Hitting the Road: Colorado Road Trip 2k16

Whoa, two blogs in two days?! Who even am I?! Answer: Someone REALLY excited to hit the road in one short month to explore Colorado (and Utah) west of the ski resorts. After a summer of buying a house, moving my horse cross-country, and general craziness that kept us close to home, we’re taking an entire week to really kick off summer and see the West we’ve yet to venture into.

**POST-ROAD TRIP EDIT** It was 110 degrees in Utah, so we headed back to the mountains after sweating it out in Grand Junction. We camped outside of Telluride, stayed in Dolores, and then went on to Durango. We also got homesick on the second to last day of the trip, skipping Sand Dunes for the straight shot back to Denver from Gunnison.

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We’re skipping the central part of the state and making our way straight to Grand Junction, where we’ll camp in Colorado National Monument and tour some Palisade orchards and wineries (other suggestions welcome). From there, we’ll start a tour de National Parks – Arches, Canyonlands, and Mesa Verde before ditching the tent for an AirBnb in Durango (hello, shower and laundry). We’ll  be conquering our fear of heights on the Million Dollar Highway on our way through Ouray and Silverton before hitting the hay at Black Canyon the Gunnison National Park. From there, it’s Great Sand Dunes or bust before we head back to Denver.

I’ve been kind of frustrated by the lack of information about just how beginner-friendly some hikes are, and which ones offer the best views at some of the national parks we’re stopping at, so get ready for plenty of new and improved OB content for Colorado national parks!

And now, people of the interwebs, I ask you to do what you do best. Tell a stranger what they should or should not do! We have never been to any of these places before, so please let me know what your can’t miss hikes/adult beverages/weird roadside attractions are.

We’ve been told not to pass up the Alamosa Gator Farm, and now that I have a coupon for free gator chow I definitely can’t turn down that sort of entertainment. But if there’s a roadside attraction that teeters too far into weird territory, help a sister out and let me know that too.

Let the countdown begin!!

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7 Comments Add yours

  1. Steve Horvat says:

    I’m an old online acquaintance of Billy’s from the Swamp – I live in Utah and have made a bunch of trips to the Moab area. Including Canyonlands this past weekend. If I can help, feel free to email me.

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  2. I am so excited to follow along with your journey! How awesome is this road trip going to be?? I don’t have a lot of Colorado knowledge, but you could also reach out to Katie at Katie Wanders to see if she’s been to some of those Utah spots.

    I have some trouble finding information like that, but in PA. I’m surprised Colorado isn’t more on top of their game! Excited to see what you find. 🙂

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    1. Laura Cardon says:

      Thanks Amanda!! I seriously cannot wait to get on the road. I wish I had started this blog earlier and explored more of the Mid-Atlantic region when I was living there…it’s frustrating that there’s an overall lack of information isn’t it?! Thanks for the support and suggestion!

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  3. Steve Horvat says:

    IMHO, the best trails are in the two national parks, so the park websites have good info. Their trails are generally well marked and in good condition. There are trails outside the parks, but they are mostly used by mountain bikers.

    The most scenic area is the Island in the Sky, with awesome vistas. Mesa Arch is my favorite, but it isn’t really a “hike,” it’s more of a walk from the parking area. Another good overlook is Grand View Point. There are great views from the parking area, but you can also take a one-mile trail along the edge of the cliff to the point itself.

    My favorite hike at Canyonlands is Murphy Loop/Murphy Hogback. It starts at the Island plateau and goes down to the White Rim and back, with a view overlooking the Green River. It’s strenuous coming back up but doesn’t require expertise or experience.

    In Arches, the most scenic non-expert hike is Delicate Arch. There’s also lots of short easy hikes to various arches.

    Protrail.com has good info on most of these hikes.

    A big issue in Moab is finding camping. Do you have a campground reserved? There is not much camping in the national parks themselves. I love the Willow Flat campground in Canyonlands, but it has only 12 sites (all non-reservable) and will fill up by 9 a.m. on the weekends. (I got the last available site this past Saturday.) Otherwise you need to find a spot in a BLM campground. Info on BLM campgrounds is at http://www.blm.gov/ut/st/en/fo/moab/recreation/campgrounds.html

    One final recommendation – when you drive in, come down Highway 128 instead of 191. It takes you along the river past Fisher Towers.

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    1. Laura Cardon says:

      Amazing, thanks Steve! Billy says hi as well.

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