Enjoy scenic beauty and charming towns on this Old West vacation. In Colorado, you’ll see spectacular scenery as you travel to Rocky Mountain National Park and Vail, one of the most popular ski resorts and summer destinations. Take a scenic ride through the San Juan National Forest on the Durango-Silverton train, a legendary steam train that hugs deep canyon walls and offers breathtaking beauty. Walk along the Royal Gorge Bridge, the highest suspension bridge in the world, and marvel at the rugged rock walls that plunge more than 1,000 feet down to the Arkansas River. In Colorado Springs, take the cog railway up to the summit of 14,110-foot Pikes Peak for amazing views. Admire the cliff dwellings in Mesa Verde National Park and see how the Ancestral Pueblo people lived for over 700 years.In Moab, Utah, stay high on the banks of the Colorado River and enjoy a wine tasting and authentic outdoor Western barbecue. Visit nearby Arches National Park with its 2,000 natural sandstone arches and unusual rock formations. In New Mexico, learn about the history of 1,100-year-old Taos on your walking tour, and spend time in charming Santa Fe. On selected departures (September 28 and October 5), you will also attend the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is the largest ballooning event in the world and one of New Mexico’s most dazzling spectacles.As you travel to each destination throughout this tour, you’ll have an opportunity to witness beautiful landscapes along the way. Sit back and let Globus handle all the details and driving, while you just take in the scenery, have fun, take photos, and experience these amazing destinations. A marvelous vacation indeed!
Day #1 Arrive in Denver. Welcome to colorful Colorado! At 6 pm, meet your traveling companions for a welcome drink. Your Tour Director will prepare you for your upcoming adventure.SPECIAL FEATURE: Overnight at the historic Brown Palace Hotel. For more than a century the Brown has stood as an anchor in bustling downtown Denver. It has played host to presidents, prime ministers, movie stars, and rock ’n’ roll icons such as the Beatles and U2.
Day #2 Denver–Rocky Mountain National Park–Vail. Enjoy a sightseeing tour of Denver this morning, then it’s on to the beautiful Colorado mountains. Travel to Estes Park, gateway to ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK. A break at almost 12,000 feet provides fantastic alpine scenery. Continue along scenic Trail Ridge Road, crossing the Continental Divide and passing Grand Lake, Colorado’s largest natural lake. Journey to Vail, one of America’s most popular mountain resorts. (B)NOTE:Rocky Mountain National Park is subject to favorable road and weather conditions.
Day #3 Vail–Colorado National Monument–Moab. Travel through the massive 1,800-foot walls of Glenwood Canyon to the “western slope” of Colorado. Then, visit COLORADO NATIONAL MONUMENT, with sightseeing along panoramic Rim Rock Drive. Admire the majestic beauty of Independence Monument and Balanced Rock. Afterward, continue to Moab, Utah, arriving at Red Cliffs Lodge. Enjoy [LF] WINE TASTING at your resort’s winery, then experience an authentic outdoor Western barbecue. (B,D)SPECIAL FEATURE: Your hotel in Moab is the Red Cliffs Lodge. Offering guests a ranch-like experience amid luxurious Western charm, Red Cliffs Lodge sits high on the banks of the Colorado River surrounded by cliffs and situated where Western favorites such as Wagon Master and Rio Grande were filmed.
Day #4 Moab. This morning, visit ARCHES NATIONAL PARK, a wonderland of magnificent sandstone formations. The extraordinary features of the park create a landscape of contrasting colors, landforms, and textures that is unlike any other in the world. We then travel to nearby CANYONLANDS NATIONAL PARK and DEAD HORSE POINT STATE PARK, where you will enjoy a picnic lunch and mesmerizing views. The remainder of the day is at leisure. Relax, swim, play tennis, visit the winery, or explore the museum with its memorabilia from movies filmed at your resort’s spectacular location. (B,L)
Day #5 Moab–Mesa Verde National Park–Durango. Head back to Colorado and travel to MESA VERDE NATIONAL PARK, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Stop at Spruce Tree House, one of the best-preserved cliff dwellings. Also visit the museum that depicts the story of the people who once thrived on this 8,000-foot plateau, and stop at a great vantage point for pictures of Cliff Palace (one of the largest of the 700-year-old Anasazi dwellings). Arrive in Durango, a town born in the Gold Rush and silver-mining era. (B,D)
Day #6 Durango. Rail Journey to Silverton. Board the narrow-gauge DURANGO-SILVERTON RAILROAD this morning for a scenic ride through San Juan National Forest. The legendary steam train hugs steep canyon walls, winding its way through Rio de las Animas Canyon with vistas of snowcapped peaks. Free time in Silverton, once a major mining town and which owes its name to the bragging statement by a miner: “We have no gold, but silver by the ton!” Return to Durango. (B)
Day #7 Durango–Taos–Albuquerque. Head to New Mexico, stopping at the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge, one of the highest in the U.S. before arriving in the adobe town of Taos, seated on the high desert mesa at the foot of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. On today’s WALKING TOUR, learn about its 1,100 years of history and explore the historic town plaza, offering eclectic galleries, and wonderful shops. Continue to Albuquerque for two nights to experience the world famous Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta! (B)
Day #8 Albuquerque. This morning, experience the unforgettable MASS ASCENSION—where hundreds of hot air balloons take off and turn the sky into a virtual rainbow of colors, all of which are led by a balloon flying the American flag to the music of The Star Spangled Banner. What began as a gathering of 13 balloons 38 years ago has since turned into the largest ballooning event in the world, drawing entries from more than 28 different countries. This evening, catch the popular BALLOON GLOW, where all balloons fire up their burners and light up at the same time, and the AFTER-GLOW FIREWORKS SHOW. (B)
Day #9 Albuquerque–Santa Fe. Depart Albuquerque and continue to the charming city of Santa Fe, the oldest seat of government in the United States. (B)
Day #10 Santa Fe. Experience Santa Fe up close as you embark on a guided WALKING TOUR of the many historic buildings that reveals the town’s Spanish, Indian, and American heritage. Main sights include the San Miguel Mission, the Palace of the Governors, the Cathedral of St. Francis of Assisi, and Loretto Chapel’s “Miracle Stairway.” The remainder of your day is at leisure. (B,D)
Day #11 Santa Fe–Royal Gorge–Colorado Springs. Leave Santa Fe and drive north to Colorado Springs, Colorado, stopping at the ROYAL GORGE BRIDGE en route. Walk across the world’s highest suspension bridge and marvel at the rugged rock walls that plunge more than 1,000 feet down to the Arkansas River. Continue to Colorado Springs, home to the U.S. Olympic Training Center. (B)
Day #12 Colorado Springs–Denver. Visit Manitou Springs and take the PIKES PEAK COG RAILWAY up to the summit of 14,110-foot Pikes Peak, the place that inspired Katharine Lee Bates to write America the Beautiful. We then explore GARDEN OF THE GODS, featuring 300-foot towering sandstone rock formations against a backdrop of snowcapped Pikes Peak and brilliant blue skies. This afternoon, head north to Denver, where your Tour Director hosts a special farewell dinner. Wonderful conversation and cuisine make the perfect finale for your vacation. (B,D)
Day #13 Denver. Bid farewell to your new friends as you transfer to Denver International Airport for your flight home. (B)