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Old 07-10-2012, 04:52 PM
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Eventually going to Estes park.
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Old 07-10-2012, 05:46 PM
Location: Littleton, CO
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Pretty similar area, Grand Lake / Granby is probably cheaper since it's less resorty and there are more options
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Old 07-10-2012, 06:06 PM
Location: Foot of the Rockies
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^^Oh, for Pete's sake, jazz! It sounds like the OP is coming here for the first time. First of all, be a little nicer! Secondly, the itinerary he has planned sounds fine! RMNP is one of the great national parks.
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Old 07-10-2012, 06:33 PM
Location: Bend, OR
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Originally Posted by StealthRabbit;25105784
Winter Park... Look to National Forest info.[/b] I have done a lot of backcountry M/C exploring there. There are lots of commercial activities. I stayed at a Lodge their (Miller's Resort ? circa 1980) It was terrific. We were the only guests and got to choose ANY room and had the lodge / hot-tub under the stars) to ourselves.

BTW:... be prepared for brown forests. Grand Lake is sad (but it is a great area to enjoy and EAT).

Ft Collins... I don't know what you would do here, but folks enjoy Old Town, Brewerys, and Mex food.

Am i better off spending the night in Winter Park of Grand Lake? I'm 25 and want to hang out get some food and grab a beer.

Should I just cut Fort Collins?
I love Fort Collins! I wouldn't cut it, especially if you are young and enjoy good beer. I lived in Fort Collins for 5 years during college and although it's grown and changed a bit, it still has great character. Personally, if you are wanting to cut something from your trip, I'd cut the trip to Winter Park and Grand Lake. Both are pretty, but IMHO, not the best part of Colorado. Although I do think RMNP is crowded, it's definitely worth going to since it will be your first visit. You can have plenty of hiking and mountain scenery in the park without having to drive around the back side.

Again, what is your priority for visiting Colorado? Hiking during the day and staying in hotels/lodges at night, maybe grabbing a few pints, etc. Or are you wanting a back country camping experience?

I love the Salida/Buena Vista area that Jazzlover recommended too. It would make a worthy trip, but then you would probably want to cut most of your plans to N. Colorado. It just depends on what you want to see and do.
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Old 07-10-2012, 07:18 PM
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
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Stick with your plan and include Ft C for beer (having not known your age on OP).

If you have free time... I would do a (full-day) day loop: (From Ft C) up Poudre (14) to Waldon / Encampment, WY, then Saratoga (free hot spring HoBo Pool)

Head East over Snowy Range Snowy Range Scenic Byway Overview, and being to Vedauwoo for sunset / early evening (great place to lay on the rocks (the size of houses) AND enjoy the HEAT + Stars.
vedauwoo - Google Search
Vedauwoo Recreation - Wyoming Travel and Tourism

End the day with a GREAT WY steak in Cheyenne or Laramie.

I Love WY, and is worth the short trip from Ft C.
Snowy Range and Vedauwoo are very unique.

Have a great trip (do Central Colorado via VERY nice Co Springs airport and certainly include Buena Vista area)

Personally I could do without time spent in Denver. Most of what I do there (Museums, eating, entertainment) can be done on a snowy weekend. Use Sept for sightseeing / hiking.

I think you would want to stay in:
Winter Park (maybe... but NOT necessary if you start your days EARLY (do this) ,
Estes, and in
Ft Collins
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Old 07-10-2012, 07:47 PM
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Wink Grand Lake & Winter Park

Grand Lake.

Of course that all depends on your preferences. One can probably secure more modern and all around sumptuous accommodations, for a better relative price (exception being ski season), in Winter Park. Summer is not winter, but there should still be plenty of services available in restaurants, etc.

It is not all that long a drive between Winter Park and Grand Lake, thus insofar as logistics more a matter of individual preference over which closest to Estes Park.

