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5 Day trip from Denver

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Rockford, Illinois
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117 posts
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5 Day trip from Denver

Hi Everyone,

I am really excited about our 5 day trip to Colorado next month. I have not chalked out the exact plans yet but I want to book the hotels and then work out the places to see. So far what I have in mind is:

Day 0: Landing at Den at 8:30 pm. Pick up the car and stay in Denver or boulder.

Day 1 and 2: Stay in Estes Park or Winter Park.

Day 3: I am leaning towards Glenwood Springs. Is this place good or can we skip it and go south?

Day 4: Stay in Brekenridge/Vail.

Day 5: Start from Brekenridge cover scenic spots on the way to Denver and fly back at 10 pm.

Is this good enough to start with? I really appreciate all the help from this forum and in making me plan my trip more successfully…

Thank you!

Windsor, Colorado
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for Estes Park, Rocky Mountain National Park
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1. Re: 5 Day trip from Denver

It looks like this is the trip you are planning. If not, it is the one I would suggest since you seem to want to concentrate on scenic routes. You could also do the trip in reverse.

http://goo.gl/maps/acAMF

If your goal is to visit Rocky Mountain National Park, you will want at least 1 night in Estes Park. If all you want to do is drive and explore Trail Ridge Road (6 hours between Estes Park and Grand Lake for driving and exploring the many overlooks and short trails along the way), you can skip Estes Park and stay in Grand Lake or Winter Park.

Night 0 - Boulder

Day 1 - Boulder to Estes Park through Boulder Canyon and along the Peak to Peak to Estes Park. Explore Wild Basin, Bear Lake Area.

Night 1 - Estes Park

Day 2 - Drive and explore Trail Ridge Road and on to Glenwood Springs.

Night 2 - Glenwood Springs

Day 3 - Glenwood Springs Hanging Lake hike, biking Glenwood Canyon or rafting and drive to Aspen

Night 3 - Aspen

Day 4 - Maroon Bells and drive over Independence Pass to Breckenridge or Vail

Night 4 - Breckenridge/Vail

Day 5 - Breckenridge/ Vail to DIA including the Mount Evans Scenic Byway, Red Rocks

Rockford, Illinois
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117 posts
5 reviews
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2. Re: 5 Day trip from Denver

Hi Fv1989,

Thank you for your fast response. The map looks perfect and it is very close to what i was planning.

Although we do want to visit the rocky mountain national park and stay in estes park the rooms/cabins are very expensive there for our travel dates (aug 17 - 18) . The ones in Winter Park are very reasonable and so we are more inclined to book something in winter park. Do you think we wold wasting time driving back and forth if we decide to stay at winter park?

Thank you so much again !

Windsor, Colorado
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for Estes Park, Rocky Mountain National Park
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3. Re: 5 Day trip from Denver

It is about 55 minutes to get from the town (not the resort-that is further) of Winter Park to the west entrance gate to RMNP. The western side of RMNP is known as the quieter and less visited side and some people prefer that. The town of Grand Lake and the lake itself are quite nice. Moose frequent the area. For the dramatic mountain views and most popular hiking trails, people prefer the eastern side. There are nice trails on the western side but the only scenic drive on the western side is Trail Ridge Road. You can not really visit the Bear Lake, Wild Basin or Lumpy Ridge areas on the eastern side of RMNP from Winter Park. That would be about a 3 hour drive one way. As I said, you can go from Boulder up the Peak to Peak over Trail Ridge Road to Winter Park. You would have time to stop at the Alluvial Fan for the .2 mile walk to Horseshoe Falls - a slight detour off highway 36 on your way to Trail Ridge Road and you would have time for the overlooks and some short walks along TRR. Trying to fit in Bear Lake would take too much time in my opinion.

From the Top Questions in the RMNP forum, here is a timeline for driving TRR. Since TRR was closed after we crossed over, we actually had to go through Winter Park so that will give you a good idea of your travel and exploring time.

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g143048-i3489-k542…

More affordable options in Estes Park

Discovery Lodge

Mountain Home at Amberwood

Coyote Mountain Lodge

Murphy's Resort (formerly Econolodge-being remodeled)

Swiftcurrent Lodge

Saddle and Surrey

Peak to Peak Lodge

America's Best Value Inn

Lodge rooms at the YMCA Estes Park Center

Even if the website is showing a 2 night minimum, always call. There may be one nighters sandwiched in between other reservations.

Edited: 31 July 2013, 19:40
Rockford, Illinois
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117 posts
5 reviews
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4. Re: 5 Day trip from Denver

Good Morning Hi Fv1989,

Thank you so so much for the list, although most of them were booked there was a room available at the Mountain Lodge at Amberwood. I will book it now. Can you do your magic and give me some suggestions to stay at Glenwood Springs :).

