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Old 08-07-2008, 08:19 PM
Location: Clemson South Carolina
58 posts, read 129,916 times
Reputation: 54


Hey everyone. I am flying out to Colorado this Sunday to visit a friend from school. She is doing an internship and will be driving back to upstate South Carolina and I told her I'd accompany her on the trip back, in exchange for being my host while in Colorado.

She's pretty new to the state too, so she might not know all the cool spots. I'm looking for some advice so we can best use the time on our trip to see all the great wonders that Colorado has to offer. Basically looking for What We absoultely have to see, what we can skip, etc.

What we are working with:
The dates are Sunday Aug 10 through Sunday Aug 17. Its a long 2 day drive back to SC so we need to leave on the 17th, since classes start the 20th.

I'm flying into Denver Sunday afternoon and we are staying there for two nights. We plan on spending Sunday to finalize our entire trip and then on monday experiencing everything one can possibly see of Denver throughout an entire day.

After Denver On Tuesday the 12th, we are driving to Ft. Collins to visit Colorado State University. I have a couple meetings and interviews with some professors for grad school from 11am-2pm, and after that we are free.

Basically after that, we really haven't put much though into the trip. I know I want to see rocky mtn national park, pikes peak, Black Canyon (since we wont have time to drive to Grand Canyon. Well, we would, but it would cut out much of colorado.). Mesa verde would be neat too I think, as I like nerdy history/archaeology type stuff.

Anyways, help us out! Let us know what you would skip, what you would see, maybe suggest a good route for a 7 day road trip in Colorado!
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Old 08-07-2008, 09:50 PM
Location: Summit County (Denver's Toilet)
447 posts, read 1,422,336 times
Reputation: 219
Hey, I just moved to Colorado from Easley, SC back in February
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Old 08-07-2008, 10:15 PM
2,253 posts, read 6,046,479 times
Reputation: 2623
Wink A brief excursion

From CSU in Ft. Collins, CO you might take College Ave. south to intersect Harmony, thence west on Harmony to Masonville, CO. This will take you past Horsetooth reservoir. At Masonville turn south (left) on CO 27 to intersect US 34 after several miles. Continuing west on US 34 will take you through the very scenic Big Thompson river canyon to Estes Park, CO.

That late in the day you might as well stay the night in Estes Park; you'll have your choice of lodging and restaurants. That time of year some will be booked unless you have reservations. Doing this will allow you to take your time and enjoy the drive on Trail Ridge Road across Rocky Mountain National Park. A great drive.

On the far side, at Grandby, CO, you could continue west through Kremmling, CO, or veer south through Winter Park, CO, over Berthoud Pass to meet I-70. This may prove more interesting, and a lovely drive. In continuing west on I-70 you might pass through Eisenhower Tunnel, or just before it take the more interesting old Loveland Pass road that will take you past Arapahoe Basin Ski Area and then Keystone Resort. Either way you end up in Summit County.

Probably a good place for another night's stay. Take your pick: among the options would be Dillon, CO, Frisco, CO and Breckenridge, CO. Even if you do not stay there, Breckenridge would be nice to visit.

Continuing on, you could depart I-70 at the Copper Mountain Ski Area to drive through Leadville, CO. South of there you could take CO 82 west through the charming, and small, town of Twin Lakes, CO, thence over the beautiful Independence Pass into Aspen, CO on the far side.

You might stay in Aspen or press on, continuing on CO 82 to meet CO 133 at Carbondale, CO. A lovely drive that will take you past Redstone, CO and over a slight pass. Just before reaching Somerset, CO you might veer southeast on a good dirt road that crosses Kebler Pass into Crested Butte, CO. A lovely drive any decent car can easily accomplish.

From there you can swing south to meet US 50 at Gunnison, CO. Shoot on over to Montrose, CO, thence south on US 550 to Ridgeway, CO, then on CO 62 on over to Placerville, CO and find your way to Telluride, CO.

From Telluride you can whip down CO 145 through Rico, CO and start going native by finding your way to Canyons of the Ancients National Monument (Hovenweep National Monument). Even if the better part of this monument is in Colorado, the formal entrance is in Utah, so get out the maps and probably swing around through Dove Creek, CO.

Coming out the far side (as it were) you might pass through Aneth, UT on your way to US 160 and up through Cortez, CO to find Mesa Verde National Park. And when there be sure and climb down into one of the ancient kivas. Wooden ladder into the earth.

Now that you're primed, over to Durango, CO to turn north on US 550 through some fantastic scenery and the scenic towns of Silverton, CO and Ouray, CO. Who knows whether it is night or day by now, but Ouray would be a lovely place to spend the night. Play your cards right and your lodging will have its own natural hot spring fed hot tub.

You could retrace your steps, but press on in driving north, back through Montrose to head east on US 50. On the far side of the Blue Mesa reservoir you could take CO 149 south through Lake City, CO to Creede, CO. Both somewhat interesting, but the drive alone nice.

And since you're already one step ahead now, and already through South Fork, CO, and along the Rio Grande river, you may make your way to the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve. And since you're in the neighborhood, perhaps an enlightening night in Crestone, CO.

Maybe you've already missed your flight by now. But a number of options in reaching Colorado Springs, CO and Pikes Peak. Once there an easy side trip to Manitou Springs could be educational. Or fun. Or just weird. Or what you make it. While there be sure and sample some of the natural water.

This assuming you haven't found yourself south of the border in Taos, NM or Santa Fe, NM. And if there you probably have missed your plane, and likely will end up in the Grand Canyon.
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Old 08-07-2008, 10:19 PM
Location: Summit County (Denver's Toilet)
447 posts, read 1,422,336 times
Reputation: 219
nice....Idunn, I haven't gotten the chance to see even a 1/4 of those yet
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Old 08-07-2008, 11:17 PM
Location: Clemson South Carolina
58 posts, read 129,916 times
Reputation: 54
Holy crap what a great post. I can't thank you enough. So many choices, so little time... I will certainly talk this over with my friend on Sunday and we will determine what we want to see/not see.

If i like the state enough I'm sure I will try my best to get back out there for grad school.

I will be taking my camera with me so expect a nice photo write-up post!
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Old 08-08-2008, 05:39 PM
Location: most beautiful place ever
1,836 posts, read 3,578,568 times
Reputation: 1432
i've done a few road trips thru colorado myself. Great Sand Dunes NP is awesome, some people may just see a big pile of sand but i totally love it. Ive been to Black Canyon ofthe Gunnison, i think you mentioned that. did a great hike there, too. And Mesa Verde is nice, try to do one of the guided hikes, you'll learn a lot more that way. Personally I think anywhere in Co is beautiful!
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Old 08-08-2008, 07:01 PM
Location: cincinnati northern, ky
835 posts, read 2,614,682 times
Reputation: 180
grad school huh?? lol i am just tryin to get my bachelors now
i am gonna be a sophmore after this semester and am bitchin my parents to death for the out of state tuition, if i keep my current gpa though i may get a small discount, out of state hurts [mod cut]

Last edited by katzenfreund; 08-09-2008 at 08:44 AM.. Reason: inappropriate
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Old 08-08-2008, 07:04 PM
Location: cincinnati northern, ky
835 posts, read 2,614,682 times
Reputation: 180
everyone says co isnt going anywhere but that isnt helping AT ALL
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