Colorado National Parks - family vacation

buckbull

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Jun 20, 2011
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We are in the initial planning of a summer family vacation that we plan on visiting all 4 national parks in Colorado. Plan on flying into Denver and starting with Rocky Mountain National park staying in maybe Boulder, Estes Park etc...Then we will head to the southeast to see Black Canyon and Mesa Verde probably stay in either Telluride, Gunnison, or Durango. We will finish the trip at the Great Sand Dunes. We have 9 days planned.

Kids want to do a rafting trip. We have zero experience and not looking for anything crazy but nothing lame. Looking for suggestions.

We also are interested in SXS or jeep tours that are decent.
 

JimP

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Mar 28, 2016
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Gypsum, Co
What time of year?

If this covid thing gets handled the rafting companies will open back up but until then it is a day to day type of thing. There are rafting companies that work out of a number of towns. Glenwood Springs has a number of them that have half day trips on the Colorado, then there is the Arkansas and of course the companies that will raft you through the Black Canyon of the Gunnison. Tamer rides can be found on the Animas River out of Durango.

But like I said right now everything is still up in the air.
 
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buckbull

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Jun 20, 2011
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Mid to late July timeframe. I can't remember the exact dates. We have went back and forth due to some of the kids highschool sports running into the summer months that they are typically off school.
 

Colorado Cowboy

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Jun 8, 2011
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Dolores, Colorado
You mentioned Durango & Telluride. I recommend taking the "Million Dollar Hwy" tour. Durango Mancos, Cortez, Dolores, Rico, Telluride, Ouray, Silverton and back to Durango. Some really great scenery. An all day trip for sure. You could also rent a jeep in Silverton and take the Engineer and Cinnamon Pass loop.

If you get to Durango and visit Mesa Verde, let me know and I'll fix you lunch at my place. I can see Mesa Verde from my deck.
 

taskswap

Very Active Member
Jul 9, 2018
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Colorado
When going through RMNP a lesser known but very cool thing to do is drive up Old Fall River Road. It's poorly marked in Google maps - set your GPS for 40.4054, -105.6252. It's marked as an unimproved road but it's easily passable in most passenger cars. It goes by a lot of the major attractions like the Alluvial Fan, Chasm Falls, etc. (pay attention for all the turnouts - if they're packed, there's a reason). Before your trip, Guide to Old Fall River Road https://rmconservancy.org/product/guide-old-fall-river-road/ is $2 well spent. They usually have printout summaries in a small stand before the start of the road but they run out fast. It tells you the mile markers where you can look for cool things, plus the road's history. Then you end up at the Alpine Visitor's Center (which you probably want to see anyway) and you can take the regular road back. (Note: this is a one way road! You must start at the bottom where that marker is.)

Also for RMNP get the RMNP Afield mobile app for your phone. It works offline and has all the attractions in the park mapped out with background info on them. Cell service is very poor/nonexistent in most of the Park.

If you spend any time in Boulder, in addition to farting around in town, drive up Flagstaff Road a ways. You'll not only see some cool scenery (best views of the Flatirons) you can also stop at Realization Point for a cool 1-hour stroll around with some nice views of the valley. If you time it so you come down just as the sun is setting, Boulder's lights are spectacular.

On the way INTO Boulder don't miss the scenic overlook on Rte 36 at 39.96784, -105.186282. It's a quick easy stop off the road with a view of all of Boulder and the Flatirons. Great photo op.

I'll let others comment on the other spots.
 

BKC

Very Active Member
Feb 15, 2012
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The high plains of Colorado
Take the free ski lift in Telluride to the top of the mountain, a good cheap form of entertainment. Go to Colorado gators, close to the little town of Hooper, on your way to the sand dunes. Its a little red neck but the kids will enjoy it. The Delores river, Durango to Utah has some good rafting. Enjoy yourselves.
 
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AKaviator

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Jul 26, 2012
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We are in the initial planning of a summer family vacation that we plan on visiting all 4 national parks in Colorado. Plan on flying into Denver and starting with Rocky Mountain National park staying in maybe Boulder, Estes Park etc...Then we will head to the southeast to see Black Canyon and Mesa Verde probably stay in either Telluride, Gunnison, or Durango. We will finish the trip at the Great Sand Dunes. We have 9 days planned.

Kids want to do a rafting trip. We have zero experience and not looking for anything crazy but nothing lame. Looking for suggestions.

We also are interested in SXS or jeep tours that are decent.
I don't have much experience down there but for the Jeep tours...A couple hours drive to the S.W. of Grand Junction is Moab Utah. My son has done Jeep touring there and really enjoyed it. It might be worth a look.
 

Sagini

New Member
Feb 20, 2021
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Fargo
I have been there and the scenic views you get are incredible. Highly recommend it. I definitely love this kind of walks and it reminds me of the hikes we had in the mountains of Greece when we visited Olympus and the house of Gods. It was a truly iconic trip organized by enjoygreecetours.com who were going above and beyond to make sure we grasped entirely the meaning of such a great place. It's interesting how proud Greeks are about their history and culture and their passion to teach others about that.
 
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taskswap

Very Active Member
Jul 9, 2018
515
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Colorado
Yeah, the liberal media was talking bad about her tonight... good for her!!
It's because she tweeted (this is a literal quote) "Protecting and defending the Constitution doesn’t mean trying to rewrite the parts you don’t like." Which is amusing because a) the Constitution was absolutely designed for The People to be able to rewrite the parts they don't like, b) the Second Amendment she's supposedly hot about is LITERALLY this EXACT process, and c) the original text of the Constitution would not even have allowed her to vote or hold office - the 15th Amendment did that.

"Good for her" is kind of a stretch, this isn't really a time to be proud of her... She does, says, and tweets all kinds of things that make Coloradans who support her look foolish. I'm sure this is an unpopular opinion in this group but to me she's embarrassing.
 

taskswap

Very Active Member
Jul 9, 2018
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Colorado
That and this epic stunt of a backdrop on a recent zoom call she was on:

33839

Which is just about the most irresponsible and useless gun storage idea ever. She insists it wasn't storage, they were "ready for use". To me that means she had loaded firearms just leaning on each other where just trying to pick one up could knock the others off the shelf. You cannot tell me this wasn't a stunt. And I for one don't appreciate stunts with firearms.