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Old 11-04-2018, 01:17 PM   #1
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Branson MO to Denver: what to stop and see to break up the drive?

What is a few good places to stop and visit between these two places. We are working on planning our next long trip, probably in the spring of 2019.
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Old 11-04-2018, 01:44 PM   #2
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Is Denver your final destination or are you going somewhere else? That would help with the route out there. Also, what are your interests? Will you be with children?
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Old 11-04-2018, 07:15 PM   #3
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This is a interim destination. We will likely be on the road for 6-8 weeks with at least 1 week prior and the balance after. We will be headed to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, SD, and eventually back to Florida. No children but us!
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Old 11-04-2018, 07:34 PM   #4
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Take US-50.
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Old 11-04-2018, 10:31 PM   #5
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How about Hutchinson KS, with the Cosmosphere space museum, and the Stratica Salt mine museum.
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Old 11-05-2018, 07:32 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bchtravlr View Post
This is a interim destination.

We will likely be on the road for 6-8 weeks with at least

1 week prior and the balance after.

We will be headed to Jackson Hole, Wyoming,

SD, and eventually back to Florida.

No children but us!
For the trip out I would also suggest RT 50 - and as we all travel at a different pace, stops across the long drive of Nebraska, will be on you, for us usually a night or two at Wal*Mart before catching a small local CG - Reservoir or State Park.

Being that the Rockies are your destination I'd suggest a little more Southern entrance into Colorado - with possible a couple weeks or more there, we have found it to be a great state to spend time in. With more to see than you could ever imagine.

Short list of Possible spots to visit;

Great Sand Dunes NP
Salida/Buena Vista/Collegiates/Independence and Cottonwood Passes - Day trips in the Toad/Leadville/Camp Hale
Or to Gunnison/Crested Butte/Black Canyon of the Gunnison NP/RT 133 Marble/Red Stone/Maroon Bells
Or RT 160 across to South Fork/Creede - Pagosa Springs/Durango/Silverton/Ouray/Telluride/Mesa Verde NP

As you can see there are an Abundance of things to do Just in the South Western part of the state, so you will need to get some time, as IMHO there is Soooooooo..... much to see and do in the state of Colorado you could easily spend 5 years or more just there.

If your Toad happens to be 4X4 then you will find soooo..... much more to do...

We will normally get to the Western side of the state before Heading up to Yellowstone.

So Possibly;

Colorado National Monument
Dino National Monument
Flaming Gorge
Alpine
Jackson
Tetons
Yellowstone
Beartooth
Cody
.......................

Then on to the Black Hills and Custer........

Don't know if this helps or confuses you but There is a LOT to SEE in the Rockies.

Best of Luck,
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Old 11-05-2018, 09:15 AM   #7
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As always, Busskipper gave some good ideas. I would add that unless you have a purpose to go into Denver - then avoid it for the traffic. Coming into Colorado a little south like on Hwy 50 would be excellent - or north of Denver.
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Old 11-06-2018, 03:57 PM   #8
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How far do you like to drive each day? Do you prefer Interstates or back roads? Since you are from Florida, how comfortable are you traveling over 11, 000-foot passes in Colorado? Do you always want full hook-up campsites or do you like to boondock/dry camp?

What specific sights or areas of interest appeal to you? Do you prefer just mountain scenery or river rafting, trout fishing, historic fur-trading posts, cavalry forts of the "Wild West", Route 66, Anasazi cliff dwellings, narrow-gauge train rides, etc.? All of these could be found along some route between Branson and Jackson Hole.

Answers to questions like these are very helpful in recommending potential routes and not-to-miss sights. For US 50 and other routes in the Colorado Rockies, see my blog HERE.
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Old 11-07-2018, 10:32 AM   #9
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All these are great ideas, once we get through Kansas, and we plan to incorporate many of them. The real focus of this post is identifying what is available between Branson and Denver (Where friends live).

We have driven as much as 9+ hours in a day, but prefer to keep trips to 6-7 at a maximum so we can enjoy interim stops and not just destinations. We are good with 3-4 hours, especially if there is an attraction worth visiting in the afternoon

Hutchinson looks a great idea. We also looked at Dodge City, but it appeared to to have very limited interest.

