo

Grand Lake (the lake), Shadow Mountain Lake and Lake Granby are all together. www.grandlakechamber.com

In addition to boating and fishing on the lake, there are many easy and stroller friendly trails in RMNP. May is a great time to see wildlife in Rocky Mountain National Park. On the western side, moose are common plus elk. These trails should be snow free by the time of your visit but check with the rangers at the Kawuneeche Visitor Center for conditions. Stroller friendly trails--Coyote Valley Trail (1 mile loop), Holzwarth Historic Site (.5 miles one way) good area for moose. Family friendly trails--Adams Falls (.3 miles to the waterfall and beyond to the meadow for wildlife viewing), all or part of the North Inlet, Big Meadow and Lulu City trails.


For a ranch experience, you might enjoy staying in a cabin at Winding River Resort.


Trail Ridge Road (the crown jewel of RMNP) is scheduled to open as a through road between Grand Lake and Estes Park on May 24. This is a "do not miss." It is more than just a drive. There are many overlooks and short trails along the way. Driving time only is 2 hours. The status of Trail Ridge Road is weather dependent. Status line for TRR is 970-586-1222. If this stroller friendly trail is clear of snow, take the Tundra Communties Trail (.5 miles one way).

If by chance Trail Ridge Road is not open due to weather, this is your very scenic route from Grand Lake to Estes Park including the Peak to Peak Scenic Byway. Stop in Nederland for the Carousel of Happiness.


2 nights Estes Park

www.estesparkcvb.com is a great source for info on Estes Park. Estes Park is the town literally adjacent to the eastern side of Rocky Mountain National Park.

There are many easy trails on the eastern side of RMNP. Check with rangers at either the Fall River or Beaver Meadows Visitor Centers about trail conditions.

East side RMNP stroller friendly trails--

Alluvial Fan (.2 miles to the waterfall--a do not miss), Sprague Lake (.5 mile loop), Bear Lake (.6 mile loop), Lily Lake (.7 mile loop) or put the kids in the hiking carriers and take the Lily Ridge Trail for great views in 1.1 miles, Hidden Valley Nature Trail (.5 mile loop)

Easy family friendly trails--distances are one way unless noted.

Bear Lake to Dream Lake (1.1 miles)

Glacier Gorge to Alberta Falls (.8 miles)

Gem Lake (1.8 miles)

The Pool (1.7 miles)

Copeland Falls (.3 miles) and Calypso Cascades (1.5 mile past Copeland)


Stroller friendly in Estes Park is the trail around Lake Estes, Fish Creek Trail and the Riverwalk. Estes Park is also very family friendly.

If you have any questions, just ask.

Edited: 17 April 2013, 16:00
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5. Re: 9 days 8 night trip ; with under 2 yr old and 6 month old

Appreciate all your help; will this iten. work if we have to drive to Denver evening of 25th for early flight in morning?

I know its unpredictable with weather but we need to plan in advance with two kids.

We would leave Estes park til the end of trip in hopes of road being open may 24; seems short for only 2 days 24th and 25th?

I'd like to see grand lake but is the road possible with my dates?22/22rd? Any other ideas/ options?

I arrive late on may 17; so I figure I drive to Colorado Springs but we have to be back to Denver 25th evening for flight next morning ?

One thought was extend time in Colorado spring which I'm not sure i wanted to do 4 nights but at this time of year seems like RMNP isn't the greatest to get thru?? What do you think?

Windsor, Colorado
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6. Re: 9 days 8 night trip ; with under 2 yr old and 6 month old

Average weather for Estes Park in May


If I were going to skip a stop in the itinerary, it would be Grand Lake. You will not have a problem with the roads getting to Grand Lake. There has been alot of late spring snow so Trail Ridge Road could be an issue. As opposed to 2 nights in Grand Lake, consider a night in Boulder. Here is the scenic route to Boulder from Frisco along the Peak to Peak Scenic Byway/Nederland-don't forget the Carousel/Boulder Canyon.


Then you could still spend 2 nights in Estes Park or you could just go straight from Frisco to Estes Park. Here is the scenic route through very pretty south St. Vrain Canyon and along more of the Peak to Peak from Boulder to Estes Park.


You do NOT want to miss RMNP. It is amazing any time of year. The most scenic parts of Trail Ridge Road in my opinion are on the eastern side anyway. If open entirely, you would drive the road up to the Alpine Visitor Center or about 4 miles beyond to the Continental Divide and then backtrack. Trail Ridge Road will at a minimum be open to Rainbow Curve. While in Estes Park, you would enjoy this short scenic trip as well. Viestenz Smith Mountain Park is at a lower elevation and the temperature will be pleasant and warmer.

Estes Park down dramatic Big Thompson Canyon to the Dam Store. Turn around. Four miles back up the canyon stop at Viestenz Smith Mountain Park on your right. This lovely city park has great river views from the bridge and paved walkways plus lots of picnic tables and a small playground. At Drake turn right onto CR 43/Devil's Gulch Road through Glen Haven following this very pretty North Fork of the Big Thompson River. Past the switchbacks and Overlook Point, look for the Lumpy Ridge Trailhead sign on your right and drive to the trailhead to appreciate these giant rock formations and the balanced rocks which can be seen from the parking lot. CR 43 becomes MacGregor Avenue and returns to Estes Park.


Other fun things to do with a 2 year old in Estes Park:

Fishing at Trout Haven

Pony or family hay rides at Jackson Stables

Boating on Lake Estes

Bike riding around Lake Estes or along Fish Creek Trail (rent bikes, trailers and tag alongs at Estes Park Mountain Shop)

Minigolf--several locations

Estes Park Museum has a hands on kid friendly section.

Estes Park Mountain Shop climbing wall starts at age 2.

Snowy Peaks Winery has a childrens play area while Mom and Dad enjoy the winery.

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7. Re: 9 days 8 night trip ; with under 2 yr old and 6 month old

there's a carousel in Nederland if you're up there:


Denver area is Tinytown:


Glenwood Springs and Colorado Springs are great places to go with kids. Colorado Springs: Don't miss the Cheyenne Mtn. Zoo and Will Rogers Shrine to the Sun up top. Helen Hunt Falls is ideal with very young kids to check out. Garden of the Gods is great with young ones as well.

8. Re: 9 days 8 night trip ; with under 2 yr old and 6 month old

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