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  1. #1

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    Default Going to Colorado in October - what to do

    We're going to be up in Colorado in early October visiting family. They live in Pueblo, we'll be staying with them for a few days likely be doing stuff in the Colorado Springs area. We're going to stay up there for few days after that, and I'm wondering where we should spend that extra 4 or 5 days.

    I'm mostly interested in the mountainous regions, but that's about the only thing I know. We thought about Estes Park, have heard lots of good things. Would you guys recommend that, or another place like it? What about Winter Park?

    We'd like to keep that 4 days in the same general part of the state, but can take day trips to visit different areas.

    Thoughts?
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  2. #2

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    Possibly not for you or too many people....but when somebody mentions Colorado and October together in a sentance , to me it has a Pavlov's dog effect....it was always Elk season :)

    Havent gone on 15 or 20 years , but it was freakin awesome. I dont even hunt anymore, but the salivation still came ;)
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    The Great American Beer Festival will be taking place in Denver in early October...
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  4. #4

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    not really into to the hunting or beer thing, looking more for sight-seeing type stuff.
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    A little west of Pueblo is the Royal Gorge, the world's highest suspension bridge. It is a pretty cool day trip. Estes Park is very cool, too, if you like to hike, very convenient to several easy to moderate hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park.

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    The normal tourist areas around the Springs are 7 Falls, Pikes Peak, Royal Gorge, Garden of the Gods, Cripple Creek (Gambling), Manitou Cliff Dwellings, Cave of the Winds, and the Air Force Academy.

    Plenty to do and October is great for weather and less crowded too.

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    Check out the US Air Force Academy while you're there.

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    Will Estes Park be accessible in October, or is it already snowing that time of year up there?
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    Quote Originally Posted by AsSiMiLaTeD View Post
    Will Estes Park be accessible in October, or is it already snowing that time of year up there?

    I have been to Estes Park in Oct before. It was open but I would imagine that could change from year to year. Remember to bring some warm clothes along. It was 75 degrees in Colorado Springs and by the time we left Estes Park it was 35 degrees. The rockies are a sight to see. Have fun and remember to watch the altitude. Take it easy for the first day.

    Jim

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    I know Pikes peak was shut down Nov12th
    Please. Please contact me a ben62670 @ yahoo.com. Make sure to include who you are, and you are from Polk so I don't delete your email. Also I am now physically unable to work on any projects. If you need help let these guys know. There are many people who will help if you let them know where you are.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dennis Gardner View Post
    The normal tourist areas around the Springs are 7 Falls, Pikes Peak, Royal Gorge, Garden of the Gods, Cripple Creek (Gambling), Manitou Cliff Dwellings, Cave of the Winds, and the Air Force Academy.

    Plenty to do and October is great for weather and less crowded too.
    Cripple Creek only if you gamble. The only other thing to do there is the Molly Kathleen gold mine tour (an old in the ground shaft type mine), and the (short) railway ride on the CC-Victor railway. I haven't done the mine tour, but the train was nothing to get excited about.

    Pikes Peak should be open that time of year via trail (Barr Trail is ~13 miles from Manitou Springs (just west of Co Springs); yesterday was the PP marathon, which is UP and DOWN from ~6500' to 14,110' and back), car on the PP highway, or train on the Manitou-Pikes Peak Cog Railway. It will be too late for the fall foliage, tho.

    Manitou cliff dwellings, also quite meh. Cave of the Winds was OK if you like cave tours.

    We were in Estes Park last year at Thanksgiving and there was snow on the ground but we still hiked. In October there is less chance of big snows, but the weather can change quickly and you should be prepared with layers. Also, remember to stay hydrated, as that will help with the altitude. Drink lots of plain water. The town of Estes Park is not as lively or vibrant after the summer season, and many shops and restaurants close earlier than you might expect. Everything is shifted back an hour earlier here, as prime time TV starts at 7, News is at 10 rather than 11, so the whole day can tend to end earlier than it does in the east. Even in the cities, it seems like shops close earlier than they did back east.

    Oh and the Royal Gorge has a train ride also, which originates in Canon City, which can be just sightseeing, or they also do a wine and dining trip, which I haven't done, but I think would be very nice. Probably good for adults and less so if you have kids along. For kids, try the regular Royal Gorge village, west of Canon City, which is more like an amusement park.

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    I'm in the Denver area every October and the guys above mentioned the obvious things for sightseeing. You also seem pretty interested in Rocky Mtn. National Park. The whole park should be pretty accessible that time of year. (Depends on snow of course). Plan on most shops closing down at 6 or 7 in Estes and restaurants by 9 or 10 latest.

