History Comes Alive in Colorado’s Great West

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Get ready to take the kiddos' learning to new heights with Colo-Road Trips Educational Itineraries, trips crafted with plenty of hands-on learning, educational adventures and, of course, stops for ice cream. Each was designed with kids from kindergarten to 5th grade in mind, but the activities, outings and accommodations will be enjoyed by children of all ages — yes, that’s you, Mom and Dad. Supplement your trip with trivia, educational videos and games — or just hop in the car and go!

The Great West region showcases Colorado’s rich and varied history in a spectacular and unspoiled Western setting. You’ll enjoy truly off-the-beaten-path adventures and an opportunity to understand how our history shapes life in Colorado’s Great West now and into the future.   

 
Grab Your Supplies
Pencils Up!

While all that is truly needed is your kid's sense of adventure, a notebook, a writing utensil and plenty of colored pencils will come in handy.

Day
1
Activity
Headwaters River Journey

Ever wonder what happens to all the snow when it melts? The importance of Colorado’s rivers takes center stage at this state-of-the-art interactive museum in Winter Park. Kids and adults alike will leave with a greater awareness of the role rivers play in our everyday life through engaging displays, videos and games.

Educational Activity
Splash!

Explore how water affects you, your community and the world around you while examining the interactive exhibits at Headwaters River Journey. Get activity.

Itinerary Tip
Take a Hike

After your visit to the Headwaters River Journey, take an afternoon stroll on the Fraser River Trail. Educational signs dot the paved 10-mile path, and there are plenty of benches to rest those little legs.

Lunch
Mid-Town Cafe in Granby

Instead of reaching for the tablet while you wait on your meal, how about a little storytime? Mid-Town provides a small community bookshelf to keep your fam entertained. And if you enjoy your pick, you can even take the book home for a discounted rate.

Activity
Rocky Mountain National Park

With elevations ranging from 8,000 feet in its wet, grassy valleys to a staggering 14,259 feet at the weather-ravaged top of Longs Peak, Rocky Mountain National Park shows off its grandeur naturally.

Dinner
Squeaky B’s - Grand Lake

Everyone will love Squeaky B’s menu and vibe! Play mini-golf on their free course, compete at cornhole or simply relax and listen to live music on their pet-friendly patio.

Activity
Grand Lake Boardwalk

Take a stroll on Grand Lake's historic boardwalk and browse more than 60 local shops, restaurants and galleries. Enjoy an ice cream after dinner at one of the many sweet shops in town.

Lodging
Grand Lake Lodge

Enjoy prime views at this 100-year-old lodge that overlooks Grand Lake from its perch across from Rocky Mountain National Park. Spread out in their large, private cabins, hike the grounds, cool off in the outdoor pool or count the stars on their viewing deck, complete with a fire pit.

Educational Activity
Hearty Tundra

Expand your vocabulary during your trip to Rocky Mountain National Park after scouting the alpine tundra ecosystem. Get activity.

Extra Credit
Family History

Explore the history of the Holzwarth family who homesteaded land in Rocky Mountain National Park more than 100 years ago. Get extra credit activity.

Day
2
Breakfast
Blue Water Bakery Cafe - Grand Lake

Kids will love the Moose Track Waffle with chocolate chips, almonds and whipped cream, and grownups can indulge in a variety of benedicts, scrambles and more. Make sure to grab a to-go coffee and pastry for the drive to Walden.

Activity
State Forest State Park

Experience the ultimate in rugged Colorado wilderness at State Forest State Park, with 71,000 acres of forest, countless jagged peaks and pristine alpine lakes. Stop by the visitor center to learn a thing or two about local wildlife and early timber camps. If you’re lucky, you just might spot a hooved, four-legged visitor!

Lunch
River Rock Cafe in the Antler’s Inn - Walden

Who in the family is in for a food challenge? River Rock Cafe is known locally for their delicious foods — but it’s their 3-pound spicy Volcano Burger that’s put them on the map. Rather pass? Sandwiches and vegetarian options are also available, and their varied menu is sure to please even the pickiest of diners.

Activity
Tread of Pioneers Museum

Steamboat Springs’ storied history includes Native Americans, agriculture, skiing, mining and pioneers. Find it all at Tread of Pioneers Museum. Interactive and hands-on exhibits make this a great learning place.

Dinner
Mambo - Steamboat Springs

Everything about Mambo’s is fresh, from the cool mountain air on the patio to the local ingredients used in their gourmet pizzas and pasta. The kids menu even comes with an ice cream “chippie” for dessert.

