a VirtualTourist member
We have 6 days to spend in Colorado. We are very anxious to get to the mountains to take in all the breathtaking scenery, do some hiking to waterfalls and take lots of pictures. We will be spending the night in Cortez prior to Day one, so we will be able to get a very early start in Mesa Verde. We want to take a couple guided tours with climbing ladders, and take pictures from the overlooks etc. What time will be able to get out of the Mesa Verde park? Should we stay in Durango (is it scenic with mountains?) or should we drive on up to Ouray that first day ? We want to spend Day 2 driving through and exploring Ouray (hiking to Bear Creek Falls, Cascade Falls and Box Canyon Falls),Ridgway (eating at True Grit Cafe?) and taking some pictures at the overlooks of Black Canyon of the Gunnison. We would probably stay in Gunnison or Canon City if that is not too far to drive? Day 3 we were thinking of seeing Royal Gorge and Cheyenne Park (to see Silver Cascade Falls and Seven Falls). Day 4 we will do Pikes Cogway and Garden of the Gods. Day 5 and 6 we were thinking of going to RMNP. Is this a feasible iteiniary? If not what should we eliminate?
When are you doing this?
> What time will be able to get out of the Mesa Verde park?
You can get there when the gate opens, but, since you want to do a ranger-guided tour, then you should check the schedule for the one that you want and show up for that. nps.gov/meve/planyourvisit/h...
It only takes about 15 minutes to get from Cortez to Mesa Verde.
> Should we stay in Durango (is it scenic with mountains?) or should we drive on up to Ouray that first day ?
Durango has a lot more going on over Ouray as far as restaurants and nightlife, so it may be better for you to spend the night in Durango. It's very pretty and there are mountains, but not quite to the point of Ouray and points north.
> Day 5 and 6 we were thinking of going to RMNP.
You're missing Denver. I guess if you're just looking for outdoor stuff, then, yeah, you can go to RMNP. I really like Denver though. You're also missing Boulder and Golden Gate State Park.
How soon you can leave Mesa Verde depends on how much you want to see. I'd plan on being there first thing in the morning and booking your tours right away. Having been there (and stayed in Cortez) a few years back, I should warn you that the drive up the mesa isn't a quickie. I think it took an hour or so to get to the top on a winding, switchback road. There are numerous pulloffs along the way with fantastic vistas so you want to do some of those.
If doing Black Canyon, I highly recommend staying in Montrose. It's very close to the park and a really nice little town with good restaurants. The overlooks at Black Canyon are just gorgeous!