    Might I suggest a road trip....
    Take the day and travel to Estes and spend time in the park. That time of year the Elk will be moving lower and you should be able to get some great pictures of the Elk. Rocky Mtn. National Park can be great for Fall Colors that time of year. Hopefully, you won't be late for them. Spend the night in Estes.

    The next day take Highway 34 over the top of the Continental Divide and out the backside of the park to Granbury. Then head north for a bit on Highway 145 till you hit Highway 40 and turn west. Hot Sulphur Springs is a cool little town. Has a nice main street, but is known for its Hot Springs Spas & Pools. You can easily stop in for a bit and enjoy a refreshing soak.

    Continue on 40 West to Kremmling where you will take Highway 9 South. Once you hit Interstate-70, turn west till you hit Exit 195 - Copper Mountain, Highway 91 and Head South. Highway 91 is known as Top of the Rockies (as well as Highway 24) and offers great views. Your destination is Leadville. Leadville has a great 2.5 hour train ride on a narrow gauge rail. Offers amazing views. Plus, it is great town to explore and wander around. I would suggest staying the night. (Last day for the train ride is October 5th).

    Head out of Leadville on Highway 24, driving South till you hit Highway 50. Take Highway 50 East and it will take you right back into Pueblo. It is a lot of driving, but you will see some places and sites that will make the trip very memorable.

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    I think everyone has touched on all of the great things to do in Colorado. One thing to mention is that the Aspen's will be changing (It may be to late in October though, but you will still see some), and that is some of the most beautiful things to witness.

    I have to say being in Pueblo, and going to Estes Park is quite a long day. Not only is it a long drive, but one that pretty much will have to take you through Denver.

    Honestly you would be better off heading up to Salida, and taking a right on 285, and going through Buena Vista, and on to Leadville. Some gorgeous scenery, and quite honestly I think the Collegiate Peaks (Mt. Harvard, Yale, Princeton, and Columbia) are the most stunning mountains in Colorado. Lots of hiking in that area, and a ton of wildlife. Plus if you want to drop off on the other side of Leadville it will take you right into Vail. I think I made the Vail to Salida drive in a little over two hours this summer.

    You can also head south to Alamosa and go to the Great Sand dunes. Kind of some cool things to do in that area, and the sangre de cristo mountains are a sight to behold.

    Again Plenty of cool things to see and do around Pueblo, that would steer you clear of Estes Park, which quite honestly is a tourist trap. A nice town don't get me wrong, but the amount you would spend time in the car getting there would not be worth it IMHO.
    Last edited by avelanchefan; 08-18-2008 at 01:00 AM.
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    I ended up in the hospital when I went to CO. I was just out of it. It came on slow, and scared the crap out of my friend, and newly wed wife. I have other health issues, but you do have to be carefull. I went for a short walk, and that triggered it. Denver was 45 minutes from where I was(all downhill). Long fast trip to the ER. I speant a few days there:(
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  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by avelanchefan View Post
    I think everyone has touched on all of the great things to do in Colorado. One thing to mention is that the Aspen's will be changing (It may be to late in October though, but you will still see some), and that is some of the most beautiful things to witness.

    I have to say being in Pueblo, and going to Estes Park is quite a long day. Not only is it a long drive, but one that pretty much will have to take you through Denver.
    I don't think the plan was a day trip to Estes, but rather where to go to spend a few days AFTER being in Pueblo. I agree that Estes Park is not a day trip from Pueblo.

    Also, seeing the aspens color in October is unlikely unless at the southern part of the state or the lower elevations. Here where I am (west of Colorado Springs, elevation 8500') some trees are starting to change a little bit already.:(

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    Sorry, duplicate post.

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    Lots of good info, thanks guys. A few reponses:

    We're headed up on oct 8, going to be in Pueblo through the 12, leaving the morning of the 13th and are going to be there in Colorady all week - so Estes would not be a day trip, but rather somewhere we'd stay for a day or two. We'll be doing the stuff in and around Pueblo and Colorado Springs while we're in that area - I'm mainly looking for stuff to do the following week (13th - 16th).

    It looks like we'll be going too late to catch the train ride in Leadville - knowing that should we still visit that area?

    I'm open to the road trip idea, sounds like fun.
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    Couple more questions:

    The Pike's Peak highway - is that a reasonably safe drive, or is it one of those one lane, no rails on the side, you've got a good chance of driving off the mountain things?

