17 days in South Dakota & Colorado Itinerary

17 days in South Dakota & Colorado Itinerary

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Route & dates

17 days in South Dakota & Colorado Itinerary

Start: Milwaukee
Drive:  14​h
1
Custer
— 3 nights
Drive:  15​h
2
Mesa Verde National Park
— 1 night
Drive:  2​h
3
Durango
— 1 night
Fly:  4​h 45​min
4
Aspen
— 2 nights
Drive:  1​h
5
Glenwood Springs
— 2 nights
Drive:  4​h 15​min
6
Rocky Mountain National Park
— 2 nights
Drive:  30​min
7
Estes Park
— 2 nights
Drive:  2​h 45​min
8
Colorado Springs
— 2 nights
Drive:  17​h 30​min
End: Milwaukee


Learn more about your trip

3
nights
Custer

Custer ©
Generally considered to be the oldest town established by European Americans in the Black Hills, Custer began as a mining town.
Your day-by-day itinerary now includes Needles Highway, Mammoth Site of Hot Springs and Black Hills National Forest. Escape the urban bustle at Custer State Park and Mount Rushmore National Memorial. Next up on the itinerary: explore the activities along Sylvan Lake and appreciate the history behind Crazy Horse Memorial.

Use Inspirock's suggestions to plan your Custer trip and find the best activities and attractions for your vacation.

Milwaukee to Custer is an approximately 6.5-hour combination of bus, flight, and taxi. You can also do a combination of flight and taxi; or drive. The time zone difference moving from Central Standard Time to Mountain Standard Time is minus 1 hour. Traveling from Milwaukee in July, you can expect nighttime temperatures to be little chillier in Custer, with lows of 54°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 2nd (Thu) to allow time to travel to Mesa Verde National Park.

Things to do in Custer

Nature Parks Wildlife

Side Trips

Mammoth Site of Hot Springs, Mount Rushmore National Memorial, Crazy Horse Memorial, Needles Highway
Highlights from your plan
Mammoth Site of Hot Springs ©
Mammoth Site of Hot Springs
Mount Rushmore National Memorial ©
Custer State Park ©
Custer State Park

1
night
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 2nd (Thu): make a trip to Park Point.

To find ratings, where to stay, more things to do, and other tourist information, refer to the Mesa Verde National Park online road trip planner .

You can do a combination of taxi and flight from Custer to Mesa Verde National Park in 6.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of taxi, flight, and car; or drive. Traveling from Custer in August, you will find days in Mesa Verde National Park are somewhat warmer (87°F), and nights are about the same (54°F). Cap off your sightseeing on the 3rd (Fri) early enough to go by car to Durango.

Things to do in Mesa Verde National Park

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

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.
To find maps, photos, where to stay, and more tourist information, you can read our Durango trip planner .

Drive from Mesa Verde National Park to Durango in 2 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of taxi and shuttle. In August, daytime highs in Durango are 84°F, while nighttime lows are 52°F. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 4th (Sat) to allow enough time to drive to Glenwood Springs.

Things to do in Durango

Tours
Highlights from your plan

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 5th (Sun): pause for some photo ops at The John Denver Sanctuary and then take your sightseeing to a higher altitude at Maroon Bells. Keep things going the next day: mingle with the ghosts of the past at Holden Marolt Mining & Ranching Museum and then take a tour by water with Boat Tours & Water Sports.

For more things to do, photos, other places to visit, and tourist information, go to the Aspen trip itinerary planning tool .

You can fly from Durango to Aspen in 5 hours. Other options are to drive; or do a combination of shuttle, bus, and car. Expect little chillier temperatures when traveling from Durango in August; daily highs in Aspen reach 77°F and lows reach 47°F. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 6th (Mon) so you can go by car to Glenwood Springs.

