17 days in Colorado Itinerary

17 days in Colorado Itinerary

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Route & dates

17 days in Colorado Itinerary

Start: San Francisco
Fly + Taxi:  7 h 30 min
1
Mesa Verde National Park
— 2 nights
Drive:  1 h 30 min
2
Durango
— 2 nights
Drive:  1 h 15 min
3
Pagosa Springs
— 2 nights
Drive:  5 h 15 min
4
Grand Junction
— 2 nights
Drive:  2 h 30 min
5
Aspen
— 3 nights
Drive:  2 h 30 min
6
Breckenridge
— 2 nights
Bus:  2 h 15 min
7
Steamboat Springs
— 3 nights
Taxi + Fly:  4 h
End: San Francisco

2
nights
Mesa Verde National Park

Mesa Verde National Park ©
Whereas most national parks are primarily devoted to showcasing unique and special landscapes, Mesa Verde National Park focuses on ancient human habitation.
On the 26th (Sun), delve into the distant past at Cliff Palace, examine the collection at Chapin Mesa Archeological Museum, then explore the ancient world of Far View Sites, and finally delve into the distant past at Spruce Tree House. On your second day here, trek along Petroglyph Point Hike and then explore the wealth of natural beauty at Mesa Verde National Park.

To see photos, traveler tips, ratings, and other tourist information, read our Mesa Verde National Park trip builder app.

San Francisco to Mesa Verde National Park is an approximately 7.5- hour combination of flight and taxi. You can also do a combination of flight and shuttle; or drive. The time zone difference moving from Pacific Standard Time to Mountain Standard Time is 1 hour. Expect much colder evenings in Mesa Verde National Park when traveling from San Francisco in April, with lows around 29°F. Cap off your sightseeing on the 27th (Mon) early enough to go by car to Durango.

Things to do in Mesa Verde National Park

Historic Sites Parks Nature
Highlights from your plan
Cliff Palace ©
Cliff Palace
Spruce Tree House ©
Spruce Tree House
Petroglyph Point Hike ©
Petroglyph Point Hike

2
nights
Durango

Durango ©
Originally a frontier mining town, Durango is known today for its scenic setting, outdoor activities, and the 1880s steam-powered railway that takes visitors through sections of the mountains where roads don't reach.
On the 28th (Tue), take a peaceful walk through San Juan National Forest. On the next day, hike along Animas River Trail, see the interesting displays at Durango Fish Hatchery and Wildlife Museum, and then fly down the slopes at Purgatory Resort.

To find maps, more things to do, where to stay, and other tourist information, read our Durango vacation planner.

Traveling by car from Mesa Verde National Park to Durango takes 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of taxi and bus; or do a combination of taxi and shuttle. In April, daytime highs in Durango are 62°F, while nighttime lows are 28°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 29th (Wed) to allow enough time to drive to Pagosa Springs.

Things to do in Durango

Parks Nature Outdoors
Highlights from your plan
San Juan National Forest ©
San Juan National Forest
Animas River Trail ©
Animas River Trail
Purgatory Resort ©
Purgatory Resort

2
nights
Pagosa Springs

Pagosa Springs ©
Pagosa Springs is a municipality that is the county seat of, and the only incorporated municipality in, Archuleta County, Colorado, United States. On the 30th (Thu), let the river carry you with a rafting and tubing tour and then tour the pleasant surroundings at Wolf Creek Ski Resort. On the 1st (Fri), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: identify plant and animal life at Rocky Mountain Wildlife Park, view the masterpieces at Two Old Crows, then hike along Piedra River Trail, and finally explore the activities along San Juan River Walk.

To see more things to do, ratings, maps, and more tourist information, read Pagosa Springs day trip planning app.

Drive from Durango to Pagosa Springs in 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a shuttle. While traveling from Durango, expect slightly colder days and about the same nights in Pagosa Springs, ranging from highs of 57°F to lows of 29°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 1st (Fri) so you can drive to Grand Junction.

Things to do in Pagosa Springs

Outdoors Parks Winter Sports
Highlights from your plan
Wolf Creek Ski Resort ©
Wolf Creek Ski Resort
Piedra River Trail ©
Piedra River Trail
River Rafting & Tubing

2
nights
Grand Junction

Grand Junction ©
The city of Grand Junction is the home rule municipality that is the county seat and the most populous municipality of Mesa County, Colorado, United States. Kick off your visit on the 2nd (Sat): learn about winemaking at Meadery of the Rockies, take in the awesome beauty at Grand Mesa, and then do a tasting at Hermosa Vineyards. Here are some ideas for day two: pause for some photo ops at Western Slope Vietnam War Memorial, then look for all kinds of wild species at Colorado National Monument, and then wander the streets of Downtown Grand Junction.

