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Posted: 1/22/2013 6:43:01 AM EDT
Hey, everybody

I'm putting together a plan for my family's 3-week vacation in Colorado this summer and would appreciate any ideas. Our intent is to drive out with our travel trailer and do a north-to-south exploration of CO, starting in Steamboat Springs.

I already have the kids signed up for a 5-day outdoor camp in Boulder, but would appreciate other cool things to see/do. My kids will be 5 and 8, and we have a German Shorthair...so outdoorsy things would fit the bill. Tours < 3 hrs (for the sake of the dog's bladder) would also work.

I remember Dinosaur National Monument being cool when I was a kid...is it still worth a visit?

Thanks, everybody!

Brian
Link Posted: 1/22/2013 7:09:34 AM EDT
54 peaks 14,000' or higher. Pick a nice day and an easier peak and enjoy the views and accomplishment. Pretty cheap entertainment. Memories for a lifetime.
Link Posted: 1/22/2013 7:18:52 AM EDT
Rent a jeep, buy forestry trail map.

I know Salida has the jeeps and a forestry office.
Link Posted: 1/22/2013 7:23:52 AM EDT
I'm not sure what kind of things you guys are into but, I had a blast the few days I spent in Colorado Springs.

Pikes Peak and Garden of the Gods (I think that's what it was) was a great time.
Link Posted: 1/22/2013 7:25:58 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/22/2013 7:26:16 AM EDT by Subnet]
Celebrate their recent legislative victory and buy an ounce of the sticky icky?
Link Posted: 1/22/2013 7:26:57 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Subnet:
Celebrate their legislative victory and buy an ounce of the sticky icky?


I already told my wife that she'd be free to enjoy some if she wanted. Me, on the other hand...not so lucky. My current employer frowns upon that kinda stuff.

Link Posted: 1/22/2013 7:27:22 AM EDT
Great sand dunes is definitely worth the stop. The kids would probably like cave of the winds (it's near some neat Indian cliff dwellings as well) and you could visit pikes peak and garden of the Gods at the same time.
Link Posted: 1/22/2013 7:28:00 AM EDT
Hanging lake in Glenwood canyon.
Link Posted: 1/22/2013 7:28:59 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Squatch:
Originally Posted By Subnet:
Celebrate their legislative victory and buy an ounce of the sticky icky?


I already told my wife that she'd be free to enjoy some if she wanted. Me, on the other hand...not so lucky. My current employer frowns upon that kinda stuff.


Retail shops for people who are not medical marijuana patients won't be open until sometime in 2014 at the earliest.

Link Posted: 1/22/2013 7:30:29 AM EDT
Buena Vista is also a nice little town in the middle of a bunch of 14ers. Great place to hike, fish, raft, 4-wheel (jeep rentals there), and just enjoy some of the beauty Colorado has to offer.
Link Posted: 1/22/2013 7:31:04 AM EDT
Tube the yampa river for an afternoon, should be able to bring the dog with you.
Link Posted: 1/22/2013 7:31:05 AM EDT
Dude, theres just about anything you would want to do here. What sort of things are you and the missus into? Outdoors? Museums? Food?
Link Posted: 1/22/2013 7:31:12 AM EDT
White water rafting on the Arkansas River. This was one of my son's favorite activities when he was a kid.

The Royal Gorge Section is my personal favorite.
Link Posted: 1/22/2013 7:31:46 AM EDT
Hot springs are all over the state. Enjoy a filet at Quincy's Steakhouse in scenic Buena Vista. Check out Red Rocks amphitheater in Morrison. McGuckin Hardware in Boulder. Big City Burritos in Boulder or Ft. Collins.

