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Old 04-26-2018, 04:27 PM   #1
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Rushmore to AZ

We are doing Yellowstone and the other attractions along the way to Mt Rushmore. I am planning the trip home and I am stumped as to the stops we should see between Rushmore and Prescott AZ. Is Vail CO a place to spend a couple nights?

We have been to all of the southern Utah national parks, Monument Valley, and the Grand Canyon so we don't plan on stopping at any of them. Although Monument Valley is on one of the routes I am looking at, this would be leaving Mt Rushmore taking I25 to Denver then I70 to Crescent Junction then 191 to 160 and finally 89 to home.

I figure we will spend 6 to 8 nights to get home.

Thanks,
Joe
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Old 04-27-2018, 09:02 AM   #2
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just a few places on our wish list. you may have already done some,
pikes peak, co
canon city, co
Durango, co
mesa verde, co
four corners, co, ut, az, nm
chama, nm
santa fe, nm
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Old 04-27-2018, 09:38 AM   #3
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Thanks Chickdoe,

We have done Durango, Mesa Verde, and Santa Fe. They are all worth a return visit. Mesa Verde was a mystical place for me, the sunsets, the stars, and the history.

I never thought about Pikes Peak, that might be a good add to this trip or a future trip.

Canon City and Chama, never heard of them but a quick search and they look amazing too.

Joe
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Old 04-27-2018, 10:02 AM   #4
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My only issue with Vail is that it was something like 11,000' and I had a hard time breathing. We didn't do anything other than overnight at a Walmart there, though. We were headed from Colorado Springs to Moab at the time.

Same with the 6,000' Colorado Springs. We really enjoyed the CS area. Pikes Peak, Royal Gorge, etc. Unfortunately the Cog Railroad is down for Pikes Peak, but it's a beautiful and fairly easy drive.

You didn't say you've done Moab. It's a truly beautiful place. And would be a TON of fun with a Jeep.

Hope that helps.
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Old 04-27-2018, 10:29 AM   #5
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Moab

Thanks ependydad,

I would like to do Moab with the jeep someday, we were there with a big ol Cadillac last visit. Enjoyed it just as well.

Good point about 11,000 ft, we live at 5,000 and do OK but I do remember having trouble breathing when in Bryce Canyon which is only 8 to 9k ft.
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Old 04-27-2018, 10:38 AM   #6
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You could hit I-70 in Denver, then take C-470 south along the foothills of Denver to Hwy 285 west to Buena Vista (lots of good RV parks there), then take Hwy 24 south to Salida, then Hwy 50 west to Gunnison (Blue Mesa is 12 miles west of there-my favorite place to camp).

From there it is about a 4 1/2 hour pull to Mesa Verde, and the rest of the trip you probably already know!

Or, if you stay on I-25 south to Colorado Springs, there is the Garden Of The Gods (free), and if you take Hwy 115 west towards Canon City there is an awesome little RV park called Mountaindale RV Park that is probably the nicest place to stay in the whole state of Colorado, then about an hour from there is the Royal Gorge, which is on Hwy 50, that will take you to Gunnison and the rest of what I described above.

Here is my rig at Blue Mesa last fall:
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Old 04-28-2018, 05:40 PM   #7
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Thanks JohnD10,

We are on the road so internet time is limited But I will look into your suggestions, they look interesting.
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Old 04-28-2018, 06:02 PM   #8
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I'd recommend one or a few of the national parks/monuments.

Rocky Mountain National Park/Estes Park. Good mountain views, huge elk everywhere, and you might see mountain goats, big horn sheep (I never have), and moose (only once in 5-6 visits). Estes Park is the mountain town nearby. Good shopping, souvenirs, places to eat. Crowded, of course. Lots of places to camp in the park and along the "Peak-to-Peak Highway." Convenient to I-25.

Black Canyon of the Gunnison. Like a mini Grand Canyon and it's pretty far west ... probably 5 hours from Denver. I loved this park, but I've never been to the Grand Canyon. I camped at Ridgway State Park, which is even farther west and sits above Telluride and Ouray (both great mountain towns to visit).

Florissant Fossil Beds. This is near Colorado Springs, Pikes Peak, Manitou Springs area, only a bit farther west. Camp at Mueller State Park. I wasn't real wild about this, but my buddy thought it was great. Some neat petrified stumps, but mostly this is a history lesson about what used to be there before it was pilfered during the 1800s and early 1900s.

Great Sand Dunes. Went there last year and really liked this. Tons to do in the surrounding area, too. Just sort of a bizarre phenomenon of sand where you wouldn't necessarily expect it. Camp in the park, but most sites are tight ... our pop-up barely fit our site.

Good luck.
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Old 04-30-2018, 06:08 PM   #9
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Thanks 67L48,

We almost missed Black Canyon, we were staying in Montrose CO about 15 miles from the park. A last minute search of the area I found it and we spent a day exploring the canyon.

I will look into your other suggestions.

Joe
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Old 05-04-2018, 08:46 AM   #10
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Black Canyon, Sand Dunes and the Royal Gorge Bridge...
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