15 days in Colorado Itinerary

15 days in Colorado Itinerary

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Route & dates

15 days in Colorado Itinerary

Start: Washington DC
+4
Subway + Bus + Fly + Foot + Bus:  7​h 45​min
1
Vail
— 2 nights
Drive:  2​h
2
Aspen
— 2 nights
Drive:  4​h 15​min
3
Ouray
— 2 nights
Drive:  3​h
4
Pagosa Springs
— 2 nights
Drive:  2​h 45​min
5
Mesa Verde National Park
— 2 nights
Taxi + Fly:  4​h 45​min
6
Colorado Springs
— 4 nights
Fly:  7​h 15​min
End: Washington DC

2
nights
Vail

Vail ©
Originally built as a base for Vail Ski Resort, the town of Vail has blossomed into its own destination, but still has less than 6,000 permanent residents.
On the next day, take in the awesome beauty at Winter Park Resort.

To find more things to do, maps, other places to visit, and more tourist information, you can read our Vail journey tool .

Washington DC to Vail is an approximately 8-hour combination of subway, bus, and flight. You can also do a combination of flight and shuttle; or drive. The time zone difference moving from Eastern Standard Time to Mountain Standard Time is minus 2 hours. Traveling from Washington DC in August, expect Vail to be cooler, temps between 62°F and 46°F. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 2nd (Mon) so you can go by car to Aspen.

Things to do in Vail

Outdoors Parks Winter Sports

Side Trip

Winter Park Resort
Highlights from your plan
Winter Park Resort ©
Winter Park Resort

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.
Kick off your visit on the 3rd (Tue): take a tour by water with Boat Tours & Water Sports and then stroll through Maroon Lake Scenic Trail. Here are some ideas for day two: explore the activities along Crater Lake Trail, then explore the landscape on two wheels at Rio Grande Trail, and then pause for some photo ops at The John Denver Sanctuary.

To see traveler tips, photos, ratings, and more tourist information, refer to the Aspen trip itinerary site .

Drive from Vail to Aspen in 2 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. When traveling from Vail in September, plan for a bit warmer days in Aspen, with highs around 72°F, while nights are about the same with lows around 41°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 4th (Wed) to allow enough time to drive to Ouray.

Things to do in Aspen

Parks Outdoors Trails
Highlights from your plan
Maroon Lake Scenic Trail ©
Maroon Lake Scenic Trail
Crater Lake Trail ©
Crater Lake Trail
The John Denver Sanctuary
The John Denver Sanctuary

2
nights
Ouray

Ouray ©
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 5th (Thu): take in the dramatic natural features at Yankee Boy Basin, then contemplate the long history of Yankee Girl Mine, then stroll around Box Canyon Waterfall & Park, and finally take in the dramatic scenery at Bear Creek Falls. On the 6th (Fri), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: make a trip to Idarado Mine, hike along Cascade Falls Park, and then tour the pleasant surroundings at Perimeter Trail.

Plan a Ouray trip in moments using our itinerary builder.

You can drive from Aspen to Ouray in 4.5 hours. Another option is to do a combination of car and bus. Traveling from Aspen in September, you will find days in Ouray are little chillier (66°F), and nights are about the same (45°F). Finish your sightseeing early on the 6th (Fri) so you can drive to Pagosa Springs.

Things to do in Ouray

Parks Outdoors Trails

Side Trips

Idarado Mine, Bear Creek Falls
Highlights from your plan
Yankee Boy Basin ©
Yankee Boy Basin
Bear Creek Falls ©
Bear Creek Falls
Cascade Falls Park ©
Cascade Falls Park

2
nights
Pagosa Springs

Pagosa Springs ©
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 7th (Sat): soothe aching muscles at The Springs Resort & Spa, admire the sheer force of Treasure Falls, and then stop by Made in Colorado Shoppe. Here are some ideas for day two: hike along Piedra River Trail, view the masterpieces at Handcrafted Interiors Art Gallery, and then relax and float downstream with a rafting and tubing tour.

Start your trip to Pagosa Springs by creating a personalized itinerary on Inspirock.

Drive from Ouray to Pagosa Springs in 3 hours. Alternatively, you can take a shuttle. Traveling from Ouray in September, expect nights in Pagosa Springs to be about the same, around 44°F, while days are a bit warmer, around 72°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 8th (Sun) so you can drive to Mesa Verde National Park.

Things to do in Pagosa Springs

Parks Outdoors Nature
Highlights from your plan
Piedra River Trail ©
Piedra River Trail
River Rafting & Tubing
The Springs Resort & Spa ©
The Springs Resort & Spa

2
nights
Mesa Verde National Park

Mesa Verde National Park ©
Whereas most national parks are primarily devoted to showcasing unique and special landscapes, Mesa Verde National Park focuses on ancient human habitation.
Start off your visit on the 9th (Mon): delve into the distant past at Spruce Tree House, then explore the ancient world of Balcony House, then delve into the distant past at Cliff Palace, and finally trek along Nordenskiold #16 Trail. Keep things going the next day: stroll through Petroglyph Point Hike and then explore the ancient world of Long House.

To find other places to visit, maps, reviews, and other tourist information, you can read our Mesa Verde National Park itinerary builder .

You can drive from Pagosa Springs to Mesa Verde National Park in 3 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of shuttle and car; or do a combination of shuttle and bus. When traveling from Pagosa Springs in September, plan for somewhat warmer days and about the same nights in Mesa Verde National Park: temperatures range from 80°F by day to 45°F at night. Finish your sightseeing early on the 10th (Tue) to allow enough time to travel to Colorado Springs.

Things to do in Mesa Verde National Park

Historic Sites Outdoors Trails
Highlights from your plan
Spruce Tree House ©
Spruce Tree House
Long House ©
Long House
Petroglyph Point Hike ©
Petroglyph Point Hike

4
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.
Escape the urban bustle at North Cheyenne Canon Park and Starsmore Discovery Center and Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center. Eschew the tourist crowds and head to Bishop Castle and Red Rock Canyon. When in Colorado Springs, make a side trip to see Skyline Drive in Canon City, approximately 1h 20 min away. Next up on the itinerary: take in the dramatic scenery at Helen Hunt Falls, don't miss a visit to Olympic Training Center, find something for the whole family at North Pole - Santa's Workshop, and appreciate the history behind Will Rogers Memorial Shrine of the Sun.

For where to stay, photos, maps, and other tourist information, refer to the Colorado Springs travel itinerary planner.

Traveling by combination of taxi and flight from Mesa Verde National Park to Colorado Springs takes 5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of taxi, flight, and shuttle; or drive. Plan for a bit warmer nights when traveling from Mesa Verde National Park in September since evenings lows in Colorado Springs dip to 51°F. On the 14th (Sat), wrap the sightseeing up by early afternoon so you can travel back home.

Things to do in Colorado Springs

Parks Wildlife Nature

Side Trips

Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center, North Pole Colorado Santa’s Workshop, Skyline Drive, Bishop Castle
Highlights from your plan
Helen Hunt Falls ©
Helen Hunt Falls
Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center ©
Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center
Bishop Castle ©
Bishop Castle

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