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Base for exploring Rocky Mountain National Park

webdizzy

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I'm looking for recommendations for an alternate "base location" to stay during summer months while exploring the Rocky Mountain National Park area for the first time . Estes Park seems to be the best option and is my first choice, but what are some other RCI timeshare resort locations that could serve to provide me with a "taste" of "the Rockies" of Colorado? Thanks!
 
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Krteczech

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Estes Park is ideal, but there is also several TS in Winter Park and Granby Ranch. try to book your accommodations early so you can get timed entry reservation for RMNP. It costs only $2 in addition to your regular daily or weekly pass, but you cannot enter RMNP during peak hours without having timed entry reservation
(Late May-mid October)
 

Jwerking

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How long of drive from Granby or Winter Park timeshares to nice easy to moderate hikes in RMNP? Also, was this side of the park severely burned by last year's fires?
 

rickandcindy23

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How long of drive from Granby or Winter Park timeshares to nice easy to moderate hikes in RMNP? Also, was this side of the park severely burned by last year's fires?
Pretty close. The park is beautiful, we were just there a few weeks ago and so enjoyed our drive through. Make a reservation, of course.
 

Krteczech

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Winter Park to Estes Park thru RMNP about 2.5 hrs. Beautiful scenery, but the Trail Ridge Road stays closed till Memorial Day. Different road thru Central City and Blackhawk called Peak to Peak highway is also very scenic and takes about the same time. You will have advantage of long summer days. From Winter Park/Granby you can also easily drive to Steamboat Springs, or even Breckenridge and Vail for a day trip.
 

Jwerking

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Thanks all for your replies. We have never been to Colorado Rockies for a fall hiking trip. We are retired and typically take a 5 to 6 week trip - preferably timeshare plus Airbnb fill -in. We are currently in Glacier NP area after visiting Yellowstone and Grand Teton. Crowds and lack of parking has been challenging without getting into the parks very early. Don't know if we want to repeat this challenge again next fall esp with timed entry into RMNP?

Always more RCI availability in Granby and Winter Park - never see anything for Estes Park even with ongoing search. Isn't Winter Park pretty far from RMNP trailheads? Would it be best to just pay for an Airbnb rental in Estes Park for a hiking vacation - how many days given the pricey rentals? Would you spend another week in the Granby or Winter Park TS after Stay in Estes Park?

Is stay in Vail and Steamboat advisable for easy to moderate hiking opportunities? How about followed by week at Pagoda Springs further south? DURANGO.?

Any other suggestions for an extended hiking trip within a 8 to 9 hr transit drive? Park City area? ZION NP area ( St George)?
 

Krteczech

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Pagosa Springs area is very easy TS exchange and Durango is driving distance from there. We visit this area only in winter for skiing at Wolf Creek, but enjoyed short hikes and hot springs there. It takes us full day to get from Estes to Pagosa.
Timed entry to RMNP ends mid-October and preceding few weekends are very busy due to scheduled festivals. Hiking trails on Estes side are great, four days of hiking should satisfy and recommend time to enter is before 8 AM (or earlier). For driving thru RMNP time really doesn’t matter. Granby/Grand Lake side is totally different, but also interesting. Again, we know it better from winter visit; but we drive thru many times in Summer and enjoy it.
You can PM me with more questions.
 

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Laurie

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Thanks all for your replies. We have never been to Colorado Rockies for a fall hiking trip. We are retired and typically take a 5 to 6 week trip - preferably timeshare plus Airbnb fill -in. We are currently in Glacier NP area after visiting Yellowstone and Grand Teton. Crowds and lack of parking has been challenging without getting into the parks very early. Don't know if we want to repeat this challenge again next fall esp with timed entry into RMNP?

Always more RCI availability in Granby and Winter Park - never see anything for Estes Park even with ongoing search. Isn't Winter Park pretty far from RMNP trailheads? Would it be best to just pay for an Airbnb rental in Estes Park for a hiking vacation - how many days given the pricey rentals? Would you spend another week in the Granby or Winter Park TS after Stay in Estes Park?

Is stay in Vail and Steamboat advisable for easy to moderate hiking opportunities? How about followed by week at Pagoda Springs further south? DURANGO.?

Any other suggestions for an extended hiking trip within a 8 to 9 hr transit drive? Park City area? ZION NP area ( St George)?
I can't imagine dealing with timed entries, when we go to spend a whole week at a NP. That said:

Yes to RMNP for best hiking and Estes Park for probably best access, a week isn't too much time if you can get. I'd take Winter Park if I couldn't. We piggybacked 2 wks in CO: first a wk in Vail to acclimate to lower altitute, which had enough good but not spectacular hikes except 2 stand out: drives to Hanging Lake near Glenwood Springs, then enjoy the springs, and Maroon Bells near Vail. You can visit Breckenridge to get ready for high altitudes of RMNP, if that's an issue, it is for me. Our second wk in Estes Park featured daily excellent hikes. I know timeshare availability isn't what is used to be there, too bad.

We piggybacked Santa Fe + Pagosa Springs TS's. Pagosa had some good but not spectacular hikes except Chimney Rock, nice time spent at springs, drove to Durango, intended to drive up towards Telluride but there was a road closure. Then we headed onto Mesa Verde for a couple of days, then Chaco Canyon, circled back to Santa Fe to return the rental car, great trip.

Lots to see and do and hike to from St George: Zion, Bryce, Cedar Breaks, Brian Head, Scenic Byway 12 with Kodachrome State Park and more, you can get as far as Capitol Reef, etc. Timing temps can be tricky: there was snow at Cedar Breaks, temps in the hundreds at Zion, this was in May. Desert hiking in high temps is really hard for me.

I loved Park City for summer hiking, lots of trails close by, also drove to Sundance for excellent hike, IMO it's an under-appreciated hiking destination.

btw my idea of a great fun trail is take a lift up, and walk down - lots of that near Park City. One of my favorite RMNP hikes was park at a lower lot, hitchhike a ride to upper trail head, and walk downwards. I could probably figure out which that was by looking at a park map if anyone asks.

Hope that helps.
 
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