17 days in Colorado Itinerary

17 days in Colorado Itinerary

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Route & dates

17 days in Colorado Itinerary

Start: Washington DC
Fly:  6​h
1
Denver
— 1 night
Drive:  1​h 45​min
2
Rocky Mountain National Park
— 2 nights
Drive:  3​h
3
Colorado Springs
— 3 nights
Drive:  2​h 15​min
4
Buena Vista
— 1 night
Drive:  4​h 30​min
5
Durango
— 1 night
Drive:  1​h 30​min
6
Mesa Verde National Park
— 2 nights
Drive:  6​h 30​min
7
Glenwood Springs
— 3 nights
Drive:  4​h 15​min
8
Estes Park
— 3 nights
Fly:  7​h 30​min
End: Washington DC

1
night
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.
Kick off your visit on the 24th (Sat): let the river carry you with a rafting and tubing tour. Keep things going the next day: engage your brain at Denver Museum of Nature & Science, then explore the world behind art at Denver Art Museum, then take a stroll through 16th Street Mall, and finally steep yourself in history at Union Station.

For maps, traveler tips, reviews, and tourist information, read Denver tour planning website .

Washington DC to Denver is an approximately 6-hour combination of flight and train. You can also do a combination of train and flight; 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, plan for slightly colder nights in Denver, with lows around 58°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 25th (Sun) so you can take a bus to Colorado Springs.

Things to do in Denver

Museums Adventure Historic Sites

Side Trip

River Rafting & Tubing
Highlights from your plan
River Rafting & Tubing
Denver Union Station ©
Denver Union Station
16th Street Mall ©
16th Street Mall

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.
The Beach at Grand Lake has been added to your itinerary. On the 26th (Mon), hike along Emerald Lake Trail, kick back and relax at The Beach at Grand Lake, get to know the fascinating history of Wild Basin Area, then admire all the interesting features of Trail Ridge Road, and finally admire the verdant scenery at Many Parks Curve Overlook. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 27th (Tue): contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Chapel on the Rock and then take in the awesome beauty at Hallett Peak.

To see more things to do, photos, maps, and more tourist information, use the Rocky Mountain National Park road trip planning app .

You can drive from Denver to Rocky Mountain National Park in 2 hours. Expect a daytime high around 89°F in August, and nighttime lows around 56°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 27th (Tue) early enough to drive to Colorado Springs.

Things to do in Rocky Mountain National Park

Outdoors Parks Trails

Side Trip

The Beach at Grand Lake
Highlights from your plan
Trail Ridge Road ©
Trail Ridge Road
Emerald Lake Trail ©
Emerald Lake Trail
Hallett Peak ©
Hallett Peak

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.
Get in touch with nature at River Rafting & Tubing and Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. Get some cultural insight at Old Colorado City Historic District and Commonwheel Artists Co-op. There's much more to do: identify plant and animal life at Garden of the Gods, pause for some serene contemplation at St. Mary's Catholic Cathedral, take in the pleasant sights at Pikes Peak, and brush up on your military savvy at National Museum of World War II Aviation.

For maps, traveler tips, other places to visit, and tourist information, read our Colorado Springs trip maker site .

Traveling by car from Rocky Mountain National Park to Colorado Springs takes 3 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of taxi and bus. When traveling from Rocky Mountain National Park in August, plan for a bit cooler days in Colorado Springs, with highs around 83°F, while nights are about the same with lows around 56°F. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 30th (Fri) so you can go by car to Buena Vista.

Things to do in Colorado Springs

Parks Outdoors Historic Sites

Side Trips

Manitou Springs, River Rafting & Tubing
Highlights from your plan
Pike's Peak - America's Mountain ©
Pike's Peak - America's Mountain
River Rafting & Tubing
Old Colorado City ©
Old Colorado City

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 31st (Sat): let the river carry you with a rafting and tubing tour, take in the natural beauty of Cottonwood Hot Springs Inn & Spa, and then brush up on your knowledge of spirits at Deerhammer Distillery.

