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Breckenridge, Estes Park, or Steamboat Springs

gstepic

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We live in Albuquerque and i want to plan a fall trip so i can get some fall color photos. I am a photographer that is trying to build a portfolio of prints I can sell. So scenery is of huge importance.

I also like a place that has some charm and a lot of things to do and places to have a meal or drink. I think in that regard Breckenridge, Estes Park, and Steamboat Springs would all do.

I have not heard much about Rocky Mountain National Park compared to some other parks like Yellowstone, Yosemite, etc.. I think it takes about two hours to get to the south entrance from Breckenridge and no idea how long it would get to the park from Steamboat Springs. I am aware Estes Park is at the base of the park.

It may boil down to getting a place but I would love to hear opinions of the three places, pros and cons of each. Getting photos that would make nice prints on a wall is my main objective. I initially did not even think about Steamboat Springs because I was thinking Breckenridge or Estes Park would be a much shorter drive. But after looking at a map I don't think it is much longer to get to Steamboat Springs. I am curious how long of a drive it is from Breckenridge to Steamboat Springs because no matter where we stay I want to check out both places.

I went on the Wyndham/RCI site and am kind of confused about the points required. We want to go September 29th because I think that would be a good time to get fall colors, and a two bedroom in Breckenridge is 186,000 points and I saw others for much less. I would think season would be same (red, blue, or white) but there pretty big differences for points required.

I appreciate any input - Gary
 

momeason

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Your timing is perfect for the Aspen leaves in Breckenridge. Josh Dayton, manager of the Breckenridge Nordic Center 970-453-6855, is a great photographer. He will share tips with you about where to go to get the best photos. He grew up in the area.
He has a website but it is having technical difficulties..amazing photos. Check it out when it gets fixed. www.joshdaytonphotography.com
I would think you would be able to get a last minute exchange thru RCI. Maybe ask that question on TUG. Breck is available a lot on II. There are lots of timeshares there. I do not have RCI. We went on an II bonus exchange. Stayed at the Marriott for $170 and no points.
The town of Breck is very pretty and the natural beauty is amazing. I have not visited the other two towns.
 

Deb from NC

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I've never been to Steamboat Springs and only to Breckinridge during ski season, but I can tell you that Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park are beautiful in Fall. We have some pictures of elk just wandering through the main street of town, and of course once you get out into the National Park the wildlife and settings are even more spectacular. My guess is all 3 would be beautiful, but if you're interested in wildlife at all, I would be inclined to head to the National Park!
 

exyeh

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We go to estes park almost every year. On hiking trails we met so many photographers taking pictures there, it says all. A lot of them are for commercial purposes. And they come from all over the world. RMNP is a great place. It's like a kept secret. We have been vail, breck, frisco,...etc. For Fall foliage, no place can be as good as RMNP in CO.. BTW, you need come around end Sep. and early Oct.
 

gstepic

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Thanks, I am curious to hear more about Steamboat Springs

I think I would enjoy all three places and I will check out all of them on our trip. I am mainly interested in how far it is to drive from Steamboat Springs to the park, I may just call one of the resorts and ask.

My main concern is how hard will it be to book the last week of September. I am thinking all those places are known for skiing so even though that week may be popular for those wanting to see fall colors, the demand will still be much less than during ski season, I hope that is the case.

I have no idea if more places will open up on the RCI site. In February I can borrow from my 2013 points and that is around the corner. If I know I will be able to get a place a few weeks before we go I can look for bargains.

I will call RCI to find out if I book early March and then find something better if there is a charge to cancel the reservation to make a new one. If it is minimal I will book as soon as I can then keep an eye out for better deals.

Gary
 

gstepic

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Silver Creek seems close to park as well as Winter Park

From looking at the resorts available it appears Silver Creek is very close to the park and Winter Park is also pretty close. Is there anything to do in those towns and if not how far away is it to a town where there is something to do as far as going out to eat.

It seems like a lot of places available in Steamboat. I found out booking with RCI and changing reservation is not really an option. I would lose my exchange fee and points and for an extra $49 I would only lose the $199 exchange fee.
 
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Deb from NC

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I think Ram's Horn trades through RCI & is right in Estes Park. Very highly rated. I stayed at Crag's Lodge when we went and loved it, but it's not
for everyone. More like a National Park lodge than a timeshare! I'm afraid
I don't know anything about the 2 you mentioned...
 

gstepic

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Coolest thing i have seen

It appears Silver Creek is pretty much equal distance to Breckenridge, Steamboat Springs, and Estes Park. It also looks like not many nice places to eat close by from looking at Google earth.