The Flying W Ranch in Clements KS, looks interesting, and you can participate in Cattle Drives if timing is right.
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Old 11-08-2018, 03:53 PM   #10
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All these are great ideas, once we get through Kansas, and we plan to incorporate many of them. The real focus of this post is identifying what is available between Branson and Denver (Where friends live).

We have driven as much as 9+ hours in a day, but prefer to keep trips to 6-7 at a maximum so we can enjoy interim stops and not just destinations. We are good with 3-4 hours, especially if there is an attraction worth visiting in the afternoon

Hutchinson looks a great idea. We also looked at Dodge City, but it appeared to to have very limited interest.

The Flying W Ranch in Clements KS, looks interesting, and you can participate in Cattle Drives if timing is right.
Not to be a PITA but there is a reason this is called the Fly over States. Driven it many a time and flow over it many a time - While the people are great and the locals might have somethings to do, - for me, I'll always put in the Long days to get to the Mountains - that's where the Fun Begins.

So best suggestion is to just get across it and get to Denver, if that's the Mission then work on a plan for the Vacation/Adventure. Honest, it is hard to find a place that will match even a bad day in the Rockies.

Sorry - JMHO,
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Old 11-09-2018, 12:47 PM   #11
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If you are thinking about going to Clement and Hutchinson, then I would highly recommend driving U.S. 50 to Pueblo, CO. It follows the Arkansas River and Santa Fe Trail to La Junta, where you can visit Bent's Fort National Historic Site, a wonderfully reconstructed 1840s adobe fur trading post. Also along the Trail is pre-Civil War Ft. Larned National Historic Site, built to protect wagon trains, railroad builders, and homesteaders along the Trail. And, if you are interested in WWII history, there is Amache, a Japanese civilian internment camp just outside Granada, CO. The unique feature of this landmarked site and museum is that its preservation and restoration is the work of the high school history teacher and his students in this tiny town. And I agree with your assessment of Dodge City, where Boot Hill is the only real history and the rest are tourist traps.

Some great places to camp along 50 are the State Fairgrounds and Sand Hills State Park in Hutchinson and the Lake Hasty campground at John Martin Reservoir State Park west of Lamar, CO. All three have electric hookups so you can run your AC if needed. Just don't arrive in Hutchinson during the weeks around the Kansas State Fair!

PM me if you would like other ideas or for answers to questions on my blog.

PS--Spring in Colorado starts in mid-May!
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Old 11-13-2018, 01:32 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Busskipper View Post
For the trip out I would also suggest RT 50 - and as we all travel at a different pace, stops across the long drive of Nebraska, will be on you, for us usually a night or two at Wal*Mart before catching a small local CG - Reservoir or State Park.

Being that the Rockies are your destination I'd suggest a little more Southern entrance into Colorado - with possible a couple weeks or more there, we have found it to be a great state to spend time in. With more to see than you could ever imagine.

Short list of Possible spots to visit;

Great Sand Dunes NP
Salida/Buena Vista/Collegiates/Independence and Cottonwood Passes - Day trips in the Toad/Leadville/Camp Hale
Or to Gunnison/Crested Butte/Black Canyon of the Gunnison NP/RT 133 Marble/Red Stone/Maroon Bells
Or RT 160 across to South Fork/Creede - Pagosa Springs/Durango/Silverton/Ouray/Telluride/Mesa Verde NP

As you can see there are an Abundance of things to do Just in the South Western part of the state, so you will need to get some time, as IMHO there is Soooooooo..... much to see and do in the state of Colorado you could easily spend 5 years or more just there.

If your Toad happens to be 4X4 then you will find soooo..... much more to do...

We will normally get to the Western side of the state before Heading up to Yellowstone.

So Possibly;

Colorado National Monument
Dino National Monument
Flaming Gorge
Alpine
Jackson
Tetons
Yellowstone
Beartooth
Cody
.......................

Then on to the Black Hills and Custer........

Don't know if this helps or confuses you but There is a LOT to SEE in the Rockies.

Best of Luck,
We have made this same or similar trip several times. You have covered it well. The OP named Hutchinson as a stop and the only other alternatives across KS are fairly small attractions. Some old west stuff and most small towns have museums. We make the trip to Western KS from Branson several times a year and on to CO a couple.
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