We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Need help planning summer Colorado trip with family

Westfield, New...
Level Contributor
27 posts
Save Topic
Need help planning summer Colorado trip with family

We plan to go to Colorado for 10 days in August with my 11yo children. Fly in/out of Denver - besides seeing a Colorado Rockies baseball game our itinerary is wide open - I would like to go to Durango/Mesa Verde/Ouray -- but other than that - looking for ideas. My husband does not just want to be driving for 10 days so I need some help figuring this out.

Any recommendations on where to go??

Charleston, South...
Destination Expert
for Charleston, South Carolina, Telluride
Level Contributor
11,594 posts
42 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Need help planning summer Colorado trip with family

Durango is over 8-9 hours away from Denver. You could either stick to areas closer to Denver, so that you don't do much driving or you could drive to SW Colorado right away, spend your time in that area and then head back to Denver to leave. For a third option make a big driving loop, but of course that involves much more driving. Are you definitely flying in & out of Denver? If you want to concentrate your time around Durango/Mesa Verde/Ouray you could consider flying in and out of Durango, Montrose or even Grand Junction.

Fruita, Colorado
Destination Expert
for Fruita, Grand Junction
Level Contributor
6,680 posts
234 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Need help planning summer Colorado trip with family

In the top right hand column of this page is an area that holds so much information I'm surprised the page doesn't explode. It's the Top questions about CO. Click on the "What to do in CO" line and it will open a ton of informational links that will give you lots to think about. The best is the state's tourism website www.colorado.com - it's very interactive and has lots of hot deals.

Welcome to TripAdvisor. Once you get some ideas and can give us some info as to your budget, interests, how far you can travel each day, etc. we'll be glad to fill in some gaps for you.

Edited: 07 May 2012, 00:07
Destination Expert
for Colorado
Level Contributor
10,633 posts
166 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Need help planning summer Colorado trip with family

Since you know you want to see a Rockies game and you know you want to go to Mesa Verde/Durango/Ouray, you've got a great start on an itinerary. You just have to fill in whether to see the game when you arrive or right before you depart, so you'll have to get your dates firmed up and take a look at the Rockies schedule. I don't know if you'll have any trouble getting tickets for certain games...maybe someone else will know.

As noted, it will take pretty much a full day of driving to get to SW Colorado, and the same to get back. Some people find it is better to break up the trip with an overnight stay along the way. Once you get to SW Colorado, you'll be doing some shorter drives to get to the places you want to see. It actually works out to less driving to stay a night or two in each place because you aren't backtracking, but if your husband wants a home base once you reach SW Colorado, Durango would be the best choice because you can reach Mesa Verde and Ouray as day trips. I prefer the scenery and character of the villages of Telluride and Ouray, but Durango is also very nice and works better as a "home base" for many visitors.

So...2 nights in Denver, two nights in Ouray with a stop at the Black Canyon (a favorite of my kids/grandkids--makes their tummies tingle and they like the short hikes to overlooks), a night at Mesa Verde, two nights at Durango and another night in Denver or Colorado Springs before you depart. That gives you one or two "flex" nights if you want to stay in another location on your way to SW Colorado or back to Denver, or add a day in Durango or Ouray.

Level Contributor
281 posts
26 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Need help planning summer Colorado trip with family

We did this trip as a loop Denver-Crested Butte-Durango-Ouray-Glenwood Springs-Denver, with a min. 2 days at each spot, except for GS, where we stayed just one night, then had a short drive to Denver the next day.

From Durango we did a day trip to Mesa Verde and had another day for the train ride. The hot spring pools in both Ouray and Glenwood Springs are fun for the kids (Glenwood Springs pool has large slides). We enjoyed CB for the scenery and hiking and fun mountain town. There's no getting around the driving, but some of it is very special.

Columbia, Maryland
Level Contributor
1,816 posts
14 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Need help planning summer Colorado trip with family

Fly into Denver. Make the drive part of the adventure - trust me, it will be worth it. I see you are from Jersey. If you've never been out west, you have not seen anything like the scenery out there. The drives will be fascinating and not seem long at all because of what you are seeing. It is not like driving in the east. There is not much traffic and 2 lane highways are 65mph. But do be aware that CO is a big state and distances between places are longer than they seem on a map.

In June 2010 we did a SW road trip with half of it in CO. We went to Durango and on the way back took in a Rockies game (that's the way the schedule worked out). Break up the trip to Durango into 2 days. Buena Vista is a nice stopping place. You can take a drive up Cottonwood Pass and take in that view. If you take I70 west out of Denver or east into Denver, take US 6 over Loveland Pass instead of going through Eisenhower Tunnel.

Base for several days in Durango. Get a condo or cabin instead of a motel. Do a google search for Durango condos and cabins. Many will show up under VRBO and Homeaway. One condo that has its owns site is Ferringway. It sits above Durango and many of the condos have nice mountain views. We stayed there on our trip.

Mesa Verde is an easy day trip out of Durango. You can easily do a complete tour of one of the mesas and take a ranger guided tour in one day. In my opinion, if you are staying in Durango, you don't need to stay overnight at Mesa Verde.

Take the Durango Siverton train. http://www.durangotrain.com/

Take a jeep tour into the mountains above Silverton. THere are several outfits that do that. Google Durango jeep tours.

There is a train/jeep combo that can be done. See the Durango Silverton RR site.

Go to the Melodrama Theater in Durango. http://durangomelodrama.com/

Go to the BAR D Chuckwagon Supper in Durango. http://www.bardchuckwagon.com/

Trust me, you won't be able to do it all, but what you do get to do will make a great family memory. We did not get to do all we wanted, but we didn't regret what we did get to do and see.

Other places to consider:

Rocky Mountain National Park Trail Ridge Road

Peak to Peak Highway

Pikes Peak and the Pikes Peak Cog Railway

Great Sand Dunes National Monument

Colorado National Monument

OMG- I want to go back and see the things we didn't on the last trip.

Pick your places, pick your times, plan a route, and enjoy! Remeber - the drive is part of this adventure, not like in the east where the drive is just to get you to your destination.

6. Re: Need help planning summer Colorado trip with family

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 22 June 2013, 19:42