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Old 04-02-2012, 10:31 PM
 
Location: Toronto
194 posts, read 135,664 times
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Default Best CO Road Trips

We're not even there yet, but i'm already planning the vacations I want to take!

I have zee Wanderlust.

We just got back from Europe, and my FAVOURITE thing was hopping in the car and seeing a different country/city/region at least once a month. Or we would take the train, but the american system seems...like a headache. Expensive and few connections.

I want to recreate this in Colorado. Where are the BEST (most beautiful, most fun, most romantic, most entertaining - any criteria) cities to visit within driving distance of the Springs? (let's cap it at 5 hours, and ideally less than 3.5)

I have heard lovely things about Aspen, Vail, Ouray, Fort Collins, & Durango. Net searches produce mainly biased opinions from the cities themselves. I'd love some opinions.

Also, if there are places to avoid at certain times of the year, that'd be great to know. Is Colorado a big hotspot for Christmas vacationing? I'm more than willing to travel off season if it means a price reduction.
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Old 04-03-2012, 01:30 AM
 
Location: The Sonoran Desert
3,178 posts, read 2,672,857 times
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I'd start with a road trip to Breckenridge. My husband and I would take an extended (4 day weekend type trip) to places other than CO. We went to Taos, NM and stayed at the Sagebrush Inn; Santa Fe; then back in CO; Breckenridge; Frisco; Dillon; we drove out east to Granada for Camp Amache; Ouray; Telluride; Vail; Aspen; Glenwood Springs Hot Springs; Grand Canyon of the Gunnison; and for longer trips, Steamboat; then south toward NM to Ft. Garland; and in Alamosa, the Aligator Farm; Buena Vista; Salida; and so many more places. This is how we spent each of our Wedding Anniversaries---taking a road trip without the kids!! Probably my favorite was to Coors Field for 3 Rockies games, seeing players in Mortons afterwards; shopping in LoDo and seeing a play; the zoo, and just having fun for a week. There's so much to do.....
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Old 04-03-2012, 06:11 AM
 
2,173 posts, read 2,663,250 times
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It depends what you like. My family likes road trips to have something in them like a history museum, etc. So a place like Leadville with the mining history makes a good road trip for us. Over Spring break we went out east to the Sand Creek National Monument and Granada for Camp Amache (free, not much to see, very different terrain than mountains). Depending on where you are starting, you can do a road trip south to NM to see the volcanos and ruins - that was a fun one. If you want some physical activity, you can go down to La Junta and then bike into Picketwire and Vogel canyons to see the dinosaur tracks and homesteader ruins there. TONS of places to go in the mountains for Geology - even Cripple Creek/Victor, or Idaho Springs, South Park, etc.
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Old 04-03-2012, 06:28 AM
 
Location: Lehigh Valley, PA
2,296 posts, read 1,448,280 times
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Why not do something completely different?
Colorado is as much plains and prairie as it is mountains.
Start in Denver and drive northeast on I-76 to Sterling.
This and I -70 east to the state line is known as the Colorado outback.
Are you prepared for altitude sickness starting in Denver?
It will become quite apparent the the higher in altitude you get.
Headaches, fatigue and frequently nausea will be your traveling companions for a few days.

I was living in Denver for close to twenty years and grew up from age twelve in Sterling.

When I would drive from Denver to Leadville for example I being a resident of Denver was even short of breath and dealing with a slight headache for a couple of hours after we got there.

Enjoy but also be aware and be careful.
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Old 04-03-2012, 07:37 AM
 
Location: Colorado Springs, CO
489 posts, read 856,551 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by otowi View Post
It depends what you like.
Exactly.

Outdoorsy stuff? Try white water rafting either through Glenwood Canyon or Royal Gorge. Hiking almost anywhere, from in town to up in the mountains. Hunting? Fishing? Can't be beat.

Wintry stuff? Of course, skiing is obvious, but there are snow-shoeing opportunities in a lot of places, or maybe snowmobiling up around Steamboat.

Historical stuff? Mesa Verde, Hovenweep, Canyon of the Ancients.

Splendor? Arches National Park, Rocky Mountain National Park, Canyonlands National Park, Sand Dunes National Park.

Relaxation? Hot springs at Glenwood, Mt Princeton, Pagosa.

Our options are almost limitless. Enjoy.
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Old 04-03-2012, 07:40 AM
 
Location: Black Forest, CO
691 posts, read 682,045 times
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You will need to take a trip to see Bishop Castle.
The craziest castle in Colorado: Bishop's vision is a work in progress
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Old 04-03-2012, 08:15 AM
 
Location: Southeastern Colorado
308 posts, read 296,378 times
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To follow up on suggestions by otowi and julian17033, don't forget the plains and prairies:

Come on south to Trinidad. Visit the A.R. Mitchell Museum of Western Art, the Baca-Bloom Mansion and Colorado History Museum. Then head east on 160 for gorgeous scenery of the grasslands. Keep going East to Comanche National Grassland for birding or Jurassic or Santa Fe Trail History. OR, turn south on 389 through Branson, through TollGate Canyon (Paying tolls is a thing of the past!) and then over the border to Folsom, NM,and stop in at the Folsom Museum. Then on to Capulin Volcano National Monument where you can drive up a (no longer active!) volcano and hike the rim or walk down into the crater.

From there you can make your way to Taos or Santa Fe, NM, and see why SF is called "The City Different" and NM is called "The Land of Enchantment." I know you didn't ask about New Mexico, but it's so close and so gorgeous and so, well, enchanting! If the mapmaker had bumped his arm ever so slightly, some of us SE Coloradans would be living "south of the border."
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Old 04-03-2012, 12:24 PM
 
Location: Toronto
194 posts, read 135,664 times
Reputation: 127
I didn't even realize how many options we have. And I was worried being in the states might be boring!

As far as 'what we like' - absolutely everything mentioned seems great. There is a time for a romantic trip, and a time for something more active, or educational (love art & history). I'm stoked about snowmobiling & all the winter fun. I'm from Canada, while hubby is from San Diego/Maui. Seems we'll be in my territory for the time being.

One activity I haven't seen mentioned is paragliding. Are there any recommended spots to do this in CO? I bet it'd be an amazing view.


As for Santa Fe/NM in general, I hadn't considered visiting there...but I was also fairly ignorant as to how cool it is. Our initial drive to COS is from Texas, so we might just hit a couple of the NM cities mentioned on our way. Seems more exciting than staying in Lubbock.

I loved all suggestions & hope they keep coming...i'm furiously google-mapping everything as we speak.
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Old 04-03-2012, 12:47 PM
 
Location: Southeastern Colorado
308 posts, read 296,378 times
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Hoping not to get my hand slapped for talking about NM on the Colorado thread , but...

Santa Fe is pricey, esp. if you want to be within walking distance of the historic plaza, the railyard district, Farmer's Market, etc., which makes life oh-so-much easier. The Sage Inn is a kind of no-fuss, high-value lodging option, right next door to Whole Foods. A room on New Year's Eve weekend went for $59, but rates are climbing and will be up to $148 in summer high season.

My tiny town is equidistance from Trinidad, CO, and Raton, NM, so we're pretty "bi" around here as far as neighboring states are concerned. In fact, we feel more akin to NE NM than we do to the Front Range cities or the ski resort areas in CO...
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Old 04-03-2012, 06:51 PM
 
Location: Western Colorado
5,158 posts, read 3,919,435 times
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This:

Alpine Loop Home Page

This:

http://www.colorado.com/articles/col...an-juan-skyway
San Juan Skyway - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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