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BEGINS IN: COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO

National Parks of Southwest Colorado: History and Geology

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National Parks

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Road Scholar
Program #1260RJ
7 Days | 6 Nights
ACTIVITY LEVEL: Moderate
EasyFor people looking to exercise their minds more than their bodies. There’s minimal walking and not too many stairs.
ModerateThese programs get you on your feet and include activities such as walking up to a mile in a day through a city and standing in a museum for a few hours.
ActiveFor people who enjoy walking as much as two miles a day, perhaps to explore historic neighborhoods or a nature trail.
Moderately ChallengingFor hardy explorers who enjoy a good physical challenge, spending most of their days on the go.
ChallengingGet ready to keep up with our highest-energy group. These demanding — and rewarding — programs are for seasoned outdoor enthusiasts.
Elevation Note
6-12,000 ft. during walking tours and coach trips

Itinerary for Jul 12 — Jul 18, 2014

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Type: Full Service Hotel

Description: Find everything you need to be your best at Hilton Garden Inn Colorado Springs Airport. Appreciate the comfortable adjustable beds, refrigerators, microwaves and premium bathroom amenities in your room. Sit at your work desk in your ergonomic chair and utilize the complimentary WiFi. Whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure, you’ll have the extras you want without having to pay extra for them. We’ll take care of the details for you. Begin the day with a cup of coffee freshly brewed in your room. Enjoy a cooked-to-order breakfast before you leave for a day exploring the many attractions around Colorado Springs, Colorado. Work out in our modern fitness center, or relax in our indoor heated pool and whirlpool. Print a report or rent AV equipment for your meeting in our 24-hour business center. Visit the Pavilion Pantry® to pick up a beverage, a snack or items you left at home. In your room, unwind as you watch a favorite movie on your 32-inch HDTV or snuggle up with a good book. Sink into your adjustable bed and remember you can count on us to make tomorrow another successful day.

Contact info:
2035 Aerotech Drive
Colorado Springs, CO 80916 USA
phone: 719-622-0300
Room amenities: Hotel Beds offer the latest technology and conveniences to help you make the most of your stay. Rooms feature complimentary wired and wireless high-speed internet access, 2 dual line speaker phones with data port and voicemail, 32 inch HDTV with pay movies, video games and HBO, large work desk with ergonomic chair, refrigerator, microwave, coffee maker, hair dryer, iron and ironing board. All beds feature upscale linens with European style duvets.

Facility amenities: Complimentary Airport Shuttle to and from Colorado Springs Airport. 24 hr Pavilion Pantry Market Automated Teller (ATM) Baggage Storage Beverage Area, Complimentary Coin Laundry Elevators Gift Shop Laundry/Valet Service Lounge Luggage Hold Multi-Lingual Staff On-Site Convenience Store Room Service Safety Deposit Box Fitness Room Pool and Hottub

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes

Additional nights before: Call Hotel Directly for Rates
Reservations must be made with Hotel

Check in time: 4:00 PM


Day One: Saturday, July 12 - Check-in, welcome dinner and orientation
Arrive To: Individuals can check in to the hotel after 4:00 PM You can go to your rooms and relax or explore the local area. A Welcome orientation followed by Dinner will begin at 5:00 pm, please meet in the hotel lobby. At this meeting you will receive the daily schedule for the moving program and meet your guides and instructors.

Dinner: Dinner this evening is catered in our hotel.

Lodging: Hilton Garden Inn Colorado Springs Airport

Meals Included: Dinner
Type: Motel

Contact info:
21382 US Highway 160 W
Durango, CO 81303 USA
phone: 970-247-3251
Facility amenities: Swimming Pool, hot tub

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.


Day Two: Sunday, July 13 - Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve
Breakfast: Breakfast buffet in hotel with hot and cold items.

Morning: Depart Colorado Springs early in the morning and travel by motorcoach south toward Durango. We will stop and see the Great Sand Dunes National Monument and enjoy a picnic lunch while we’re there. The 38,000-acre Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve is 38 miles northeast of Alamosa. Too heavy to rise with the winds that carry it north-eastward across the flat, semiarid floor of the San Luis Valley, sand settles at the foot of the Sangre de Cristo Range. The deposits that have accumulated over the course of 15,000 years have resulted in a 39-square-mile dune, making it the largest in North America.

Lunch: Picnic at Great Sand Dunes National Park

Afternoon: We conclude our visit to the Great Sand Dunes and travel across the San Luis Valley to Durango via the dramatic 11,760 feet Wolf Creek Pass. The spectacular pass crosses the Continental Divide, separating the Rio Grande River Valley that ends easterly in the Gulf of Mexico and the San Juan River that joins the Colorado River on its journey west to the Pacific Ocean. We arrive in Durango for two nights.

Dinner: We dine this evening at a locally owned restaurant where there will be several menu choices.

Evening: Free for reflection and relaxation

Lodging: Best Western Inn and Suites

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Motel

Contact info:
21382 US Highway 160 W
Durango, CO 81303 USA
phone: 970-247-3251
Facility amenities: Swimming Pool, hot tub

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.


