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Colorado and New Mexico Discovery


Road trip your way through the mountains of Colorado to the high deserts of New Mexico on this 12-day adventure through the American West. From hiking around Rocky Mountain National Park to exploring Native American cliff dwellings and taking in show-stopping mountain views, this tour includes plenty of highlights and some lesser-known surprises along the way. Drive the iconic Million Dollar Highway, one of the most scenic drives in the USA, and tour the UNESCO World Heritage site of Taos Pueblo with an indigenous guide. Cap it all off with a foodie adventure around Santa Fe on a walking tour that visits some of the best restaurants in town.

12 days, from

$5,714

per person

GROUP SIZE

12 people max

ACTIVITY LEVEL

 
2
Trip code: SSKRC
Style: Comfort
Theme: Explorer
Print itinerary

Details

Countries Visited:  United States Of America
Accommodation: Hotel (11 nights)
Transportation: Private vehicle
Included Meals:

  • 11 breakfasts
  • 3 lunches
  • 1 dinners

Group size: Minimum 1, Max 12

  • Have your camera ready for some seriously scenic drives, including Colorado's spectacular Million Dollar Highway and a drive through Rocky Mountain National Park.

  • Explore the charming streets of historic Santa Fe as you discover the city’s history and eat your way around town on a New Mexico food tour with an expert local guide.

  • At UNESCO-listed Taos Pueblo, join a local guide to explore the village and learn about the customs and traditions of this Native American community that has been continuously inhabited for over 1000 years.

  • Discover jaw-dropping sights when you join a local ranger to explore Cliff Palace at Mesa Verde National Park, and climb high above the canyon floor of Bandelier National Monument to find ancient cliff dwellings.

  • In Chimayo, visit a world-renowned tapestry gallery for an intimate, expert demonstration of traditional weaving technique and artistry.

Itinerary

Show Full Itinerary

Day 1: Estes Park

Welcome to Colorado! Your adventure begins in Denver, where a meeting will take place at 9am this morning for you to link up with your local leader and fellow travellers. Colorado’s capital has a flourishing food and music scene, but the best way to get to know the city is by admiring its art. After your meeting, head to the River North (RiNo) Arts District, a hub for colour and creativity. Here your leader will introduce you to a vibrant collection of works, from graffiti and murals to fascinating 3D installations, and explain how local artists have brought this beloved neighbourhood back to life. In the early afternoon, leave the rush of the city behind and drive to scenic Estes Park, at the gates of Rocky Mountain National Park. Settle into your hotel and enjoy some time to get to know the area. This evening, you may like to take a spine-tingling tour of the vast Stanley Hotel, famed for being the inspiration for Stephen King’s 1977 horror novel and a hotbed of paranormal activity.

Day 2: Rocky Mountain National Park

Rise and shine! It’s time to head into Rocky Mountain National Park, undoubtedly the state’s most scenic spot. Have your camera at the ready for a drive through the park, as spectacular scenes stream past the window. After the drive, hit one of the best-loved trails in the park for a hike to Bear Lake. This 1-kilometre loop will reward you with some truly unforgettable views, including Bear Lake itself, framed by glorious mountains. After a delicious picnic lunch, the rest of the day is free for your own discoveries – your leader will be on hand to offer suggestions, whether you feel like getting active or taking it easy.

Day 3: Garden of the Gods / Colorado Springs

After breakfast, make tracks from Estes Park to Colorado Springs, stopping along the way at the Red Rocks Park and Amphitheater. This world-famous concert venue is carved into a gigantic rock structure and has played host to many notable musicians since it opened in 1941. Here you’ll have some time to check out the Colorado Music Hall of Fame and grab some lunch. Carry on to Colorado Springs, where you’ll settle into your accommodation before heading out to the Garden of the Gods. Spend the afternoon discovering this remarkable landscape where dramatic sandstone rock formations are silhouetted against a backdrop of snow-capped peaks.

Day 4: Black Canyon of the Gunnison / Montrose

Settle back and relax on the drive from Colorado Springs to Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park where you’ll discover some of the most dramatic canyon spires in North America. Carved out of the rocks by the Gunnison River, this lesser known canyon has steep sides and big views. Stop for lunch en route (own expense) before you embark on the famous South Rim Drive which packs a dozen scenic outlooks into less than 7 miles. Your leader will use their insider knowledge to make sure you stop at all the best ones. From here, it's a quick drive to Montrose and your hotel for the night.

