12 days in Colorado & Rapid City Itinerary

12 days in Colorado & Rapid City Itinerary

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Route & dates

12 days in Colorado & Rapid City Itinerary

Start: New York City
Fly:  6​h 45​min
1
Denver
— 2 nights
Bus:  1​h
2
Colorado Springs
— 2 nights
Drive:  2​h 15​min
3
Buena Vista
— 1 night
Drive:  1​h 45​min
4
Aspen
— 2 nights
Fly:  3​h 45​min
5
Rapid City
— 1 night
Fly + Bus:  4​h 45​min
6
Glenwood Springs
— 3 nights
+2
Taxi + Fly + Bus:  7​h 30​min
End: New York City

2
nights
Denver

Denver ©
Aptly nicknamed the "Mile-High City," Denver sits at an altitude of 1,600 m (5,280 ft) above sea level, located right where the Great Plains give way to the Rocky Mountains.
Step out of Denver with an excursion to River Rafting & Tubing in Idaho Springs--about 40 minutes away. There's much more to do: take your sightseeing to a higher altitude at Mount Evans, take in nature's colorful creations at Denver Botanic Gardens, get a new perspective on nature at Denver Museum of Nature & Science, and contemplate the long history of Molly Brown House Museum.

To find maps, ratings, reviews, and tourist information, read Denver trip planner .

New York City to Denver is an approximately 7-hour flight. You can also do a combination of bus and flight; or drive. Traveling from New York City to Denver, you'll gain 2 hours due to the time zone difference. Traveling from New York City in September, you can expect nighttime temperatures to be slightly colder in Denver, with lows of 52°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 27th (Fri) to allow enough time to take a bus to Colorado Springs.

Things to do in Denver

Tours Parks Museums

Side Trip

River Rafting & Tubing
Highlights from your plan
Denver Botanic Gardens ©
Denver Botanic Gardens
Mount Evans ©
Mount Evans
River Rafting & Tubing

2
nights
Colorado Springs

Colorado Springs ©
Stunning Garden of the Gods Park scenery, blue skies and the glory of Pikes Peak-America’s Mountain have attracted visitors to Colorado Springs for more than a century.
Start off your visit on the 28th (Sat): admire nature's wide array of creatures at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, then look for gifts at Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, then go for a walk through Pike's Peak - America's Mountain, and finally admire the masterpieces at Michael Garman Museum & Gallery. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 29th (Sun): find something for the whole family at North Pole - Santa's Workshop, walk around Garden of the Gods, then have some family-friendly fun at Battlefield Colorado, and finally expand your understanding of the military at United States Air Force Academy.

To find ratings, photos, other places to visit, and tourist information, read Colorado Springs trip planning website .

You can take a bus from Denver to Colorado Springs in an hour. Alternatively, you can drive; or fly. In September, plan for daily highs up to 79°F, and evening lows to 51°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 29th (Sun) to allow time to drive to Buena Vista.

Things to do in Colorado Springs

Parks Zoos & Aquariums Trails

Side Trip

North Pole Colorado Santa’s Workshop
Highlights from your plan
Garden of the Gods ©
Garden of the Gods
Pike's Peak - America's Mountain ©
Pike's Peak - America's Mountain
Cheyenne Mountain Zoo ©
Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

1
night
Buena Vista

The Town of Buena Vista is a Statutory Town in Chaffee County, Colorado, United States. Start off your visit on the 30th (Mon): take in the natural beauty of Cottonwood Hot Springs Inn & Spa, then let the river carry you with a rafting and tubing tour, and then mingle with the ghosts of the past at Vicksburg.

For other places to visit, maps, photos, and tourist information, read Buena Vista route planner.

You can drive from Colorado Springs to Buena Vista in 2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. Traveling from Colorado Springs in September, things will get slightly colder in Buena Vista: highs are around 73°F and lows about 42°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 30th (Mon) early enough to drive to Aspen.

Things to do in Buena Vista

Tours Outdoors Adventure
Highlights from your plan
River Rafting & Tubing
Cottonwood Hot Springs Inn & Spa ©
Cottonwood Hot Springs Inn & Spa

2
nights
Aspen

Aspen ©
Known as a ski resort town, Aspen's history goes back to its roots as a silver-mining village tucked away in an isolated valley of the Rocky Mountains.
Start off your visit on the 1st (Tue): take in the awesome beauty at Maroon Bells. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: relax and float downstream with a rafting and tubing tour and then cruise along Independence Pass.

For ratings, other places to visit, more things to do, and more tourist information, you can read our Aspen tour itinerary planner .

You can drive from Buena Vista to Aspen in 2 hours. Another option is to take a bus. Expect a daytime high around 72°F in September, and nighttime lows around 41°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 2nd (Wed) so you can travel to Rapid City.

Things to do in Aspen

Nature Parks Outdoors
Highlights from your plan
Maroon Bells ©
Maroon Bells
Independence Pass ©
Independence Pass

1
night
Rapid City

Rapid City ©
South Dakota's second-largest city, Rapid City has for many years served as a gateway to the West.
On the 3rd (Thu), learn about all things military at South Dakota Air and Space Museum and then take a stroll through Downtown Rapid City.

To see maps, where to stay, ratings, and tourist information, go to the Rapid City road trip planning site .

You can fly from Aspen to Rapid City in 4 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of shuttle and flight; or drive. Traveling from Aspen in October, Rapid City is a bit warmer at night with lows of 40°F. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 3rd (Thu) to allow time for travel to Glenwood Springs.

Things to do in Rapid City

Neighborhoods Museums
Highlights from your plan
South Dakota Air and Space Museum ©
South Dakota Air and Space Museum

3
nights
Glenwood Springs

Glenwood Springs ©
Glenwood Springs occupies a scenic location at the junction of the Colorado River and the Roaring Fork River, halfway between Vail and Aspen along the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains.
On the 4th (Fri), find something for the whole family at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park and then trek along Hanging Lake Trail. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 5th (Sat): let the river carry you with a rafting and tubing tour and then test the waters at a local thermal spa.

For more things to do, photos, reviews, and more tourist information, refer to the Glenwood Springs attractions planner.

Traveling by combination of flight and bus from Rapid City to Glenwood Springs takes 5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of flight and shuttle; or drive. Plan for little chillier temperatures traveling from Rapid City in October, with highs in Glenwood Springs at 47°F and lows at 32°F. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 6th (Sun) to allow enough time to travel back home.

Things to do in Glenwood Springs

Outdoors Parks Theme Parks

Side Trip

Rocky Mountains
Highlights from your plan
Rocky Mountains ©
Rocky Mountains
Thermal Spas
Hanging Lake Trail ©
Hanging Lake Trail

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