Experience the mountainous splendor of alpine lakes, towering peaks, rugged mountain vistas, captivating wildlife and massive dunes at four of Colorado's premier national parks.
September 8-14, 2018
• Scenic drives in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado National Monument, and Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
• Ride the Georgetown Loop Railroad with fantastic view of the mountains
• Sandboard or Sand Sled in Great Sand Dunes National Park
• Walking among petrified redwoods and thousands of fossils at Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument
September 8: Arrival and Orientation: Meet this evening at Embassy Suites Denver International Airport for an opening dinner and orientation to your week of exploration ahead. (D) Homewood Suites Denver International Airport
September 9: Rocky Mountain National Park: Travel to the resort village of Estes Park, famous for its Stanley Hotel—the inspiration for Stephen King’s The Shining novel. Next stop is Rocky Mountain National Park to discover the true meaning of “panoramic” as you experience incredible views. We traverse the famed Trail Ridge Road, which forms the highest continuous highway in America. This celebrated “Roof of the Rockies” offers views of massive peaks and rugged canyons as you cross the continental divide. In the afternoon stretch your legs on one of the many fantastic trails in the park. (B, L, D) Historic Rapids Lodge
September 10: Georgetown Loop Railroad: This morning we head to Silver Plume, Colorado, for a scenic railway ride on the Georgetown Loop Railroad. Completed in 1884, the railroad connected the mining camps of Georgetown and Silver Plume, only two miles – but 600 vertical feet, apart. Abandoned in 1939, the line was restored to operation in 1975 by the state historical society of Colorado. In the afternoon we make our way to Grand Junction via the White River National Forest and Vail. For those interested you can walk along the Colorado River and visit the Western Colorado Botanical Gardens once we arrive. (B, L, D) Hampton Inn Grand Junction
September 11: Colorado National Monument and overnight in Montrose: Just west of Grand Junction is a hidden gem of the National Park System, Colorado National Monument. Spend the day exploring the towering monoliths, red rock canyons, and larger-than- life vistas. We start with a 23-mile scenic drive along Rim Rock Drive where we may see some resident bighorn sheep and golden eagles and of course stop at many of the scenic overlooks along the way. Several short hikes will give us an even deeper look into some of the highlights of the park including Window Rock, the Canyon Rim, and Coke Ovens. Depending on how much time we spend in the park we may visit the Museum of the West in downtown Grand Junction before a relaxing evening. (B, L, D) Hampton Inn Grand Junction
September 12: Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park & Curecanti National Recreation Area We head to the southern entrance of Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. Established in 1999 for its deep cultural history and natural beauty. The park features two scenic drives, the South Rim Drive which is 7 miles and has 12 overlooks. Also, the East Portal Road which brings us down to the Gunnison River where due to step, close-set walls, some parts of the river only get 33 minutes of direct sunlight each day. Along the way we will get out to explore on foot as well and walk amongst a variety of plant life from sagebrush and Gambel oak to pinyon pine and Utah juniper. In the afternoon we will follow the path of the Gunnison River as it passes through Curecanti National Recreation Area which offers fantastic views of the river and an opportunity to get a short hike to the Dillon Pinnacles. (B, L, D) Holiday Inn Gunnison
September 13: Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve This morning we introduce you to the newest of the four National Parks in Colorado. Like Black Canyon of the Gunnison, this area had been designated a national monument decades before it became National Park in 2004. In it are the tallest sand dunes in North America, set against the dramatic alpine peaks of the Sangre de Christos Mountains. If you would like you can rent a sand sled or sandboard for a unique way to explore the dunes or simply walk amongst the dunes to your heart’s desire. For those looking for additional adventure we can head south to Zapata Falls Recreation area for a short hike to a 20-foot waterfall and spectacular views of the surrounding dunes. One of the best times to explore the dunes is at night to walk below one of the darkest skies in the park for amazing star gazing or seeing the dunes being light by a full moon. (B, L, D) Hampton Inn Alamosa
September 14: Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument and Departures from Denver On our way back to Denver we will make a stop at Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument. The park has one of the richest and most diverse fossil deposits in the world including petrified redwoods stumps and thousands of fossils of insects and plants. From there we will drive through Colorado Springs to Denver International Airport for evening departures. (B & L)
Contact Jared Dial at 202-454-3305 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or to reserve your spot.
Check out NPCA’s full tour lineup at www.npca.org/trips