Contributors to this thread:
Planning a family vacation to Colorado this spring/summer and looking for recommended attractions. We'll most likely be flying into Denver and exploring the Colorado Springs/Denver/Ft Collins areas. This is a vacation but also a scouting trip for a potential move in the future. Are there any must visit towns, attractions etc. we should put on the schedule? I'll be traveling with my wife and 3 daughters ages 5,7 and 9. I want to make the trip fun as well as sell them on Colorado as a relocation prospect. Thanks,
Depends upon what you and the family like. You may wish to go to Rocky Mtn National Park, which is near Loveland/Ft Collins, to see some elk, deer and perhaps bighorns.
Evergreen, just west of Denver, is worth seeing as well. Near the Springs, I'll suggest a drive in the Black Forest area, which is beautifully wooded.
There's a lot of great dining, depending upon what you like.
You'll definitely want to visit Rocky Mountain National Park if you are spending most of your time on the Front Range. And if you are thinking of the Den/FC/CS area as a possible relocation target, be prepared for sticker shock as compared to IN. The growth here is wild. And with the state becoming bluer and bluer every day, this place is becoming Colofornia. In CO I'd rather be on the west slope but haven't been able to convince my wife yet.
I would run up I 70 as that's the main corridor to the mountains for hunting, skiing, hiking, etc.
Up north hit Estes Park and explore Berthoud and Loveland on the way. Loop back from Estes through Lyons and might as well see Boulder to get a preview of what a lot of the front range is headed for. Beautiful town, whacked world view.
Worth seeing Ft Collins and maybe running up hwy 14 west.
Along the front range, east of I 25 north of Denver you can generally get more house for the money. Parker/Black Forest area SE of Denver is very nice but fairly expensive.
Western slope is nice if you can make a living on that side.
Beautiful state but sliding towards being California politically.
Check out Estes Park too, while you’re in the RMNP area. Estes is beautiful.
Make sure to get out and enjoy the traffic anywhere up and down the front range... pretty rough.
The Buffalo Bill museum and burial site is cool too. It’s on a mountain top overlooking Denver.
Your kids would love Estes Park....walking around the shops and you can do tours/activities. Not a fan of that area as Bow Bullet mentioned. It`s turning into San Fran.
Personally I would never raise my young children there. Going from Indiana to Calirado is a cultural shock. Just the "speed" of life is hard for me to deal with.
Try the Bair Ranch out it’s about 5 mi before getting into glennwood springs off interstate 70, we’ve bow hunted it several times but they offer 4 wheeler/side by side rentals and all sorts of cabin rentals as well a meals. We throughly enjoyed the ranch if you get a chance and think you might swing by give Jim Bair a call and tell him Trey from Kingsport TN sent you lol not sure it will get any cheaper pricing.
Just moved to Black Forest area of CS, from Minnesota. Weather and taxes compared to Mn are great. Overall cost of living I think is better. Housing pretty pricy, but again compared to Mn not bad. Other attractions not mentioned, pikes peak, garden of the gods, and Air Force academy.
Definitely drive Trail Ridge Road through RMNP. Ride the Aerial Tramway up to the summit of Prospect Mountain in Estes Park. If your kids were a little older, I'd highly recommend a whitewater raft ride south of Co Springs. As mentioned, traffic along the front range sucks bad.
When visiting CoSprings, take a nice leisurely hike up the Manitou Incline. ;-) Lots of little shops and restaurants in Manitou Springs as well.
Personally I like the smaller old cattle towns like Yampa and Walden that still have that old West flavor. As far as sites to see...if you don't make the trek to RMNP you may as well not even go...it's GORGEOUS!
Depends on the month if Trail Ridge is open yet. Usually mid-June?
A great route would be to drive is I70 West to Hwy 40 > Granby/Hot Sulphur Springs > take Hwy 125 north to Walden > then Hwy 14 back down Poudre canyon to Ft Collins.