Activity
Old Town Hot Springs, Steamboat Springs

Truly a family and community favorite, the eight pools at the Old Town Hot Springs are fed by an all-natural hot spring. There’s also a kiddie pool, splash area, an eight-lane, 25-yard lap pool, as well as plenty of water slides for the kids to enjoy.

Lodging
Holiday Inn Steamboat Springs

The Holiday Inn Steamboat Springs is located near downtown and right on the Core Trail for easy exploring. Rex’s restaurant, adjacent to the hotel, offers another great family-friendly breakfast or dinner option for weary travelers.

Itinerary Tip
Insider's Tip

After a filling breakfast, head north on Hwy. 125 to State Forest State Park in Walden.

Educational Activity
Moose on the Loose

Write a poem about the amazing moose using the interesting facts you learned after a visit to State Forest State Park. Get activity.

Itinerary Tip
Insider's Tip

Pop into North Park Pioneer Museum after lunch to learn more about Walden’s history. Then, take CO 14 until you hit Hwy. 40. Continue west until you reach Steamboat Springs. Pack snacks and have games ready. You’re in for some wide-open Colorado traveling!

Educational Activity
Noteworthy Exhibit

Do you have a future journalist in your group? Hone their communication skills at the Tread of Pioneers Museum. Get activity.

Extra Credit
Write it Up

Put that knowledge to work by writing a newspaper article. Get activity.

Day
3
Breakfast
Johnny B. Good’s Diner - Steamboat Springs

Fun fact: This '50s-inspired diner has its very own day. May 28 was proclaimed by the Colorado governor as Johnny B Good’s Diner Day for the restaurant’s innovative spirit, creative problem solving and safety protocols during the COVID-19 pandemic. Stop by for generous kid-size portions and plenty of memorabilia to look at while enjoying a fresh-cooked meal.

Activity
Fish Creek Falls

Clear and fresh alpine waters roar down Fish Creek Canyon, spilling over the magnificent 280-foot Fish Creek Falls, one of Steamboat Springs’ most popular destinations. Kids — and adults — will enjoy the short hike to the falls. More seasoned hikers can continue from the base on to a second waterfall, which is about 2.5 miles away.

Lunch
Big House Burgers - Steamboat Springs

The kids will surely clean their plates — even of fresh vegetables — with the promise of a Dirty Worms and Bears ice-cream sundae for dessert. You'll find plenty of delicious food and drink options for adults, too.

Activity
Yampa River Botanic Park

The Yampa River Botanic Park is a 6-acre sanctuary of 40 gardens, ponds and sculptures located along the 7.5-mile paved Yampa River Core Trail, a multi-use recreation path that runs through the heart of Steamboat Springs along the Yampa River.

Dinner
Vallarta's - Craig

Can you say "quesadilla"? This family-friendly Mexican restaurant offers some of the best food in town. Be sure you let the staff know if you’re honoring a special occasion — they’ll make you feel especially celebrated.

Activity
Museum of Northwest Colorado

Besides regional displays, the Museum of Northwest Colorado is home to the world famous “Cowboy and Gunfighter Collection.” Located in an old Colorado State Armory, more than 10,000 square feet of Western exhibits await you.

Lodging
Craig Hotel

This newer hotel is exceptionally clean and offers a great pool for cooling off. The friendly and well-versed staff will go out of their way to make everyone feel welcome, especially the kids.

Educational Activity
Awaken Your Senses

Explore the Yampa River Botanic Park using your senses. Get activity.

Itinerary Tip
Insider's Tip

Head west from Steamboat Springs to Craig. Stop by the Wild Goose Granary in Hayden for pastries.

Trivia
How Much Do You Remember?

As you wrap up your trip, review your day with five trivia questions. Get trivia.

Educational Activity
Something to Write Home About

How do destinations get a visitor’s attention? Advertising! Design a flyer highlighting the wonders at Museum of Northwest Colorado. Get activity.

Day
4
Prodigal Son’s Coffee House & Eatery - Craig

Specialty coffees, homemade scones, cinnamon rolls and more will get you on the road quickly and happily. Be forewarned, the kids will definitely want a cookie or cupcake to eat later.

Activity
Dinosaur National Monument

At Dinosaur National Monument, explore craggy hills and discover fragments of a world where the largest land creatures of all time once roamed.

