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Booking a Trip to Colorado - Where to go?


This is a discussion on Booking a Trip to Colorado - Where to go? within the Destinations Tips HowTo's and Safety forums, part of the Offroad Expeditions Forums category!
Hi All - I have read a couple of Colorado posts already and found some good info, but I'm looking ...


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Old 01-29-2018, 11:10 AM   #1 (permalink)
 
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Default Booking a Trip to Colorado - Where to go?
Hi All - I have read a couple of Colorado posts already and found some good info, but I'm looking for some more...

I am from east-central Iowa and have been a lot of places, but never Colorado. The wife and I would like to take a trip to Colorado sometime in August of this year. This will be mainly to see the sights, hit some national parks, etc - but while doing this I want to try to put the new Raptor through its paces. I have read about the last dollar trail - this is about 18 hours from home, whereas Denver is only 12 hours. Is there anything comparable around Denver to avoid going that far? Some of the pictures I have seen of the last dollar trail make me want to just spend the extra time and go that far, but if there is something comparable / better around that 12 hour mark, I would be all for it.

What sights / national parks are the best? Is there a centralized location we could plan to book a room / airbnb at and go a different direction each day? Towns with good nightlife? What do you bring with (for the truck) ie - recovery items, tools, spare parts?

I want to have the trip planned out in the next couple of months. We will most likely only be going for 5-6 days and one on each end will likely be devoted to driving out and back, so need 3-4 days worth of activities/sights.

I am 100% open to any advice you all can give, this is my first time doing anything like this - we normally do the tropical thing, but (to me) its getting old. Thanks in advance!






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Old 01-29-2018, 11:26 AM   #2 (permalink)
 
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OOOOOOooo, you are in for a treat if you do it right. I took a Colorado "Gypsy Trip" in 2014 ALL over Colorado (and I live here) for two weeks, never staying in the same place. Denver is fun, but you want to head south. Hit the Alpine loop (this is a must). Lake City, Ouray, do some camping and stay in some little hotels. Mesa Verde is worth hitting. And the Great Sand dunes are pretty slick (couple trails near there too). Dinosaur National Monument is a favorite of mine (North West corner). Colorado isn't the best for wheeling the big ole Raptor as most real trails are more suited to Jeeps and there is a reason we have the phrase "Colorado pinstriping". That being said, there are still a fair amount of places to get into some trouble in the Raptor. I wouldn't really try to stay in a centralized spot for very long. Colorado is big.

Up north Steamboat Springs is a great town and an hour away from there you have the North Sand Hills (aka Walden Sand dunes) which is a favorite haunt of mine. It isn't huge, but it's a ton of fun in the Raptor and I usually like to go camp there for a few nights.

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Old 01-29-2018, 11:40 AM   #3 (permalink)
 
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we stayed in Ouray/telluride last year, loved it. cant wait to go back.
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Old 01-29-2018, 04:09 PM   #4 (permalink)
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There are an obscene number of logging/fire/mining roads, but width can be an issue on many of them. For ideas, check out:

https://traildamage.com/

Guide to Colorado Backroads & 4-Wheel-Drive Trails

Guide to Northern Colorado Backroads & 4-Wheel-Drive Trails

People have posted youtube videos for most of the trails, so you can preview the trail before attempting it.
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Old 01-29-2018, 04:24 PM   #5 (permalink)
 
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I second Ouray... My dad's home town and my family owns several mines in the area.
I'd also suggest Estes Park and Pike's Peak. You'll want to move after your trip...
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Old 01-30-2018, 08:09 AM   #6 (permalink)
 
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Thanks for all of the advice so far!

Here are my thoughts:

Day 1 - Drive into Telluride and stay the night
Day 2 - Hit the Last Dollar Trail to Ridgeway, then make our way down to Ouray and stay the night.
Day 3 - Get up early and go to Pikes Peak.
Day 4 - Head to Estes Park.
Day 5 - Drive home

Does anyone have any certain recommendations of things to do / see at each of these locations as far as sights / truck trails goes? We are wildlife people, so anywhere we can see any of that would be great. Also any great food / bar recommendations at each spot?

Thanks again everyone for all the help! Looking into airbnb at each location now.


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Old 01-30-2018, 08:26 AM   #7 (permalink)
 
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I would also suggest that the SW corner of the state is WELL worth the extra few hours of driving through the beautiful mountains to get here. The painful part of your drive ends in Denver. I moved to the Ouray area over 15 years ago from MN, it is as close to heaven as I have been able to find.

If the Last Dollar rd pics excite you, understand that that is one of the last places I send people, nice but FAR from the most spectacular places in the area. The exception being the 3rd week of Sept every year when the Aspens turn up there, spectacular but again, you can do even better.

The Jeep roads are fine for the Raptor, the local tour companies run full size trucks all over these trails. Get yourself a trail book and I will give you a list of must see's.

There is next to no nightlife in Ouray though, Telluride may be better but most of us are worn out after a day in the mtns and a soak in the hot springs sounds better than any party. Durango to our south through more incredible mtns is probably a good bet for some evening adult fun since it is a college town with a sweet main street area full of bars and restraunts.

My advice is to not even think about the Denver area, drive right on through on I-70. I wouldn't stop until at least Glenwood Springs, and only for gas.

If you center yourself down south, I know it is further west yet but the Moab desert roads are just a couple of hours away...

This is mecca for outdoor fun, let me know when the trip gets closer. Happy to help you have a great time out here.
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Old 01-30-2018, 09:00 AM   #8 (permalink)
 
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Oh Wait, I suspect you have to convince your SO... Wildflowers in August here.
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Old 01-30-2018, 10:16 AM   #9 (permalink)
 
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theres a few trails here in the springs. one is my rally road. i rally up and down it 3 nights a week. ut at the top it branches out to lots of trails. text me if you make it to the springs. (831) 254-7562


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Old 01-30-2018, 11:08 AM   #10 (permalink)
 
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Maybe I missed it, but do you have dates for when you are planning to go? My brother and I are looking into a trip to Moab and then Ouray around Memorial Day or the 4th of July. For anyone that's never been to Ouray on the 4th, you need to! Try the Biergarten in Ouray, a family favorite... and definitely soak in the hot springs- my great grandfather donated the land to the community years ago. My dad was born in the museum!


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