And Speaking of Google, I went to google maps to find out driving time between the places I want to see. I can do a 3D view and it will actually take you on a virtual trip over the entire route. It is almost like you are seeing a view from a helicopter as you can see what the terrain is like for the entire drive. It is one of the coolest things I have seen and a great way to get an idea of what type of mountainous scenery I will see.

Gary
 

dougp26364

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We enjoy our time in Breckenridge and, Breckenridge probably has the better selection of resorts to choose from if you exchanging through I.I.

If you interested in building your portfolio, then I'd suggest stopping in and speaking with David Carter Pfua at Breckenridge Photographic. David is a professional who has a store because he enjoys talking with and helping other photographers. David can tell you where to be and what time to be there for the best chances of getting the shots you want.
 

gstepic

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This is what i want to do with photos, warning...

Strong Biblical content! My main source of photos so far has been from Hawaii and I am ashamed to say not enough from the Rocky Mountain area where I live. I think I am ok posting this link as it is in no way soliciting but it does show what I am looking to do with my photos -

http://garystepicphotography.zenfolio.com/

Gary
 

PigsDad

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If you will want to spend most of your time in RMNP, you really need to stay in Estes Park. Technically, yes, Breckenridge and Steamboat Springs are about 2 to 2 1/2 hours away (Winter Park / Fraizer about an hour), but that is to the West / South entrance (Granby entrance). There is not much in that area. You would then have to drive completely through the park over Trail Ridge Road (which goes up over 12,000 ft.) to get to the main part of the park. That is a very slow road (35 mph most of the time, with no slow cars in front of you), so that would add at least another hour drive time coming from that park entrance.

Also, in late Sep / early Oct you have a decent chance of running into a snow storm, and that route would not be an easy drive (and a good possibility of the road being closed).

Bottom line, stay in Estes Park if you want to photograph RMNP, and save yourself a lot of time and effort.

Kurt
 

gstepic

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What are other good times to see Rocky Mt. Nat. Park?

I have feeling I would go stir crazy at Silver Creek because we also like to be in a charming town with things to do. Another couple that may travel with us probably will not want to do any hiking, if it were just me I could live in the mountains with my camera but my wife has to be entertained as well and she would only take so much hiking.

If Estes Park is touristy then probably for a reason. Hopefully it is picturesque and has a few things to do in town. Breckenridge could also be a fun place and would limit our time at RMNP.

This trip is for fall colors and maybe RMNP could be another trip for wildflowers. What would be best time to see park other than for fall colors?
 

pianodinosaur

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Never been to Estes Park.

We love Steamboat Springs and Breckenridge. The altitude in Breckenridge may take some getting use to if you are traveling from the coast, like we do. However, Breckenridge is a lovely town with easy access to Frisco, Vail, Avon, and Beaver Creek. Steamboat Springs is more isolated but the town is very friendly and beautiful. The Yampa valley is really one of the most peaceful places we have ever been.
 

beejaybeeohio

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I'd go for Estes

If you're looking for vistas and scenery to photograph, Estes Park and it's neighbor Rocky Mt Nat'l Park are good choices.

While we've been to Breck & Steamboat, it's been for skiing and both towns are charming, but I'm not sure about foto ops; however since you have a talent for photography, I'm sure you will them!

Guess you have to go with where you can find a timeshare and any of the 3 locations would work.
 

dougp26364

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I have a few photo's taken around Breck that might give you an idea of the area. The album is at http://dougp26364.smugmug.com/Travel/Breckenridge-CO/19055789_7288sd#!i=1491510321&k=B8Hjw9B . The shots with Aspens turning were taken the second week of September. We were there just a little early last year to see the majority turning but, there was still some good color. Most of these shots were taken from the road.

I don't think it's necessary to be in a national park competing with all the other photographers for the same shot that's been taken thousands of times. There's so much to CO that's photographic, it might be worthwhile to search out that which isn't photographed by anyone and everyone with a camera.
 

gstepic

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Looks like tons of charm in Breck

I agree, the challenge is always to get something a little different. But I do want to see RMNP, I am thinking of staying at a B&B in Estes Park for a couple of days and then get a place in Breck. We would make a day trip to Steamboat Springs.

From your photos I can see why my son and his wife rave about Breck (that is their favorite vacation destination).

Hopefully this will be one of many trips to this area.
 

dougp26364

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I agree, the challenge is always to get something a little different. But I do want to see RMNP, I am thinking of staying at a B&B in Estes Park for a couple of days and then get a place in Breck. We would make a day trip to Steamboat Springs.

