Weekend trip out of Denver
May 20, 2016 8:41 AM   Subscribe

I'll be in Denver in mid-July and thinking of taking a weekend trip out of the city. Looking for a relaxing place to stay. Snowflake details inside.

My dream is to find some sort of lodge or cabin "resort" where I can go on short day-hikes, swim somewhere, read a lot, eat good food, and maybe soak in a hot tub (or hot springs??). Even more ideal would be if I could do so car-free (though I'll rent a car if necessary). The most ideal would be if it were near Breckenridge, since I'll be there right afterwards.
posted by lunasol to Travel & Transportation around Colorado (21 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
There are lots of things that could fit the bill here; what are you looking to spend? And how rustic and cabin-ey do you want? There are lots of deals to be had in the ski resort areas (winter park, keystone, breckenridge, copper) but for the most part they'll be in resort villages rather than out in the sticks.
posted by craven_morhead at 8:44 AM on May 20, 2016

Response by poster: craven_morhead: good questions. I'd like to spend no more than $200/night on lodging. Would prefer more in the sticks or in a cute town than in a resort village.
posted by lunasol at 9:00 AM on May 20, 2016

Best answer: How far out? When I was in Denver for a conference I took a side trip to Manitou Springs and I stayed here and loved the place. I had a rental so not totally sure how it would be to get there without one, but there were a lot of nice places just to walk around and it was a neat old cute town.
posted by jessamyn at 9:13 AM on May 20, 2016 [1 favorite]

Estes Park/Rocky Mountain National Park.
posted by kevinbelt at 10:00 AM on May 20, 2016 [1 favorite]

Just FYI, that's primo wildflower time in the high country, so the greater the elevation, the more awesome it will be.
posted by notsnot at 10:02 AM on May 20, 2016

Best answer: I've had very good luck finding cabins or ski condos on VBRO or Air BnB in mountain towns for reasonable rates. That's not very resort-y, but would tick the box of being affordable and likely to get you a swimming pool (if you target ski condos) and/or a hot tub. That's pretty much my ideal summer weekend getaway from the Denver area, but works better if you're particularly interested in the hiking/biking/soaking in the outdoors activities, and less well if you want a true resort.

Breckenridge itself has a decent amount of this type of cabin/ski condo lodging that is stand-alone and not part of the ski resort itself, and if you rent a bike when you're there, you could definitely get around without a car (although I don't know how you'd get to Breck without a car). Lots of great biking there, actually; the paved bike trail network is great and the weather will be outstanding in July. There's also very good food and lots of cultural stuff to do.

Right down the road is Frisco, CO, which is another great place to look for cabins or ski condos on VRBO. It's a very cute mountain town, significantly quieter and less chi-chi than Breck (so less great food), also very easy to get around by bike. If you are looking for lodging here make sure it's in Frisco proper, and not nearby Dillon or Silverthorne, both of which are nowhere near as cute/walkable.

More resort-y places that are further afield include Devils Thumb Ranch (about 1.5 hours from Denver, 2 hours from Breck). That would absolutely get you the rustic resort with an awesome geothermal-heated pool and hot tub, spa, and trails. It's above your price range but they have "the Bunkhouse" which is cheaper for less-posh rooms and still gives you access to all the amenities at DTR itself.

Another resort-y place that ticks your pool/hot-tub needs would be Mount Princeton Resort. It's a (very beautiful!) 2 hour drive from Denver, but puts you only an hour away from Breckenridge. Lots of of opportunity to soak, swim, and hike there.
posted by iminurmefi at 10:04 AM on May 20, 2016 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Oh, just thought of one more--Avalanche Ranch in Carbondale (near Aspen). The price point is probably right for you, and it's definitely rustic cabins in a gorgeous setting with newly-remodeled pool and hot tubs / soaking tubs that are fed by geothermal springs. The hiking around there is great and very uncrowded. The major downside here is it's a bit further afield--about 3 hours from Denver on I-70, and then 2 hours back the other way on I-70 to get back to Breckenridge. Also there's not too much in the way of restaurants (it's very secluded) so you'd want to be bringing food to prepare in the cabin versus planning on going out to eat.
posted by iminurmefi at 10:12 AM on May 20, 2016 [1 favorite]

Taos is walkable.
posted by brujita at 10:32 AM on May 20, 2016

Taos is nowhere near Denver.
posted by mmascolino at 10:43 AM on May 20, 2016 [1 favorite]

@iminurmefi has good suggestions with Frisco & Breck Proper. You're gonna be going through lots of beautiful stuff as you head down 70 to Breck, I think just hanging out in any of the little towns right off 70 could hit what you're looking for.

