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Old 06-09-2012, 08:08 AM
 
Location: NW Denver Metro
26 posts, read 46,730 times
Reputation: 28

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My family and I are taking a trip to Colorado next month and will be breaking it up into four parts, each for three nights.

First is Fort Collins, where we hope to visit Rocky Mountain National Park, then take the scenic route (Trail Ridge Parkway) to our next stop, Avon. We are going to mostly just relax here... not much on the itinerary, but any suggestions are welcome.

In Avon, we are hoping to branch out to some of the neighboring areas for day trips and am wondering what is reasonable. Mostly we'll just be taking in scenery (Maroon Bells, Loveland Pass, etc.). My questions here are 1) whether the mountains still have snow on them - being from Central Texas it would be great, and 2) we went to Vail last year and the gondola up to Vail mountain was in service. Is that the case this summer as well, for those familiar with the area?

Next is Silverthorne, and I'm still stuck on lodging. I have a reservation if nothing else comes up, but am interested in recommendations. I'm running a 1/2 marathon in Keystone, and if there is anything closer by that is reasonably priced I might just stay there (preferably at a hotel with a flexible cancellation policy if anything last-minute comes up).

On the last part of our trip, we'll end up in Colorado Springs. My questions here are, is CO Springs close enough to Denver for a day trip to be worth it? I know it’s about 70 miles, but is the traffic manageable? We chose CO Springs since there’s more we want to do there (Pikes Peak, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, Garden of the Gods, Manitou Springs). Finally, we drove up Pikes Peak last summer, but I am interested in going up via the cog railway this year. It seems exorbitantly priced for a family of four, so I’m interested in any firsthand experience, and whether it was worth it. When we were there it seemed the train was packed, which is why we opted to drove up in the first place.

Thanks for any advice and suggestions!
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Old 06-09-2012, 08:48 AM
 
Location: Na'alehu Hawaii/Buena Vista Colorado
5,381 posts, read 11,155,711 times
Reputation: 5819
If you are going to be spending your time in RMNP, why not stay in Estes Park instead of driving back and forth to Fort Collins every day? The YMCA of the Rockies has some very affordable lodging.

Also wondering about your choice to stay in Avon when you will have to be doing major driving each day to get to places like Maroon Bells and Aspen. I suggest looking for lodging in Glenwood Springs area if staying in the Aspen area is too expensive. From Aspen you could go over Independence Pass (Loveland Pass is over by Keystone).

You can drive from Colorado Springs to central Denver in an hour and a half.

Very little snow is left on the mountains now. Sorry, but there won't be any left in July.
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Old 06-09-2012, 09:18 AM
 
Location: Ned CO @ 8300'
2,069 posts, read 4,734,445 times
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I agree with Dreaming...
Ft. Collins is at least an hour drive from RMNP. Avon also seems like an odd choice for what you want to see and do.
The Vail gondola just began weekend operations and will run daily starting June 15. Vail Gondola Schedule | Vail Summer Activities | Lion Square Lodge

There may still be some snow left up at 14,000' but not very much. This wasn't a good snow year and it's been very warm so it is melting fast. We drove Trail Ridge Road a week ago and there was not much left.

I would suggest you check out the Trip Advisor forums for travel info. There's a ton of information there regarding routes and itineraries for just the kind of trip you are planning.
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Old 06-09-2012, 11:35 AM
 
Location: Ned CO @ 8300'
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Yeah, I think you'll still see snow on Loveland Pass. This is the webcam from Loveland ski area: Basin Cam Snapshot* History
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Old 06-10-2012, 08:51 PM
 
9,845 posts, read 21,027,598 times
Reputation: 7707
Quote:
Originally Posted by jcpt1984 View Post
In Avon, we are hoping to branch out to some of the neighboring areas for day trips and am wondering what is reasonable. Mostly we'll just be taking in scenery (Maroon Bells, Loveland Pass, etc.). My questions here are 1) whether the mountains still have snow on them - being from Central Texas it would be great, and 2) we went to Vail last year and the gondola up to Vail mountain was in service. Is that the case this summer as well, for those familiar with the area?

Next is Silverthorne, and I'm still stuck on lodging. I have a reservation if nothing else comes up, but am interested in recommendations. I'm running a 1/2 marathon in Keystone, and if there is anything closer by that is reasonably priced I might just stay there (preferably at a hotel with a flexible cancellation policy if anything last-minute comes up).
Nope, all the snow will be gone by then, especially with the drought this year.

In Avon, there is no point going to Loveland Pass, as Loveland is practically right above Keystone. I'd save that for when you are over there.

Maroon Bells is basically an entire day from Avon, by the time you get over there, up to them and back, so keep that in mind.

The gondola, I thought I heard something about construction this year, but you should be able to find answers on your own here: Official Vail Ski Resort - Vail, Colorado Hotels and Resorts | http://www.vail.com

Keystone has condos out the wazoo, so unless it's July 4th weekend you shouldn't have any trouble at all getting accommodations there.

If you want something close to Avon/Vail, check out Piney River Ranch, Home - Piney River Ranch or 4 Eagle Ranch, 4 Eagle Ranch Outdoor Activities Vail Colorado
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Old 06-10-2012, 09:32 PM
 
Location: On the sunny side of a mountain
3,483 posts, read 8,227,837 times
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They're putting a new gondola into what was the Vista Bahn chair up to mid-vail, but the gondola from Lionshead up to Eagle's Nest is still fully operational.
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Old 06-11-2012, 05:49 AM
 
Location: 80904 West siiiiiide!
2,957 posts, read 7,838,654 times
Reputation: 1781
Cog railway rules, I've done it over 20 times. It's not THAT expensive, what like $40 a person?
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Old 06-11-2012, 08:09 AM
 
Location: Southeastern Colorado
352 posts, read 727,754 times
Reputation: 574
Here are the actual rates for the Cog Railway. Still kind of pricey for a family of four, depending on ages of the children. Looks like there are possibilities for coupons, too. Maybe you can also get coupons at the Colorado Welcome Centers...

Cograil - Rates and Times
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