You can also do a Magpul factory tour. Just tell them Jon sent you...

jonblack
Link Posted: 1/22/2013 7:32:14 AM EDT
A trip through Ouray, Silverton and into Durango via the Million Dollar Highway is a great way to spend a day or two. There are river rafting guides and a nice old steam powered train you can take if you wish. Plenty of scenic stops and ghost town ventures as well.
Link Posted: 1/22/2013 7:34:50 AM EDT
Originally Posted By KineKilla:
A trip through Ouray, Silverton and into Durango via the Million Dollar Highway is a great way to spend a day or two. There are river rafting guides and a nice old steam powered train you can take if you wish. Plenty of scenic stops and ghost town ventures as well.


We did the Cumbres Toltec train from Chama, NM a few years ago. The kids loved that.

Durango is definitely someplace I'd like to look at as a potential retirement locale.
Link Posted: 1/22/2013 7:38:17 AM EDT
Hanging Lake is really cool. Drive to the top of Pike's Peak. Check out the Royal Gorge Bridge. Man, there is so much you can do while you're here.

If you get to the Springs, I'm sure that there's a few of us who could get together for a beer.
Link Posted: 1/22/2013 7:42:01 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Squatch:
Originally Posted By KineKilla:
A trip through Ouray, Silverton and into Durango via the Million Dollar Highway is a great way to spend a day or two. There are river rafting guides and a nice old steam powered train you can take if you wish. Plenty of scenic stops and ghost town ventures as well.


We did the Cumbres Toltec train from Chama, NM a few years ago. The kids loved that.

Durango is definitely someplace I'd like to look at as a potential retirement locale.



We spent a week in the Durango area a couple years ago. If you don't do anything else, rent a jeep in Silverton and spend a day on the alpine trails. We spent an entire day in the jeep only stopping a few times and only drove 57 miles Another fun thing is to take the narrow guage train from Durango to Silverton and back. You get to see some views that you otherwise wouldn't get to see. Lots of other touristy stuff in Durango as well.


ETA....If you do decide to rent a jeep, be sure you make reservations in advance.


Link Posted: 1/22/2013 7:46:40 AM EDT
Durango - Silverton train ride
White water rafting
Drive up Pikes Peak
If you have older boys you can rent downhill mountain bikes at some of the ski slopes.
Link Posted: 1/22/2013 7:48:29 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/22/2013 7:48:44 AM EDT by Foxtrot08]
Rent a jeep or a decent 4x4 truck.


- Black canyon national monument. Pretty cool place. Watch that first step, it's a long one.

- Visit the Black Mesa / West elk wilderness area. You can take a truck or jeep right to the edge of the wilderness area. Spectacular view. It would be a solid 2 hours driving on the top of the mesa. There are designated trails up one side of the mesa, across and then down the other side of the mesa.

- Visit the small towns on the western slope of Colorado. Hodgekiss, Delta, Crawford, Marble, Steamboat springs. If you're into Antiques at all or western stuff, these towns have it.

- Drive and view the different passes. McClurg pass is pretty awesome.

- Glennwood springs - go to the hot springs for a half day or so. Pretty awesome town too - stop by Jucy Lucy's for dinner, AWESOME place to eat.

- Stop off by Aspen and Vail, might as well see them. I think they have hiking trails in the summer time - I've only been there in the winter and to Colorado for hunting.

- White water rafting (if they have water). Hit it up, I know there are places in Vail that can hook you up with a trip.

- If you want to camp and hike, it takes about 3-4 days but you can walk from the West Elk Winderness in Crawford, to Paonia.

- Stop by Homestead Meats in either Paonia or in Montrose. I know the owners, pretty awesome guy. Does outfitter hunts / trophy hunts, long with having a huge cattle ranch.

- Go to the ghost towns along route 70.

- I'll think of some other things....
Link Posted: 1/22/2013 7:56:36 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Squatch:
Hey, everybody

I'm putting together a plan for my family's 3-week vacation in Colorado this summer and would appreciate any ideas. Our intent is to drive out with our travel trailer and do a north-to-south exploration of CO, starting in Steamboat Springs.