Day Three: Monday, July 14 - Mesa Verde National Park
Breakfast: Breakfast buffet in hotel with hot and cold items.

Morning: After breakfast this morning, we will drive to Mesa Verde. We will enjoy an expert guided tour of this fascinating World Heritage Park. The Park consists of more than 4,000 ruin sites, which include 600 cliff dwellings. A score of large canyons seam the mesa, and in the shelter of the hundreds of alcoves eroded in the cliffs are some of the world's largest and best preserved cliff dwellings. The earliest known inhabitants of Mesa Verde were the Modified Basket Makers, descendants of a people who lived in the Four Corners region. They built subterranean pithouses about 500-750 A.D. From 750 to 1100 A.D., the Native Americans perfected their living quarters, building kivas (ceremonial rooms) and masonry houses around open courts (pueblos). From 1100 to 1300, arts and crafts reached their peak; pottery and cloth were often elaborately decorated. Around 1200 they moved into the alcoves for reasons that remain unknown and built cliff dwellings. Sometime about 1276 a drought struck and lasted 24 years. The resulting crop failures and other environmental problems may have driven the people from Mesa Verde in search of a more reliable water supply.

Lunch: We will enjoy a scenic Picnic in Mesa Verde National Park.

Afternoon: Continue morning field trip. During our daylong visit, we will explore with Park Rangers some of the larger ruins. These tours will include walking into the actual ruins. Be prepared to walk up to an hour and a mile with the possibility of some short ladders being climbed to access the ruins.

Dinner: Tonight's Dinner is on your own to explore restaurants and the historic Victorian downtown district of Durango.

Evening: Motorcoach will drop off participants in downtown Durango for evening with a set pick-up scheduled later in the evening. Durango was founded in 1880 by the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad. The Downtown is a Nationally Registered Historic District with preserved and distinctive Victorian era architecture. Be sure to visit the beautiful 1887 built Strater Hotel with it's authentically preserved Diamond Belle Saloon.

Lodging: Best Western Inn and Suites

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch
Type: Motel

Contact info:
510 Main Street
Ouray, CO 81427 USA
phone: 970-925-4331
Smoking policy: Yes
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.


Day Four: Tuesday, July 15 - Durango Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad/Travel to...
Breakfast: Breakfast buffet in hotel with hot and cold items.

Morning: After an early breakfast in the hotel, we board one of the greatest railroads in Colorado, the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railway. We will travel through the beautiful San Juan National Forest and arrive in Silverton. The railroad arrived in Durango on August 5, 1881 and construction on the line to Silverton began in the fall of the same year. By July of 1882, the tracks to Silverton were completed, and the train began hauling both freight and passengers. The line was constructed to haul silver & gold ore from the San Juan Mountains, but passengers soon realized it was the view that was truly precious. This historic train has been in continuous operation for 130 years, carrying passengers behind vintage steam locomotives and rolling stock indigenous to the line. Relive the sights and sounds of yesteryear for a spectacular journey on board the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad.

Lunch: We will spend a couple of hours in the mining town of Silverton where you will enjoy lunch in the Grand Imperial Hotel and enjoy the main streets' shops and sights. Silverton's main business section was built in the late 1800s. Unlike many other mining towns, Silverton never experienced a major fire, and most of the buildings are still standing. The "other side" of town was centered on Blair Street. At one time this notorious street was home to forty saloons and brothels. Almost half of these buildings are still standing today.

Afternoon: Travel to Ouray by motorcoach via 11,018 feet Red Mountain Pass and the spectacular "Million Dollar Highway". The highway was built at considerable expense for the times in the late 1800's to transport ore from the mines to Ouray over a route too rugged and steep to build a railroad. The name comes from the "Million Dollar Views" along the route.

Dinner: Tonight we dine in downtown Ouray at a locally owned restaurant with some menu choices. Ouray was named after a famous Ute Indian Chief and is another well preserved Victorian mining town. The surrounding mountains are spectacular making this a popular Colorado tourist destination that we will be privileged to enjoy.

Evening: Free to explore Ouray and preparation for the next day's travel

Lodging: Ouray Chalet Inn

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Hotel

Contact info:
733 Horizon Drive
Grand Junction, CO 81506 USA
phone: 970-243-6709
Smoking policy: Yes
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes


Day Five: Wednesday, July 16 - Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park and Co...
Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park and Colorado National Monument

Breakfast: Breakfast in a locally owned restaurant with choice of menu items.

Morning: We travel after breakfast to one of the nation’s newest National Parks. Embracing 20,766 acres, Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park contains 12 miles of the deepest portion of the Gunnison River gorge. Some of earth's oldest base rocks have been cut by the river to a depth of 2,700 feet. The top of the canyon narrows to about 1,100 feet, but down by the river the canyon narrows in places to about 40 feet. Visitors marvel at this natural wonder, a truly amazing sight.

