18 days in Colorado Itinerary

18 days in Colorado Itinerary

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Route & dates

18 days in Colorado Itinerary

Start: Charlotte
Fly:  5​h 15​min
1
Denver
— 1 night
Drive:  1​h 45​min
2
Rocky Mountain National Park
— 1 night
Drive:  3​h
3
Colorado Springs
— 3 nights
Drive:  2​h 15​min
4
Buena Vista
— 1 night
Drive:  3​h 15​min
5
Aspen
— 3 nights
Drive:  4​h 15​min
6
Ouray
— 2 nights
Drive:  2​h
7
Durango
— 2 nights
Drive:  1​h 30​min
8
Mesa Verde National Park
— 3 nights
taxi + Fly:  9​h
End: Charlotte

1
night
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.
Your day-by-day itinerary now includes Larimer Square as well as Denver Union Station. Kick off your visit on the 12th (Fri): don't miss a visit to Larimer Square. On the next day, steep yourself in history at Denver Union Station, get a taste of the local shopping with Denver Botanic Gardens, and then wander the streets of 16th Street Mall.

To find reviews, more things to do, traveler tips, and tourist information, read Denver travel route planning website .

Charlotte to Denver is an approximately 5.5-hour flight. You can also do a combination of bus and flight; or drive. You'll gain 2 hours traveling from Charlotte to Denver due to the time zone difference. Traveling from Charlotte in July, plan for a bit cooler nights in Denver, with lows around 60°F. Cap off your sightseeing on the 13th (Sat) early enough to go by car to Rocky Mountain National Park.

Things to do in Denver

Historic Sites Shopping Parks
Highlights from your plan
Denver Botanic Gardens ©
Denver Botanic Gardens
Denver Union Station ©
Denver Union Station
16th Street Mall ©
16th Street Mall

1
night
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 14th (Sun): get great views at Forest Canyon Overlook, then cruise along Trail Ridge Road, and then hike along Emerald Lake Trail.

Start your trip to Rocky Mountain National Park by creating a personalized itinerary on Inspirock.

Traveling by car from Denver to Rocky Mountain National Park takes 2 hours. In July, daytime highs in Rocky Mountain National Park are 91°F, while nighttime lows are 59°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 14th (Sun) so you can drive to Colorado Springs.

Things to do in Rocky Mountain National Park

Outdoors Parks Scenic Drive
Highlights from your plan
Trail Ridge Road ©
Trail Ridge Road
Emerald Lake Trail ©
Emerald Lake Trail
Forest Canyon Overlook ©
Forest Canyon Overlook

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.
When in Colorado Springs, make a side trip to see River Rafting & Tubing in Canon City, approximately 1h 25 min away. There's much more to do: stroll around Garden of the Gods, explore and take pictures at United States Air Force Academy, get in on the family fun at North Pole - Santa's Workshop, and learn about wildlife with up-close encounters at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo.

To find reviews, ratings, traveler tips, and tourist information, read our Colorado Springs holiday planner .

Traveling by car from Rocky Mountain National Park to Colorado Springs takes 3 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of taxi and bus. Expect little chillier weather when traveling from Rocky Mountain National Park in July: highs in Colorado Springs hover around 86°F, while lows dip to 58°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 17th (Wed) early enough to drive to Buena Vista.

Things to do in Colorado Springs

Parks Outdoors Tours

Side Trips

River Rafting & Tubing, North Pole Colorado Santa’s Workshop
Highlights from your plan
Garden of the Gods ©
Garden of the Gods
River Rafting & Tubing
Pike's Peak - America's Mountain ©
Pike's Peak - America's Mountain

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 18th (Thu): walk around Buena Vista River Park, then relax and float downstream with a rafting and tubing tour, and then take in the natural beauty of Cottonwood Hot Springs Inn & Spa.

For more things to do, where to stay, traveler tips, and tourist information, go to the Buena Vista online trip planner .

