An interesting circle in the Southwest's Rocky Mountains...

Lower Rockies


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Lower Rocky Mountains Overview

Polaroid - Rockies Front Range

Like big mountains, funky little mountain towns, and American Indian culture? Road trip through spectacular alpine and southwestern landscapes in Colorado, Utah, Arizona and New Mexico. Explore old mining towns preserved as old mining towns, old mining towns repopulated by hippies, and old mining towns that are now upscale playgrounds such as Breckenridge and Telluride. Hiking opportunities exist amidst these high peaks… discover the deep and ominous Black Canyon of the Gunnison. Visit ancient Anasazi Indian ruins at Mesa Verde, and then traverse the Southwest’s most stunning red rock country for a special jeep tour of Monument Valley! Cross the Four Corners to the New Mexico cities of Albuquerque and Santa Fe for charming plazas and New Age ambiance.

DAY 1: Denver.

Arrive any time. HOTEL: Denver, CO

DAY 2: Boulder.

Tour starts. Explore Boulder and enter the Rockies. HOTEL: [vicinity of] Boulder, CO

DAY 3: Front Range Mountains.

Check out several interesting mountain towns. HOTEL: Leadville, CO

DAY 4: Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park.

Cross the Rockies to Black Canyon. HOTEL/CABINS: [vicinity of] Black Canyon of the Gunnison, CO

DAY 5: Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park.

Full day for hiking. HOTEL/CABINS: [vicinity of] Black Canyon of the Gunnison, CO

DAY 6: Durango.

Scenic drive, check out towns of Telluride and Durango. HOTEL: Durango, CO

DAY 7: Mesa Verde National Park.

Explore ancient Anasazi ruins before entering Utah. HOTEL: Bluff, UT

DAY 8: Monument Valley.

Redrock scenery and Monument Valley jeep tour. CAMPING: Monument Valley, UT

DAY 9: Albuquerque.

Drive past Four Corners area en route to Albuquerque. HOTEL: Albuquerque, NM

DAY 10: Santa Fe.

Short drive to Santa Fe for the first of two nights. HOTEL: Santa Fe, NM

DAY 11: Santa Fe.

Full day hiking in Glacier. HOTEL: Santa Fe, NM

DAY 12: Taos.

Ancient pueblos and hiking in the mountains around Taos. HOTEL: [vicinity of] Taos, NM

DAY 13: Great Sand Dunes National Park.

Re-enter the Rockies proper and visit the highest Sand Dunes in the USA. HOTEL: Trinidad, CO

DAY 14: Denver.

Return to Denver, end of tour. HOTEL: Denver, CO

Summer 2013:  13 days / 14 nights

DAY 1:


Arrival night in Denver, the state capital and largest city of Colorado!

DAY 2-3:

Rocky Mountains Front Range / Sawatch Range.

Into the Rockies! Stop first in the attractive university town of Boulder before ascending into the Rocky Mountains and visiting some strange and interesting little mountain towns (Ward, Gold Hill, Leadville, Breckenridge).

DAY 4-5:

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park.

Reach the jagged Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, with a full day for hiking in the area.

DAY 6:


More alpine scenery and a popular ski town (Telluride), before stopping for the night in the university town of Durango in southwest Colorado.

DAY 7:

Mesa Verde National Park.

Swap the high Rockies for southwestern scenery, first at Mesa Verde National Park, a high plateau riddled with ancient Anasazi Indian cliff dwellings.

DAY 8:

Monument Valley.

In eastern Utah, experience some amazing red rock landscapes. Take a jeep tour of Monument Valley and gather insights into native Navajo Indian life (included!)

DAY 9-11:

Albuquerque & Santa Fe.

Pass the Four Corners area and drive to Albuquerque, New Mexico. Discover Santa Fe for two full days, the oldest territorial capital in North America. Soak up the Santa Fe/Southwest vibes while exploring this historic and distinctive city. Shop, check out boutique galleries, and sample the nightlife (often a DJ mixing in a boutique gallery…)

DAY 12-13:

Taos Mountains / Great Sand Dunes National Park.

Ascend higher back into the rockies on our return north, stopping in arts center of Taos, and hiking in the vicinity. Tomorrow, climb the highest sand dunes in North America at the Great Sand Dunes National Park!

DAY 14:


Return to Denver where our tour concludes.

What do I get for my money?

  • Included activities (see sidebar at right).
  • All ground transportation by climate-controlled van (maximum 13 persons).
  • Shared hotel accommodation (2+ stars) and cabins on 13 nights. Special camping overnight on 1 night.
  • Admission to all included national parks and recreation areas.
  • Services of an experienced tour leader.
  • Sandwich lunches on most days (excluding free days).

$2,500 USD   per person

Departure 1:

  • AUGUST 17, 2013 (saturday night arrival in Denver) to AUGUST 30, 2013 (trip ends on friday in Denver.)


wildlife or nightlife?

GRAPH - Lower Rockies Ranking Index

departure #1

  • AUGUST 17, 2013 (saturday night arrival in Denver) to AUGUST 30, 2013 (trip ends on friday in Denver.)

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our route

Lower Rockies Itinerary Map

travel style

  • age range: 18+
  • accommodation: 13 nights hotels / cabins, 1 special camping overnight.
  • group size: maximum 13 persons

Polaroid pic #1

make your own memories!

included activities

  • Monument Valley jeep tour & overnight

major cities

  • Denver, Colorado
  • Albuquerque, New Mexico
  • Santa Fe, New Mexico

cultural heritage

  • Historic Rocky Mountain gold mining towns
  • Mesa Verde Anasazi Indian cliff dwellings
  • Monument Valley & Navajo Indian tribal culture
  • Santa Fe (oldest regional / state capitol in the USA)

national & tribal parks

  • Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
  • Mesa Verde National Park
  • Monument Valley Tribal Park
  • Great Sand Dunes National Park

national forests & recreation areas

  • Carson National Forest, New Mexico