From your photos I can see why my son and his wife rave about Breck (that is their favorite vacation destination).

Hopefully this will be one of many trips to this area.
We've become hooked on Breck and Colorado as a whole in the summer/fall months. In the past, I've always thought of Colorado as a winter/ski vacation destination. We went to Breck a few years ago because I was tired flying and wanted another drive-to destination. Now we go every year.

I'm learning to rent a car when we go. Over a weeks time, I can put 2,000+ miles on a car. We tend to range far and wide, making day trips and driving many more miles than we ever realize. I enjoy driving over different passes and into different towns to see what's out there.
 

gstepic

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I may end up doing the same

We really love going to Hawaii for the combination of culture, scenery, and things to do. I know there are many that spend a lot of time in their resorts but we enjoy getting out. I am kind of an old fashioned romantic and love having a drink with my wife at places with some charm and views, I really enjoy anywhere we can eat outdoors.

I have a feeling from looking at your pics that Breck will do just find in that regard. We still want to go to Hawaii but I am seeing that one plane fare will pay for a lot of nice Colorado trips. We want to see Utah, Yellowstone, and I can go on an on about places in the west we would like to visit but what is appealing about central Colorado is it is fairly short trip from Albuquerque by western standards.

We probably will book a couple of days at Estes Park and if we really like it spend a week during another trip.
 

dougp26364

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We have a 4 night stay booked at Estes Park. We've been to RMNP and Estes Park on day trips but have never stayed there for any length of time. I'm looking forward to a more indepth exploration of RMNP and, I want to explore the Stanley Hotel where The Shining was filmed and, a hotel that is said to be haunted (the wife loves that stuff).

For the most part, through the different ownerships we have we can get into Steamboat Springs, Estes Park, Breckenridge and Vail pretty easily. While we've been spending a lot of time in Breck we want to explore the others as well.

Living in Alburquerque, I'm surprise you haven't spent time in your own back yard photographing the vista's readily available. But then again, I can't say I've done the same in KS.
 

gwenco

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The aspen leaves will pretty much be all on the ground by September 29th and you could also run into some nasty weather as the previous poster has mentioned. As far as photo opportunitys go, the higher peaks will have had snow by then. Breckenridge and Steamboat are both "upper" scale locales with higher end restaurants where Estes Park has much less but affordable dining choices. This is of course, is the east entrance to the park. Hope you enjoy our beautiful state with the weather being so unpredictable that time of year!;)
 

Picker57

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Not sure what you're finding on Google, but bear in mind that the most direct route between Estes Park/RMNP and Steamboat - Trail Ridge Road - is generally closed all winter and might well be closed by early fall. So that does change the routing.

We spend a lot of time in Summit County (Breck/Frisco/Copper Mtn), and there are two wonderful photo galleries (as I'm sure there are in many places): The Photo Shop (Gary Soles) in Breck is delightful, and Gary is very helpful. In Frisco (15 minutes away), Todd Powell (in the gallery with his name) is also extremely knowledgeable about photo ops in the area. Also, Breck would be a great 'jumping off' spot for many interesting locales (Leadville, Fairplay, the continental divide, etc etc etc). We love it there.

We've usually found the 1st weekend in October to be the apex of the colors unless there's been an early freeze. A week earlier would probably be safer.


-----------Zach
 

gstepic

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Just about to book and very helpful info

Using my RCI points there is really not much available, but I could book 4 nights in Breck from Sept 30th to Oct 4. We will probably book a B&B Sept 28 and 29 in Estes Park just to check out area. Then depending on weather and availability we may book a couple of nights in Steamboat Springs while we are in Breck.

This way we can get an idea of the entire area and plan return trips since we are fairly close in New Mexico.

Gary
 

Picker57

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Using my RCI points there is really not much available, but I could book 4 nights in Breck from Sept 30th to Oct 4. We will probably book a B&B Sept 28 and 29 in Estes Park just to check out area. Then depending on weather and availability we may book a couple of nights in Steamboat Springs while we are in Breck.

This way we can get an idea of the entire area and plan return trips since we are fairly close in New Mexico.

Gary
Your sequence sounds excellent. The drive to Steamboat from Summit County is gorgeous, as is the Steamboat area itself. Hope you can manage a few days there.
------Zach
 

rickandcindy23

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I want to explore the Stanley Hotel where The Shining was filmed
Rick's band is playing at the Stanley Hotel on 5/5 for a paranormal convention. There are actually organized paranormal groups that have conventions. How weird is that? I told Rick they need to play Frankenstein and some other songs that are appropriate.

I agree about staying in Estes Park.
 
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