Grand Lake welcomes most of its visitors in summer, and for a reason. It is a fine time to visit, any and all services they have will be open (save maybe snowmobiling), and a fine place to be for all nature lovers. Yes, the mountain pine beetle has not been kind to the areas forests, but neither have they around Winter Park. Yet all in all it is still a lovely area. As with Estes Park, those in lodging and much else live off the location. In just value for the money in hotels, one would be better off in Denver. But that part of the price to enjoy God's country.

You decide. A fine time can be had in either local, if somewhat different in flavor. The drive on across RMNP on Trail Ridge Road is of course superlative.
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Old 07-10-2012, 09:34 PM
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Originally Posted by jazzlover View Post
Well, first, throw the Fodor's book in the trash. Those guidebooks are usually written by idiots to promote the places that some other out-of-state idiot thinks are cool. A better book is "The Colorado Guide, 5th Edition Updated," published in Colorado. It is a few years out-of-date, but offers information on stuff besides just the popular tourist dumps.

If you want to see the "real" Colorado, and not the tourist/cartoon version, avoid I-70 and the big-name resorts like the plague. Also, the quicker and farther you get away from the Denver/Colorado Springs metroplex, the better. Not clear to one end of the state or the other from Denver, the area around Salida/Gunnison offers lots of relatively uncrowded recreation, as does the area around Cañon City/Wet Mountain Valley. Other areas are better, but they would probably be out of the scope of your time frame. And, there are the "secret" places that the locals like me know about--those I don't divulge.
I've been on U.S. 50 a couple hundred times and every time get to Coaldale I remind myself that this is the Colorado I've always liked. The Arkansas River canyon opens up and the sweeping view of the Sangre De Cristo mountain range looking to the southwest from the road- yep, it's right near there is where I get out of the Jeep, snarf up on a sandwich, and enjoy. (and also get out the fly rod and do my thing on the Arkansas river!) And heading up to Gunnison is a nice drive as well, though Monarch pass is a tad narrow in spots, to me it's an easy climb. What does Gunnison offer? Blue Mesa Reservoir and Taylor Park Reservoir.And Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. "Nuff said.

The Wet Mountains doesn't get a lot of mention here but I'm glad Jazz brought it up. VERY nice drive when you get off the state highway at Florence and circle around to Westcliffe, coming back up to hwy. 50 at Texas Creek.
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Old 07-11-2012, 08:32 AM
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Default Northern Colorado...

I am planning on taking a trip out of Denver up through Winter Park, Grand Lake and Estes park during the first week of September.

Will I be disappointed due to the awful fires? If so, am I better off going somewhere else.

I have never been to this area and have always wanted to take that trip.

Advice please?
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Old 07-11-2012, 09:24 AM
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RMNP is one of the great National Parks, IF you get away from the roads and crowds, which it sounds like the OP will not have time to do. Otherwise, it's just a scenic place overrun with tourists. The little secret is that there are plenty of places in Colorado equally if not more scenic that are not complete zoos in the summer and early fall. I happen to like downtown Fort Collins, too, but it is nothing really unique--a older nice downtown surrounded by suburbia. Poudre Canyon is a great drive, but, hey, there just was a big fire up there, and it can be way crowded on a weekend. Winter Park and Grand Lake used to be very pretty, but hundreds of thousands of dead and dying lodgepole pines have a way dimming that.

Now, if the OP, now knowing all that, still wants to go there (and spend a bunch of money doing it), that's his or her business. If he or she is looking for validation of that decision, though, he or she won't get it from me. I suggested some alternatives.

Maybe I should just be quiet. If the OP or anyone else wants to follow the herd and go to the same overrun places, that's all for the good for the rest of we locals who know better. We have our places more to ourselves. I stand by the oft-repeated saying of many Colorado locals, "If the place has been featured in some national publication, it's probably already been wrecked."
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Old 07-11-2012, 09:48 AM
Location: Foot of the Rockies
85,119 posts, read 99,277,101 times
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The OP has five days once arriving in Denver. He wants to see as much as possible. One can easily get away from the crowds in RMNP, or any NP, just by going a little ways off the beaten path. This is even true in Yellowstone. Back on topic, the OP seems to have a desire to see Boulder and Ft. Collins as well. I think he planned his trip just fine.
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