10 Day Colorado Itinerary: A Step By Step Guide

Colorado is a state found west of the United States of America. This state is full of adventure through its 73 cities. Every city has a story to tell and adventures to offer, with others offering more than others.

Colorado is home to sites thought to have harboured the earliest civilisations in this vast country. You can not see all the wonders of the state in a single day unless you have the power of teleportation which I’m assuming you don’t. We are here to help you discover most of the best attractions in this historic state in just 10 days.   

Day 1: Moffat

We started off in Moffat which is a county in Colorado’s North West consisting of towns like Craig, Maybell and Dinosaur among others. The county is loaded with cool places to see and exciting activities to try out. We went to the Wyman Living History Museum which was founded by Lou Wyman back in 1949. 

Then a quick stop at Craig pool complex, the complex is filled with fun for both children and adults alike. It has activities like diving pools, water aerobics, water slides, bathhouse, snack bar and lots of shade.

The under the cool shade is perfect for a picnic which is why we took advantage of it and took a quick bite before hitting the road once more. Next stop was Loudy Simpson Park. There is just beautiful scenery to enjoy and take in on the more than 3-mile trail south of Craig near the Yampa River.

After the encapsulating scenery, we went to Dinosaur National Monument for some more sightseeing. There is a lot to explore at the monument, explorations include craggy hills, fragments of the past world when the large creatures roamed the earth. The rock art and scenery are just out of this world breathtaking.

We could not leave without visiting the Museum of Northwest Colorado, the museum is home to the world-renowned Cowboy and Gunfighter Collection and a lot of other stunning displays.

Back to nature in the Elkhead Reservoir State Park which is west of steamboat Springs near Craig. The area is complete and suitable for a getaway, the 900-acre reservoir offers a great water fishery and other activities like wildlife viewing, boat ramping and hiking, the location also has 15  basic camping sites if you wish to be close with nature.

After a very long day, we then went to sleep at the Deer Park Hotel.

Day 2: Alpine Loop

 First was a visit to the San Juan County Historical Society Mining Heritage Centre, the heritage centre offers a comprehensive interpretation of the local mining history.

Then passed through Molas Lake to Animas River trail, the scenery from this trail is unmatched, featuring beautiful mountain views.

Next was Box Canyon waterfall and park, you will enjoy watching the falls from above but not so much from below as thousands of litres pour over the falls every minute.

At the Box Canyon visitor centre the geology, wildlife and history of the area will be explained comprehensively. The park is home to a couple of trails but among the best is the high bridge trail which takes you 200 feet up to offer the best views of everything.

To unwind we went to Ouray Hot Springs Swimming pool, unlike an ordinary pool this one has a lot of rules which include no sick people allowed among others. The pool heat ranges from 24 – 40 degrees Celsius. The site has 3 pools and to access all three you have to pass the deep water test.

After that a quick stop at the Hinsdale County Museum which was Elevated Eatery which served as a museum in 1975. Then a proper meal at Climb Elevated Eatery which serves comfort food and craft cocktails accompanied with friendly service.

After that a Lake city Ghost tour on a full stomach, the tour is held to educate the community on the history of the area and it begins at the Museum

To rest after a long day we went to the Grand Imperial Hotel which is a classy luxurious hotel. For just over $100 you get a perfect room featuring amenities like cable or satellite TV, Wi-Fi and a hairdryer.

Located in the historic district the hotel offers amenities like free parking to conveniently accommodate guest cars, complimentary newspapers to keep you up to date with the rest of the world, an onsite restaurant to dine before you go to bed and room service which makes life easy.

Day 4

Spot the mythical creatures:

Tommyknockers – these are known as trick stars and reside in the gold and silver mines of Colorado. Miners believe  Tommyknockers make some of the noise head down there and that they won’t allow the miners to go mine if it puts them in harm’s way.

Trolls – these ancient creatures popular in ski resorts originate from Scandinavia. It is believed that they are big, ugly and very cranky. They don’t walk during the day because sunlight turns them

These are not the only myths there are more unaccounted creatures like vampires, yetis, sasquatch and vampires among others.