Lunch
Bedrock Depot Dinosaur

A local’s favorite in the town of Dinosaur, the Bedrock Depot offers hot and cold sandwiches, espresso drinks and plenty of homemade ice cream. Be sure to snap a pic of the kids with Tony the T-Rex, who’s out front holding a latte and ice-cream cone.

Activity
Canyon Pintado Historic District

Petroglyphs and pictographs decorate the sheer sandstone walls of the Canyon Pintado Historic District. What do the symbols mean? Find out at eight marked sites along Highway 139. There are even more sites on Highway 64 and Dragon Road. Refer to the <a href="https://growthzonesitesprod.azureedge.net/wp-content/uploads/sites/1913… Pintado self-guided tour</a> to locate public viewing spots with short walks.

Dinner
Giovanni’s Italian Grill - Rangely

There are plenty of options at Giovanni’s! Kids can choose from an extensive menu that includes a happy-face pan pizza. Grownups will also appreciate the restaurant’s authentic pasta, stromboli, calzones and signature pizzas.

Activity
Rangely Museum

Explore these three historical buildings which house exhibits about dinosaurs, Fremont cultures and individuals who helped shape the landscape.

Lodging
Blue Mountain Inn and Suites Rangely

Book an executive suite at the Blue Mountain Inn and Suites for ultimate comfort. This room features a comfy king bed and pull-out queen sleeper sofa for the kiddos. The inn also offers an indoor pool, outdoor hot tub and an on-site laundry facility in case the kids have been having way too much fun getting dirty.

Insider's Tip
Insider's Tip

Head west, my friend, on US 40 for a 45-minute drive to Dinosaur National Monument.

Educational Activity
Make a Picture

With so many natural features and so much history to observe at dinosaur National Monument, try your hand at capturing a scene the old-fashioned way — by hand. Get activity.

Itinerary Tip
Insider's Tip

To the south of the national monument is the Dinosaur Diamond scenic and historic byway. This route is dotted with Fremont Indian rock art and dinosaur dig sites and leads you to Canyon Pintado, south of Rangely.

Educational Activity
Rock Art

Create your own message using symbols during a visit to Canyon Pintado National Historic District. Get activity.

Trivia
How Much Do You Remember?

The focus of today’s activities was in the past. Let’s replay the day with a few questions. Get trivia.

Day
5
Breakfast
Dottie’s - Rangely

Dottie’s proudly serves down-home cooking from the community’s best chefs. Choose a stack of pancakes for the kids, and be sure to try one of their famous biscuit sandwiches.

Activity
Rangely Automobile Museum

The Rangely Automobile Museum has an array of classic autos and motorcycles from the 1900s.

Lunch
Main Street Cafe - Rangely

Time to fuel up for the rest of your adventure! This cafe serves up delicious fare for parents and children alike. Bring your appetites — Main Street is sure to please.

Activity
White River Museum

Housed in an 1880s army-officer headquarters, White River Museum tells the story of early pioneers and their lives in northwest Colorado.

Dinner
Clark’s Big Burger - Meeker

Grab a few burgers, fries and shakes from the drive-thru and head to the Town Park on the beautiful White River. This park features a playground, walking path, horseshoe pit and river access for the kids to get out all of their energy.

Activity
Rifle Falls State Park

The star of Rifle Falls State Park is undoubtedly the waterfalls, a triple cascade surrounded by moss-cloaked rocks and a canopy of leafy trees. Coyote Trail offers nice sights of the falls and unique access to the limestone caves. Be sure to come with a flashlight!

Lodging
Hampton Inn and Suites Rifle

Easy access to the highway, oversized rooms and an indoor pool make this hotel a family favorite in Rifle.

Educational Activity
Find that Car

Search for answers to a scavenger hunt as you explore the Rangely Automobile Museum. Get activity.

Itinerary Tip
Insider's Tip

After lunch, head east on Hwy. 64 for an hour or so to Meeker.

Educational Activity
Artifact Alert

Explore the past at the White River Museum by finding artifacts from different time periods. Get activity.

Trivia
How Much Do You Remember?

As you head out to dinner, review your visit to the White River Museum with five trivia questions. Get trivia.

Itinerary Tip
Insider's Tip

In summer, if you have extra time, travel the 82-mile Flat Tops Trail scenic byway, which winds through river valleys and over two of Colorado’s least-traveled mountain passes.

Itinerary Tip
Insider's Tip

In the morning, grab a doughnut, fritter or cronut from Sweet Coloradough in Rifle. You’ll have a hard time choosing from the many creative flavors.