Idaho Springs, Georgetown, and Loveland should all have good places to stay, and have good scenery and hiking nearby.

I think staying in Frisco, or anywhere around the Dillon Reservoir might be the simplest and best. There's beautiful hiking and plenty of places to stay, and you're super close to Breck (although you're not actually in it).
posted by DGStieber at 11:01 AM on May 20, 2016

(although I don't know how you'd get to Breck without a car)

Getting to Breckenridge without a car is doable, though the schedule is sadly limited. Bustang to Frisco, then Summit Stage to Breck. Or bike from Frisco to Breck; there are a ton of bike rental options in the area.
posted by asperity at 1:25 PM on May 20, 2016

Silver Plume is an old mining town about halfway between Denver and Breck. It is very adorable with a major local vibe. There is a newish Apothecary bitters bar there that I've heard good things about (it used to be this great bakery; sad that's gone). This would be a good place for a mountain vibe without feeling touristy.
posted by LKWorking at 1:26 PM on May 20, 2016

Best answer: Steamboat Springs is pretty remote (3 hrs from Denver, 2hrs from Breck) and would require a rental car. But the drive is gorgeous, and once you get there? The gondola gives you great access to higher-elevation hikes and wildflowers without having to drive much or climb thousands of feet, the town has a quirky money-meets-cowboys charm, and there's a wonderful hot springs pool complex that's reasonably priced. (There's also the well-known and more rustic Strawberry Park hot springs outside of town, if you'd rather go that route.)
posted by richyoung at 2:16 PM on May 20, 2016 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Glenwood Springs is another option I haven't seen yet. It's a pretty little town, very walkable, with a gigantic hot springs and associated amenities.

I've stayed there with no car, no problem. Now that I think about it, I don't think I've ever been there with a car.

And there's a train that goes from Denver right into Glenwood Springs, IIRC right in front of the big Hot Springs Lodge. It's about 150 miles from Denver, but for some reason, the train takes something like 5 hours. Which would be a horrible, pointless commute, but if the idea of riding a train for five hours watching some (amazing) scenery pass by, it might be worth considering.

BTW, I always feel like I should point out to visitors that many hot springs locations are clothing optional, and they don't always make it super clear at the outset, so if that would bother you, you might want to check ahead of time.
posted by ernielundquist at 3:27 PM on May 20, 2016

Response by poster: Thank you for all the suggestions! I will go through all of these this weekend, but it looks like I won't lack for options.
posted by lunasol at 7:48 PM on May 20, 2016

I just returned from a trip to Denver. I had a rental car and went up to Estes Park for 2 nights, staying at the Silver Moon Inn (pool, hot tubs, creek-side, very short walk to downtown Estes, and less than $200/night). There's a shuttle to Estes from the airport and a FREE shuttle service in and around Estes, but I didn't use either, so I can't vouch for them. I loved Estes Park and enjoyed walking to as many coffee shops as I could - and they have a lot (Inkwell & Brew was my favorite). Estes Park isn't close to Breckenridge but if you take the Peak to Peak Byway, it would be a lovely 3 hour drive.
posted by kbar1 at 9:22 PM on May 20, 2016

I don't know how touristy you like your towns, but if the answer isn't MAXIMUM TOURIST, I'd skip Estes Park. There are definitely better, cuter, much more fun options above.
posted by dame at 7:14 AM on May 21, 2016

Response by poster: One quick follow-up question: Manitou Springs is appealing because there's so much to see nearby, but it looks like it's outside of Colorado Springs - does it feel suburb-y?
posted by lunasol at 10:59 AM on May 25, 2016

To me it felt more like a Western Town theme park but it definitely felt Not Like Denver.
posted by jessamyn at 11:18 AM on May 25, 2016 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Manitou Springs is way less suburb-y than the vast majority of Colorado Springs, which is essentially one big suburb. It is a little quaint city that is semi-attached to Colorado Springs. It's not a suburb, really, but it's not very "out in nature" or a getaway. If you're looking for things to do in terms of hiking/biking there are a lot of nice trails in that area, but it is very developed.

If you're looking for something walkable and with a lot of hot springs/nature type things, that feels more "out in nature," and that is near Breckenridge, I would suggest Glenwood Springs, as mentioned above. It has the best hot springs in the area, IMO. Good luck, have fun!
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 2:32 PM on June 18, 2016

Response by poster: Thanks again, everyone! After a ridiculous amount of dithering and back-and-forthing, I decided to just stay in Breck, at this place, which looks really lovely.
posted by lunasol at 11:25 AM on June 25, 2016

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