After listening to the scary local stories we decided to continue our journey and first went to Jackson Lake State Park, the park has a large reservoir which has sandy beaches and 240 campsites. It has facilities like toilets, showers, hook-ups and marina among others.

A visit to Old Town Museum Complex in Burlington, the museum sits on a 6.5-acre piece of land. This is where they come to make those movies which feature cowboys and cowgirls. The complex has 21 buildings, all restored and furnished authentic with proper artefacts.

Cheyenne Wells Old Jail Museum in Cheyenne County. The county had used a single room as its jail before this, but the criminals got bad and many which is some of the reasons why this jail was constructed.

Spending the evening like the locals we went to Lincoln Lanes for some bowling, it was a party as we bowled, drank and ate before retreating to the Holiday Inn Express Hotel, the hotel is conveniently located just 1 mile from downtown and 80 miles from Denver.

Day 5

Kicking the day off with some hiking on the Rim Trail, the trail which is on fork valley is a thriller to walk with the most beautiful scenery and views of the west and north rims.

After the site seeing it was time for some real adventure in whitewater rafting. We had qualified personnel to ensure our safety throughout the vigorous rafting trip.   

To continue the adventure we then visited Snowmass Bike Park, the park offers the best mountain biking experience but it does not end there as it also includes bike paths and road biking, for this adventure they offer, the entire Fork Valley was recognised by the International Mountain Bike Association as a Gold Level Ride Centre in the year 2020. 

The mountain downhill trails are sure to get your adrenaline pumped up. If the thrill is not your cup of tea you can just cycle around the valley enjoying the scenery. The valley has different biking variations which include mountain biking, cruiser biking, road biking and E-Biking among others.

After all the fun we had to tone things down, so we continued to Anderson Ranch Arts Centre which is a visual arts program located on a 5-acre historic mountain ranch. The centre’s mission is to enrich lives with art, inspiration and community. One of the most known pieces from the centre is the Love Grave which was valued at $150,000. It was originally commissioned by the Indianapolis Museum of Art in 2003.

To top everything off we ended the day by visiting the Snowmass Free Summer Concert Series, this only happens in the summer so if you are also interested in catching the concert series visit during the summer. Enjoy the free music in this live concert series which bring together all people of the community as they enjoy the tunes.

Day 6

On this day we felt like exploring some wonders from the past then headed straight to the Mesa Verde National park. The most popular attraction in the park are the 600 dwellings carved out of rocks dating thousands of years to the Ancestral Puebloans. The park has a lot to offer apart from that.

1. Research centre – this is the first thing you see when you enter the park and where you purchase the tour tickets. If you have children they have what is called a junior ranger program, which teaches the young ones about the park and awards them with badges for doing well. There is also a gift shop stocked with a variety of souvenirs to help remember the trip in future. The research centre is also where you will find the restrooms.

2. Mangos Valley Overlook – next to the Morefield Campground is the Mangos Valley Overlook, the view from here is unmatched making the place perfect for shooting all those pictures that keep the memories safe.

3. Montezuma Valley Overlook – look to the horizon and take in the beauty of nature from the Montezuma Valley Overlook.

4. Far View – if you feel tired relax at Far View Lodge and have something to eat. Far View was once very populated, being at its peak around A.D. 1100. From here you can see that the place was once vibrant.

5. Cliff Palace – this is the main attraction sometimes referred to as the enchanted castle, one of the first tourists to visit the place, Frederick Chapin, back in the late 1800s described it as a ruined fortress, once you witness it first hand you begin to understand fully what he meant. To view the fortress up close you have to pay for a guided tour that will take you down the rusted staircase to view it up close.

6. Soda Canyon – this is the best place to see the Balcony House, particularly when you stand on the overlook trail. The Overlook trail is not so long and it is walkable, offering a lot of wonderful views. The trail comes near the dropoff into the canyon itself.

