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5 days in Denver CO during the Thanksgiving week

Austin, United...
6 posts
1 review
5 days in Denver CO during the Thanksgiving week

All,

Thanks in advance. We(a family of 4, children ages 11 and 12) are planning to be in Denver area during the Thanksgiving week. Can you please suggest a potential itinerary?

We will be flying into Denver and renting a car. We do not want it to be too hectic and a mix of nature and city would be great.

Any and all suggestions are highly appreciated.

Thanks,

P

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12 replies to this topic
Austin, United...
6 posts
1 review
1. Re: 5 days in Denver CO during the Thanksgiving week

Any help is highly appreciated. We are thinking of making reservations for hotels. Do we need to be in Denver area for 2 nights or is one night sufficient? Should we go to Estes or Beckenridge? Not sure if we can do both without making it hectic.

Naalehu, Hawaii
Level Contributor
1,013 posts
70 reviews
2. Re: 5 days in Denver CO during the Thanksgiving week

Can you clarify -- is it five days total including arrival and departure days? What time do you arrive and what time is your departure flight?

What do you want to do while you are in Colorado? You've mentioned a few places, but if we knew what you were looking for it might help us help you. Big difference between being "in the Denver area" versus going to Estes Park or Breckenridge.

Do you know that you might encounter snow?

Austin, United...
6 posts
1 review
3. Re: 5 days in Denver CO during the Thanksgiving week

Thanks for the post. We are landing @6PM on 17th Nov and departing at 3PM on 22nd Nov. So in essence we have 4 full days(excluding arrival/departure).

We do want to enjoy nature but don't want to drive on slick or too much of winding roads in adverse weather conditions.I am not sure how the drive between Denver and Estes or Breckenridge is going to be. Any pointers are highly appreciated.

Based on some of the forum comments, we were thinking of going to Colorado Springs area too for Garden of Gods visit. We are very new to the area. Any pointers on what not to miss would be great too. We also don't want to make it a hectic trip that we are driving all around. A few selected places if fine.

P

Windsor, Colorado
Destination Expert
for Estes Park, Rocky Mountain National Park
Level Contributor
12,967 posts
136 reviews
4. Re: 5 days in Denver CO during the Thanksgiving week

Although snow is certainly possible during your visit, it is not as likely traveling between Denver and Estes Park and Colorado Springs. You can check road conditions at any time at www.cotrip.org and even see the roads in some locations using the live webcams on the interactive map. Rent a car with tires rated M+S (mud/snow).

With your later arrival on the 17th, I would spend the first night in Denver. On the 18th, take this route (below) from Denver to Estes Park. The route includes most of the Peak to Peak Scenic Byway. You can stop in Nederland for the Carousel of Happiness and at Lily Lake for the easy hike around the lake and up Lily Ridge. Most of the time by November 18, both trails are still fine for hiking in shoes with good tread - no special equipment needed. If it has snowed more than normal, the trail(s) could be icy.

Here is the route.

https://goo.gl/maps/YP7ehfjkXqB2

https://www.carouselofhappiness.org/

rockymountainhikingtrails.com/lily-lake-loop…

Although Trail Ridge Road as a through road and Old Fall River Road (dirt) will be closed during the time of your visit, all other main roads on the east side of RMNP will be open. A few dirt side roads will be closed and become winter trails. This route through Estes Park and RMNP has great views and many opportunities for wildlife viewing. The route is open year round weather permitting. RMNP plows and sands the roads inside the national park. The town of Estes Park does an excellent job of clearing the roads in town. Snow comes and goes in both the town of Estes Park and at the lower elevations of RMNP. It does not stay on the ground. There will be snow (hopefully) at the higher elevations in RMNP like at Bear Lake.

https://goo.gl/maps/p1VZ7c7HfYz

You can read more about this scenic winter drive here.

https:/…

With kids ages 11 and 12, I would consider booking a cabin at the YMCA Estes Park Center because of the activity options there. Families really enjoy the cabins at the YMCA. This is a resort with over 800 acres, great mountain views and the property adjoins RMNP. If the Y is not for you, there are numerous great lodging options in Estes Park. This is a good place to start.

https://www.visitestespark.com/lodging/

When you look at reviews here on TA, condos and cabins are usually under Specialty Lodging. Hotels, B&Bs and vacation rentals each have their own category.

