Author Topic: Colorado 4 day budget Road Trip  (Read 257 times)

Offline avrohomgelb

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Colorado 4 day budget Road Trip
« on: October 21, 2020, 08:39:23 PM »
Planning: Honestly, not much planning has gone into this trip. Less planning, low expectations, high reality. Our goal was to reach as many scenic sites as our time limit allows, and not to be rushing the whole time. I mapped out a circle starting from DEN, then to Vail, to Aspen, to Crawford, to Canon City, to Colorado Springs, back to DEN. Flights were all booked a week before departure with UA basic economy (all on my mileageplus card) prices were about $100 round trip.

Hotels/Airbnb: Day 1 I booked Evergreen Marriott's StreamSide at Vail, while other days we'd figure out on the way.

Food: I went shopping erev YT at Bingo we bought more than enough food, lunch would be Deli, while Dinner would be BBQ every day.

Day 1: Flight was from PHL Monday morning at 8am 1 day after Succos. [Fun not so fun fact: One of my friend's thought he checked in, only to find out at TSA that he wasn't checked in, by that time it was too late, I'm not totally sure what happened, but they gave him a 4:30 flight. We picked him up later that evening which I'll explain later]. I had to pay for 1 out of 2 checked bags since my companion wasn't on the same reservation. I thought I'd stop in the UA lounge, it was closed, oh well. Departure and arrival was on time, I went to Hertz PC while my friend went National EE. Hertz and National's lot were full of great cars. I stepped into a Yukon XL while my friend found an Expedition MAX, so we went with the Expedition since it had more room.

Stop 1 was at Walmart, we bought a grill, sandwich maker, and a few other items we knew we didn't have to buy at home. We then headed to Bluemoon Brewery. I'm a big beer lover, and everything I had was delicious, they also had a self guided tour which was cool.

Next, we headed towards RMNP. We stopped at Estes Park Lake mainly for the views, but also to tovel all our items we just bought.

RMNP had timed entries, I booked a few days before for 2pm, we came at 4pm, they didn't really care. We then headed west from Fall River up to Trail Bridge Road. The views are outstanding, we saw a couple of Elks and Moose on the way. We were on Trail Bridge about to head to our next stop, Vail, when we came across road closure (I believe because of the wild fire). Ouch! Vail was about 1 hour away, while this road closure meant we had to head all the way back down TBR towards Denver about 2 hours out of the way, Gam Zu Letova.

We then headed back south right where we came from. We made a stop at Bear lake for sunset, picked up our friend who missed his flight, stopped at a local park to grill, and then headed to Vail.

I asked at check in at Evergreen Marriott's StreamSide if they could give me an upgrade. Her response was "all villas are full and you are the last person to check in". Our 2 bedroom villa was pretty nice anyway with lots of space. I highly recommend this for any one coming with 3-4 kids. Price was $202.

Day 2: We left the hotel at 12pm headed towards Aspen. Google Maps claim the 82 by Independence Pass was closed but it was just one phone call to find out it was open. The drive to Aspen is outstanding. We also stopped at Turquoise Lake. Independence Pass was scary, 2 feet off the road there's a 10,000 foot cliff!


The colors in Aspen at this time of year were also amazing. We arrived at Maroon Bells Shuttle at 2:50pm just in time to make the last bus. [Maroon Bells shuttle tickets are $15.95 per person which has to be booked about 3-5 days in advance]. We had about 2 hours in Maroon Bells which was a nice and quiet walk around the gorgeous scenic lake.

5pm we went to a local park in Aspen to grab some lunch. We then drove southwest to Crawford and BBQed in Crawford State Park. Check in was at an Airbnb in Crawford. I'm a little embarrassed about this part of our trip. We booked this place at 2am without realizing that it was someone's house, she happened to have been super nice, and gave us a full private basement with a pool table, dart board, ping-pong table, etc. if not for the 100s of 5 star reviews I doubt I would have stayed here. Overall it wasn't a bad experience. Price was about $90.

Day 3: We left the house ASAP at 10am and traveled 20 minutes to the North Rim of the Black Canyon. We drove around the rim and stopped by every view. What more can I say other than pictures don't do justice.

We then headed towards Canon City with a small stop at Curecanti National Recreation Area. We arrived at Royal Gorge at about 5:30pm. Although the park and bridge closes at 5pm, we drove up a dirt path nearby to give us just the perfect view for sunset.

We then checked in to an Airbnb in Canon City this time it was really nice. We BBQed at our place. Price was about $150.

Day 4: We left the house about 11:30am and drove towards Colorado Springs. [We decided not to do Sand Dunes since it would take up the whole day] We made a quick stop at Quail Lake Park, and arrived at Garden of the Gods about 1pm. We walked around G.O.G. for about 3 hours.

The next 2 hours was just driving around (thinking maybe we should have Sand Dunes lol). We then drove to Tru by Mariott which is 10 minutes from DEN. I asked for an upgrade at check in, she said "there's nothing available at Tru but Homewood which is attached has nicer rooms" she switched my reservation to Homewood which would have been $75 more. We went swimming, BBQed at the patio, and played pool. Price was $100. Our flight was 8am, this time United Club was open (very unimpressed though). Arrived at EWR Friday at 1:30pm.

Overall Experience: One might say we did too much driving, I disagree. Driving was the best part of our trip. One view after the next, it's endless! I now dream of the views every night. Make sure to do the driving during the day.

Cost Per Person:
Flights: $100
Hotels: $110
Food and Food Prep: $132
Car and Transportation: $80
Gas: $35
Parks: $24
Total: $481
« Last Edit: October 21, 2020, 08:57:30 PM by avrohomgelb »

Offline Realshlomo

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Re: Colorado 4 day budget Road Trip
« Reply #1 on: October 21, 2020, 10:44:27 PM »
Great TR!
I love Colorado!

Offline Joel

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Re: Colorado 4 day budget Road Trip
« Reply #2 on: October 21, 2020, 11:27:01 PM »
Thnx for writing it up. Sounds like you had a great time

Online lcm

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Re: Colorado 4 day budget Road Trip
« Reply #3 on: October 22, 2020, 12:32:06 AM »
Very solid tr!
Good to see you got around to it ;)
I really like how you didn't stress about prep or a schedule.