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Need to fill a day between Denver and Avon...

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Burleson, Texas
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Need to fill a day between Denver and Avon...

Hello, I am new to tripadvisor but am loving it. This is my first post to the forum and I am looking for some suggestions.

Last year my wife and I and the girls 3 and 6 took a road trip from Fort Worth to visit some family near Provo, UT. We were going to take more of a 'as the crow flies' approach, but decided it would be nicer to travel through the Rockies. We loved Colorado so much that we are coming back this year. This year instead of all the driving and zipping by at break neck speed through the mountains on I70 we are taking it slow and spending 9 days in Colorado. I have already booked all our hotels. Last year we had long drives and just not enough time to do things. (One day we managed to wake up in Denver, travel through the mountains, stop at Grand Junction for Colorado National Monument and still arrive in Springville UT by dinner. That was a beast of a day)

This year I plotted all our hotels in short 1 hour or so increments around the state. I am now trying to fill those days with activites for the family. I have several of the days later in the trip filled in already based on what we did last year and want to do this year. There are several days though that are pretty much empty because we don't know what's around or what's best.

Our trip will be during the last week of July. On day 5 we'll wake up in Denver and get started early around 7am and then only have to drive as far as Avon, where we have our hotel booked. So we need to fill the day with something to do in between Denver and Avon. We need suggestions. At this point we will have done RMNP the day before. We were thinking Winterpark to go ride the alpine slide and other stuff there, but what other things are around? Are there fun things to do in Vail? Silverthorne area? Trails, waterfalls, etc.?

We like museums and history as long as there's some hands on stuff that's interesting for the kids (they'll be 4 and 7 when we travel). We like scenic walks and trails as long as they aren't to strenuous or long. Trails similar to the Maroon Bells trail in Aspen would be perfect. Waterfalls are a plus, wildlife is a plus.

I can hike all day, but it's only a matter of time before I hear 'how much further' from behind me.

Also a huge factor is cost! We like cheap or free. We'll already be spending over $1500 for lodging, gas, food, and that's on a super strict budget.

Any suggestions you can give for our second trip to this area? Last year I70 through the mountains was just a blur.

Nederland, Colorado
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1. Re: Need to fill a day between Denver and Avon...

Consider riding the Georgetown Loop train and perhaps take the mine tour: http://georgetownlooprr.com/

If you are interested in the alpine slide and that kind of entertainment, you should be aware that it's not cheap by any means.

I would suggest Breckenridge over Winter Park (no offense to WP). The town of Breckenridge is charming and more walkable. There are more things to do at their "fun park" and kids love riding the gondola up to it: http://www.breckenridge.com/info/summer.aspx

Windsor, Colorado
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2. Re: Need to fill a day between Denver and Avon...

Kids love the Alpine Slide at Winter Park but it is not cheap - $15 per trip per person last year. You can get half day passes which cover multiple activities. Hopefully, when you visit RMNP, you are planning on driving and exploring all the many overlooks and short trails along Trail Ridge Road including the ones on the west side (Grand Lake side) of RMNP. RMNP Adams Falls near Grand Lake is only .3 miles from the trailhead.

If you are not making a day trip from Denver along the Mount Evans Scenic Byway to the summit of over 14,000 ft. Mount Evans (you walk the last 1/4 mile to the official summit), you should consider adding that to your trip to Avon. The forest service fee is only $10. Enter the byway near Bergen Park. There are 2 really nice overlooks along Squaw Pass Road at the Eagle's Aerie and Juniper Pass picnic areas. Keep the little ones close as you are on mountains with drop offs and no rails in several areas. Here is the google map link for the Mount Evans Scenic Byway route from Denver.

http://goo.gl/maps/SUwRs

Windsor, Colorado
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3. Re: Need to fill a day between Denver and Avon...

Like Babalax, I thought about the Georgetown train and mine tour. It is also not cheap - Round-Trip Coach and Lebanon Mine Prices - Adults $34.95 Children $26.95

Nederland, Colorado
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4. Re: Need to fill a day between Denver and Avon...

Check Groupon, Living Social, Yipit and sites like that before your trip. You can sometimes find discount coupons for the train.

Burleson, Texas
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5. Re: Need to fill a day between Denver and Avon...

We looked into the Georgetown RR along with others but we ultimately chose the Leadville RR closer to the end of the trip when we come down through Aspen, since it fit a little better in our travel plans, plus it's a little bit cheaper.

We are aware that the Alpine Slide / lifts aren't cheap, but we have that budgeted into the trip. Last summer we went to Park City, UT and did the Alpine Slide and coaster. The kids (and I) had a great time and we wanted to do something like that again this year. We had heard that Winterpark was similar to Park City in this respect. Is WinterPark just a resort or is it a town as well? We'll look into Breckenrige too. I hadn't thought about that.

Thanks for the scenic byway suggestions as well, though it seems like all of Colorado is a scenic byway compared to what I am used to.

Colorado
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6. Re: Need to fill a day between Denver and Avon...

I'd stop in at Lake Dillon. There is a great playground

lakedillon.co/Dillon-CO/…3438 plus the world famous Tiki Bar. Lots of kids and dogs running amok. http://pugryans.com/about-us/tiki-bar/

Nederland, Colorado
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7. Re: Need to fill a day between Denver and Avon...

Winter Park is a real town. It is separate from the resort area. I haven't been to Park City so I can't compare. Their summer activities are fun but there don't seem to be as many of them and the town itself is not as "charming" and walkable as Breckenridge. You can check their websites and compare for yourself.

Colorado
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8. Re: Need to fill a day between Denver and Avon...

In Summit County pick up the free local paper the Summit Daily News, http://www.summitdaily.com/ you can view the E-Edition a day or 2 before you arrive. There are tons of free events going on all summer. In Frisco kids like the Historic Park & Museum

townoffrisco.com/activities/…

Windsor, Colorado
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9. Re: Need to fill a day between Denver and Avon...

One of the reasons I suggested the Mount Evans Scenic Byway is wildlife. Mountain goats hang around the summit area. You also have a good chance of seeing bighorn sheep. There are two lakes along the route - Echo Lake and Summit Lake plus the Mount Goliath Natural Area with 1000 year old plus bristlecone pines and the Walter Pesman Alpine Garden.

Burleson, Texas
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10. Re: Need to fill a day between Denver and Avon...

Thanks so much for all the great suggestions.

I am definitely going to add the scenic byway to the plan and after doing a bit of research I am almost 90% sure that we'll go check out Breckenridge instead of WinterPark.

The one thing I haven't heard anybody mention is Vail / Avon / BeaverCreek... is there anything to do there? Trails, scenic drives, etc?