DAY 1: Denver - Colorado Springs
Arrive in Denver (please arrive before 1:00 pm), meet your tour director (at 1:00 pm) and begin your Colorado experiences as you travel south to Colorado Springs for touring of Garden of the Gods. The park contains wide variety of plant and animal life within it’s boundaries along with wonderful red sandstone rock formations, for which the Garden is best known. Next, check into your hotel and join the group for a welcome dinner at a local restaurant.
Lodging – Drury Inn & Suites, Colorado Springs, CO
Meals b, D
DAY 2: Royal Gorge – Great Sand Dunes - Alamosa
Today will be a day of rails and parks. Start your morning off with the Royal Gorge Route Railroad for a vintage train ride along the beautiful Arkansas River deep within Royal Gorge. After a great ride, visit Royal Gorge Park & Bridge, where the world's highest suspension bridge towers 1,053 feet above the Arkansas River. Here you will have time to walk out on the bridge, have lunch on your own and explore other sights in the park. In the afternoon, travel to Great Sand Dunes National Park for sightseeing of the tallest dunes in North America which are the centerpiece in a diverse landscape of grasslands, wetlands, conifer and aspen forests, alpine lakes, and tundra. After a wonderful day in Colorado, arrive in Alamosa for a one-night stay.
Lodging – Comfort Inn, Alamosa, CO
Meals: B, D
DAY 3: Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railway
The Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad, considered the finest remaining example of a once vast network of narrow-gauge rail lines in Colorado, is your destination this morning. This well preserved railroad has been called by author Lucius Beebe, "the most awesomely spectacular example of mountain railroading in North America." Board the train in Antonito, then climb from the valley with ever changing landscapes as you make your way into the mountain peaks. Arrive at Osier where you will disembark the train and enjoy lunch. Then return to a modern form of transport as you drive to the old west mining town of Durango for a two-night stay. Evening free on own
Lodging – Holiday Inn, Durango, CO
DAY 4: Mesa Verde
After breakfast, travel to nearby Mesa Verde National Park for a day of exploration. Visit cliff dwellings built by the Anasazi culture that once thrived in the Four Corners region but suddenly disappeared leaving a mystery of what happened to this ancient culture. Their dwellings and artifacts have been well preserved in the desert climate, all for the people of our day to try and interpret. This is the nation’s largest archeological preserve with 4,000 sights including 600 cliff dwellings. Start with the Visitors Center which contains a large collection of ancient artifacts. Then a local expert will guide you through the most famous ruin sites including a stop for lunch on your own. After a wonderful tour of Mesa Verde, return to Durango with the rest of the day free to explore this fun western town on your own.
Lodging – Holiday Inn, Durango, CO
DAY 5: Durango & Silverton Railroad
This morning ride the Durango Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, one of the last such railroads operating in the United States. The high peaks of the Rockies, alpine meadows and the beautiful Animas River make of the wonderful scenery you will experience along the way. After a wonderful ride, arrive in Silverton with free time to explore the many shops and have lunch on your own. This afternoon take a scenic drive on the Million Dollar Highway traveling north over the peak and then winding your way down the mountainside to Ouray, another historic town. Continue north to Grand Junction for sightseeing of Colorado National Monument. Over the centuries, the elements have created beautiful steep canyons, monolithic spires and gorges all carved from the colorful sandstone. Overnight in Grand Junction and enjoy dinner at a local restaurant.
Lodging – Hampton Inn Downtown, Grand Junction, CO
Meals: B, D
DAY 6: Glenwood Springs
After breakfast, travel east to Glenwood Springs and arrive Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park for a scenic gondola ride up the mountain with incredible views of the Roaring Fork Valley, Mt. Sopris and Colorado River. Enjoy a guided tour of historic Fairy Cave followed by an included lunch. Then descend back down the mountain and join the group for some thrilling whitewater rafting! You will be rafting through spectacular Glenwood Canyon, a beautiful, pristine stretch of water with unbelievable Rocky Mountain scenery and a perfect mix of calm water and whitewater. This trip includes Class II-IV whitewater and the Shoshone Class III-IV rapids offer the whitewater enthusiast a two-mile stretch of exciting but not intimidating rapids. A guide favorite with interesting geology, gorgeous scenery, and some fun whitewater! The evening is free to visit the town’s namesake, Glenwood Hot Springs for a soak in the mineral springs, as well as to explore and have dinner on your own.
Lodging – Hampton Inn, Glenwood Springs, CO
DAY 7: Rocky Mountain – Westminster
Enjoy a scenic drive through the heart of the Colorado Rockies passing through Vail and Silverthorne on your way to Grand Lake Lodge for lunch on your own with an amazing view. Then enter Rocky Mountain National Park for sightseeing along the famed Trail Ridge Road which crests at over 12,000 feet including many overlooks. It will be an afternoon of mountain roads, wildlife and breathtaking views, a true Colorado Rocky Mountain High! In the late afternoon, stop in Estes Park, then pass through the fun town of Boulder on your way to Westminster for overnight. This evening join the group for a farewell dinner at a local restaurant as you share your experiences from the past week in Colorado.
Lodging – Drury Inn & Suites, Westminster, CO
DAY 8: Denver Airport Hotel
Transfer to the Denver Airport for your flight home. (Please schedule return flights for 12 noon or later.)