12 days in Colorado Itinerary

12 days in Colorado Itinerary

Created using Inspirock Colorado route planner

Make it your trip
Fly
1
Steamboat Springs
— 1 night
Drive
2
Rocky Mountain National Park
— 2 nights
Drive
3
Aspen
— 2 nights
Drive
4
Ouray
— 1 night
Drive
5
Pagosa Springs
— 1 night
Drive
6
Durango
— 2 nights
Drive
7
Mesa Verde National Park
— 2 nights
Fly

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Steamboat Springs

— 1 night

Ski Town USA

An internationally known ski resort, Steamboat Springs sits in the shadow of Mount Werner in north central Colorado.
On the 16th (Wed), get the adrenaline pumping with an extreme tour and then hit the slopes at Steamboat Gondola. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: admire the natural beauty at Yampa River Botanic Park, then get a new perspective on things with Boat Tours & Water Sports, and then stroll through Yampa River Core Trail.

To see photos, where to stay, maps, and more tourist information, refer to the Steamboat Springs online trip maker.

Minneapolis to Steamboat Springs is an approximately 7.5-hour flight. You can also drive; or do a combination of bus and train. The time zone changes from Central Standard Time (CST) to Mountain Standard Time (MST), which is usually a -1 hour difference. Traveling from Minneapolis in September, Steamboat Springs is a bit cooler at night with lows of 40°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 17th (Thu) early enough to drive to Rocky Mountain National Park.

Things to do in Steamboat Springs

Outdoors · Parks · Tours · Wildlife

Rocky Mountain National Park

— 2 nights
Rocky Mountain National Park presents an ideal setting for recreation in the mountain range for which the park is named.
Kick off your visit on the 18th (Fri): explore the striking landscape at Alluvial Fan, then explore and take pictures at Old Fall River Road, then appreciate the views at Many Parks Curve Overlook, and finally stroll through Emerald Lake Trail. Here are some ideas for day two: hike along Cub Lake Trail, then admire the sheer force of Alberta Falls, and then take a memorable drive along Trail Ridge Road.

To see traveler tips, ratings, more things to do, and other tourist information, use the Rocky Mountain National Park trip builder.

You can drive from Steamboat Springs to Rocky Mountain National Park in 3.5 hours. Other options are to do a combination of bus and car; or do a combination of bus and car. Prepare for a bit warmer weather when traveling from Steamboat Springs in September: high temperatures in Rocky Mountain National Park hover around 81°F and lows are around 50°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 19th (Sat) early enough to drive to Aspen.

Things to do in Rocky Mountain National Park

Parks · Outdoors · Nature · Scenic Drive

Aspen

— 2 nights

Rocky Mountain High

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.
On the 20th (Sun), take in the awesome beauty at Maroon Bells. Here are some ideas for day two: hike along Maroon Lake Scenic Trail, then explore the landscape on two wheels at Rio Grande Trail, and then see Off-Road Tours.

To find more things to do, where to stay, photos, and other tourist information, read our Aspen trip planning site.

Getting from Rocky Mountain National Park to Aspen by car takes about 5.5 hours. Other options: do a combination of car, bus, and flight; or do a combination of car and bus. Traveling from Rocky Mountain National Park in September, things will get little chillier in Aspen: highs are around 72°F and lows about 41°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 21st (Mon) to allow time to drive to Ouray.

Things to do in Aspen

Parks · Nature · Outdoors · Trails

Ouray

— 1 night
Ouray is a Home Rule Municipality that is the county seat and the most populous city of Ouray County, Colorado, United States. Kick off your visit on the 22nd (Tue): take an in-depth tour of Ouray County Museum, then admire the sheer force of Bear Creek Falls, then get interesting insight from Tours, and finally hike along Baby Bath Tubs Trail.

To see ratings, where to stay, traveler tips, and tourist information, go to the Ouray trip planner.

Traveling by car from Aspen to Ouray takes 4 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and taxi. When traveling from Aspen in September, plan for a bit cooler days in Ouray, with highs around 66°F, while nights are about the same with lows around 45°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 22nd (Tue) early enough to drive to Pagosa Springs.

Things to do in Ouray

Outdoors · Tours · Historic Sites · Museums

Side Trip

Pagosa Springs

— 1 night
Pagosa Springs is a municipality that is the county seat of, and the only incorporated municipality in, Archuleta County, Colorado, United States. Kick off your visit on the 23rd (Wed): admire the sheer force of Piedra Falls, stop by Made in Colorado Shoppe, and then hike along Fourmile Falls Trail.

For other places to visit, ratings, traveler tips, and other tourist information, go to the Pagosa Springs trip planner.

Getting from Ouray to Pagosa Springs by car takes about 3 hours. Other options: take a shuttle. While traveling from Ouray, expect a bit warmer days and about the same nights in Pagosa Springs, ranging from highs of 72°F to lows of 44°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 23rd (Wed) so you can drive to Durango.

Things to do in Pagosa Springs

Parks · Nature · Trails · Outdoors

Durango

— 2 nights
Originally a frontier mining town, Durango is known today for its scenic setting, outdoor activities, and the 1880s steam-powered railway that takes visitors through sections of the mountains where roads don't reach.
On the 24th (Thu), explore the landscape on two wheels at The Colorado Trail, get interesting insight from Tours, and then hike along Animas Mountain Trail. On the 25th (Fri), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: hike along Rim Trail/ Campus Loop, then trek along Potato Lake Trail, and then delve into the distant past at Aztec Ruins National Monument.

To see photos, maps, more things to do, and other tourist information, refer to the Durango attractions planner.

Traveling by car from Pagosa Springs to Durango takes 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a shuttle. September in Durango sees daily highs of 77°F and lows of 44°F at night. Finish your sightseeing early on the 25th (Fri) so you can drive to Mesa Verde National Park.

Things to do in Durango

Outdoors · Trails · Parks · Adventure

Side Trip

Mesa Verde National Park

— 2 nights
Whereas most national parks are primarily devoted to showcasing unique and special landscapes, Mesa Verde National Park focuses on ancient human habitation.
On the 26th (Sat), contemplate the long history of Cliff Palace, then steep yourself in history at Balcony House, then stroll through Spruce Canyon Trail, and finally appreciate the extensive heritage of Far View Sites. On your second day here, stroll through Nordenskiold #16 Trail and then hike along Point Lookout Trail.

For ratings, more things to do, traveler tips, and tourist information, go to the Mesa Verde National Park planning website.

Drive from Durango to Mesa Verde National Park in 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and taxi; or do a combination of shuttle and taxi. September in Mesa Verde National Park sees daily highs of 80°F and lows of 45°F at night. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 27th (Sun) to allow time for travel back home.

Things to do in Mesa Verde National Park

Historic Sites · Trails · Outdoors · Parks

Colorado travel guide

4.4
River Rafting & Tubing · Parks · Scenic Drive
The Centennial State
Home to diverse natural ecosystems, Colorado boasts numerous ski resorts, vineyards, canyons, fossil-rich national parks, rugged natural trails, and picturesque scenic drives. Arguably the greatest of Colorado's many natural wonders is Mt. Elbert, the highest peak in the North American Rockies. The state's natural beauty inspired the opening lyrics of the song "America the Beautiful." Aside from its abundant unspoiled wilderness, Colorado also offers many urban attractions, including award-winning restaurants and nationally praised microbreweries. With an extensive system of highways and railroads, the state provides visitors on vacation with a chance to explore this largely untamed part of the country by car or train.