    Barr Trail looks pretty cool, how hard of a climb is that, or is it more of a hike?
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    Dang Seeclear it's starting already?

    But then I was just reading the Denver Post about the plane they just found, and they said it was snowing in the higher elevations, so I guess it is not too far fetched.

    Okay one other thing, I prefer the other side of Rocky Mountain National park where it comes out at Grand Lake. I love that town, it's small and quaint.
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    I'll check out Grand Lake as well
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    Quote Originally Posted by AsSiMiLaTeD View Post
    Couple more questions:

    The Pike's Peak highway - is that a reasonably safe drive, or is it one of those one lane, no rails on the side, you've got a good chance of driving off the mountain things?
    Not single lane, but not a lot of guardrails, either. They race up it at 120 mph, tho, so I would guess you would be pretty safe.:D

    Barr Trail looks pretty cool, how hard of a climb is that, or is it more of a hike?
    How good of shape are you in? As I said before, it goes from ~6500' elevation in Manitou Springs to 14,110' at the top of Pikes Peak, over about 13 miles. Not what I call a hike, but it is not really technical, either. It just depends on how good your legs/lungs are.;)

    I would second the recommendation of Grand Lake, also, that is a pretty little town, but also kind of closes down after the summer hiking season is over in Rocky Mtn Natl Park.

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    Looks like we just picked the wrong time of year to go up there...
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    Quote Originally Posted by avelanchefan View Post
    Dang Seeclear it's starting already?
    Yeah, but not too many. Generally the sick ones turn real early, which is what we are seeing now. But, you get into the second week of September, and that should be peak, and they don't linger much beyond that couple of weeks. So October could be pretty barren for fall color. At least around here, so the southern part of the state or lower elevations may last a little longer. Fall is about a 3 week season here in the mountains!;)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gadabout View Post
    I'm in the Denver area every October and the guys above mentioned the obvious things for sightseeing. You also seem pretty interested in Rocky Mtn. National Park. The whole park should be pretty accessible that time of year. (Depends on snow of course). Plan on most shops closing down at 6 or 7 in Estes and restaurants by 9 or 10 latest.

    Might I suggest a road trip....
    Take the day and travel to Estes and spend time in the park. That time of year the Elk will be moving lower and you should be able to get some great pictures of the Elk. Rocky Mtn. National Park can be great for Fall Colors that time of year. Hopefully, you won't be late for them. Spend the night in Estes.

    The next day take Highway 34 over the top of the Continental Divide and out the backside of the park to Granbury. Then head north for a bit on Highway 145 till you hit Highway 40 and turn west. Hot Sulphur Springs is a cool little town. Has a nice main street, but is known for its Hot Springs Spas & Pools. You can easily stop in for a bit and enjoy a refreshing soak.

    Continue on 40 West to Kremmling where you will take Highway 9 South. Once you hit Interstate-70, turn west till you hit Exit 195 - Copper Mountain, Highway 91 and Head South. Highway 91 is known as Top of the Rockies (as well as Highway 24) and offers great views. Your destination is Leadville. Leadville has a great 2.5 hour train ride on a narrow gauge rail. Offers amazing views. Plus, it is great town to explore and wander around. I would suggest staying the night. (Last day for the train ride is October 5th).

    Head out of Leadville on Highway 24, driving South till you hit Highway 50. Take Highway 50 East and it will take you right back into Pueblo. It is a lot of driving, but you will see some places and sites that will make the trip very memorable.
    I mapped out that route, and it looks like a good trip. From Granby, I was thinking about heading south down 40 through Winter Park, anything in Winter Park to see?
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    If you take this route, keep in mind that Hwy 24 changes to Hwy 285 just south of Buena Vista. And I like the drive along the river on Hwy 50, but another option is to take Hwy 24 back east at the 24/285 junction. Go south at Florissant (you can stop at the fossil beds if you want to get out and stretch your legs a little bit. This all used to be ocean) down the Cripple Creek- Florissant road. Go south at Cripple Creek to Victor via the Gold Belt Tour Scenic Hwy and then take Phantom Canyon Road south from Victor. This will take you along and old mining road through the canyon and dump you out on to Hwy 50 just a little west of Pueblo. Highly recommended.

    Funny, based on what's on tv these days, but no one has mentioned that you can also visit the Olympic Training Center in the Springs. Not much of a chance of seeing anyone though. :)

    You can also do the Flying W Ranch if you are a fan of yodeling, western music, and average at best /limited choice food served really quickly.

