Discover the rich diversity of history, culture and spectacular scenery during our 14-night/15-day self-drive tour of the great Rocky Mountain state of Colorado! Saturday departures between late May and mid September.
Start with a couple of nights in the mile-high city of Denver where you can enjoy the fine restaurants, superb shopping and innovative museums as you ease into your holiday. Then its time to head west with overnight stays in Glenwood Springs/Snowmass – close to the playground of the rich and famous – Aspen; Grand Junction – where a wide range of exciting outdoor activities awaits; Telluride – where Butch Cassidy robbed his first bank; Mesa Verde where the early Native Americans built their homes into the towering rock walls of the canyon; Durango – a former wild-west town and starting point for the famous Durango-Silverton Railroad; Gunnison – explore the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park; Colorado Springs – visit the ‘Garden of the Gods’ and Pikes Peak before heading back to Denver.
Day 1. Arrive Denver. Day 2. Denver. Day 3. Denver to Glenwood Springs (Standard) or Snowmass (Superior) (approx.160 miles). Day 4. Explore Snowmass/Aspen. Day 5. To Grand Junction (approx.135 miles). Day 6 & 7. Grand Junction. Day 8. Grand Junction to Telluride (approx.125 miles). Day 9. Telluride to Mesa Verde National Park (approx.100 miles). Day 10. Mesa Verde National Park to Durango (approx.60 miles). Day 11. Explore Durango. Day 12. Durango to Gunnison (approx.175 miles). Day 13. Gunnison to Colorado Springs (approx.170 miles). Day 14. Explore Colorado Springs. Day 15. Colorado Springs to Denver (approx.70 miles).
Day 1. Arrive Denver. Upon arrival at Denver International Airport we recommend that you take at taxi (not included) to your downtown hotel and enjoy the remainder of the evening exploring Denver. Overnight: Crowne Plaza Downtown (Standard) or The Curtis Hotel (Superior).
Day 2. Denver. A free day to explore the attractions and shopping of Denver. The ‘Mile High’ city has a lot to offer with excellent downtown shopping, restaurants, sporting and cultural attractions. Overnight: Crowne Plaza Downtown (Standard) or The Curtis Hotel (Superior).
Day 3. Denver to Glenwood Springs (Standard) or Snowmass (Superior) (approx.160 miles). Collect your rental car this morning and head west into the Rocky Mountains, through the town of Leadville (America’s highest town) to the world-famous playground of the rich and famous – Aspen! The drive today takes you over some of the highest passes in the Colorado Rockies with spectacular scenery and an opportunity to linger at some of the small towns and historical sites en route. The afternoon is free for you to enjoy Glenwood Spring/Snowmass/Aspen. Overnight: Hampton Inn Glenwood Springs (Standard) or Stonebridge Inn, Snowmass (Superior).
Day 4. Explore Snowmass/Aspen. With a wide choice of outdoor activities including rafting, jeep tours, biking, horse-riding, hot-air balooning and hiking you have ample opportunity to explore the beautiful countryside surrounding Aspen. There is a wide choice of dining, shopping and cultural activities too, so prepare yourself for a busy and enjoyable stay in this fabulous resort town. Overnight: Hampton Inn Glenwood Springs (Standard) or Stonebridge Inn, Snowmass (Superior).
Day 5. To Grand Junction (approx.135 miles). Continue west through the Rockies via Glenwood Springs- home of the world’s largest natural hot springs pool – to Grand Junction. Overnight: Clarion Grand Junction (Standard) or Wine Country Inn (Superior).
Day 6 & 7. Grand Junction. Grand Junction is the gateway town for the Colorado National Monument and the ideal base for touring Colorado’s Wine Country. There is a wide choice of outdoor activities including rafting, jeep tours, biking, hiking, horse-riding and wine tasting. Colorado National Monument is 23,000 acres of rock formations, arched windows, canyons and exposed layers of earth; dramatic scenery and excellent hiking. In the evenings there is wide choice of fine restaurants and even a chuckwagon supper! Overnight: Clarion Grand Junction (Standard) or Wine Country Inn (Superior).
Day 8. Grand Junction to Telluride (approx.125 miles). Dubbed the new Aspen as the movie stars move in, in search of skiing and high society. The historic main street is is hemmed in by the sides of a canyon and a year-round gondola glides up to the plateau and Mountain Village offering stunning views of the surrounding area. It was in Telluride that Butch Cassidy robbed his first bank, and the town has maintained much of it’s wild west atmosphere. Overnight: The Peaks Resort (Standard & Superior).