Things to do in Aspen

Parks Nature Historic Sites
Highlights from your plan
Maroon Bells ©
Maroon Bells
The John Denver Sanctuary
The John Denver Sanctuary

2
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 7th (Tue): hike along Hanging Lake Trail and then test the waters at a local thermal spa. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 8th (Wed): look for gifts at Sioux Villa Curio and then take a tour by water with Blue Sky Adventures.

For maps, traveler tips, ratings, and more tourist information, you can read our Glenwood Springs trip itinerary app .

Traveling by car from Aspen to Glenwood Springs takes an hour. Alternatively, you can take a bus. Traveling from Aspen in August, expect nights in Glenwood Springs to be about the same, around 49°F, while days are little chillier, around 66°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 8th (Wed) so you can drive to Rocky Mountain National Park.

Things to do in Glenwood Springs

Outdoors Spas Adventure
Highlights from your plan
Hanging Lake Trail ©
Hanging Lake Trail
Blue Sky Adventures ©
Blue Sky Adventures
Thermal Spas

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.
Kick off your visit on the 9th (Thu): admire the sheer force of Alberta Falls, contemplate the waterfront views at Bear Lake, and then contemplate the waterfront views at Bierstadt Lake. Keep things going the next day: get great views at Farview Curve Overlook, then explore the striking landscape at Alluvial Fan, and then trek along Emerald Lake Trail.

To find traveler tips, other places to visit, and more tourist information, refer to the Rocky Mountain National Park road trip planning tool .

Drive from Glenwood Springs to Rocky Mountain National Park in 4.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of train and car. Finish your sightseeing early on the 10th (Fri) to allow enough time to drive to Estes Park.

Things to do in Rocky Mountain National Park

Parks Nature Trails
Highlights from your plan
Alberta Falls ©
Alberta Falls
Emerald Lake Trail ©
Emerald Lake Trail
Bear Lake ©
Bear Lake

2
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.
Start off your visit on the 11th (Sat): look for gifts at Kirks Flyshop & Mountain Adventures, then take in the exciting artwork at Images of Rocky Mountain National Park, then relax and rejuvenate at some of the top local wellness centers, and finally take a pleasant ride with a tour on horseback. On the 12th (Sun), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: look for all kinds of wild species at Cache La Poudre Wilderness and then sample the fine beverages at Dancing Pines Distillery.

To find other places to visit, more things to do, and other tourist information, go to the Estes Park trip planner.

Estes Park is just a short distance from Rocky Mountain National Park. In August, daily temperatures in Estes Park can reach 89°F, while at night they dip to 56°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 12th (Sun) to allow enough time to drive to Colorado Springs.

Things to do in Estes Park

Wildlife Tours Outdoors

Side Trip

Cache La Poudre Wilderness
Highlights from your plan
Images of Rocky Mountain National Park ©
Horseback Riding Tours
Cache La Poudre Wilderness ©
Cache La Poudre Wilderness

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.
On the 13th (Mon), take in the dramatic natural features at Garden of the Gods, then delve into the distant past at Manitou Cliff Dwellings, and then appreciate the extensive heritage of Old Colorado City Historic District. On the 14th (Tue), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: admire nature's wide array of creatures at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo and then take in the dramatic scenery at Seven Falls.

For maps, photos, ratings, and tourist information, refer to the Colorado Springs holiday app .

Traveling by car from Estes Park to Colorado Springs takes 3 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of taxi and bus; or do a combination of taxi, bus, and flight. Traveling from Estes Park in August, you will find days in Colorado Springs are slightly colder (83°F), and nights are about the same (56°F). Wrap up your sightseeing on the 14th (Tue) early enough to travel back home.

Things to do in Colorado Springs

Parks Nature Historic Sites

Side Trip

Manitou Cliff Dwellings
Highlights from your plan
Garden of the Gods ©
Garden of the Gods
Cheyenne Mountain Zoo ©
Cheyenne Mountain Zoo
The Broadmoor Seven Falls ©
The Broadmoor Seven Falls

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