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Old 07-24-2008, 07:42 AM
 
331 posts, read 1,409,775 times
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Hello mountain folks,
Which of these two would you recommend in terms of seeing and capturing the essence of the Rockies? The timing of this vacation would be around Labor Day weekend. Thanks!
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Old 07-24-2008, 08:39 AM
 
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1 week? Do them both. I think Colorado Springs has more for the tourists - Air Force Academy, Garden of the Gods, Olympic Training Center, Cheyenne Canyon, Manitou Springs, Pikes Peak, Cog Railway, Cave of the Winds, Broadmoor, Seven Falls, Old Colorado City, etc.

Estes Park is more about seeing Rocky Mountain National Park - which is definitely nice. If you go up that way, make sure to stop by Boulder for a few hours.
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Old 07-24-2008, 08:40 AM
 
Location: Colorado
4,308 posts, read 11,773,028 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by outsider1 View Post
Hello mountain folks,
Which of these two would you recommend in terms of seeing and capturing the essence of the Rockies? The timing of this vacation would be around Labor Day weekend. Thanks!
I don't know that COS would capture the "spirit" of the Rockies but there is certainly lots to see and do down there, including the Garden of the Gods, Pikes Peak (a fourteener), Seven Falls, Manitou Springs, etc, etc. Estes Park is right on the edge of the Rocky Mountain National Park so you could get a day or week pass and drive/hike some of the trails (if the roads haven't been snowed in by then) as well as sightsee Estes, drive out along the Peak to Peak Hwy and visit some of the tourists spots along there like Lily Lake, Longs Peak, Nederland and so on.
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Old 07-24-2008, 03:31 PM
 
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Default Natural?

For mountains, Estes Park, CO hands down. It enjoys a gorgeous setting and abuts Rocky Mountain National Park. You cannot get better access to the Park than this, even if there are different trailheads, such as near Allenspark, CO or Grand Lake, CO.

Colorado Springs, CO has a good view of Cheyenne Mountain and the Front Range, and a pleasant setting. But it is on the flat plains at the base of these mountains. As a large city it would obviously have more activities than Estes Park, which is a small town catering to the large number of tourists who frequent the area come summer.

If staying in, or visiting, Colorado Springs a brief side trip to nearby Manitou Springs, CO might be interesting. Not only do the natural springs this town named for remain, but it is a quaint and eclectic place with a distinctly different feel from the much larger town just beyond. In fact if you elect to lodge in this area you might want to consider making Manitou Springs home base.

But if by 'essence' you mean natural beauty you would be hard pressed to do better than Estes Park and RMNP. You surely would, but Trail Ridge Road across the Park to Grand Lake makes for a very memorable drive. It is also the highest continuous road in the lower 48. Peak elevation of this road is 12,183 feet.

By taking such a route you might also easily make a day trip to someplace such as Summit County and enjoy the mountain atmosphere there as well. This county has a number of lovely resort towns, such as Breckenridge, CO. If doing so, you might drive through Winter Park, CO and over Berthoud Pass to join I-70, or opt for the possibly more interesting route through Kremmling, CO.

From Summit County you could easily return to the Front Range via I-70. Certain options could be to take US 6 just past Idaho Springs, CO through the scenic Clear Creek Canyon into Golden, CO, thence north through Boulder, CO on CO 93.

Or just after Idaho Springs take the new diversion road that leads through Central City, CO on CO 119. Central City is an authentic old Victorian mining town, and certainly interesting. Should you care, they also offer casino gambling now, as well as nearby Blackhawk, CO. This scenic route runs north, paralleling the high peaks of the Front Range just to the west, through Nederland, CO and on eventually to Estes Park.

Another option from Summit County could be a long and often picturesque journey to Colorado Springs. CO 9 out of Breckenridge leads over a pass and thence through Fairplay, CO. Hartsel, CO is the junction with US 24, which will eventually lead into Colorado Springs.

If there is any moral in this it is that the location you choose as base camp will flavor all the rest. But Colorado offers so many attractions that you wouldn't be amiss in doing more than a little driving. Even if as far as the San Juan mountains.
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Old 07-24-2008, 03:53 PM
 
Location: The 719
14,489 posts, read 22,337,836 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chilaili View Post
... Estes Park is right on the edge of the Rocky Mountain National Park so you could get a day or week pass and drive/hike some of the trails (if the roads haven't been snowed in by then) as well as sightsee Estes, drive out along the Peak to Peak Hwy and visit some of the tourists spots along there like Lily Lake, Longs Peak, Nederland and so on.
Ditto that (and Idunn) and make sure the Rocky Mountain National Park is even open then and drive from there to Grandy Lake/ Grand Lake (deepest natural lake in Colorado I do believe) area if that's something you have time for.

I'm thinkin' Cave of the Winds and Seven Falls and Broadmoor is a bit touristy. Santa's Workshop is pretty good for kids. I haven't done the Cog Railway yet. I really want to do that sometime. Maybe this winter.

If you drive up Pikes Peak or Mt. Evans, have a full tank just to be safe.
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Old 07-24-2008, 04:57 PM
 
Location: DEN-CO
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CO Springs is more centrally located in the state. Besides there is Cripple Creek, Royal Gorge, Pikes Peak all in the Springs area.
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Old 07-24-2008, 04:59 PM
 
Location: DEN-CO
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Don't stay too long on top of Pikes Peak, the air is really thin and if you're from sea level you will get affected, driving back down could be a problem with a sick driver.
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Old 07-24-2008, 07:39 PM
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
86,876 posts, read 102,269,915 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by outsider1 View Post
Hello mountain folks,
Which of these two would you recommend in terms of seeing and capturing the essence of the Rockies? The timing of this vacation would be around Labor Day weekend. Thanks!
To answer this question, I'd go with Estes, for all the reasons given. If you get a little bored communing with nature or shopping in gift shops, take a side trip to Boulder or even Denver.
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Old 07-24-2008, 07:43 PM
 
Location: florida
23 posts, read 79,564 times
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Having been to all of them, I say.. BOTH!!!...
Every one is uniquely different, but I will say I really enjoyed Estes Park and Boulder the most.
And this is coming from a Floridian that has been to Colorado several times.
You just cannot beat the beauty, no matter where you go.
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Old 07-24-2008, 07:47 PM
 
Location: Summit County (Denver's Toilet)
447 posts, read 1,418,773 times
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While I have never been to COS, I still know that if you want a "TRUE" feeling of the Rockies you should go to Estes Park.......RMNP is truly breathtaking to someone that has never seen the Rocky Mountains, Grand Lake on the opposite side of Estes is a beautiful place (just look past the beetle kill)...........Good luck, have fun, and enjoy 'everything' that Colorado has to offer.
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