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Forts, Trains & the Arkansas River

Forts, Trains & the Arkansas River
5 days
See some of Colorado's most beautiful sites — from Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve to Browns Canyon National Monument and the Royal Gorge Bridge — on this five-day trip that will make your family want to extend their trip to enjoy the outdoors even more.

Sustainability Activity

Support Restoration:

Visit the San Luis Valley Brewing Company and order a San Luis Valley’s Cumbres & Toltec #168 IPA — all proceeds go to the restoration of the #168, which will be returned to its natural habitat on the tracks of the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad.

Day 1
Activity

El Pueblo History Museum

Website

El Pueblo History Museum showcases the region's many cultural and ethnic groups through innovative exhibits including the Borderlands of Southern Colorado and the award-winning Children of... Read More

Insider's Tip

Take a Bike Ride:

After you've visited the museum, hop aboard a bike and head along the Arkansas River. You'll pass 100-year-old cottonwoods and see Pueblo's Riverwalk.

Lunch

Coyote Grille

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Nestled amongst the trees and next to the beautiful Arkansas River. A unique and awesome venue with great food and great service! Read More

Insider's Tip

Hit the Road: Get on the road for an hour and a half and head south to Fort Garland.
Activity

Fort Garland Museum & Cultural Center

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Fort Garland was built in 1858 during US expansion into the West. Visitors can explore life in an 1800s Army fort including five original adobe buildings. Learn about the Buffalo Soldiers of the... Read More

Insider's Tip

Drive to Dinner: Point your car west on US-160 for a little less than 30 minutes to Alamosa for dinner.
Dinner

Calvillo's Mexican Restaurant

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Authentic Mexican cuisine, menu or all-day buffet, banquet room and full bar.

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Activity

San Luis Valley Brewing

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Offers the finest in craft brews and fine food in an inviting atmosphere. Read More
Lodging

Holiday Inn Express-Alamosa

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An average of 300 sunny days per year makes our Alamosa, CO hotel a top choice for vacationers. Just off Highway 160, this Holiday Inn Express¨ hotel provides a central location to a number of... Read More
Day 2
Breakfast

Milagros Coffee House

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Drink Coffee....Love Others!  Milagros Coffeehouse not only serves a full line of delicious espresso and coffee drinks, teas, and baked goods, we also support the efforts of La Puente Home in... Read More

Activity

Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad

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USA Today readers voted Cumbres & Toltec the Best Scenic Train Ride in America. Climb aboard this National Historic Landmark for a 64-mile day trip you'll never forget. Our coal-fired steam... Read More

Lunch

Dine at Osier Station

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All full-day rides on the Cumbres & Toltec include a delicious hot lunch at scenic Osier Station. Selections include roast turkey with all the trimmings, hot meatloaf and a salad bar.

Insider's Tip

Continue Your Ride: Since the Cumbres & Toltec is a full-day ride, you'll keep chugging along after lunch.
Dinner

Great Sand Dunes Oasis

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The Oasis Restaurant and Store, located at the main park entrance, is the only restaurant within 25 miles of the national park. The Oasis is open April through October. Read More
Activity

Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve

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Because the dunes and surrounding mountains are designated wilderness, this is a great place to enjoy unspoiled natural beauty in a variety of ways. Whether you play in Medano Creek, build a sand... Read More
Lodging

Great Sand Dunes Lodge

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Come and enjoy the peace and serenity of the Great Sand Dunes National Park at the Great Sand Dunes Lodge. Relax at the foot of the majestic Sangre De Cristo mountain range during your stay at our... Read More
Day 3

Insider's Tip

Get an Early Start: To start your day off right, grab breakfast at the hotel before heading out for the day.
Activity

Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve

Website

Because the dunes and surrounding mountains are designated wilderness, this is a great place to enjoy unspoiled natural beauty in a variety of ways. Whether you play in Medano Creek, build a sand... Read More

Insider's Tip

Drive to Lunch: Head out of the park to Villa Grove — it's about an hour from the dunes.
Lunch

Villa Grove Trade

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Restaurant, convenience and grocery store. Live music and specials every second and fourth Sunday of the month. Read More
Activity

Monarch Crest Scenic Tramway

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At the top of Monarch Pass, the scenic tram ride provides excellent views of the Continental Divide from above. Open May through the fall.

