16 days in Colorado Itinerary

16 days in Colorado Itinerary

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Route & dates

16 days in Colorado Itinerary

Start: Chicago
Fly:  7​h 30​min
1
Durango
— Few hours
Drive:  1​h 30​min
2
Mesa Verde National Park
— 2 nights
Drive:  4​h 15​min
3
Fruita
— 1 night
Drive:  2​h 45​min
4
Glenwood Springs
— 1 night
Drive:  2​h 45​min
5
Steamboat Springs
— 2 nights
Bus + Taxi:  2​h 30​min
6
Winter Park
— 1 night
Drive:  3​h
7
Rocky Mountain National Park
— 2 nights
Drive:  1​h 45​min
8
Denver
— 3 nights
Bus:  1​h
9
Colorado Springs
— 3 nights
Fly:  4​h 45​min
End: Chicago

few
hours
Durango

Durango ©
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.
To see maps, more things to do, and more tourist information, you can read our Durango trip site .

Chicago to Durango is an approximately 7.5-hour flight. You can also do a combination of flight, bus, and shuttle; or drive. Due to the time zone difference, you'll gain 1 hour traveling from Chicago to Durango. Traveling from Chicago in December, Durango is slightly colder at night with lows of 13°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 24th (Mon) to allow enough time to drive to Mesa Verde National Park.

Things to do in Durango

Tours
Highlights from your plan

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 25th (Tue): trek along Prater Ridge Trail, then hike along Petroglyph Point Hike, and then see the interesting displays at Chapin Mesa Archeological Museum. Here are some ideas for day two: contemplate the long history of Cliff Palace, delve into the distant past at Balcony House, then take a memorable drive along Ruins Road, and finally delve into the distant past at Spruce Tree House.

To find photos, traveler tips, and tourist information, you can read our Mesa Verde National Park trip builder app .

You can 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. In December, plan for daily highs up to 44°F, and evening lows to 15°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 26th (Wed) to allow enough time to travel to Fruita.

Things to do in Mesa Verde National Park

Outdoors Historic Sites Trails
Highlights from your plan
Petroglyph Point Hike ©
Petroglyph Point Hike
Cliff Palace ©
Cliff Palace
Balcony House ©
Balcony House

1
night
Fruita

Fruita ©
The City of Fruita is a Home Rule Municipality located in western Mesa County, Colorado, United States. Start off your visit on the 27th (Thu): engage your brain at Museum of Western Colorado: Dinosaur Journey, then do a tasting at Talon Winery, and then take in the awesome beauty at Colorado National Monument.

To see reviews, more things to do, photos, and other tourist information, you can read our Fruita tour itinerary builder app .

Drive from Mesa Verde National Park to Fruita in 4.5 hours. Traveling from Mesa Verde National Park in December, you will find days in Fruita are a bit cooler (37°F), and nights are about the same (17°F). Finish up your sightseeing early on the 27th (Thu) so you can travel to Glenwood Springs.

Things to do in Fruita

Wildlife Parks Wineries

Side Trips

Colorado National Monument, Talon Winery
Highlights from your plan
Colorado National Monument ©
Colorado National Monument

1
night
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.
Kick off your visit on the 28th (Fri): tour the pleasant surroundings at Hanging Lake Trail and then test the waters at a local thermal spa.

To see photos, traveler tips, and tourist information, read our Glenwood Springs trip site .

Traveling by car from Fruita to Glenwood Springs takes 1.5 hours. Traveling from Fruita in December, you will find days in Glenwood Springs are slightly colder (26°F), and nights are about the same (15°F). Finish your sightseeing early on the 28th (Fri) to allow enough time to drive to Steamboat Springs.

Things to do in Glenwood Springs

Spas Trails Parks
Highlights from your plan
Thermal Spas
Hanging Lake Trail ©
Hanging Lake Trail

2
nights
Steamboat Springs

Steamboat Springs ©
An internationally known ski resort, Steamboat Springs sits in the shadow of Mount Werner in north central Colorado.
Start off your visit on the 29th (Sat): fly down the slopes at Steamboat Ski Resort, get lost in a book at Tread of Pioneers Museum, then view the masterpieces at Steamboat Art Company, and finally explore the world behind art at Steamboat Art Museum. Keep things going the next day: witness a stunning natural landmark at Strawberry Park Hot Springs, admire the sheer force of Fish Creek Falls, then relax and rejuvenate at some of the top local wellness centers, and finally take in the architecture and atmosphere at Holy Name Catholic Church.

To find photos, where to stay, other places to visit, and more tourist information, read Steamboat Springs trip tool .

