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.
Day 2 - Denver - Georgetown Loop Railroad - Breckenridge - Glenwood Springs. Enjoy a sightseeing tour of Denver this morning, then it's on to the beautiful Colorado mountains. Board the historic GEORGETOWN LOOP RAILROAD. Sit back and relax as you enjoy the beauty of the rugged Rocky Mountains and views of Clear Creek Canyon. There's time this afternoon to explore the resort town of Breckenridge before arriving in Glenwood Springs for the evening. Why not unpack your swimsuit and head down to the hot springs? These are the world's largest and have been welcoming visitors for over 125 years. (B)SPECIAL FEATURE: Overnight at the historic [LF] Hotel Colorado. Opened in 1893, the hotel was known as the "Grande Dame" and through the years hosted many celebrities such as Doc Holliday and Molly Brown as well as dignitaries including President Theodore Roosevelt. Legend has it, the world's most irresistible toy, the teddy bear, received its birth at the Hotel Colorado.
Day 3 - Glenwood Springs - Ouray - Silverton - Rail Journey to Durango. Head south today through some of Colorado's most spectacular scenery. "See quaint Ouray, known as the Switzerland of America," before continuing on to Silverton, once a major mining town that owes its name to the bragging statement by an early miner: "We have no gold, but silver by the ton!" Board the narrow-gauge DURANGO & SILVERTON RAILROAD for a scenic ride through San Juan National Forest. The legendary steam train hugs steep canyon walls as it winds its way through Rio de las Animas Canyon with vistas of snowcapped peaks. Arrive in Durango, a town born in the Gold Rush and silver-mining era. (B,D)
Day 4 - Durango. Excursion to Mesa Verde National Park. This morning, visit [FP] MESA VERDE NATIONAL PARK, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. See 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). Return to Durango, where the remainder of the day is yours to explore. You may wish to browse the many shops on Main Street, join in an optional chuckwagon supper (seasonal), or perhaps enjoy a cold pint at one of the city's brew pubs. (B)
Day 5 - Durango - Taos - Taos Pueblo - Santa Fe. 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 on the high-desert mesa at the foot of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Visit [LF] TAOS PUEBLO, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where a tour will give you insight into the history, traditions, and daily life of these native people. Continue to the charming city of Santa Fe, the oldest seat of government in the United States. (B,D)
Day 6 - Santa Fe. Excursion to Chimayo. Experience Santa Fe up close as you embark on a guided TROLLEY TOUR of the many historic buildings, revealing the town's Spanish, Indian, and American heritage. Main sights include the San Miguel Mission, Palace of the Governors, Cathedral of St. Francis of Assisi, and Loretto Chapel's "Miracle Stairway." We then visit nearby Chimayo, which was founded in the 17th century by Spanish settlers. Enjoy lunch at the Rancho de Chimayo, located in a century-old adobe home, serving some of the best New Mexican cuisine. Visit the [LF] SANTUARIO DE CHIMAYO and learn about the miraculous healing powers that still attract thousands of pilgrims each year. Return to Santa Fe, where the remainder of your day is at leisure. (B,L)
Day 7 - 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 8 - Colorado Springs - Denver. 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. During lunch, enjoy a performance by a local cowboy [LF] STORYTELLER, who will weave stories of the Old West and share his local traditions and culture. 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,L,D)
Day 9 - Denver. Bid farewell to your new friends as you transfer to Denver International Airport for your flight home. (B)