To find other places to visit, where to stay, reviews, and other tourist information, read Buena Vista online vacation planner .

Drive from Colorado Springs to Buena Vista in 2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. Plan for slightly colder temperatures traveling from Colorado Springs in August, with highs in Buena Vista at 77°F and lows at 47°F. Cap off your sightseeing on the 31st (Sat) early enough to go by car to Durango.

Things to do in Buena Vista

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

1
night
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.
Start off your visit on the 1st (Sun): explore the galleries of Durango Fish Hatchery and Wildlife Museum, get interesting insight from Tours, and then see the interesting displays at Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad and Museum.

Plan a Durango trip in moments using our itinerary builder.

Drive from Buena Vista to Durango in 4.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of car, bus, and shuttle; or do a combination of bus, train, and flight. In August, daily temperatures in Durango can reach 82°F, while at night they dip to 51°F. Cap off your sightseeing on the 1st (Sun) early enough to go by car to Mesa Verde National Park.

Things to do in Durango

Tours Adventure Outdoors
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.
On the 2nd (Mon), tour the pleasant surroundings at Nordenskiold #16 Trail, hike along Petroglyph Point Hike, then delve into the distant past at Balcony House, and finally explore the ancient world of Cliff Palace.

To find reviews and other tourist information, you can read our Mesa Verde National Park route builder app .

Traveling by car from Durango to Mesa Verde National Park takes 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and taxi; or do a combination of shuttle and taxi. In September, daily temperatures in Mesa Verde National Park can reach 80°F, while at night they dip to 45°F. You'll have a few hours on the 3rd (Tue) to wrap things up before traveling home.

Things to do in Mesa Verde National Park

Historic Sites Trails Outdoors
Highlights from your plan
Cliff Palace ©
Cliff Palace
Balcony House ©
Balcony House
Spruce Tree House ©
Spruce Tree House

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.
Kick off your visit on the 4th (Wed): take your sightseeing to a higher altitude at Maroon Bells. Keep things going the next day: test the waters at a local thermal spa and then relax and float downstream with a rafting and tubing tour.

For where to stay, ratings, more things to do, and other tourist information, refer to the Glenwood Springs trip builder app .

Drive from Mesa Verde National Park to Glenwood Springs in 6.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of taxi, flight, and shuttle; or do a combination of taxi and bus. Expect colder weather when traveling from Mesa Verde National Park in September: highs in Glenwood Springs hover around 59°F, while lows dip to 42°F. On the 6th (Fri), wrap the sightseeing up by early afternoon so you can travel back home.

Things to do in Glenwood Springs

Parks Nature Outdoors

Side Trip

Maroon Bells
Highlights from your plan
Maroon Bells ©
Maroon Bells
Thermal Spas
Hanging Lake Trail ©
Hanging Lake Trail

3
nights
Estes Park

Estes Park ©
More than just a convenient resting place for travelers on their way to the national park encompassing the Front Range of the Rockies, Estes Park is a popular place to visit in its own right.
Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: relax and rejuvenate at some of the top local wellness centers, then take in the exciting artwork at Images of Rocky Mountain National Park, then view the masterpieces at Mountain Blown Glass, and finally take a pleasant ride with a tour on horseback.

To find ratings, photos, traveler tips, and more tourist information, use the Estes Park day trip site .

Getting from Glenwood Springs to Estes Park by car takes about 4.5 hours. Other options: do a combination of bus, flight, and taxi; or do a combination of train and car. Expect warmer weather when traveling from Glenwood Springs in September: highs in Estes Park hover around 81°F, while lows dip to 50°F. On the 9th (Mon), wrap the sightseeing up by early afternoon so you can travel back home.

Things to do in Estes Park

Outdoors Neighborhoods Tours
Highlights from your plan
Aspen and Evergreen Gallery ©
Aspen and Evergreen Gallery
Horseback Riding Tours
Peak to Peak Scenic Byway ©
Peak to Peak Scenic Byway

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