I already have the kids signed up for a 5-day outdoor camp in Boulder, but would appreciate other cool things to see/do. My kids will be 5 and 8, and we have a German Shorthair...so outdoorsy things would fit the bill. Tours < 3 hrs (for the sake of the dog's bladder) would also work.

I remember Dinosaur National Monument being cool when I was a kid...is it still worth a visit?

Thanks, everybody!

Brian


A 5 day camp in Boulder equates to a re-education camp. They'll come out of there hating their parents and loving the government. The rest of your trip will consist of your kids
whining about how you are destroying the environment and all the driving is creating a huge carbon foot print.....just saying.
Link Posted: 1/22/2013 8:00:58 AM EDT
Crystal River Jeep Tour in Marble
White water rafting colorado river in Glenwood Springs
Horseback riding near Maroon Bells (Aspen/Snowmass area)
Check out the weekly Rodeo in a small town such as Carbondale
A balloon ride in Snowmass is one of the coolest things I have ever done
Hike to hanging lake (near glenwood springs)
Durango/Silverton train ride
Link Posted: 1/22/2013 8:02:21 AM EDT
I would go to Ouray and rent either a Jeep or a Polaris Ranger. There are quite a few trails around there, and some easy ones a stock 4x4 could drive on.

I would also go the the Great Sand Dunes National Park, and take a sled.
Link Posted: 1/22/2013 8:03:39 AM EDT
Originally Posted By lockinload:
Originally Posted By Squatch:
Hey, everybody

I'm putting together a plan for my family's 3-week vacation in Colorado this summer and would appreciate any ideas. Our intent is to drive out with our travel trailer and do a north-to-south exploration of CO, starting in Steamboat Springs.

I already have the kids signed up for a 5-day outdoor camp in Boulder, but would appreciate other cool things to see/do. My kids will be 5 and 8, and we have a German Shorthair...so outdoorsy things would fit the bill. Tours < 3 hrs (for the sake of the dog's bladder) would also work.

I remember Dinosaur National Monument being cool when I was a kid...is it still worth a visit?

Thanks, everybody!

Brian


A 5 day camp in Boulder equates to a re-education camp. They'll come out of there hating their parents and loving the government. The rest of your trip will consist of your kids
whining about how you are destroying the environment and all the driving is creating a huge carbon foot print.....just saying.


LOL...my buddy who lives there gave me a similar warning. The problem is, most kid's camps operators out there don't have programs for kids my age. My 7 y.o. son's in his second year of whitewater kayaking, but most "kids kayak camps" out there are geared toward kids 10 y.o. and up.

I'm fully expecting my 4 y.o. daughter to come out of camp knowing each verse of Kumbayah. I'll draw the line at weeping for the trees, however.
Link Posted: 1/22/2013 8:09:09 AM EDT
Go down 550 and stop at Ouray and Silverton. Keep on driving through Durango. You can camp down by the creek for free just out east of Silverton headed towards Eureka and Animas Forks.
Youll see some of the most breathtaking scenery that North America has to offer.
Link Posted: 1/22/2013 8:13:06 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Squatch:
Originally Posted By KineKilla:
A trip through Ouray, Silverton and into Durango via the Million Dollar Highway is a great way to spend a day or two. There are river rafting guides and a nice old steam powered train you can take if you wish. Plenty of scenic stops and ghost town ventures as well.


We did the Cumbres Toltec train from Chama, NM a few years ago. The kids loved that.

Durango is definitely someplace I'd like to look at as a potential retirement locale.


Bring your checkbook and I hope you like hippies. My dad has a good friend that used to live in town and worked for the FS. Even with a paid off house and a good job he opted to move south of the border to Farmington to escape the taxes and the Californians. The only good thing about Durango IMO is it means im only about 45min out from our cabin.
Link Posted: 1/22/2013 8:18:05 AM EDT

Originally Posted By autoxinvr6:
I'm not sure what kind of things you guys are into but, I had a blast the few days I spent in Colorado Springs.

