On the road again in Colorado
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Day 1: Denver for 2 nights
Meet & greet private transfer from airport to hotel
Accommodation at The Oxford Hotel****
A true Denver classic, The Oxford Hotel is an inviting respite from the excitement of the bustling streets of LoDo. With roots dating back to the 19th century, The Oxford offers a one-of-a-kind experience where historic charm and contemporary convenience combine.
Sip brandy by a roaring wood fire in the lobby surrounded by a storied western art collection and step back in time to a fascinating history of this boutique hotel.
Day at leisure
Start your day with a wander through the vibrant Capitol Hill neighbourhood, with its historic mansions and thriving urban culture. Explore Denver’s downtown, with its dense concentration of cultural institutions, paying particular attention to the Lower Downtown district, Denver’s original city settlement. Did you know Denver’s Mayor was famous for being a brew-master before entering politics? If you’re a fan of craft beers, explore the city’s popular micro-breweries.
Of course don’t miss the Larimer Square district, the heart of the city at the time from the Gold Rush, surrounded by shops and breweries.
The superb Union Station, with its restaurants, galleries and micro-breweries.
The Denver Art Museum and its beautiful collection of Indian art
The interactive History Colorado Center – the Big Blue Bear statue – in the The Castle Rock Outlets for shopping enthusiasts.
Day 3: Green Mountain Falls for 1 night
Pick up rental car
Drive south towards Green Mountain Falls, through hilly and wooded landscapes.
The small mountain town is surrounded by the Pike National Forest, dominated by Pikes Peak.
Along the way make a detour to the Garden of the Gods park. With its red sandstone formations and hiking trails, it offers a restful stopover –
Drive the Pikes Peak Highway, a 30-kilometer scenic route starting from the foot of Pikes Peak and leading to its summit (4300 m), passing through the Crystal Reservoir.
Accommodation at The Cliff House at Pikes Peak****
A free buffet breakfast is offered to all guests at this hotel. Rooms offer a flat-screen cable TV with a DVD player. Downtown Manitou Springs is 5 minutes’ walk away.
Free Wi-Fi is provided in all guest rooms at the Cliff House at Pikes Peak. A small fridge and coffee-making facilities are included. A heated toilet seat is featured in each en suite bathroom.
The Cliff House Dining Room offers room service for guest convenience. The Red Mountain Bar and Grill is available Friday and Saturday evenings.
A fitness centre is on site for guest use at the Pikes Peak Cliff House. Laundry services are also available.
Day 4: Durango for 2 nights
Drive southwest towards Mosca then Durango.
Bison Tours at the Zapata Ranch
Located in an extraordinary environment consisting of vast meadows, alpine forests, swamps, sand dunes, the property is one of the most renowned ranches in Colorado
Take a tour and learn more about our bison herd. A knowledgeable staff member will guide you through the 50,000 acre portion of the ranch known as the Medano, with the aim of getting you up close to our herd of 2,000 North American plains bison.
The tour is designed to provide you with opportunities to view and photograph the bison, but, more uniquely, it is also designed to educate you about the ways in which we manage this “conservation herd.”
The tour will also provide some history of the Medano Ranch, including a stop at the Old Medano Headquarters, a set of ranch buildings that date back to the 1870’s and is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places
Explore Great Sand Dunes National Park.
Great Sand Dunes National Park is home to the tallest sand dune in North America.
Accommodation at Blue Lake Ranch***
Blue Lake Ranch is located in Hesperus and features views of the La Plata Mountains. Each room here will provide you with air conditioning, a seating area and a fireplace. Private bathrooms also come with a shower and a hairdryer. You can enjoy mountain view and garden view from the room.
At Blue Lake Ranch you will find a garden, barbecue facilities and a terrace. Other facilities offered at the property include meeting facilities and a shared lounge. An array of activities can be enjoyed on site or in the surroundings, including skiing, cycling and fishing.
Half day private guided tour to Mesa Verde
This tour includes the iconic Cliff Palace ranger-guided tour and a customized tour of special sites around Chapin Mesa. The Cliff Palace tour involves climbing some small ladders and is appropriate for most groups.
Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Scenic Railway
The Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad line runs between the old mining towns of Durango and Silverton, Colorado. The tracks run along the steep sides of a mountain high above the Animas River and the mountain vistas are stunning. Little black steam-powered engines, the same used when the railroad was in operation hauling ore and supplies, pull closed or open air wooden coaches up the steep grades. Depart from the depot in Durango in the morning, have lunch in Silverton and do a little shopping, and then return on the train in the afternoon.
Rest of the day at leisure to explore Durango
Historic Downtown Durango is a great place to explore. The Strater Hotel has been the center of fun and entertainment in Durango for over 120 years, and it’s no different today with live music most nights and great food. You can enjoy walking tours, galleries, shops and more restaurants than you can shake a stick at, as well as marvel and the well-preserved pioneer architecture
Day 6: Telluride for 2 nights
Head north on breathtaking on the San Juan Skyway! This 235 mile loop takes you through old mining towns, spectacular scenery, and exhilarating twists & turns.
From Durango, take US 550 North to Silverton. You’ll climb over Coal Bank Pass, which has a summit of 10,660 feet, and Molas Pass. Be sure to stop at the summit of Molas Pass (at 10,899 feet) for beautiful views of the surrounding San Juan Mountains. Once over Molas Pass, you’ll begin your descent into Silverton. Silverton’s mining heritage is easy to feel and experience, from its historic buildings to a tour of the Old Hundred Gold Mine.
From Silverton, continue on US 550 North to Ouray. This stretch of the Skyway is called the « Million Dollar Highway”. The Million Dollar Highway climbs up and over Red Mountain Pass, with a summit of 11,075 feet (be sure to check out Red Mountain itself, which gets its red color from oxidized minerals within its rocky surface), before clinging to the stunning, steep canyon walls of Uncompahgre Gorge as it makes its descent into Ouray. Ouray, known as the « Little Switzerland of America, » offers up picturesque mountain views, a box canyon waterfall, and a large natural hot springs to enjoy.
From Ouray, take US 550 North to Ridgway, then take a left on CO Hwy 62 West. You’ll wind through ranches, fields, over the Dallas Divide, and by one of Colorado’s 14ers, Mt Sneffels. The road becomes CO Hwy 145 S, which will take you into the beautiful box canyon Telluride sits in. Telluride’s incredible winter skiing is well-known, as are its plethora of summer festivals. Look for Bridal Veil Falls, a 365 foot waterfall overlooking Telluride, ride the free gondola for birds-eye views of the town and ski area, and walk the same streets Butch Cassidy did when he robbed his first bank here on June 24, 1889.
Accommodation at Dunton Hot Spring cabins
Sturdy, hand-hewn and authentic, the cabins contain a world of whimsy and elegance. Built in a circle around the Saloon and Dance Hall, they lie just steps from the wonderful bath house. At the other end of town is an open air chapel and tumbling waterfall.
All of Dunton’s authentically restored log cabins are full of fascinating details. All the cabins are hand-built and, in some cases, by the original miners themselves. Lovingly restored, each possesses a distinct character. Tastefully decorated, they are full of unique artifacts and furnishings. Every window affords magnificent views of the mountains and the surrounding meadows.
Day at leisure
Take a free gondola ride over the San Sophia Ridge and into the Mountain Village.
Stroll Telluride’s historic district. Explore Colorado Avenue, pop into the New Sheridan Hotel, opened in 1891, and then rebuilt in 1895 after a fire. Make it to their roof for a drink or settle in for a meal at Chop House or even at their historic bar that also serves $5 Jack Daniel’s.
Bridal Veil Falls is the symbol of Telluride, and a true natural wonder, being Colorado’s highest free-falling waterfall.
Drive 20-minute up to Alta Lakes. It provides a magical alpine setting in both summer and winter. Enjoy fly fishing, camping, hiking, paddle boarding or just take an easy drive up to admire the beautiful, main lake and the ghost town!
Day 8: Crested Butte
Head northeast Towards Crested Butte, an old mining town today which has become a pretty little resort largely turned towards outdoor activities, kingdom of skiing in winter and festivals in fine weather. With its colorful wooden houses and its « Paradise Device » mountain, there is a delightfully relaxed atmosphere. Here, everyone knows each other and rides their bikes.
