12 days in Colorado Itinerary

12 days in Colorado Itinerary

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Route & dates

12 days in Colorado Itinerary

Start: Tampa, Florida
Fly + Bus:  8 h 15 min
1
Estes Park
— 3 nights
Drive:  1 h 30 min
2
Denver
— 2 nights
Bus:  1 h
3
Colorado Springs
— 2 nights
Drive:  2 h 15 min
4
Buena Vista
— 1 night
Drive:  1 h 45 min
5
Aspen
— 3 nights
Fly:  8 h 30 min
End: Tampa, Florida

3
nights
Estes Park

Estes Park ©
More than just a convenient resting place for travelers on their way to the national park encompassing the Front Range of the Rockies, Estes Park is a popular place to visit in its own right.
Change things up with these side-trips from Estes Park: Chapel on the Rock (in Allenspark) and Rocky Mountain National Park (Trail Ridge Road & Bear Lake). And it doesn't end there: take a memorable tour with Tours, take a pleasant ride with a tour on horseback, stop by Rocky Mountain Gateway Gift Shop, and indulge in some personalized pampering at some of the best spas.

For reviews, where to stay, more things to do, and other tourist information, you can read our Estes Park road trip app.

Tampa to Estes Park is an approximately 8.5-hour flight. You can also do a combination of train and flight; or drive. You'll gain 2 hours traveling from Tampa to Estes Park due to the time zone difference. Traveling from Tampa in September, expect nights in Estes Park to be cooler, around 50°F, while days are little chillier, around 81°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 13th (Sun) early enough to drive to Denver.

Things to do in Estes Park

Outdoors Tours Wildlife

Side Trip

Rocky Mountain National Park
Highlights from your plan
Trail Ridge Road ©
Trail Ridge Road
Off-Road Tours
Photography Tours

2
nights
Denver

Denver ©
Aptly nicknamed the "Mile-High City," Denver sits at an altitude of 1,600 m (5,280 ft) above sea level, located right where the Great Plains give way to the Rocky Mountains.
Start off your visit on the 14th (Mon): get to know the resident critters at Denver Zoo, admire the natural beauty at Denver Botanic Gardens, then explore the world behind art at Denver Art Museum, and finally explore the activities along Crown Hill Park. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: see the sky in a new way at Denver Museum of Nature & Science, then see the interesting displays at National Ballpark Museum, then browse the exhibits of Molly Brown House Museum, and finally take a tour by water with Boat Tours & Water Sports.

For reviews, traveler tips, ratings, and more tourist information, you can read our Denver online route planner.

Drive from Estes Park to Denver in 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of taxi and bus. In September in Denver, expect temperatures between 79°F during the day and 52°F at night. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 15th (Tue) to allow time to take a bus to Colorado Springs.

Things to do in Denver

Museums Parks Outdoors

Side Trips

Crown Hill Park, River Rafting & Tubing
Highlights from your plan
Denver Botanic Gardens ©
Denver Botanic Gardens
River Rafting & Tubing
Denver Museum of Nature & Science ©
Denver Museum of Nature & Science

2
nights
Colorado Springs

Colorado Springs ©
Stunning Garden of the Gods Park scenery, blue skies and the glory of Pikes Peak-America’s Mountain have attracted visitors to Colorado Springs for more than a century.
Kick off your visit on the 16th (Wed): get to know the resident critters at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, then stroll around Garden of the Gods, and then deepen your knowledge of military history at United States Air Force Academy. On the 17th (Thu), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: brush up on your military savvy at National Museum of World War II Aviation, find something for the whole family at Cave of the Winds Mountain Park, and then get a taste of the local shopping with Commonwheel Artists Co-op.

To find reviews, maps, traveler tips, and other tourist information, use the Colorado Springs online route builder.

Traveling by bus from Denver to Colorado Springs takes an hour. Alternatively, you can drive; or fly. Expect a daytime high around 79°F in September, and nighttime lows around 51°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 17th (Thu) to allow time to drive to Buena Vista.

Things to do in Colorado Springs

Parks Theme Parks Zoos & Aquariums

Side Trip

Manitou Springs
Highlights from your plan
Garden of the Gods ©
Garden of the Gods
Cheyenne Mountain Zoo ©
Cheyenne Mountain Zoo
Cave of the Winds Mountain Park ©
Cave of the Winds Mountain Park

1
night
Buena Vista

The Town of Buena Vista is a Statutory Town in Chaffee County, Colorado, United States. Kick off your visit on the 18th (Fri): see Off-Road Tours, then mingle with the ghosts of the past at Vicksburg, and then let the river carry you with a rafting and tubing tour.

For photos, more things to do, where to stay, and tourist information, refer to the Buena Vista online tour planner.

Getting from Colorado Springs to Buena Vista by car takes about 2.5 hours. Other options: take a bus. Expect a bit cooler temperatures when traveling from Colorado Springs in September; daily highs in Buena Vista reach 73°F and lows reach 42°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 18th (Fri) so you can drive to Aspen.

Things to do in Buena Vista

Outdoors Tours Adventure
Highlights from your plan
River Rafting & Tubing
Off-Road Tours

3
nights
Aspen

Aspen ©
Known as a ski resort town, Aspen's history goes back to its roots as a silver-mining village tucked away in an isolated valley of the Rocky Mountains.
On the 19th (Sat), take in the awesome beauty at Maroon Bells. Here are some ideas for day two: take a memorable drive along Independence Pass, stroll through Rio Grande Trail, and then stroll around The John Denver Sanctuary.

To find photos, where to stay, other places to visit, and other tourist information, use the Aspen itinerary builder website.

You can drive from Buena Vista to Aspen in 2 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. In September, daily temperatures in Aspen can reach 72°F, while at night they dip to 41°F. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 21st (Mon) to allow time for travel back home.

Things to do in Aspen

Parks Outdoors Nature
Highlights from your plan
Maroon Bells ©
Maroon Bells
Independence Pass ©
Independence Pass
Maroon Lake Scenic Trail ©
Maroon Lake Scenic Trail

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