Pikes Peak and Garden of the Gods (I think that's what it was) was a great time.

+2 on The Garden of the Gods.
Link Posted: 1/22/2013 8:22:26 AM EDT
Anything you do will be fantastic. Enjoy the scenery and your family and have a great time. Already some great recommendations.
Link Posted: 1/22/2013 8:35:25 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Wahawk55:
I would go to Ouray and rent either a Jeep or a Polaris Ranger. There are quite a few trails around there, and some easy ones a stock 4x4 could drive on.

I would also go the the Great Sand Dunes National Park, and take a sled.


This. Ouray is supposed to be damn nice.

One thing to note, while things may look close on a map, the mountain ranges will add a lot of time if you have to cross over them to get to your destination.
Link Posted: 1/22/2013 9:07:33 AM EDT
If you like trains, this one goes through the Royal Gorge, also has dinner theater. https://www.royalgorgeroute.com/
Link Posted: 1/22/2013 11:04:13 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/22/2013 11:05:43 AM EDT by Dadnatron]
Trip to Durango... much better than Boulder IMO. Better camping as well. Wildlife is fantastic.

Take the Durango and Silverton Narrow Guage Railroad (old coal fired steam Engine) from Durango to the old mining town of Silverton. About 2-3 hours. Have lunch in the old mining town and shop around, then take the BUS back via a different route. You will be glad for the comfort and relative speed of the bus on the way back whereas the trip 'up' to Silverton is wonderful on the train. Take a REAL WHITE WATER RAFTING TRIP right through the center of town. Eat great Mexican food at Francisco's or have a fantastic dry aged steak at The Ore House.

Go to Mesa verde just west of Durango, for a day of easy hiking in the Cliff Dwellings of the Anasazi.

Take a trip around the Grand Circle - San Juan Skywayfrom Durango, to Dolores, to Telluride, to Ouray, to Silverton, then back to Durango. Nice all day 150m trip with some of the most beautiful mountains God gave us. Stop over for a night in Ouray, stay at the Weisbaden Inn and take a Jeep Tour Over Imogene or my favorite Black Bear Pass. You and your family will be THRILLED and enlivened beyond yourself.

SW Colorado is WHERE ITS AT!

I grew up there... it is the best place I know...
Link Posted: 1/22/2013 11:06:58 AM EDT
Yes, I would vote for the North West, Dinosaur National Monument and the swinging bridge.
Link Posted: 1/22/2013 11:52:14 AM EDT
Dinosaur National Monument is pretty neat. Quite a bit out of the way for a few hours entertainment though. An out an back trip would be a bit tedious. Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park is a bit crowded, but still very nice. Trail Ridge Highway is a great drive at night with stops to look at the stars when the weather is clear. First time driving it can be a real white knuckle experience for us flatlanders.

The sky looks a lot different at 12,000 feet. A few pairs of binoculars will keep the kids entertained for awhile too. Take a laser pointer to point things out for them to look at. Also field guide books on starts, flowers, rocks, birds etc. are handy too.

Bring a lot of water with you. The dry air is deceiving if you are not used to it. You don't really sweat so you don't realize how dehydrated you are becoming. When we traveled out west we used to keep a 2 gallon thermos full of ice and water in the van. Between the 4 kids and me wife and I we drained it pretty much every day. Hats are wonderful things too. The sun gets pretty intense in the high plains and mountains.

If you plan on going out on I80, Chimney Bluff and Scotsbluff in Nebraska are interesting places to stop. The whole Oregon Trail thing is interesting to me. From personal experience the 5 year old will probably not remember a lot of the trip in later years. After all, how much do yo remember about being 5 years old?
Link Posted: 1/22/2013 11:57:25 AM EDT
Dragonmans in Colorada Springs looks like a hoot. The museum sounds awesome!
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