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  1. #1
    i like whiskey
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    Taos/Angel Fire or south of Colo Springs for summer vacation?

    We are trying to figure out where to go for summer vacation. Last year it was the beach. This year we are going to the mountains somewhere.

    Criteria:
    1. Not scorching hot. Daytime highs in the low-80's at maximum.
    2. Stuff for the kids to do. Sightseeing. Horseback riding. Cave of the Winds. Worlds second largest ball of twine. Stuff like that.
    3. Cabin with a couple of bedrooms
    4. Mtb trails or good road riding for me
    5. Prarie dog hunting within an hour or two = major plus
    6. Near-ish to a medium size city.
    7. Good restaurants

    We've got it narrowed down to the Taos/Angel Fire area or somewhere south of Colorado Springs.

    So anyone have any first hand experiece with either or both? Rec's are appreciated.
    Last edited by innergel; 02-17-2011 at 09:13 AM.

  2. #2
    hold my beer n watch this
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    Durango, CO

    Mesa Verde, 2 great brew pubs, hiking, mtb trails from downtown, gold mines not too far, Jeep trails, etc.

    We spent two weeks in CO last summer. Great time!!!!

  3. #3
    "El Bwana"
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    South of Colorado Springs could mean a lot of different things. Pueblo? Run away fast. Cucahara? Nice out of the way place. Salida? Ok that's west of the Springs, but there's a ton of stuff to do. Road and mtn biking is awesome, hike a 14er, sit in the hot springs. Downtown Salida is what Aspen was in the 60s, Telluride in the 70s, and Durango In the 80s - funky with good restaurants and hippie chicks. You're about 2 hours from the Springs so you can knock out the tourist traps pretty quick.

    Last time I was in Taos was with my wife on an anniversary. I don't remember it being very kid friendly.
    "Pardon me, but could you help out a fellow American who's down on his luck?"

  4. #4
    Seat's not level
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    +1 on Durango. It's fun area.

    I have an old friend that lives in Salida. Stopped by a few times. It's a nice little town, but not a lot of touristy things.

    In/Around the springs.

    Pikes peak, the kids would probably like the cog railway to the top. I'm not sure how expensive it is. Cave of the winds is a nice tour. PDex, what's the name of the bug place between CO springs and Canon City? It's been there since I was a kid, but we have never stopped in.

    Also a tour of the olympic training center. That's good for a few hours.

    Manitou Springs is good to bum the main street for tourist shopping and eats.

    I'm not sure if you can do anything at the air force adacemy or not anymore.

    Colorado Cyclist is out of the springs, but I'm not sure if they have storefront or not.

    Canon City isn't too far away. They have train ride up the canyon which we did a few years ago with our then 4 year old.
    Bad decisions make great stories - JP

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  5. #5
    just ride your bike
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    I visited Winter Park a few years ago and had a blast.

    Basically limitless MTB trails and fire roads to explore by bike (or rental Jeep...)
    Climb to Mt Flora, a pretty accessible 13er
    Horseback riding
    Shops and whatnot in town
    Hot springs an hour away
    Denver and Red Rocks an hour or so away

    It's a bit out there and maybe thin on the touristy stuff, but might be worth looking into.

  6. #6
    Seat's not level
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    Quote Originally Posted by desurfer
    I visited Winter Park a few years ago and had a blast.

    Basically limitless MTB trails and fire roads to explore by bike (or rental Jeep...)
    Climb to Mt Flora, a pretty accessible 13er
    Horseback riding
    Shops and whatnot in town
    Hot springs an hour away
    Denver and Red Rocks an hour or so away

    It's a bit out there and maybe thin on the touristy stuff, but might be worth looking into.
    It's funny we spend a lot of weekends up there in the winter, but not so much in the summer.

    Check the concert schedule up there. They have quite a few eventst that can either make it great or a real PITA for dragging the kids around. It all depends on the weekend. They also have an Alpine Slide for the kiddos at the ski area.

    It's also a short drive away from Grand Lake that has more toruist stuff, and I think they have paddle boats. Rocky Mountain National Park is just up the road from there. Close enough for a day trip from WP.
    Bad decisions make great stories - JP

    He can compress the most words into the smallest idea of any man I know. -- Abraham Lincoln, Unknown , Unknown

  7. #7
    Darling of The Lounge
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    My wife and I actually visited Colorado Springs and the Taos/Angel Fire/Eagle Nest area last August to visit relatives and look at property. You can't go wrong with either, but there's more to do in the Springs in terms of tourist stuff and restaurants. However, in terms of sheer beauty, the Enchanted Circle area of NM has the Springs beat...IMHO Taos was okay, but we are not really into Southwestern art and you had to hunt to find good places to eat.