I lived there a couple years... Along with RMNP and Estes Park, check out Garden of the Gods near Colorado Springs... Also a ride to the top of Mount Evans is spectacular, you'll be able to approach Bighorn Sheep, and Rocky Mountain Goats within a few feet of the road...
Also Red Rocks Amphitheater is pretty cool...
so many places......one of my favorite drives is the Black Canyon of the Gunnison....but that is way out of the way from anywhere. Get up in the mountains and drive some passes. Yampa is for sure scenic and pretty classic. Leadville is cool for sure too. Go through the canyon on I-70 and go in Glenwood Springs. Raft through Glenwood Canyon....I have done it a bunch of times.
what cnelk says is a great drive if your time is limited.
Yeah Straight —» Arrow, forgot about Glenwood Canyon...
Also on the other side of RMNP, Grand Lake is a cool little town... Kinda gives the feel of the old west with flat front shops and wood boardwalks... Once watched a cow moose with twin calves eat flowers out of the libraries flower planter, that was pretty cool, then the calves romped around playing in the town square park...
Durango. Take the train ride up to Silverton. It is awesome. Also head over to the Ski resort & do some Alpine sledding. Just taking the lift up is a great view.
If your wife is in to camping and if your kids will want to, spend a night or two in a Yurt in the Colorado State Forest. (www.neversummernordic.com) Several to choose from, with the kids, you may want to choose one that you can drive right up too. All you would need is sleeping bags/ blankets, water and food, the rest is furnished. Michigan Res. lake there to fish on. Plus, you can check out Walden and head over to Steamboat. You can get there from Ft. Collins by going up the Poudre Canyon Hwy (nice drive) and over. Also check out Granby and Grand Lake while on that side.
Garden of the Gods in the Springs is kind of cool.
Also if you get down to Alamosa they usually have Rio Grande Scenic Railroad rides to La Veta. May not be as nice this year since the Spring Fire burned that area last summer.
All these posts have me excited......I'm going to be skiing at Beaver Creek in three weeks......I can't wait. I love the drive up from Denver.....as long as the traffic isn't bad that is...
Yeah, not sure there's much to see in Walden. It's a good base to go to some neat spots around there.
Lots of good hikes near Estes park. Probably see some elk. Not on the hike —-in town.
Leadville has a little train ride that is not too bad. Also, zip lining between Leadville and Climax is fun. Mosquito Pass is great 4wd or over independence pass to aspen is a pretty drive.
Lots of rafting and fishing on the Arkansas or Roaring Fork & Colorado Rivers.
Fairy Caves and hot springs in Glenwood.
The cities on the front range are just an overpopulated, overcrowded mess!
Vail and Aspen and cool towns. Gunnison another neat town not mentioned thus far.
Early spring (April) can be an issue as some mtn passes still closed.
There is a really good, famous BBQ place south of Denver. Locals can probably chime in name of place.
Trail Dust Steak House. Family dining setting. Sawdust on the floor for dancing. If you wear a tie, it will be cut off. :)
If you go to Fort Collins, you have to tour New Belgium Brewery.
We start getting antsy up in the high country around April... Only a couple months of winter left till spring! From when I used to keep the snow records up at Climax, I seem to remember only averaging around 40” of snow for April...
Winter can hang on a long time in the high country. The nicest time up in the hills is July through August. Some of the really high passes (Mosquito) may not open till late July.
Might get a few light dustings in August and figure on some pretty good snows by the end of September up there.
Not sure about any decent BBQ joints in this state, but since I grew up in Texas I’m a bit jaded.
Treeline, you need to try Georgia Boys BBQ in Longmont, I could live just eating their beans.
As someone mentioned the Durango to Silverton train ride is awesome. Looks like you have enough ideas to fill many vacation in Colorado.
Stoneman:----Not to derail the original post but since we're talking places for him to go (BBQ) while there, is Georgia Boys BBQ in Longmont the place that was featured on the TV show Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives w/ Guy Fieri?? If so I want try it too. It looked great.