Getting from Glenwood Springs to Steamboat Springs by car takes about 3 hours. Other options: do a combination of bus and taxi; or take a bus. Traveling from Glenwood Springs in December, Steamboat Springs is a bit cooler at night with lows of 9°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 30th (Sun) so you can travel to Winter Park.

Things to do in Steamboat Springs

Parks Nature Trails
Highlights from your plan
Steamboat Ski Resort ©
Steamboat Ski Resort
Fish Creek Falls ©
Fish Creek Falls
Steamboat Art Company ©
Steamboat Art Company

1
night
Winter Park

Winter Park ©
Winter Park is a home rule municipality in Grand County, Colorado, United States. Kick off your visit on the 31st (Mon): take in the awesome beauty at Winter Park Resort.

To see ratings, more things to do, other places to visit, and more tourist information, you can read our Winter Park online road trip planner .

Getting from Steamboat Springs to Winter Park by bus takes about 2.5 hours. Other options: drive. When traveling from Steamboat Springs in December, plan for slightly colder days and about the same nights in Winter Park: temperatures range from 17°F by day to 6°F at night. Cap off your sightseeing on the 31st (Mon) early enough to go by car to Rocky Mountain National Park.

Things to do in Winter Park

Wildlife Parks Outdoors
Highlights from your plan
Winter Park Resort ©
Winter Park Resort

2
nights
Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park ©
Rocky Mountain National Park presents an ideal setting for recreation in the mountain range for which the park is named.
On the 1st (Tue), hike along Emerald Lake Trail, take your sightseeing to a higher altitude at Hallett Peak, and then admire the verdant scenery at Many Parks Curve Overlook. Here are some ideas for day two: stroll through The Beach at Grand Lake, take in the spiritual surroundings of Chapel on the Rock, and then take an in-depth tour of Eagle Plume's.

Ask Inspirock to suggest an itinerary and make planning a trip to Rocky Mountain National Park fast, fun, and easy.

Traveling by car from Winter Park to Rocky Mountain National Park takes 3 hours. Traveling from Winter Park in December, you will find days in Rocky Mountain National Park are much warmer (46°F), and nights are a bit warmer (17°F). Finish your sightseeing early on the 2nd (Wed) so you can drive to Denver.

Things to do in Rocky Mountain National Park

Parks Outdoors Trails

Side Trip

The Beach at Grand Lake
Highlights from your plan
Emerald Lake Trail ©
Emerald Lake Trail
Hallett Peak ©
Hallett Peak
Many Parks Curve Overlook ©
Many Parks Curve Overlook

3
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.
Take a break from the city and head to Butterfly Pavilion and Insect Center and Cherry Creek State Park. Satisfy your inner culture vulture at Denver Botanic Gardens and Trinity United Methodist Church. Explore Denver's surroundings by going to The Colorado Freedom Memorial (in Aurora) and Jeffco Open Space Parks (in Golden). Next up on the itinerary: engage your brain at Denver Museum of Nature & Science, explore the world behind art at Denver Art Museum, contemplate the waterfront views at Crown Hill Park, and admire nature's wide array of creatures at Denver Zoo.

For other places to visit, traveler tips, and other tourist information, read our Denver trip planner .

Traveling by car from Rocky Mountain National Park to Denver takes 2 hours. Expect a daytime high around 44°F in January, and nighttime lows around 21°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 5th (Sat) to allow time to take a bus to Colorado Springs.

Things to do in Denver

Parks Wildlife Trails

Side Trips

Aurora, Crown Hill Park, Butterfly Pavilion and Insect Center, Jeffco Open Space Parks
Highlights from your plan
Butterfly Pavilion and Insect Center ©
Denver Art Museum ©
Denver Art Museum
Denver Botanic Gardens ©
Denver Botanic Gardens

3
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.
On the 6th (Sun), take in the awesome beauty at Horsethief Falls, then identify plant and animal life at Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center, and then get to know the fascinating history of Old Colorado City Historic District. On the 7th (Mon), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: tour the pleasant surroundings at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, delve into the distant past at Manitou Cliff Dwellings, and then tour the pleasant surroundings at Garden of the Gods.

To see maps, more things to do, and other tourist information, refer to the Colorado Springs trip itinerary builder tool .

Getting from Denver to Colorado Springs by bus takes about an hour. Other options: drive; or do a combination of train and flight. In January, daytime highs in Colorado Springs are 46°F, while nighttime lows are 18°F. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 8th (Tue) to allow enough time to travel back home.

Things to do in Colorado Springs

Parks Museums Historic Sites

Side Trips

Manitou Springs, Divide
Highlights from your plan
Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center ©
Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center
Commonwheel Artists Co-op ©
Commonwheel Artists Co-op

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