Welcome to Denver, the Mile High City. Spend the day recovering after your travels or visit the Denver Art Museum or Botanical Gardens before joining your Travel Director and fellow travelers this evening for a Welcome Reception.
The Rocky Mountains may seem larger than life, but your journey to Rocky Mountain National Park will see you come face to face with this extraordinary mountain landscape which snakes along western North America. Drive along the Trail Ridge Road, a designated national scenic byway and the highest continuous paved highway in America. Arrive at the charming Hotel Boulderado, your Stays With Stories and Colorado's top rated historic hotel, located one block from the city’s hub for dining, arts, shopping and, of course, people watching. This evening you will have free time to explore on your own.
Waking up this morning, you’ll be tempted by two Your Choice inclusions: Join a Local Specialist for a guided visit to a CBD farm where you will learn the process of extracting, refining, and preparing CBD (cannabidiol oil) from hemp plants. Or, join a walking tour of downtown Boulder guided by a Local Specialist and long- time resident who loves showing off their hometown! Learn about Boulder's history, environment, architecture, food, fountains, artwork, lore, and legends. Your next stop is Colorado's oldest tourist attraction, the Georgetown Loop Railroad, completed in the late 19th century. Then walk along the pedestrian-only cobblestone streets of the picturesque Vail Mountain Resort and feel the fresh mountain air in your lungs. Continue to Glenwood Springs, a resort city known for its hot springs, sitting in the rugged Rocky Mountains, surrounded by the vast White River National Forest. This evening, your Stay With Stories overnight is the historic and iconic Colorado Hotel in the heart of Glenwood Springs. Built in 1893 during the mining boom, the Colorado Hotel has undergone a complete renovation, bringing it back to its former glory as the Grande Dame of Glenwood Springs having hosted historical figures including Teddy Roosevelt, William Taft, and the “Unsinkable” Molly Brown and now, you.
Head up Colorado's Rocky Mountains to Aspen, known for its high-end boutiques, bars and restaurants. Join your Travel Director for a walk through town. Then an exciting and exclusive experience awaits you as you will be taken by 4WD jeeps from Aspen up Snowmass Mountain for an exciting excursion. As you climb Snowmass, you will venture off road, through Aspen groves, past small waterfalls and through open meadows overlooking amazing views of the surrounding valleys. Your Local Experts will explain the history and geology of the area, including how ice age mammal bones, including Saber-toothed Tigers and Wooly Mammoths were found in the reservoir below. Arrive at the historic Burlingmane Cabin, and try your hand at horseshoes, corn hole, or relax and admire the breathtaking views of the mountain ranges while the staff tends to all your needs. Enjoy a delicious lunch hot off the grill with wine and beer, a campfire, live music, and s'mores. Back in Glenwood Springs, the rest of the day is yours to do as you please. Perhaps, visit the renowned Glenwood Hot Springs, the world's largest mineral hot springs pool.
Head for Palisade, known as the 'Peach and Wine Capital of Colorado,' perfectly nestled along the Colorado River. Stop at a local family's orchards, Connect with Locals as you meet with family members and learn about the history of this farming family. Meet the bee-keeper and sample some fresh honey from the beehives, fresh in-season produce, salsas, jams and preserves, pickled veggies, grilling sauces and salad dressings. In addition to ten varieties of the famous Palisade Peaches, a wide variety of other fruit and vegetables are also grown on property (production varies depending on seasons). After, we head on to Colorado National Monument, preserving one of the grandest landscapes of the American West. But this treasure is much more than a monument. Towering monoliths exist within a vast plateau and canyon panorama. Experience sheer-walled, red rock canyons along the twists and turns of Rim Rock Drive, where you may spy bighorn sheep and soaring eagles. This evening, stay in the heart of wine country and enjoy a Be My Guest dinner at the Maison La Belle Vie Winery. You will be hosted by the owner for an exclusive evening, starting with a tour of the winery and tasting the flavors of their lovingly blended estate-grown reds. Then sit down for a 3-course dinner paired with wines adjacent the 4.5 acre vineyard and al fresco under the Colorado Sky!