Traveling by car from Colorado Springs to Buena Vista takes 2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. Plan for little chillier temperatures traveling from Colorado Springs in July, with highs in Buena Vista at 80°F and lows at 49°F. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 18th (Thu) so you can go by car to Aspen.

Things to do in Buena Vista

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

3
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 19th (Fri): take your sightseeing to a higher altitude at Maroon Bells. Here are some ideas for day two: take a memorable drive along Independence Pass and then hike along Maroon Lake Scenic Trail.

Quickly create a custom-made itinerary for Aspen using our trip planner.

Traveling by car from Buena Vista to Aspen takes 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. Expect a daytime high around 81°F in July, and nighttime lows around 49°F. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 21st (Sun) to allow time for travel back home.

Things to do in Aspen

Parks Nature Outdoors
Highlights from your plan
Maroon Bells ©
Maroon Bells
Independence Pass ©
Independence Pass
Maroon Lake Scenic Trail ©
Maroon Lake Scenic Trail

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. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 22nd (Mon): stroll around Box Canyon Waterfall & Park, then see the interesting displays at Ouray Alchemist Museum, then contemplate the long history of Yankee Girl Mine, and finally explore the striking landscape at Yankee Boy Basin.

To find other places to visit, where to stay, traveler tips, and tourist information, you can read our Ouray travel route tool .

You can drive from Aspen to Ouray in 4.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of car and bus. Traveling from Aspen in July, you will find days in Ouray are slightly colder (74°F), and nights are about the same (52°F). Wrap up your sightseeing on the 23rd (Tue) early enough to drive to Durango.

Things to do in Ouray

Parks Trails Outdoors
Highlights from your plan
Yankee Boy Basin ©
Yankee Boy Basin
Box Canyon Waterfall & Park ©
Box Canyon Waterfall & Park
Ouray Alchemist Museum ©
Ouray Alchemist Museum

2
nights
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 24th (Wed): trot along with a tour on horseback, admire the masterpieces at Earthen Vessel Gallery, and then relax and float downstream with a rafting and tubing tour. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 25th (Thu): don't miss a visit to Historic Downtown Durango, then take in the exciting artwork at Scenic Aperture Gallery, and then take a memorable drive along Million Dollar Highway.

To see more things to do, maps, where to stay, and more tourist information, use the Durango online holiday planner .

Traveling by car from Ouray to Durango takes 2 hours. Alternatively, you can take a shuttle. Expect somewhat warmer weather when traveling from Ouray in July: highs in Durango hover around 86°F, while lows dip to 54°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 25th (Thu) to allow time to drive to Mesa Verde National Park.

Things to do in Durango

Outdoors Tours Scenic Drive

Side Trip

Million Dollar Highway
Highlights from your plan
River Rafting & Tubing
Historic Downtown Durango ©
Historic Downtown Durango
Million Dollar Highway ©
Million Dollar Highway

3
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 26th (Fri), examine the collection at Chapin Mesa Archeological Museum, then explore the ancient world of Balcony House, then delve into the distant past at Cliff Palace, and finally explore the ancient world of Far View Sites. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 27th (Sat): pause for some photo ops at Four Corners Monument, explore the ancient world of Long House, then hike along Nordenskiold #16 Trail, and finally tour the pleasant surroundings at Petroglyph Point Hike.

To see other places to visit, traveler tips, ratings, and tourist information, go to the Mesa Verde National Park trip itinerary maker tool .

You can drive from Durango to Mesa Verde National Park in 1.5 hours. Other options are to do a combination of bus and taxi; or do a combination of shuttle and taxi. In July, daytime highs in Mesa Verde National Park are 90°F, while nighttime lows are 56°F. On the 28th (Sun), wrap the sightseeing up by early afternoon so you can travel back home.

Things to do in Mesa Verde National Park

Historic Sites Parks Trails

Side Trip

Four Corners Monument
Highlights from your plan
Long House ©
Long House
Cliff Palace ©
Cliff Palace
Balcony House ©
Balcony House

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