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Insider's Tip

End Your Day in Salida: Thirty minutes east of the tramway lies Salida, where you'll be ending the day.
Dinner

Boathouse Cantina

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We serve fresh organic and local produce and there is no doubt that you can taste the difference! Sit next to the river and sip on one of our house engineered specialty cocktails or try a local wine. Read More
Activity

Salida Creative District

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Arkansas-Riverside Salida was named one of Outside Magazine's Top 10 Best Small Towns in 2009, and since then it's become even better! Its friendly downtown is truly a creative district, packed... Read More

Lodging

Gateway Inn & Suites - Salida

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Accommodations in Salida offering convenient location to skiing and rafting. Read More
Day 4
Breakfast

Little Red Hen Bakery

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European-inspired breads that we bake daily in our conventional indoor ovens, as well as biscott, granola, Scottish shortbread, scones, muffins, cinnamon rolls and more.

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Activity

Bill Dvorak Rafting, Kayak & Fishing Expeditions

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Colorado's 1st licensed outfitter. Est. 1969. Whitewater from class II to V offered daily (1/2- to 8 day) trips on 8 different rivers. Custom fly-fishing trips; float or wade walk fully guided ,... Read More

Lunch

Sweetie's Sandwich Shop

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Hot and cold sandwiches, salads, seasonal soups, sweets, soft serve and more. Read More
Activity

Browns Canyon National Monument

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For centuries, the granite cliffs, colorful rock outcroppings and stunning mountain vistas of Browns Canyon National Monument have attracted visitors from around the world. The area's unusual... Read More

Insider's Tip

Drive to Cañon City: You'll be ending this trip in Cañon City, so get on the road — will take an hour and a half — and get there in time for dinner.
Dinner

8 Mile Bar and Grill

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Gorgeous mountain views, Colorado crafted beers, patio seating and great food add a fantastic finish to your rafting adventure. Read More
Activity

Take an Evening Stroll

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Take a self-guided tour of downtown Cañon City as the sun sets.
Lodging

Parkview Inn Motel

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We offer beautiful and clean rooms at reasonable rates, family and efficiency rooms, non-smoking rooms, guest Laundry facilities, free wireless internet, free Continental breakfast. Read More
Day 5
Breakfast

Waffle Wagon

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Blueberry waffles, biscuits and gravy, breakfast burritos with green chili, great coffee and much more! Read More
Activity

Colorado Jeep Tours

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At Colorado Jeep Tours we pride ourselves on providing high quality, scenic, and informative jeep tours. Our tours offer a variety of information, including history of the region, geology,... Read More

Lunch

Bridge View BBQ

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Bridge View BBQ, where a whole smorgasbord of southern cooking is at your fingertips. Stop in for a cut of their brisket, delicious sammies, cheesy potatoes, black beans and more. Read More
Activity

Royal Gorge Bridge & Park

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Royal Gorge Bridge & Park is open daily. Marvel at awe-inspiring panoramic views from one of the world's highest suspension bridges and enjoy more excitement than ever.  Experience the Royal... Read More

Dinner

Le Petit Chablis

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Housed in a restored Victorian home, this elegant restaurant blends a romantic atmosphere with authentic French cuisine.

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Activity

The Winery at Holy Cross Abbey

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The Winery at Holy Cross Abbey has been making its own wines since 2002 and has won over 100 awards and medals in prestigious international wine competitions in the last 3 years alone. The... Read More

Lodging

Jewel of the Canyons Bed and Breakfast Guesthouse

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Far more pleasant and charming than any hotel or motel, you can enjoy present day comforts in an authentic 1890 Victorian style Bed and Breakfast Inn while visiting scenic Canon City, Colorado,... Read More