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 travellers 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 'Stay with Story' and Colorado's top rated historic hotel, located one block from the city's hub for dining, arts, shopping and, of course, people watching.
Visit the Celestial Seasonings headquartered in Boulder and unlock the mysteries of tea with a private guided tour. Celestial Seasonings serves more than 1.6 billion cups of tea a year, blending over 100 ingredients, sourced from over 35 countries. Your next stop is Colorado's oldest tourist attraction, the Georgetown Loop Railroad, which was completed in the late 19th century. Continue on to Glenwood Springs, a resort city in Colorado known for its hot springs, sitting in the rugged Rocky Mountains, surrounded by the vast White River National Forest. This evening, your 'Stay with Story' is the historic and iconic Colorado Hotel, fresh from a complete renovation, bringing the hotel to its former glory and the Grande Dame of Glenwood Springs. This evening enjoy a Regional Dinner with wine or a flight of locally crafted beers.
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 and an easy hike along one of Aspen's many trails. Then an exciting and exclusive experience awaits you as you will be taken by jeep up to the historic Burlingame Cabin located on Snowmass Mountain. There you can take an extended jeep tour, or just sit back, 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, 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.
Enjoy a leisurely start today before heading to Colorado National Monument, which preserves 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. Continue to Palisade, a veritable oasis smack dab in the middle of the desert and renowned for its fruit, wineries, honey and much more. You'll 'Connect With Locals' for an exclusive 'Be My Guest' lunch a Colterris Winery, featuring peaches, lavender and the flavours of lovingly blended estate-grown reds. This evening, stay in the heart of wine country at a Victorian-style hotel located just steps from downtown.
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 have a choice of three local restaurants for dinner and wine, before 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 day trip into the park. Later, indulge in a free afternoon, with the option of joining a raft excursion on the Animas River.
Today's highlight is the Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve, a sandbox of epic proportions-39 square miles with the tallest dune towering 750 feet high, making it the largest sand dune in North America. Start at the excellent Visitor Center with a short film and various exhibits. Then meet your Local Specialist and expert geologist and learn about this unique geographical phenomenon as you explore the dunes. There will be time for lunch inside the park before heading for Colorado Springs, our next destination for a two-night stay.
Experience yet another natural wonder of Colorado as you visit the spectacular Garden of the Gods, a registered National Natural Landmark, boasting dramatic vistas and towering, jagged red-rock formations. Enjoy lunch in the magical town of Manitou Springs before heading to Olympic City USA, a 1.7-acre of land dedicated to Team USA. See the brand-new US Olympic Museum and Hall of Fame and meet an athlete for an exclusive, behind-the-scenes look into the daily lives and training regimen of Team USA. The rest of the day is free before a Farewell Dinner paired with wine.
Our journey ends today as we say a fond farewell to new friends and depart Colorado Springs or transfer to Denver International Airport.
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