For reviews, more things to do, ratings, and more tourist information, go to the Grand Junction trip maker.

Drive from Pagosa Springs to Grand Junction in 5.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of shuttle and flight; or do a combination of shuttle and bus. Traveling from Pagosa Springs in May, things will get a bit warmer in Grand Junction: highs are around 73°F and lows about 46°F. Cap off your sightseeing on the 3rd (Sun) early enough to go by car to Aspen.

Things to do in Grand Junction

Parks Wineries Wildlife

Side Trips

Palisade, Colorado National Monument, Western Slope Vietnam War Memorial
Highlights from your plan
Colorado National Monument ©
Colorado National Monument
Grand Mesa ©
Grand Mesa
Hermosa Vineyards ©
Hermosa Vineyards

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.
Get outdoors at Aspen Mountain / Ajax and Aspen Highlands. You'll discover tucked-away gems like Buttermilk Mountain and Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness Area. It doesn't end there: explore the landscape on two wheels at Rio Grande Trail and hike along Maroon Lake Scenic Trail.

For maps, other places to visit, photos, and more tourist information, read our Aspen road trip site.

Traveling by car from Grand Junction to Aspen takes 2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. Prepare for slightly colder weather when traveling from Grand Junction in May: high temperatures in Aspen hover around 62°F and lows are around 34°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 6th (Wed) to allow time to drive to Breckenridge.

Things to do in Aspen

Parks Outdoors Winter Sports

Side Trip

Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness Area
Highlights from your plan
Aspen Mountain / Ajax ©
Aspen Mountain / Ajax
Maroon Lake Scenic Trail ©
Maroon Lake Scenic Trail
Buttermilk Mountain ©
Buttermilk Mountain

2
nights
Breckenridge

Breckenridge ©
Founded in 1859 as part of the Gold Rush in the Rockies, Breckenridge boasts a main street lined with colorful wooden storefronts housing cafes and shops, giving the effect of a thriving western town from the 19th century.
On the 7th (Thu), hit the slopes at Frisco Adventure Park, then fly down the slopes at Arapahoe Basin, and then sample the tasty concoctions at Broken Compass Brewery & Tap House. Here are some ideas for day two: stroll through Loveland Ski Area, don't miss a visit to Oxygen Bar, and then gear up at Blue River Sports.

For ratings, other places to visit, where to stay, and more tourist information, use the Breckenridge day trip planning site.

Traveling by car from Aspen to Breckenridge takes 2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. Expect a bit cooler weather when traveling from Aspen in May: highs in Breckenridge hover around 44°F, while lows dip to 31°F. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 8th (Fri) so you can travel to Steamboat Springs.

Things to do in Breckenridge

Winter Sports Outdoors Parks

Side Trips

Frisco Adventure Park, Loveland Ski Area, Arapahoe Basin
Highlights from your plan
Arapahoe Basin ©
Arapahoe Basin
Loveland Ski Area ©
Loveland Ski Area
Frisco Adventure Park ©
Frisco Adventure Park

3
nights
Steamboat Springs

Steamboat Springs ©
An internationally known ski resort, Steamboat Springs sits in the shadow of Mount Werner in north central Colorado.
Escape the urban bustle at Steamboat Ski Resort and Steamboat Gondola. Eschew the tourist crowds and head to Yampa River Core Trail and Yampa River Botanic Park. There's much more to do: identify plant and animal life at Mount Zirkel Wilderness Area, hit the slopes at Howelsen Hill Ski Area, witness a stunning natural landmark at Strawberry Park Hot Springs, and take in the architecture and atmosphere at Holy Name Catholic Church.

To see reviews, where to stay, more things to do, and tourist information, use the Steamboat Springs attractions site.

Getting from Breckenridge to Steamboat Springs by bus takes about 2.5 hours. Other options: drive. While traveling from Breckenridge, expect somewhat warmer days and about the same nights in Steamboat Springs, ranging from highs of 61°F to lows of 35°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 11th (Mon) to allow enough time to travel back home.

Things to do in Steamboat Springs

Parks Outdoors Winter Sports
Highlights from your plan
Steamboat Ski Resort ©
Steamboat Ski Resort
Yampa River Botanic Park ©
Yampa River Botanic Park
Yampa River Core Trail ©
Yampa River Core Trail

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