Colorado Explored Fly Drive Holiday
A classic fly drive holiday, this varied journey around Colorado will introduce you to not only life in the mountains but the desert country around the Great Sand Dunes. You will experience modern cities and over 2000 years of history. This flydrive holiday works well for couples and we have suggested some very luxurious places to stay but if this is a family holiday, we highly recommend including a week at the Tumbling River Ranch, which, of course Frontier America can arrange for you. Likewise, if you would like more or less time or different hotels, our knowledgeable travel consultants can advise you.
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Here's a day-by-day guide to your itinerary. Feel free to ask us to add other days or ideas and excursions by adding them to your wishlist, so we can give you the best price.
Your exploration of Colorado starts appropriately at its capital, Denver, the Mile High City. You
will spend a couple of nights here to acclimatise to the altitude and give you time to enjoy the
many attractions of the city. Explore the Art Museum, Larimer Square, to enjoy some of the
Denver’s best shops and restaurants in its most historic block or the modern architecture of
2 nights Denver
TIP: Check out what is going on at the Red Rocks AmphitheatreClose
Collect your car from downtown Denver and the adventures begin! First stop will be Colorado
Springs which is only 70 miles from Denver. Colorado Springs can be thought of as one of the
earliest “tourist towns” of the state: founded in 1871, Colorado’s second largest town has more
than 55 manmade or natural attractions. Visit the Garden of the Gods, the U.S. Olympic
Training Centre and Pikes Peak to name just 3. Drive 30 minutes out of town to the attractive
Manitou Springs to enjoy the many interesting boutiques, the Manitou Climb for the very fit or
the healing waters of the Sun Water spa. Try dinner at the Phantom Canyon Brewing Company
or one of the superb restaurants in the Broadmoor.
3 nights Colorado Springs
TIP. The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb takes place in June.Close
The Great Sand Dunes National Park is next on the menu. About 170 miles will take you to a
diverse area of grasslands, wetlands and aspen forest. The highlight however will be the highest sand dunes in the U.S. Explore on foot or if you are feeling adventurous rent a sand sled! Accommodation is fairly scarce around here. Frontier America strongly recommends the Zapata Ranch but this involves a minimum of a three night stay. Not a disaster by any means as there is plenty to do in the area; the alternative is the Fairfield Inn in Alamosa.
1 night Zapata Ranch
The variety of this holiday continues as you make your way towards Mesa Verde, the Green
Table, the ancestral home of the Pueblo people who called this area home for over 700 years
until 1300. For most people, it is the cliff dwellings that draw them into the park, but there are
over 5000 archaeological sites. Be sure to drive the Mesa Top Loop Road. You can either stay
in the park at the simple Far View Lodge or if you prefer something more sophisticated, the
Strater Hotel in Durango will suit you better. The drive is about 3 hours so we would suggest stopping at Pagoda Springs for a soak in the hotsprings or perhaps a view of the ancient ruins of Chimney Rock.
2 nights Mesa Verde
Today’s drive is about 170 miles and will take you along the million dollar highway between
Silverton and Ouray which would make a good lunch spot. You could also take a short detour
to the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. You will have travelled from ancient history
to the relatively new wine growing industry which has sprung up in the fertile valley around
Grand Junction. Over twenty tasting rooms await you but so does the Grand Mesa which is the
largest flat top mountain in the world, the monoliths and canyons of the Colorado National
Monument and the Colorado river with its opportunities to fish, raft or paddle.
Grand Junction also has a range of interesting shops including Art on the Corner which usually
has more than 100 sculptures on display and as you would expect in the middle of wine country,
some excellent restaurants.
2 nights Grand Junction
TIP: To extend your holiday with a couple of days of relaxation, we recommend inserting the
Gateway Canyons resort into your holiday,Close
Known as one of the top ski resorts in the world where billionaires gather to ski, Aspen shows a
new face during the summer months. A very pretty village with its roots in silver mining, you can
either enjoy boutique shopping or any number of outdoor activities. Guided hiking, an obstacle
course, live music, riding the Silver Queen gondola, as well as superb food, ballooning and
paragliding are all on offer.
2 nights Aspen
You will have a choice of routes today: the high road or the valley route. We would recommend
the quite twisty mountain road past Mount Elbert, over Independence pass and the Continental
Divide as the more interesting. Breckenridge, a real “western town” has all sorts of attractions
including a chance to gold pan; reflecting Breck’s heritage. We would recommend a “bike and
brew” tour; rent a bike and be escorted to a number of craft breweries and distilleries but
if cycling is not your choice, do take the gondola up into the alpine to enjoy the wildflowers and
2 nights BreckenridgeClose
Vail Resorts & Aspen to Estes Park
Although the short route is only 128 miles, Frontier America suggests you take the long road
past Winter Park to Grand Lake which is the south west entry point to Rocky Mountain National
Park. You can then spend most of the day driving through the park on the Trail Ridge Road
which is the highest continuously paved road in North America reaching over 4,000m. Allow
time for plenty of stops to enjoy the fantastic views and the wildlife which with any luck you will
The last night of your holiday will be in Estes Park from where it is only 90 minutes to Denver
International airport. One of the more unusual sleeping places exists in Estes Park, if you wish,
you can camp on the side of a cliff. http://kmaconline.com/cliffcampingcolorado/
1 night Estes ParkClose
This is a selection of hotels for this itinerary. Some areas have many more choices; please use the search function above if you wish to find an alternative hotel.
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We are here to make sure we tailor-make your holiday to suit your specific requirements and our friendly, knowledgeable staff are all ready to help.
Booking your holiday with us doesn't end when we send your confirmation out to you, either. Talk to us about adding excursions or room upgrades or even restaurant recommendations; we are here to offer advice all the way up to your departure date. Even when you have left the UK, we are still here to help. For example if your flight that we have booked is delayed or cancelled due to ash cloud, strike, etc, it is down to us to re-arrange your travel. We will do everything we can to make sure your holiday runs smoothly. And better still, we are fully bonded with ATOL and ABTA, so your money is completely protected.
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This suggested itinerary is our recommendation but can be tailored to match your requirements
- We can tailor this trip to suit your specific requirements
- We can change everything from the hotels & tours to the durations & destinations.