Lunch: We lunch at a local restaurant in the farm and ranch town of Delta.

Afternoon: The coach takes us the short distance to Grand Junction to spend the afternoon viewing the rarely visited but spectacular Colorado National Monument. The Monument was established in 1911 by President Taft and is one of the oldest in Colorado, and with its canyons and sandstone pinnacles, is a surprising geologic wonder and rounds out our diverse tour of National Parks in Colorado. We spend tonight in Grand Junction.

Dinner: We dine tonight in a locally owned restaurant with some menu choices. The name "Grand Junction" refers to the adjacent junction of two rivers, the Colorado and the Gunnison. Originally the Colorado River was named the "Grand" but with duplicate confusion of the Rio Grande, the name was changed to the "Colorado" River. By that time the city of Grand Junction was well established.

Evening: Free for reflection and relaxation

Lodging: Quality Inn Hotel and Suites

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Full Service Hotel

Description: Find everything you need to be your best at Hilton Garden Inn Colorado Springs Airport. Appreciate the comfortable adjustable beds, refrigerators, microwaves and premium bathroom amenities in your room. Sit at your work desk in your ergonomic chair and utilize the complimentary WiFi. Whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure, you’ll have the extras you want without having to pay extra for them. We’ll take care of the details for you. Begin the day with a cup of coffee freshly brewed in your room. Enjoy a cooked-to-order breakfast before you leave for a day exploring the many attractions around Colorado Springs, Colorado. Work out in our modern fitness center, or relax in our indoor heated pool and whirlpool. Print a report or rent AV equipment for your meeting in our 24-hour business center. Visit the Pavilion Pantry® to pick up a beverage, a snack or items you left at home. In your room, unwind as you watch a favorite movie on your 32-inch HDTV or snuggle up with a good book. Sink into your adjustable bed and remember you can count on us to make tomorrow another successful day.

Contact info:
2035 Aerotech Drive
Colorado Springs, CO 80916 USA
phone: 719-622-0300
Room amenities: Hotel Beds offer the latest technology and conveniences to help you make the most of your stay. Rooms feature complimentary wired and wireless high-speed internet access, 2 dual line speaker phones with data port and voicemail, 32 inch HDTV with pay movies, video games and HBO, large work desk with ergonomic chair, refrigerator, microwave, coffee maker, hair dryer, iron and ironing board. All beds feature upscale linens with European style duvets.

Facility amenities: Complimentary Airport Shuttle to and from Colorado Springs Airport. 24 hr Pavilion Pantry Market Automated Teller (ATM) Baggage Storage Beverage Area, Complimentary Coin Laundry Elevators Gift Shop Laundry/Valet Service Lounge Luggage Hold Multi-Lingual Staff On-Site Convenience Store Room Service Safety Deposit Box Fitness Room Pool and Hottub

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes

Additional nights before: Call Hotel Directly for Rates
Reservations must be made with Hotel

Check in time: 4:00 PM


Day Six: Thursday, July 17 - Glenwood Canyon and the Central Colorado Rockies ...
Glenwood Canyon and the Central Colorado Rockies via the Eisenhower Tunnel

Breakfast: Breakfast buffet in hotel with hot and cold items.

Morning: We start our scenic journey back to Colorado Springs traveling in the mountains again for an ascent of the Colorado River to Glenwood Springs and via Glenwood Canyon, a scenic byway with a uniquely engineered section of Interstate 70. we pass ski resorts and over Vail Pass and cross back Continental Divide when we go though the Eisenhower Tunnel. With a maximum elevation of 11,158 ft above sea level, it is one of the highest vehicular tunnels in the world. The tunnel is the longest mountain tunnel and highest point on the Interstate Highway system. Completed in 1979, it was one of the last major pieces of the Interstate Highway system to be completed.

Lunch: Lunch today at a locally owned restaurant in Georgetown, an old silver mining town with historic Victorian buildings.

Afternoon: We complete our travels back to Colorado Springs descending from the mountains, and skirting around Denver on our return.

Dinner: We dine together celebrating our travels at a locally owned restaurant with some menu options.

Evening: Free for packing and relaxation

Lodging: Hilton Garden Inn Colorado Springs Airport

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day Seven: Friday, July 18 - Departures after breakfast
Depart From: Independent departures after breakfast

Breakfast: Breakfast buffet in hotel with hot and cold items.

Meals Included: Breakfast

Important information about your itinerary:
Please know that while we do everything we can to finalize all aspects of our programs well in advance, there are logistics that occasionally must be altered. Our website will reflect the most recent information, and we are committed to providing you with final program details no later than eight weeks prior to the start of programs outside the U.S. and three weeks prior to the start of programs within the U.S. If you ever have questions about your program, please don't hesitate to contact us and we will be happy to assist you.
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Our Value Promise To You

You won't find a better value.

Included
at no additional cost on this date ...
6 nights of accommodations
16 meals: 6 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 5 dinners
11 Expert-led lectures
11 Field trips

Ratings

4.7
Ratings are determined by participant evaluations.

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