Day 5: Million Dollar Highway / Durango

Today you’ll explore one of the most scenic roads in Colorado, the famous Million Dollar Highway between Ouray and Silverton. After breakfast, drive to Ouray and go on a guided hike selected by your leader, followed by an enlightening tour of the Ouray Alchemist Museum. Step back in time to the Wild West and learn all about frontier medicine from the museum's curator. After your visit, drive south towards Silverton on the Million Dollar Highway stopping at all the best overlooks. After dinner at a local farm to table restaurant on a ranch outside of Durango, check into your hotel and enjoy a relaxing evening.

Day 6: Mesa Verde National Park / Durango

After breakfast, drive to Mesa Verde National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and spend the day taking in a landscape filled with expansive views, vast mesas and canyons. Your leader will decide which walks to do based on the group’s interests and fitness levels. You’ll also join a ranger-led tour for a visit to Cliff House, the largest Native American cliff dwelling in North America. After you’ve explored the trails and enjoyed a tasty picnic lunch, drive back to Durango where you’ll have the rest of the day to explore your way.

Day 7: Ghost Ranch / Sante Fe

Today you will travel to Santa Fe in New Mexico, making a stop along the way at the 21,000-acre Ghost Ranch. Here you’ll have the chance to stretch your legs with a self-guided walk through the inspiring landscape. Georgia O’Keeffe’s summer home and studio were located in Ghost Ranch, so you may recognise some of the scenes from her paintings. Famed not only for its contributions to the artistic world, the ranch is home to thousands of well-preserved fossils, including skeletons of a small Triassic dinosaur. You'll arrive in Santa Fe late this afternoon and have time to freshen up before joining a group meeting at 6 pm where you'll meet any new travellers joining the tour. The evening is free for your own discoveries – perhaps stroll along gallery-lined Canyon Road or sample some of Santa Fe’s delicious (and often chili-infused) local cuisine.

Day 8: Santa Fe

Today is all about the flavors of New Mexico. First, join your leader on an exploration of the Santa Fe Farmers Market, with tastings of course! You'll want to try the local Hatch chiles, grown and harvested in the Hatch Valley of southern New Mexico. Then join a specialist guide for a food tour taking in some of the city’s best restaurants where you’ll learn about the thriving local food scene and sample tasty New Mexican inspired foods paired with alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. After the tour, you’ll have time to explore Santa Fe your way. If visual art is your passion, check out fellow B-Corp business Meow Wolf, which creates fantastical, immersive experiences.

Day 9: Santa Fe

This morning you’ll visit the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum for a tour with an expert guide. One of the country’s most significant artists of the 20th century, O’Keefe was captivated by the stark landscape and Native American cultures of the region and used her art to capture its untamed beauty. On this intimate guided tour, you’ll see many of her most famous paintings as well as personal items such as clothing and painting equipment. After the museum tour, you’ll have the rest of the day to further explore Santa Fe. Maybe check out the Loretto Chapel, Museum of Contemporary Native Art, Museum of Indian Arts & Culture or San Miguel Mission. This evening, you may like to head out to dinner with your group (own expense).

Day 10: Taos Pueblo

Visit the only living Native American community with joint designation as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and a National Historic Landmark for a special guided tour on your way to Taos. The multi-storey adobe buildings at Taos Pueblo have been continuously inhabited for more than 1000 years. Today, the tribal members welcome visitors to their village to learn more about their home and way of life. After your visit to Taos Pueblo, continue north to the historic town of Taos, where you’ll spend the next 2 nights.

Day 11: Chimayo / Taos

Your morning is free to explore Taos at your own pace. Cruise riverside in the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument through wine and apple country. Make a pit stop at the quirky Classical Gas Museum before visiting the historic town of Chimayo to learn traditional rug weaving and make your own pilgrimage for holy dirt at the El Sanctuario de Chimayo. Re-group after lunch and head to Chimayo for a rug-weaving demonstration and a visit to a tapestry gallery that specialises in handwoven wool products using natural dyes and traditional weaving styles. The gallery is owned by award-winning weavers whose work has been shown in museums around the world, including the Smithsonian.

Day 12: Bandelier National Monument / Santa Fe

Today you will travel back to Santa Fe, making a stop along the way at the Bandelier National Monument. Discover some of the most unusual ancient ruins in the Southwest, including petroglyphs, pictographs and cave dwellings tucked away in the cliffside. If you’re feeling brave, climb the ladders to these alcoves, high above the canyon floor. You can expect to arrive back in Santa Fe around 5 pm, at which point your New Mexico Discovery comes to an end.

12 days, from $5,714

to book call 1-844-205-6226


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