    In Estes park, you might want to think about staying at the Stanley Hotel. That's where they filmed The Shining (Nicholson version).

    Pikes Peak is a really fun drive if your vehicle is in good condition. I got stranded at the top one year in my Jeep with a blown radiator hose. Not much fun but actually a pretty funny story. You can also take the cog railway up from Manitou Springs. You get some good information and corny jokes that way but you don't get to spend much time at the top. Try the doughnuts!

    If you don't want to do Estes, you can go west on Hwy 50 and visit the Black Canyon. Nobody ever goes there but it's very cool. Continue to Ouray, know as the Switzerland of the west. Hot springs, falls, mine tour (meh) and white cliffs. Take the million dollar hwy into Durango. Fantastic scenery and then you can do Mesa Verde right outside of Durango, the railroad tour there, or some 4 wheeling tours. Head out back east from there and you will hit some more hot springs in Pagosa and you can also visit the Great Sand Dunes and, of course, the alligator farm.

    If you need anything while you're in the Springs, pm me and I'll give you my contact info.
    Last edited by Disc Jockey; 08-18-2008 at 11:23 PM.
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    I have never really spent any time in Winter Park, but I have driven thru the area. It is mainly known for it's Winter activities, but has access to to some nice trails and good fishing. (Most of Colorado Rockies have good fly fishing). I know there is an Alpine slide in town. The kids would love that if your hauling them.

    The times I have driven through the area in the morning there are always a few balloons in the air. Perhaps a Balloon Ride if your not afraid of heights. It's amazing how quiet it is up there with the exception of the burners and wind rustling in the canopy.

    Usually, if I'm in the area I always head to Sulphur Hot Springs. I wish I knew more about Winter Park. I did find a Visitor Guide for you for Winter Park & Fraser Valley.

    If you in that area, you could still head thru Leadville. If you have never seen a mining town, it is worth the trip. I am drawn to the mining areas in Colorado. I even stop and walk the graveyards to read the epitaphs of the souls that lived there 150 years ago. I also like the drive into and out of Leadville. Great views and Vistas.

    If that isn't your cup of tea, you might consider driving down Highway 9 thru Breckenridge. I like to think of Breckenridge as Aspen Lite. It isn't as expensive, and has a nice homey feel about town. Before the ski season, I'm not sure what is open and how late things stay open.

    One other thing I would add, if you play Golf, it is a must that you play a course that is above 8000 ft. You won't believe the difference altitude makes till you play around.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Disc Jockey View Post
    If you don't want to do Estes, you can go west on Hwy 50 and visit the Black Canyon. Nobody ever goes there but it's very cool. Continue to Ouray, know as the Switzerland of the west. Hot springs, falls, mine tour (meh) and white cliffs. Take the million dollar hwy into Durango. Fantastic scenery and then you can do Mesa Verde right outside of Durango, the railroad tour there, or some 4 wheeling tours. Head out back east from there and you will hit some more hot springs in Pagosa and you can also visit the Great Sand Dunes and, of course, the alligator farm.

    If you need anything while you're in the Springs, pm me and I'll give you my contact info.
    I did the Million Dollar Highway trip this summer and stayed a night in Ouray. I have to say that it was by far the highlight of our trip. My wife still talks abot it. She did not care for the MD Highway all that much, but she just could not get over the views. If we were to do it again I know she would, but even being a native of Colorado, that highway can be intimidating.

    Also Silverton on the other side of the MD Highway is another great town. Just a ton of jeeping and stuff to do around there. Plus in Ouray I could not believe all of the deer that were in the town. We had to have seen at least 50 of them grazing on peoples lawns. It was pretty cool.
    Sean
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  28. #28

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    What's the deal with the Million Dollar Highway? My wife really wants to do Ouray, so looks like we'll be heading that way.
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  29. #29

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    I checked out MD Highway, looks pretty precarious....
    Main HT
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  30. #30

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    I drive to Estes Park every now and then by taking 34W through Roosevelt national park. Oh wow, the mountains are awesome! I usually bear right just before the entrance of estes park and go around to the other side. Great scenery. For me driving to and around the park seems more scenic than going into it. In any case, only certain roads get closed due to snow. Sorry, haven't lived here long enough to know much more. Just drive into the mountains and get yourself lost. Everywhere you go there is something to see. The mountain driving is a lot of fun too.
    Vinyl, the final frontier...

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