Day 9. Telluride to Mesa Verde National Park (approx.100 miles). From Telluride the short drive today quickly brings you to Mesa Verde National Park – home of some of the southwest’s most impressive native American cliff-dwellings. Spend the afternoon exploring the 1,000-year old home-sites and villages scattered across the deep canyons and mesas and wonder at the ingenuity of the ancient peoples who occupied this area for hundreds of years before mysteriously vanishing in the 1300’s. Your accommodation tonight is in the national park allowing you time to enjoy the fabulous scenery and peaceful atmosphere of this very special place. Overnight: Far View Lodge (Standard & Superior).
Day 10. Mesa Verde National Park to Durango (approx.60 miles). Spend time this morning exploring Mesa Verde’s fascinating cliff dwellings and museum before continuing your tour to Durango. Overnight: Durango Downtown Inn (Standard) or Strater Hotel (Superior).
Day 11. Explore Durango. The old wild west town of Durango is a great base from which to enjoy the many activities, scenic beauty and of course the famous Durango-Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. It is essential to pre-book the train and Just America will be pleased to assist you at the time of booking your holiday. Other activities in the town and immediate area include horse-riding, rafting, hiking, jeep tours and golfing. Overnight: Durango Downtown Inn (Standard) or Strater Hotel (Superior).
Day 12. Durango to Gunnison (approx.175 miles). Shortly after leaving Durango this morning you arrive in Silverton, so if you didn’t visit the town on the train, you have the opportunity this morning to explore this historic old town. Shortly after leaving Montrose you suddenly come across a slash in the landscape up to 2,900 feet deep and in places less than 1,500 feet across. This is the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. Spend some time admiring the views and perhaps hiking to the bottom of the canyon before continuing on to the cattle town of Gunnison. Take some time this evening and visit Crested Butte – ski heaven in winter, Colorado’s wildflower capital in summer! Overnight: Comfort Inn (Standard & Superior).
Day 13. Gunnison to Colorado Springs (approx.170 miles). East from Gunnison on Route 50 you cross the 11,000ft Monarch Pass where Monarch ski resort’s cable car can lift you higher for spectacular views over the surrounding Rocky Mountains. After passing through the town of Salida you cross the Royal Gorge Bridge which gracefully spans the Arkansas River – and at 1,000 high is the world’s tallest suspension bridge. Enjoy the evening in Colorado Springs. Overnight: Quality Inn Garden of the Gods (Standard) or Cheyenne Mountain Resort (Superior).
Day 14. Explore Colorado Springs. Enjoy a day at leisure visiting some of Colorado Springs’ famous attractions. Not to be missed is the Garden of the Gods where visitors can view the dramatic red sandstone formations in the 1,300 acre ‘garden’. From the charming artist’s colony and spa town of Manitou Springs ride the Pikes Peak cog railway – the highest in the USA – to the top of the 14,000ft mountain; visit the spectacular Cadet Chapel of the U.S. Air Force Academy – one of America’s architectural masterpieces; and relax in the airy resort town of Colorado Springs. Overnight: Quality Inn Garden of the Gods (Standard) or Cheyenne Mountain Resort (Superior).
Day 15. Colorado Springs to Denver (approx.70 miles). A short drive up the freeway today will return you to Denver. You may choose to linger in Colorado Springs, or to head for the shopping malls of Denver before returning your rental car and checking in for your return overnight flight to the UK.
STANDARD HOTELS SUPERIOR HOTELS Price per adult
Sharing room type
Prices in £’s
Price per adult
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Prices from On request On request On request On request Prices from On request On request On request On request Location No. nights Standard Hotels Superior Hotels Denver (city centre) 2 Crowne Plaza Downtown The Curtis Hotel Glenwood Springs/Snowmass 2 Hampton Inn (cont.bkfst) Stonebridge Inn Snowmass Grand Junction 3 Clarion Grand Junction Wine Country Inn Telluride 1 The Peaks Resort & Spa The Peaks Resort & Spa Mesa Verde National Park 1 Far View Lodge (standard room) Far View Lodge (Kiva room) Durango 2 Durango Downtown Hotel The Strater Hotel Gunnison 1 Comfort Inn Gunnison (cont.bkfst) Comfort Inn Gunnison (cont.bkfst) Colorado Springs 2 Quality Inn Garden of the Gods (cont.bkfst) Cheyenne Mountain Resort
Hotels/Lodges are subject to availability at the time of booking.
Prices available on request
Children under 12 yrs are free when sharing a room with 2 adults and using existing bedding at hotels
* 14 nights hotel accommodation including local taxes.
* Maps, guides and itinerary.
Not included: Flights, car rental, travel insurance, national park admissions, meals, petrol and personal expenses.
