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Undecided between Coastal Washington vs.Rockies outside Den.

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Undecided between Coastal Washington vs.Rockies outside Den.

I have a free RT ticket to go anywhere Southwest airlines flies. I'd be leaving from Laguardia in NYC. It's a nice direct flight to Denver, so this is why I'm more attracted to going to Colorado. I plan on going anytime between the 20th-June 5th.

I've looked up the distances and such, but here's what I've come up with:

If I go to Colorado, I'd rent a car and go to Estes Park. I'd LOVE to stay at the Stanley hotel (huge Shining fan, plus I love haunted places), but it's so expensive. I've read tons of reviews, and I'm still unsure whether it's worth it to pay all that money and stay there vs. staying at a cheaper hotel and just going on a tour of it. I don't want to spend all that money and nothing paranormal happens. I just wonder if it's just hyped up. I've stayed at famously haunted places, and nothing happened; whereas tiny unknown places were more haunted. This trip would be for 2 days (or possibly 3 if i stay in WA).

I'd go somewhere outside Seattle; either on the coast or in the Cascade mountains. I would be driving after the flight, and it seems the scenic places to go outside of Seattle are at least an hour and a half drive. That might be rough after a 7 hour trip (will have a layover somewhere in the midwest). This is why I'm leaning more towards colorado.

I'm mostly looking for the cheaper option, and somewhere really scenic (don't have much nature here) and relaxing.

Just looking for any advice/opinions on this.

Colorado
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1. Re: Undecided between Coastal Washington vs.Rockies outside Den.

I don't know about paranormal happenings but this came in my email.

travelzoo.com/local-deals/…

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2. Re: Undecided between Coastal Washington vs.Rockies outside Den.

That makes such a difference, thank you!! definitely going with Colorado now. :-)

Windsor, Colorado
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3. Re: Undecided between Coastal Washington vs.Rockies outside Den.

Speaking of scenic, Trail Ridge Road is considered the crown jewel of Rocky Mountain National Park. As a through road between Estes Park and Grand Lake, it is scheduled to open May 24, weather permitting. I would plan my visit after that date and probably after Memorial Day weekend. Your visit is before peak tourist season in Estes/RMNP which really gets going around mid-June. That is a good thing as you will not have crowds. Lodging rates in Estes Park are staggered based on demand. There should still be some good deals (like the one alli found) before June 5.

From DIA, take the scenic route to Estes Park. Highway 36 to Boulder, 119 through Boulder Canyon to Nederland with a stop for the .3 mile walk to Boulder Falls, 72 to 7 along the Peak to Peak Scenic Byway to Estes Park.

You can spend much of a day driving and exploring all the overlooks and short trails along Trail Ridge Road over to Grand Lake and back. RMNP is probably the best place to see wildlife in Colorado (elk, moose, deer, big horn sheep, coyotes, and more)

Late May and early June should be great for waterfalls in RMNP. There has been plenty of late Spring snow. RMNP is an amazingly accessible park with tremendous views from your car and short easy trails if you do not have time for longer hikes.

waterfalls--distances are one way unless noted.

Alluvial Fan - .2 miles

Copeland Falls - .3 miles

Alberta Falls - .8 miles

Adams Falls - .3 miles

alpine lakes

Bear Lake - .6 mile loop

Nymph Lake - .5 miles (starts from Bear Lake)

Dream lake - 1.1 miles (.6 miles beyond Nymph)

Lily Lake - .7 mile loop but take the Lily Ridge Trail (1.1 mile loop) for the views.

Sprague Lake - .5 mile loop

As for the Stanley, you need to appreciate historic hotels to stay in the main hotel. There are many great lodging options in Estes Park--hotels, condos, B&B's, cabins, vacation rentals. If you do not want to stay at the Stanley, give me a price range and I and others can make suggestions.

Edited: 09 May 2013, 23:53
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4. Re: Undecided between Coastal Washington vs.Rockies outside Den.

I looked up some places, but the other night I want to keep it within $80 a night or so.

Windsor, Colorado
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5. Re: Undecided between Coastal Washington vs.Rockies outside Den.

Some to check--

Discovery Lodge

Swiftcurrent Lodge

Mountain Lodge at Amberwood

Coyote Mountain Lodge

The Lodges at the YMCA of the Rockies Estes Park Center (this is a resort, not your typical Y)

Saddle & Surrey

Rocky Mountain Park Inn

Historic Crags Lodge

If you come right after Memorial Day, that is a very slow time for lodging places in Estes and you can negotiate a better rate. If you come Memorial Day weekend, you will pay a higher rate.

Edited: 10 May 2013, 03:46
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6. Re: Undecided between Coastal Washington vs.Rockies outside Den.

When we host visitors to the Denver area and that includes a tour, our 1-day tour goes like this:

1. Starting early from Denver, take US6 and I70 to Georgetown. Show them the old town and the Georgetown Loop train. (We no longer ride the train as IMHO it's now overpriced and degraded in quality under a new operator - but still perhaps worth a photo from the station.) Coffee, a museum or two, and perhaps browsing in an antique shop round out that stop.

2. Continue to Winter Park. Have lunch at Gasthaus Eichler. Walk the town a bit. If anyone is in the mood, ride the alipine slide in summer. Grab a couple of things for a picnic desert at the next stop.

3. Continue into Rocky Mountain National Park at its western entrance. (Make sure that Trail Ridge Road is open!). Take in the visitor center. Also stop along the way at a picnic ground and eat our snack (fruit and a pastry perhaps). One or two of those picnic grounds are adjacent to the (tiny at that point) Colorado River, which you can cross and enjoy as a small mountain stream flowing through a very pleasant meadow.

4. Stop according to the whims of the group for short walks and photos. One stop normally includes the summit where there are rest rooms, a shop, and great views.

5. Before exiting the park, check around for big mammals (elk, etc.), and also segue over to Bear Lake for short trail walking (tv1989 noted some places).

We haven't overnighted in Estes in awhile. The places that we used to use have apparently morphed or gone downhill. I think, for our next possible stay (which would be this coming winter, to snowshoe) we might stay at the YMCA of the Rockies as also noted by ty1989. Perhaps a place like that might complement the Stanley?

florida
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7. Re: Undecided between Coastal Washington vs.Rockies outside Den.

The Stanley is now also offering a night tour for $50-60 which is their "paranormal tour", and lasts several hours (on selected dates). That might be a good way to get a good taste for the hotel outside the standard 90 minute tour (which is fun as well).

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8. Re: Undecided between Coastal Washington vs.Rockies outside Den.

Someone on the Denver forum sent me a deal from travelzoo-- $150 a night and includes $50 dining coupon to the Cascades restaurant. It's a good deal for the room alone, but unfortunately i'm a vegetarian and the restaurant really have anything to cater to that. I'll probably get lunch that day there. I think I may do that.

Actually, now i'm considering going to Sedona instead of coastal Washington. I'm looking at staying at the Jerome grand hotel and then a night in Sedona. can't decide...

9. Re: Undecided between Coastal Washington vs.Rockies outside Den.

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