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotels-g60945-Es…

Spend the night of the 18th and 19th in Estes Park.

There are several easy trails in RMNP that you can hike in winter with appropriate footwear and traction devices like microspikes. It would be unusual to need snowshoes during the time of your visit unless you wanted a longer and higher elevation hike. You can rent microspikes from Estes Park Mountain Shop. If you lodge at the YMCA, they also have microspikes for your use. Easy trails include Sprague Lake, Bear Lake, Bear Lake to Nymph Lake and Dream Lake, Alberta Falls, Horseshoe Falls at the Alluvial Fan (kids love the Alluvial Fan area). RMNP rangers at the RMNP Beaver Meadows Visitor Center can give you current trail conditions. Employees at Estes Park Mountain Shop usually know what you will need as well.

See these links for trail descriptions.

rockymountainhikingtrails.com/hiking-rocky-m…

https:/…

On the 20th, drive to Colorado Springs. Here is the route I would take from Estes Park to Colorado Springs.

https://goo.gl/maps/XoN8dM6teDK2

There are many fun attractions in Colorado Springs in addition to Garden of the Gods. You can drive the Pikes Peak Highway as far as it is open. Check the information line to find out how far the road is open.

https:/…pikes-peak-hours-and-rates

For addtional year round ideas of things to do in Colorado Springs, see this link.

https:/…

I don't believe Cave of the Winds is on the above list and that is also open year round.

https://caveofthewinds.com/

Spend the nights of the 20th and 21st in Colorado Springs. Drive back to DIA on the 22nd for your return flight. Here is that route(s) AVOIDING the E-470 toll road.

https://goo.gl/maps/xaEyDBdvK3k

Austin, United...
6 posts
1 review
5. Re: 5 days in Denver CO during the Thanksgiving week

Thanks fv1989 for the detailed post. Highly appreciate the time you took to call out the driving directions too. Based on your recommendations, it seems like we should give Breckenridge a pass. Can you please also comment on the drive for the above mentioned directions. Assuming no slick roads, is there any place where the driving could be scary or treacherous. Thanks again.

colorado springs,co
Destination Expert
for Colorado Springs
Level Contributor
2,592 posts
18 reviews
6. Re: 5 days in Denver CO during the Thanksgiving week

I will just throw in for CS:

www.greatwolf.com/

www.wolfeducation.org/

www.caveofthewinds.com/

www.advoutwest.com/

www.royalgorgebridge.com/

www.whirlyball.com/

www.cmzoo.org/

www.climbcityrock.com/

Edited: 27 August 2018, 04:01
Windsor, Colorado
Destination Expert
for Estes Park, Rocky Mountain National Park
Level Contributor
12,967 posts
136 reviews
7. Re: 5 days in Denver CO during the Thanksgiving week

There are several routes you can take from Denver to Estes Park and from Estes Park to Colorado Springs. I gave you more scenic route options. None of the map routes I gave you are scary or treacherous under normal driving conditions. The Pikes Peak Highway is intimidating to some people.

colorado springs,co
Destination Expert
for Colorado Springs
Level Contributor
2,592 posts
18 reviews
8. Re: 5 days in Denver CO during the Thanksgiving week

Also should have mentioned

Air force Academy

Olympic Training Center

North Cheyenne Canon & Red Rock Open Space for hiking

Windsor, Colorado
Destination Expert
for Estes Park, Rocky Mountain National Park
Level Contributor
12,967 posts
136 reviews
9. Re: 5 days in Denver CO during the Thanksgiving week

Regarding your question about Breckenridge, the ski resort is hoping to open on 11/16 but that would most likely be with very limited runs and predominantly manmade snow. You asked for a mix of nature and city. Estes Park and RMNP will take care of the nature. Colorado Springs will take care of the city. I don't really see any advantage in including Breckenridge in your plans. You are more likely (still not overly likely) to have road condition issues traveling I-70 west toward Breckenridge than traveling to Estes Park or Colorado Springs.

Colorado
Destination Expert
for Colorado
Level Contributor
14,661 posts
64 reviews
10. Re: 5 days in Denver CO during the Thanksgiving week

You might read this trip report from Mexico City, a frequent visitor to Colorado

https:/…87762924

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