7. Spruce Tree Terrace – this is a café area with a lot of great spots for picnics. The café offers a variety of common consumables like French fries, hamburgers, cookies, brats and salads among others.

8. Spruce Tree House – at the moment you can only view the treehouse from outside as it was closed for safety reasons, but as soon as the safety risks are rectified it will be open for tours.

9. Chapin Mesa Archaeological Museum – the museum has all the information about the Ancestral Pueblo life that gave rise to the ruins.

10.  Mesa Top – found here is the Pithouse which is one of the first establishments made by the people who inhabited the area around A.D 550. Square Tower House is a cliff dwelling boasting 4 stories, the tower has windows, doorways and even flooring. All this is impressive considering the era from which it is from.

That was the end of the day which was one of the best since day 1. We then retreated to Mesa Verde Vista for the night, we only shared the place with the group we were travelling with since the place is quite small. Though small the place has a lot to offer such as a free breakfast in the morning.

Day 7

Begin the day on a healing note at the True Nature Healing Arts Organic Café. Apart from healthy food, the café offers a variety of healing activities like Yoga with tea rooms and an onsite spa which is home to some of the best massages you will come across.

The specials on their menu include white bean salad which goes for only $13, gluten-free black bean kale which goes for $7 a bowl and $5.75 a cup, black lentil veggie wrap at $8 and healthy smoothies going for $9.

After the proper beginning of the day, we went to Rio Grande Artway. Running through downtown Carbondale is the non-motorised creative park. The establishment is a collaboration between Carbondale Arts and Roaring Fork Transportation Authority. The park provides the ideal environment for youth to be creative and showcase their talents in art, this is evident as you are greeted by amazing pieces of art everywhere you turn.

 Since it was a Thursday we had to make a stop at the Carbondale Wild West Rodeo. This non-profit making organisation is doing the best to keep the western heritage alive for future generations. Held at the Gus Darien Riding Arena the Rodeo is a popular attraction for many groups of people. It only takes place from June to August every Thursday.

The day was fun and we decided to call it a night, retreating to The Distillery Inn. This is the only distillery that has its own 5-star hotel. The hotel serves the best food and the drinks are just out of this world.

Day 8

Focusing more on the food we made a visit to Delicious Orchards and Big B’s Cidery, this is where all the food lovers are found as the orchards feature a tasting room and a café.

After that we went to the Azura Cellars and Gallery, this is a great place to host private events. They have wine tasting in their gallery, winery and yacht club from May to October each year.

After the testing, we went to Paonia to the Blue Sage Centre For Arts. They are in the business of helping upcoming and mature artists to develop their talents. The art pieces on display truly work excellence.

To top this easy laid back day we spent the night at the Bross Hotel. The hotel has 10 rooms in total and friendly staff who make your stay comfortable.

Day 9

Early morning walks are a great substitute for jogging. For this and other reasons, we took the Historic Walking Tour of Crested Butte which started at the Butte Mountain heritage Museum and proceeded through the town.

A stop at the Crested Butte Creative District proved very informative, they have a couple of very informative art classes like art, dance and cooking among others.

Dinner at Bonez was the biggest highlight of the day, the restaurant is a huge pool where you find locals and tourists under the same roof.

Our accommodation for the night will come from Elk Mountain Lodge which is conveniently located next to shops and galleries. The recent renovations gave the place a facelift as it now has an extra premium feel to the luxury it once had.

Day 10

The last day was not a fuss as the earlier days before it. Starting the day with some homemade breakfast from McGill’s gave the day the perfect energy which will last throughout the day.

Then we headed to Ridgway to enjoy the scenery and visit a couple of galleries. We visited Kane Scheidegger’s studio and Timber Creek galleries among other art centres. Strolling through the park we were met by amazing alley art and poems.

Craving some European cuisine, we dined at the barbershop which is a café serving simple and delicious meals from fresh ingredients from local farmers.

For the last day in Colorado we spent the knight in style at the Chipeta Solar Springs Resort, the resort really lets one unwind. The spa provides massages that will leave your muscles feeling brand new and ready to take on another adventure.

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