Your are just amazing!

Thanks

WestSlope,CO
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for Colorado
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10,161 posts
166 reviews
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5. Re: 5 Day trip from Denver

Hatchpal always recommends Cedar Lodge for good value lodging in Glenwood. Here's a recent thread about where to stay in Glenwood: tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g33446-i614-k63886… and of course you can check out the Trip Advisor hotel ratings...you can look at the best value or budget options. Nearby Carbondale is another place to look, and would be conveniently located for exploring both Glenwood and Aspen.

For a more "mountain" feel, check out Redstone and/or Avalanche Ranch.

Windsor, Colorado
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for Estes Park, Rocky Mountain National Park
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10,023 posts
124 reviews
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6. Re: 5 Day trip from Denver

rmkstate, I am glad Amberwood Mountain Lodge worked out for you. I was thinking the Lodge although my hands typed Home which is one of their other properties. Finding an affordable, one night stay at the last minute in Estes Park is a challenge.

To add to what Missp said, affordable and Aspen do not usually go hand in hand so you may want to consider Carbondale for your visit to Glenwood Springs/Aspen. It has been some time but I stayed at Ambience Inn B&B in Carbondale. The breakfast was amazing! At $90 a night including breakfast, this is a good deal.

tripadvisor.com/…REVIEWS

Rockford, Illinois
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117 posts
5 reviews
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7. Re: 5 Day trip from Denver

Hi,

Thank your for the suggestion and i will look into each one of them shortly but i wanted to check with you if there are any places around Glenwood Springs/Aspen/Edwards that have a kitchentte? Is it possible to find such places in that area?

Thank you!

Windsor, Colorado
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for Estes Park, Rocky Mountain National Park
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10,023 posts
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8. Re: 5 Day trip from Denver

These are condos for Sunlight Mountain Ski Resort about 10 miles from Glenwood Springs. They are showing a studio condo with kitchen for $89 a night. Do ask about add-on cleaning fees. I did not see a separate cleaning fee. I am not familiar with these. There are some reviews for them outside of ski season.

http://www.brettelberg.com/

tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g33446-d267294-…

Edited: 01 August 2013, 18:21
Rockford, Illinois
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117 posts
5 reviews
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9. Re: 5 Day trip from Denver

Thank you so much fv1989…I called them up and they told me that there were no clean up fees or anything like that. It was the final price ($89) + 4% tax. That’s all. I am planning to book a condo later today.

Quick question: Per your advice I booked the lodge room at estes park, you suggested something like

‘Day 2 - Drive and explore Trail Ridge Road and on to Glenwood Springs.’

Would there be enough time to explore the TRR and then drive to Glenwood Springs, considering in the other post people mentioned that it would take 6 hours just to explore the TRR area and drive in itself from Estes Part to Glenwood Springs is close to 4 hours? Would the day be too hectic?

Windsor, Colorado
Destination Expert
for Estes Park, Rocky Mountain National Park
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10,023 posts
124 reviews
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10. Re: 5 Day trip from Denver

The 6 hour time estimate for TRR between Estes Park and Grand Lake includes 2 hours driving time, 2 hours for overlooks and 2 hours for short trails. You can just do the overlooks and it will take only 4 hours. I think you will be fine. You are in and out of the car many times along Trail Ridge Road and there are several short trails to stretch your legs. Plan lunch in Grand Lake or pack a picnic lunch. From Grand Lake to Vail is about 2 hours. Vail is just a fabulous place to stop and stroll. It is literally just off I-70. All the window boxes and landscaping full of flowers, the walking trails along Gore Creek and the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens are so pretty. From Vail, it is only another hour to Glenwood Springs. It is daylight until 8:00 pm and I-70 all the way from Denver to Grand Junction may be the most beautiful interstate in the U.S.

8:00 am- Enter Fall River Entrance to RMNP

1:00 pm- Lunch Grand Lake or picnic along TRR

2:00 pm- Leave for Vail

4:00 pm- Stroll Vail, maybe have an early dinner

6:00 pm- Leave Vail

7:00 pm- Arrive Glenwood Springs

As you can see, there is fluff room in the schedule. You could drive straight from Grand Lake to Glenwood Springs and save Vail for a stop on your way from Aspen to Breckenridge.

For more affordable lodging in Aspen, check out Mountain Chalet Aspen or the St. Moritz. Aspen is not my area of expertise for lodging.

http://www.mountainchaletaspen.com/rates.htm

tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g29141-d82766-R…

http://www.stmoritzlodge.com/rates

tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g29141-d120020-…

Edited: 01 August 2013, 23:56