    Here's a thread I did back during my May 2007 visit about road riding around Taos:

    Rides Around Taos, NM

  8. #8
    i like whiskey
    Reputation: innergel's Avatar
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    I don't particularly want to stay in Taos or Colo Springs proper. I was thinking "where's a ski area near-ish to a city that would be nice in the summer? " We went to Whistler a while back in the fall and it was great. So there has to be places like that in CO/NM too.

    If they've got skiing, then there are bound to be mtb trails and plenty of road riding. The wife wants cool weather, so mountains seem like a logical choice. We'll have a vehicle, so we can drive an hour or two to go do something.

    Sounds like I'd be good either way. Enchanted Circle area sounds awesome to me. And there is public lands hunting within an hour. I know most of you don't care about that, but it would be a major plus for me and something I could take my son to do with me. Colo appears to be mostly private land hunting, so it would be more expensive.

    Keep 'em coming. Great suggestions so far everyone.

  9. #9
    n00bsauce
    Reputation: Mel Erickson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by innergel
    I don't particularly want to stay in Taos or Colo Springs proper. I was thinking "where's a ski area near-ish to a city that would be nice in the summer? " We went to Whistler a while back in the fall and it was great. So there has to be places like that in CO/NM too.

    If they've got skiing, then there are bound to be mtb trails and plenty of road riding. The wife wants cool weather, so mountains seem like a logical choice. We'll have a vehicle, so we can drive an hour or two to go do something.

    Sounds like I'd be good either way. Enchanted Circle area sounds awesome to me. And there is public lands hunting within an hour. I know most of you don't care about that, but it would be a major plus for me and something I could take my son to do with me. Colo appears to be mostly private land hunting, so it would be more expensive.

    Keep 'em coming. Great suggestions so far everyone.
    I vote the Taos/Angel Fire area. We spent a week on the outskirts of Taos in an absolutely beautiful VRBO rental. Mountain hiking, road riding (me only, the rest of our party didn't ride), fishing (I spent 4 days with my buddies on the San Juan before we met up with our wives in Taos). My best friends son manages a very nice restaurant just outside Taos, the Old Blinking Light http://www.taosrestaurantgroup.com/o...ht/t-taos.html He is a big time mountain biker and the mountain biking is fantastic. Road riding was good but the number of paved roads in the area is not high. We found the history and sites around and in Taos to be excellent. The Angel Fire tour was great. I rode out about 40 miles and the rest of the group met me and we continued on the tour by car. Taos is not a big city, actually pretty small. Looks like there's good prairie dog hunting in New Mexico too and Taos is on a high plain. Average summer highs are upper 70's to low 80's on the high plain, cooler in the mountains. August is the hottest month and can get near 90 on the plain.
    "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." Voltaire

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  10. #10
    Shirtcocker
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    Quote Originally Posted by PDex
    South of Colorado Springs could mean a lot of different things. Pueblo? Run away fast. Cucahara? Nice out of the way place. Salida? Ok that's west of the Springs, but there's a ton of stuff to do. Road and mtn biking is awesome, hike a 14er, sit in the hot springs. Downtown Salida is what Aspen was in the 60s, Telluride in the 70s, and Durango In the 80s - funky with good restaurants and hippie chicks. You're about 2 hours from the Springs so you can knock out the tourist traps pretty quick.

    Last time I was in Taos was with my wife on an anniversary. I don't remember it being very kid friendly.
    Salida is super cool. Lots to do there. I second your thoughts on Taos. Haven't been there since I was a teenager and the skiing was good, but not much there other than that and a lot of southwestern art galleries.

    Telluride is also a lot of fun, but way more $$. Restaurants are great there if thats' a criteria.
    "I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when its components fail. There is no heaven or afterlife for broken down computers; that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark." -S. Hawking

  11. #11
    "El Bwana"
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    Quote Originally Posted by innergel
    I don't particularly want to stay in Taos or Colo Springs proper. I was thinking "where's a ski area near-ish to a city that would be nice in the summer? " We went to Whistler a while back in the fall and it was great. So there has to be places like that in CO/NM too.

    If they've got skiing, then there are bound to be mtb trails and plenty of road riding. The wife wants cool weather, so mountains seem like a logical choice. We'll have a vehicle, so we can drive an hour or two to go do something.

    Sounds like I'd be good either way. Enchanted Circle area sounds awesome to me. And there is public lands hunting within an hour. I know most of you don't care about that, but it would be a major plus for me and something I could take my son to do with me. Colo appears to be mostly private land hunting, so it would be more expensive.

