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Southwestern Colorado and Eastern Utah Road Trip

Denver, Colorado
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Southwestern Colorado and Eastern Utah Road Trip

Hi -

My fiancé, our black lab pup and I are planning a road trip from Denver for July 4th week - we know we're probably a bit late on planning, but had a schedule change that opened up this possibility for us, so we're trying to make the most of it. We currently live in Denver and have been here for about 5 months, so we're looking to do some exploring in areas we likely won't be taking short weekend trips for. We’ll be taking off on Tuesday and returning on Sunday. We’re fine with camping but will probably want to stay in a hotel/motel 1-2 nights at some point as well. I originally posted this in the Road Trips forum but was advised to post in here instead.

We’re trying to determine what all to prioritize for our drive as there are so many places to see. We’ve decided to focus on Southwest Colorado and possibly a bit of time in Eastern Utah (around Moab) since it isn't terribly out of the way - happy to revise if folks think the Utah addition is a bad idea. Below is my idea for now - let me know what you guys think and if there is anything I should be or shouldn't be considering! Also, is this squeezing too many stops in? Will the pup be an issue in Arches/Canyonland? We will want to do some short hikes but aren't looking to do anything too intense that he wouldn't be able to handle. He will be about 16 weeks old and is very well behaved at this point - no issues with being in the car for long drives and is potty trained/leash trained.

Tuesday morning - drive to Moab and stay thru Wednesday night - see Arches National Park and Canyonland National Park

Thursday am - drive to Telluride/Ouray and stay the evening

Friday am - drive to Lake San Cristobal and stay the evening

Saturday- drive to Crested Butte and stay the evening

Sunday - drive home to Denver

I google mapped the route and its 18 hours driving and 975 miles round trip. I haven't been to any of these destinations, so I'm not sure if some deserve more time than others and if there is anywhere else in the general region that I should consider (or swap out for) as well.

Again, appreciate any advice!!

-Jake

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Denver
Denver
Colorado
Colorado
Colorado
United States
Utah
Utah
United States
Moab
Moab
Utah
Arches National Park
Arches National Park
7,812 Reviews
Moab, UT
Ouray
Ouray
Colorado
12 replies to this topic
Eagle, Colorado
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1. Re: Southwestern Colorado and Eastern Utah Road Trip

Dog will be a major issue in the national parks. You cant take him on hiking trails for the most part and it will be too hot to leave him in the car. You would have to leave him in your hotel room.

https:/…pets.htm

Colorado
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2. Re: Southwestern Colorado and Eastern Utah Road Trip

Glad you changed your plans to spend more time in Colorado :)

I followed your post on the Road Trips forum so I know that people there informed you about the restrictions for pets in the national parks.

I'm not that familiar with SW CO but there are some very helpful forum members who will give you the best advice for that part of the state.

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Colorado
Colorado
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Eagle, Colorado
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3. Re: Southwestern Colorado and Eastern Utah Road Trip

Your itinerary will be pretty fly by and lots of driving. If you are just trying to get a quick taste that's fine. If the dod is coming with you and you want to hike, I would focus on the Colorado portion. Lots of national forest hikes and cooler weather will give you a lot more options for pet friendly activities and more time to explore the mountains.

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Colorado
Colorado
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Santa Fe, New Mexico
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for Santa Fe, Mesa Verde National Park, Boulder, New Mexico
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4. Re: Southwestern Colorado and Eastern Utah Road Trip

Do not take your puppy to Moab/Canyonlands in the summer, it is WAY too hot and you can't take him on any trails as mentioned before. I'd spend as much time as you can in the high country, based somewhere that you can hike in the national forests that do allow dogs (Wilderness areas do not usually allow dogs). PLUS 4th of July is busy and you won't want to stay somewhere that there are fireworks displays, these are very traumatic for dogs!!

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Moab
Moab
Utah
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5. Re: Southwestern Colorado and Eastern Utah Road Trip

I almost always travel with dogs and I would never consider Arches or Canyonlands in July with them. Dogs are not allowed on the trails and it will be too hot to leave your pup in a car. Have you considered what you will do with the dog when its 100 degrees outside and you want to go into a restaurant to eat?

With wildfires already burning, I would avoid those areas of southwest Colorado. And with July being the heat of summer, I personally would stick to the high country and avoid the desert and canyon country. I usually travel these areas in early March.

National Parks in general are not dog friendly, though some people manage to make it work. If you want to do any sort of hiking the dog likely won't be allowed on the trails. I've found that many National Monuments and State Parks allow dogs on trails and suggest you look into visiting some of those with your pup. Dogs are also allowed in the National Forest and Wilderness areas so look into those as well.

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Colorado
Colorado
United States
Gunnison National Forest
Gunnison National Forest
104 Reviews
Gunnison, CO
Colorado
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6. Re: Southwestern Colorado and Eastern Utah Road Trip

I'm thinking the same thing about visiting SW Colorado. Even though your trip is weeks away, I read that there is also a fire east of Lake San Cristobal.

618keith's idea of visiting the Snowy Range in WY is a good one - post #10 in this thread https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g1-i12…

Or how about Steamboat Springs? Very dog friendly.

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Colorado
Colorado
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Denver, Colorado
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7. Re: Southwestern Colorado and Eastern Utah Road Trip

Thanks, everyone! I'm hearing you loud and clear that the national parks are out of play with the pup. I'll take that off the itinerary.

Steamboat is amazing and we've actually recently been, so we're hoping to go somewhere new :)

I'm thinking it might be best to plan for Telluride, Crested Butte and Lake San Cristobal (fires permitting) and have a more relaxed (less driving) vacation than trying to squeeze as much as possible in.

Is there a resource online where I can read about areas affected by the fires? Clearly, we'd like to avoid those areas as much as possible!

Thanks,

Jake

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Telluride
Telluride
Colorado
Durango, Colorado
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8. Re: Southwestern Colorado and Eastern Utah Road Trip

INCIWEB is the federal site for wildfire updates. You can also go to national forest websites in the areas you are considering for updates. So you would go to the San Juan, Gunnison/Uncompagrhe, and probably Rio Grand National forest websites for updates.

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Gunnison
Gunnison
Colorado
Gunnison National Forest
Gunnison National Forest
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Gunnison, CO
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9. Re: Southwestern Colorado and Eastern Utah Road Trip

https://m.facebook.com/COWildfireInfo/

https:/…current-wildfires

Fruita, Colorado
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for Fruita, Grand Junction
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10. Re: Southwestern Colorado and Eastern Utah Road Trip

If this is your pups first fireworks season I'd be very careful about where you take him. Every year there are lots of fireworks where I live (not supposed to happen but folks go to WY and buy the big ones to set off at home). It drives our dog into a frenzy. This year we have a prescription from the vet to calm her down. But we haven't used it yet and won't know how effective it will be. It's really heartbreaking to see how she suffers.

This weekend the northwest part of the state along with eastern UT is under a fire warning due to high temps, low humidity and high winds. I don't think conditions will improve prior to the 4th for lots of areas in the SW either.

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