Tour prices:The prices shown in the price panels are for the accommodation elements only, they do not include flights or car rental (unless indicated). This enables you to choose the airline and car of your choice and add them to the accommodation package to create your holiday. Our reservations staff will be pleased to help you with flight availability, to suggest which is the best airline for your itinerary and to advise you of any special offers the airlines may have introduced.
Hotels:Hotels featured in our self-drive and independent tours are chosen for their location, value for money and facilities. Whenever possible we offer a choice of Standard or Superior hotels. There is no recognised 'star' system throughout North America for classifying hotels, motels and resorts. The hotel ratings for our tours are subjective and are provided to give you an understanding as to the level of facility. They are either the hotel's official categorisation as per the Official Hotel & Resort Guide, or Just America's. Standards vary from location to location, therefore ratings in the remote areas can differ from those in the cities. Standard hotels would be those classified as Moderate, and Superior hotels would be First Class, in the Official Hotel and Resort Guide. National Park accommodations are more rustic and are chosen almost entirely because of their location. It should not be assumed that because an hotel is listed as Superior that it has certain amenities. Often a hotel is classified as Superior due to its position, views or room standard, it does not always follow that a superior hotel will have a swimming pool, hair-dryers, golf course, room service etc. We will try to provide information on individual hotels on request although the internet is usually the quickest and most accurate source of information. Hotel rooms in North America usually have one or two double beds. Triple and Quad rooms have two double beds. Very few hotels in North America have three or four beds. It is sometimes possible to have a rollaway bed which can be requested, but cannot be guaranteed. Occasionally hotels are chosen purely for their location - i.e. half-way between two points of interest - and may be included as a one night stop to break up an otherwise long journey. Such hotels may not have the full facilities normally associated with a Standard or Superior hotel, but sometimes we don't have any other choice. Where possible hotels providing free car parking have been included, however in some locations, such as city centres, the hotels may make a charge.
Note:Hotels are not usually ready to accept guests until after 3 or 4 pm, so please try not to check in before mid-afternoon. Check out time is usually before 11 am or 12 noon. It is sometimes possible to arrange late check out, or the storage of luggage, but this is at the discretion of the hotel.
Tour notes and itineraries:On several of our tours the tour notes and itineraries are provided at the first hotel. On other tours this information is forwarded with the travel documents approximately 14 days prior to departure. We will endeavour to provide the best information we can to help you, but it is not our policy to provide mile by mile detailed route guides, the frequent changes to local road conditions, layouts etc., makes this impossible. We do provide maps, guides to the major attractions en route, and directions to hotels whenever possible. These are independent self-drive holidays and you will be required to read a map and locate attractions and hotels. Sat.Nav. is available from the car rental companies - at a charge - and you may find this useful, however all technology is prone to failure so we always recommend that you keep the maps handy.
Tailor-made holidays:We will be pleased to discuss your own ideas and itineraries and help you plan your holiday. If you would like to email, fax or mail an outline of your tour with dates, number of people, ages of children etc., to us we will be happy to advise you. We request that you include your daytime telephone number on all correspondence. Where you have chosen the route and we have designed a tailor-made holiday for you, it may not be possible to provide you with a detailed tour itinerary. We suggest that you read up about the area you are planning to visit well in advance, preferably before you book the holiday. Insight Guides cover almost every region of North America and are about the best on the market. Just America can also provide a some tourist information subject to availability, but we do not have detailed route information to cover every area of the Continent. You might find the internet to be the best source of free, up-to-date information.
National Park Passes:Both the US and Canada charge entrance fees for their national parks, and if you are visiting a number of parks, this cost can add up to a significant amount. We recommend that you purchase a Parks Pass at the first national park you visit. For the US the pass currently costs $80 for up to four adults (children under 16 are free). In Canada a family pass currently costs $136.40. Both passes provide unlimited visits to that country's parks for 12 months. The passes can only be used in the country of purchase. Full details available at www.nps.gov (for USA) and www.pc.gc.ca/index_e.asp
At the beginning and end of the season (May/early June & Mid-September) it may be necessary to alter the route to avoid some of the high mountain passes – for example on day 3 we would suggest following the main highway – Interstate 70 from Denver and approaching Aspen from Glenwood Springs. Please note that much of this tour is at a high altitude – Denver – the ‘Mile High City’ is at 5280-feet (1609 mtrs) above sea level and the tour crosses several mountain passes over 9000-feet above sea level. The air is dry and thin.
We can provide details, prices and make reservations for some of the optional sightseeing excursions mentioned in the itinerary.
All mileages are approximate. Hotels/Lodges are subject to availability at the time of booking.