Head up the Western Slopes along the San Juan Skyway Scenic Byway and stop in the must-see town of Ouray, nestled in some of the most rugged and towering peaks of the Rockies, and often referred to as the "Switzerland of America.” From Ouray, ride along the famous "Million Dollar Highway," a designated All-American Byway and one of the state’s most scenic drives with some of Colorado’s most spectacular views as it spirals over Coal Bank Summit, Molas Pass, and Red Mountain Pass. Arrive in the mining town of Silverton, once a bawdy mining town, to board the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad to Durango. Take a trip back in time as this coal-fired, steam-powered train chugs along rails that were originally laid at the end of the 19th century, winding through a wilderness which would be inaccessible by car. This evening, you'll enjoy a night at The Strater Hotel, one of the West’s first iconic hotels and the centerpiece of Durango, your Stay with Story.
Admire the ancient cliff dwellings of the Ancestral Puebloan people, carved out of the sandstone of the canyon walls, at the UNESCO-listed Mesa Verde National Park. Several hundred of these dwellings, in addition to thousands of known archaeological sites, are preserved in this protected area and you’ll have an opportunity to see several during your visit to the park. Later, indulge in free time in Durango with options of activities, including a fun rafting excursion on the Animas River. This evening, the choice is yours with a selection of Durango's restaurants for a Your Choice Dining experience.
Today's highlight is the Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve, a sandbox of epic proportions- 101 square kilometers with the tallest dune towering 229 meters high, making it the largest sand dune in North America. First up, set the scene for the adventure ahead with a start at the excellent Visitor Center with a short film and various exhibits. Your Travel Director will then take you to the best place for picture taking from the bottom of High Dune, a towering sand dune about 198 meters from base to top. Then learn about this unique geographical phenomenon as you explore the dunes before heading for Colorado Springs, our next destination for a two-night stay at the historic Antlers Hotel dating back to 1883 and a favorite amongst many American presidents. Right in the heart of town, you’ll love The Antlers has direct access to shops, restaurants, boutiques, and bars as well as monumental mountain vistas—convenience and comfort with a view!
Board the historic Pikes Peak Cog Railway, the world's highest cog railroad, for an unforgettable trip to the 4,302 meters summit of Pikes Peak. Ride past cascading streams and forests of aspen and pine, enjoy the striking panoramas and learn of Pikes Peak connection with the patriotic song "America the Beautiful.'' Enjoy the magical town of Manitou Springs before heading to Olympic City USA, a 1.7-acre of land dedicated to Team USA. Visit the brand-new US Olympic and Paralympic Museum and Hall of Fame. You will be guided through the museum gaining unique insight into the daily lives and regimen of Team USA highlighting the origins of the ancient and modern Olympic and Paralympic Games, the legacy of U.S. Olympic & Paralympic athletes, and the stories behind the artifacts. The rest of the day is free for you to explore Colorado Springs before a local Farewell Dinner experience where you’ll have the chance to raise a glass or two and celebrate the adventures we’ve had in Colorado.
Our journey ends today as we say a fond farewell to new friends and depart Colorado Springs for Denver, but not before one last stop at yet another natural wonder of Colorado at the spectacular Garden of the Gods, a registered National Natural Landmark boasting dramatic vistas and towering, jagged red-rock formations. After some free time, you will be joined by a Garden of the Gods Local Specialist for a guided scenic loop drive around the central Garden zone and spurs out to Ridge Road and Balanced Rock for views of North and South Gateway Rocks, Gray Rock, Montezuma Tower, Scotsman Picnic Area, High Point, Siamese Twins, Steamboat Rock, and Balanced Rock where we’ll say our goodbyes to the group. After a final big morning, transfer to Denver International Airport.