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Denver-Durango-Ouray-Crested Butte Itinerary

New York, NY
3 posts
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Denver-Durango-Ouray-Crested Butte Itinerary

We are taking a 10 day family vacation in late July with our two boys (2 and 4). We are starting from Denver and want to check out Durango, Telluride and Crested Butte. I would love itinerary and lodging suggestions. We love outdoor activities, but will of course be limited with what we can do with the kids. Price range for lodging is medium to high (I'm finding many smaller places are already booked).

Based on research I've already done I'm thinking:

Drive Denver to Durango (stop for a night along the way--maybe car camp). Any suggestions on where to stop?

Spend 2 nights in Durango with a visit to Mesa Verde one day and do the train the next day (take train one way and bus the other). Is this too much to do? Any suggestions on lodging?

Spend 2 nights in Ouray with a day trip to Telluride (I've always wanted to check it out).

Spend 4 nights in Crested Butte. Suggestions for lodging--either hotel or condo?

Thanks in advance for any advice!

Colorado
Destination Expert
for Seven Mile Beach, Grand Cayman, Crested Butte, Gunnison
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1. Re: Denver-Durango-Ouray-Crested Butte Itinerary

For a family of 4 I would suggest the condo route. You can book condos in Mt. Crested Butte directly through CBMR. The town busses run continuously throughout the day between CB and Mt. CB. Elevation and The Lodge and Mountaineer Square are centrally located in the base area and the West Wall Lodge is about as upscale as it gets but might be a bit of a walk for a 4-year-old to get to the transit area for busses.

As far as things to do, the wildflowers will be in full bloom in late July. Check with the visitors center at the 4-way in town for up to date info on short scenic hikes. Otherwise, there will be plenty to do right on main street in town. On the mountain the lifts will be running and there's plenty of hikes with well marked trails as well as a children's museum and the adventure park.

Edited: 26 June 2014, 13:43
WestSlope,CO
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for Colorado
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2. Re: Denver-Durango-Ouray-Crested Butte Itinerary

Two nights in Durango will only give you one full day there, with most of that taken up by the train ride. If you want to also visit Mesa Verde--and you should!--you will need 3 nights. Same thing with Ouray..if you have 2 nights there, you'll have only 1 day there and if you plan to make a day trip to Telluride, you won't have time for much at Ouray. Wildflowers in the basins above town should be awesome, so a jeep tour would be in order. You can also drive the Million Dollar Highway. The kiddos, well, the whole family! will enjoy the hot springs pool, and even the little one will be able to scramble up the fairly short trail to Cascade Falls.

My suggestion would be to spend 2 nights in Durango, one day at Mesa Verde and then spend the night at Cortez to see the Native American dances at the Cortez Cultural Center. Or...there's lodging at Mancos, Dolores, or a couple of small cabins en route to Telluride. Take the next day to visit Telluride en route to Ridgway and Ouray for your two nights there. Or, since you've wanted to check out Telluride, why not spend a night there? You'd want to leave Mesa Verde by mid-afternoon to drive to Telluride.

Then head for Crested Butte, with a stop at the south rim of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison Natl Park on your way.

Are you arriving by plane? What time? Are you starting your drive to Durango on the day of your arrival? Or will you have some time in Denver and then start out in the morning with a full day to get to Durango? If you are starting out fresh in the morning and you have a full day, I'd just head out for Durango and drive all the way there rather than spending a night on the way so that you can have that extra night in Durango. That way you'll have 2 full days for the train and Mesa Verde. I don't think it would be worth getting all the gear together for only one night of car camping. If you do want to stay a night on the road, just look for a hotel/motel, IMO.

New York, NY
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3. Re: Denver-Durango-Ouray-Crested Butte Itinerary

Thanks so much for these suggestions, this sounds great. I'm going to look at the map and see what we can do.

Atlanta, Georgia
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4. Re: Denver-Durango-Ouray-Crested Butte Itinerary

When you stay in Crested Butte, I would definitely check out the condos at WoodCreek in Mt. CB. The condos ending in the numbers 07, 01 and 02 have outstanding views. Most have been remodeled. You can google for more info. MisspWestSlope_CO is spot on with her recommendations.

On your way in to CB, stop at the Blue Mesa (Elk Ridge Marina) for a quick lunch at Pappy's- great views of the lake on the deck.

Also, while in CB, take the road to Gothic where the Rocky Mountain Biological Lab is located, hike to Judd Falls- a short hike with beautiful views. Also, hike the Brush Creek Trail behind Crested Butte Mountain- travel to the road that is just past the CB Country Club and take it down a few miles. There is a parking lot on the left and the trail is 2.0 miles in, following the mountain above and a river below. Sushi is great at Lil's. and you can't beat the pizza at Secret Stash. Breakfast is wonderful at McGill's. Have fun!

5. Re: Denver-Durango-Ouray-Crested Butte Itinerary

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