Straight Arrow, if you head up I-70 at 3 a.m. on a Tuesday the traffic might not be too bad....as long as a semi doesn't tip over...
Have fun at Beaver Creek. They're getting some snow.
Haven't been to Georgia Boys but Nordy's in Loveland is pretty darn good.
BK, I believe so. McCree can pick some up (to go) on his way to Estes.
A good barbeque place is in Marble called Slow Groovin BBQ. Some great 4 wheel drive trails past that. Fun.
It was certainly an awful drive from the ‘boat down to Hell (Denver) this morning...
How bout the narrow gauge train ride from Antonito to Chama, NM? I’ve never ridden it, but had to wait for it to go by to finish driving back into a couple of elk hunting spots years ago.
Few non mainstream ideas....Check out Burro Days in Fairplay (August I think) and watch the Llama race. Or better yet sign up and run it. I ran it once...what a riot! Lots of great music festivals all over the state. Check out the events calendar at Red Rocks. Dinosaur National Monument is cool. Sand Dunes NP is surreal.
We did Steamboat Springs 4th of July 8 years ago and we are going back again this summer. Great 4th of July fire works, rodeo, nearby fishing, chairlift ride, horseback riding and even floated the Colorado river(disappointing). My kids are all older now and training to run Marathon and half marathon while we are there. Looks like they have added some more entertainment and concerts the weekend before. I believe there is a 3d shoot in a nearby town that I am going to look into shooting this time. We are driving up from metro Phoenix area. I highly recommend it.
Definitely hit the park.
It’s a long drive from Denver, but Telluride/Ophir is one of the most stunningly beautiful places in the country.
If you get that far the Durango - Silverton train is really great, takes most of the day but we have done it three times.
I know a place, where the beer flows like wine and beautiful women flock instinctively like the salmon of capastrono! I'm talking about a little place called Asspen!
Having lived here my whole life I would recommend a nice place a little north of here called Wyoming.
Delete that nonsense, kadbow! Move along, move along... Nothing to see there! Just wind and sagebrush!
Kind of crazy hearing about Knothead’s experience in the ‘boat 4th of July. Horrible time for us locals with all the time-rons invading!
Top of the world, take the Cog train up to Pike's Peak near Colorado Springs. You won't regret it.
Take a trip to woodland park from Springs and rent a UTV and go for a trail ride then have lunch or dinner at the Famous Ute Inn.
As far as motels in Springs DONT go by reviews on those discount places like Expedia. We booked at I think it was a Quality Inn on Garden of the Gods Rd. Rooms were dated and terrible. I had to fix the door lock myself to get it to close. Another couple had bugs in their room. But yet it had great reviews.
There is a road right outside Springs that takes you way up the mountain side and overlooks springs at one spot. Tremendous views and seen several Mule Deer. I did it in a rental car but recommend a truck.
Sorry but the Cog train up to Pikes is shut down for multi-year refurbishment. And they are constructing a new visitor center on the top too so things will be kind of a mess up there for some time. You can still drive up the road to Devil's Playground and catch a shuttle bus to the summit.
What CNELK said: "Depends on the month if Trail Ridge is open yet. Usually mid-June? A great route would be to drive is I70 West to Hwy 40 > Granby/Hot Sulphur Springs > take Hwy 125 north to Walden > then Hwy 14 back down Poudre canyon to Ft Collins."
Just breath taking scenery and opportunity galore to see big game animals. Do some fishing while there if in season.
Where I can visit there if I and my wife travel on February 16-19
You could drive through Glenwood Canyon and go to the hot springs in Glenwood Springs. It's kind of interesting if it's snowing at the same time you are sitting in the hot springs.
I second the Poudre canyon drive.
Lovehunt11---If you want to score (no pun intended) some points with your wife, go to Estes Park and stay at the Della Terra. Google it and you can look it over. You can check availability online and look it over on their web site. Very nice place. Rates are lower this time of year.