On the way make a stop at The Blue Mesa Reservoir, a barrage lake perched almost 2300 meters above sea level on the Gunnison River, on Highway 50 and also see the spectacular Black Canyon of Gunnison National Park.
Accommodation at Scarp Ridge Lodge*****
Nestled high in the mountain oasis of Crested Butte, CO., Scarp Ridge Lodge provides unparalleled service and adventure.
An authentic mountain town setting alongside some of the world’s most exclusive skiing. Located in the heart of Crested Butte, dubbed Colorado’s last great ski town for its historic charm and soulful spirit, Scarp Ridge Lodge feels like a European ski chalet with Rocky Mountain style. The former Croatian saloon still has its Wild West facade, but the interiors have been transformed with reclaimed iron from the old mills in town and generous amenities, like an indoor saltwater pool and oxygen-enriched air system.
Day 9: Aspen for 2 nights
Allow a good half-day drive to reach Aspen, also a former mining town that has become one of the most exclusive ski resorts in North America, renowned for the architecture typical of its town center, dating from the Victorian era.
Accommodation at The Gant****
Located near the base of Aspen Mountain and 5 minutes’ walk from the Aspen Skiing Company, this resort offers year-round outdoor pools and hot tubs. Rooms feature free WiFi.
The accommodations at The Gant include a wood burning fireplace and a private balcony. The kitchen is complete with a stovetop, oven, and dishwasher. Cookware and dishware are provided.
This Aspen resort hosts an on-site fitness centre and 5 tennis courts. A free shuttle service to/from Aspen-Pitkin County Airport and Aspen attractions is provided upon request. Concierge and child care services are available. Ski storage and tuning are offered.
Full day private guided tour
Discover Apen with a local.
Between the glamorous resort of Aspen and the old coal mining town of Crested Butte lies the rugged Elk Mountain Range. Experience the power and beauty of these peaks on an expert-led hike, learning how the land has been used by Native Americans, miners and, today, skiers.
Take « Independence Pass », considered the highest pass in the state of Colorado, accessible via a paved road. From there, you hike the trails offering panoramic views of the Rocky Mountains, and reach the abandoned village of Independence, once a village of gold diggers.
Day 11: Grand Lake for 2 nights
Another half day drive northwest to Grand Lake, the western gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park.
On the way, see The Maroon Bells, an emblematic viewpoint near Aspen, whose amphitheater perspective attracts photography enthusiasts. Grand!
Accommodation at Grand Lake Lodge**
Grand Lake Lodge provides free WiFi and views of Grand Lake.
At the lodge guests are welcome to take advantage of a pool and a hot tub.
A continental or American breakfast can be enjoyed at the property.
Fishing can be enjoyed nearby.
Half day private guided tour in Rocky Mountain National Park
Rocky Mountain National Park, a protected natural playground that spans 415 square miles (670 square km) of lakes, forests, and mountains laced with pristine picnic spots, hiking trails, and 72 peaks with elevations of 12,000 feet (3,660 meters) or higher. The park is also renowned for its wildlife, so be on the lookout for native Colorado critters like moose, black bears, deer, elk, marmots, and soaring birds of prey including hawks and eagles.
Each season offers its own rewards, from the wildflowers of spring and summer to the crisp air and fiery aspens of autumn and snow-covered peaks of winter.
Day 13: Boulder for 1 night
Drive to Boulder, for a smooth return to civilization in this small town which combines urban charms and beautiful nature.
4 hour private hiking tour and beer tour
Our tour guide provides locals only insight into the Frontrange before you set off for a hike at the base of Boulder’s iconic Flatirons. Following the light three mile hike, unwind at a local taproom featuring a huge selection of Colorado’s award-winning craft beers
Accommodation at St Julien Hotel & Spa****
Nestled at the foothills of the Rockies in downtown Boulder, St Julien Hotel & Spa delivers luxury accommodations with a breathtaking vista of the mountains. Indulge in treatments at the expansive spa or dine at the award-winning Jill’s Restaurant for afternoon tea or French-inspired American cuisine. As night falls, drift off to sleep in a plush four-poster bed among fine Italian linens.
Drop off car at Denver airport
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