    Keep 'em coming. Great suggestions so far everyone.
    Most of the various hunting seasons start after Sept 1. You can shoot prairie dogs all year round on private land and from June 15th on public land. You won't find much (i.e., none) prairie dog habitat near ski areas. You may have already saw this, but here's the small game page from DoW.

    http://wildlife.state.co.us/Hunting/...tesandFees.htm

    Anything outside of the mountains will be hot in the summer (but its a dry heat).
    "Pardon me, but could you help out a fellow American who's down on his luck?"

  12. #12
    Shirtcocker
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    How about Crestone? Lots of Texans, but other than that lots to do there and great scenery.


    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crestone,_Colorado

    If hunting is the main goal there's always Pagosa Springs.

    http://www.pagosa.com/adventureguide...uide-2010-new/
    "I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when its components fail. There is no heaven or afterlife for broken down computers; that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark." -S. Hawking

  13. #13
    It's not TOO Cold!
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    Colorado Springs is not really near any ski areas. Are you planning on flying in and renting a vehicle, or driving? Either way, many of Colorado's ski areas have transformed themselves into year round resorts. Winter Park has a huge mountain bike terrain course (tressels, etc) and gyro, alpine slide and a bunch of other things at the base area. The lift even transports your bike to the top, so you don't have to huff and puff at 11,000 feet. there is also good roads for skinny tire riding and mountain passes to climb. Hunting would be the biggest issue, although up by Rocky Mountain NP they have some special early season that makes elk tags easier to get (plus I heard the other day that request for elk/deer tags are way down). Summit County (Copper/Breckenridge/Keystone), the Vail Valley, Steamboat and Crested Butte all offer much the same, without the proximty to early rifle elk hunting. Muzzle loader season is in early September and Bow is even earlier.

    Enjoy your vacation.
    “Some truths are eternal, you can’t go high on a prop!” - BBC Commentator, France @ England 6 Nations Rugby. 02/26/2011

  14. #14
    Diphthong
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    I'll second some of the places already mentioned - Salida, Durango or Taos. Those are the only decent choices that fit your criteria. The prairie dog requirement is a tough one.
    I expected the Rocky Mountains to be a little rockier than this.

    I was thinking the same thing. That John Denver's full of $hit, man.

  15. #15
    "El Bwana"
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    Steamboat is your solution. Prairie rats to the west near Craig, mountain biking, road biking, hot springs, horseback riding, alpine slide, Moots factory, Kent Eriksen shop, tubing on the Yampa, boating on Steamboat Rez, lots of rentals available either in town, on the slopes, or in a cabin near Clark.
    "Pardon me, but could you help out a fellow American who's down on his luck?"

  16. #16
    i like whiskey
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bulldozer
    I'll second some of the places already mentioned - Salida, Durango or Taos. Those are the only decent choices that fit your criteria. The prairie dog requirement is a tough one.
    Praire dog requirement is not too difficult. I have a line on some outfitters but I need to be in the general area, Eastern Co and North NM, to make it work. I don't want to have to drive 4 hours to get to the hunting grounds either. It's not a mandatory requirement, but I've been wanting to pdog hunt for a while and this is my best chance to do it on the cheap.

    I'm liking all these suggestions so far. Steamboat is a good suggestion but it's too far north. It would take us another day of driving to get there.

  17. #17
    Call me a Fred
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    I've done Angel Fire twice and really enjoyed the area. It's close to Taos and Santa Fe which are nice to visit.

    Durango is also nice.
    Mike

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  18. #18
    Diphthong
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    Check out Alamosa. It's at almost 8k feet so it's pretty cool in the summer for a town in a valley. It's close to Sand Dunes NP, they have a scenic railroad, water park, gator farm, etc. They would have cabins nearby.
    I expected the Rocky Mountains to be a little rockier than this.

    I was thinking the same thing. That John Denver's full of $hit, man.

  19. #19
    "El Bwana"
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bulldozer
    Check out Alamosa. It's at almost 8k feet so it's pretty cool in the summer for a town in a valley. It's close to Sand Dunes NP, they have a scenic railroad, water park, gator farm, etc. They would have cabins nearby.
    Gator Farm FTW!
    "Pardon me, but could you help out a fellow American who's down on his luck?"

  20. #20
    Lets Go Hokies!!!
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    Ejdo and I did a big loop of CO a few years back with my fam. Stopped in most of the places that have been suggested. I would go the Colorado Springs route over Taos. I've been to Taos and it didn't seem like there was that much that the kids would be interested in.

    If you go to Pagosa or Salida, I don't think you can go wrong.
    Its not over till you're underground


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  21. #21
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by innergel
    We are trying to figure out where to go for summer vacation. Last year it was the beach. This year we are going to the mountains somewhere.

    Criteria:
    2. Stuff for the kids to do. Sightseeing. Horseback riding. Cave of the Winds. Worlds second largest ball of twine. Stuff like that.
    7. Good restaurants

    We've got it narrowed down to the Taos/Angel Fire area or somewhere south of Colorado Springs.

    So anyone have any first hand experiece with either or both? Rec's are appreciated.
    For years, we would go to Red River, NM (on the Enchanted Circle) on Memorial Day, July 4, and Labor Day. That was when our kids were 6-14 years old. Red River was really a fun place with lots of stuff to do. You could rent motorcycles, jeeps, bikes, etc and town was always busy. Fun for us and the kids.

    The problem is that overall the restaurants there have never been good. I've ridden the Enchanted Circle Bicycle Tour off and on for over 20 years and it's always been that way. Maybe you can find more current information (good) on restaurants. I hope so.

    While Red River is a place you visit for a few days or a week, Angel Fire is more about having a summer home there and staying weeks or months. Angel Fire resort has a golf course. But other than entertaining yourself hiking, biking, or fishing, there really isn't much to do there. And the food isn't that great either.

    Taos has some good food. I'd rather just drive there for a meal than stay there. It's close enough to either Angel Fire or Red River.

    We also had great trips to Colorado Springs. Lots of stuff to do and see. Always liked the zoo and kids always thought it was cool to go to the Olympic Training Center to get a t-shirt or something.

    Durango is great too. In fact, there are many places in the Rocky Mountains that are fun!

  22. #22
    No hero that's understood
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    How about Flagstaff, AZ? It's south of Colorado Springs and meets all of the rest of your requirements.

    Pretty fun town.
    Often wrong, never in doubt

  23. #23
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    I've lived in the Angel Fire area either full time or part time (these days) since 1972. There is great road riding there, and there is also abundant mtn biking. Angel Fire is kinda quiet in the summer time, not a lot for the kids to do and shopping is a pain because you can't really walk the streets like in Red River. There are more stinking prarie dogs than you can believe, many right in the Village Limits of AF, but of course, off limits to shoot. There should be some nearby private property (between Eagle Nest and Angel Fire) that will either guide you, or allow you to murder the little bastads on your own. The fishing on Eagle nest Lake can be terrific, but a little spendy for a boat, guide etc. You can also fish the Cimarron River just E of Eagle Nest all the way to Ute Park and beyond. Cimarron Canyon has some good hikes and is very pretty, esp around the Palisades area. Angel Fire resort is really going full time this summer on the mtn biking trails, lifts etc.

    Not much in the way of restaurants in AF. Burgers at KawLigas in Eagle Nest are some of the best you'll ever have. Taos is much better for food, from super fancy to burrito wagon. Mtn weather can be real sketchy, afternoon rains are frequent, and almost guaranteed during "monsoon" season (late July thru mid Aug) Ya gotta get your rides in early.
    What time will you be there? PM me for more details. I might be able to hook you up with
    folks who can help you find a place. Yes they are in Real Estate, but good people who cycle. They work the ski area full time this time of year, but after the season they'll be back in RE.
    Birddog

  24. #24
    i like whiskey
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    Great info Birddog. We'll be coming mid-late July. I found a couple of sites that list cabins and vacation homes in AF. They looked good, but some local knowledge is always best.

    Quiet is not bad as long as we can hike and fish and ride bikes, etc. That's pretty much what we did at the beach last summer. If we need touristy stuff, I'm sure we could drive to where ever for a 1/2 day, etc. and do some shopping or see some cliff dwellings or paint your own pottery.

    Restaurants would be great too, but since we'll have the whole family, we'll probably do a bunch of cooking, esp. breakfast and lunch. Full kitchen is pretty much a must have.

    And I'm liking the sound of prarie dog murdering. Optimal would be to find a private land owner who would point me in the right direction and let me loose for a 1/2 day for a nominal fee. That's probably hard to find, esp. for a stranger from out of town. But I'd be willing to pay a guide fee if that's what it takes. I hear there are some in the "public grasslands" park a bit east of there. That is definitely an option too. I'm pretty much open to anything though.

    I'll definitely PM you when we are ready to book. Thanks for the inside info. The Lounge comes through once again!

    Quote Originally Posted by Birddog
    I've lived in the Angel Fire area either full time or part time (these days) since 1972. There is great road riding there, and there is also abundant mtn biking. Angel Fire is kinda quiet in the summer time, not a lot for the kids to do and shopping is a pain because you can't really walk the streets like in Red River. There are more stinking prarie dogs than you can believe, many right in the Village Limits of AF, but of course, off limits to shoot. There should be some nearby private property (between Eagle Nest and Angel Fire) that will either guide you, or allow you to murder the little bastads on your own. The fishing on Eagle nest Lake can be terrific, but a little spendy for a boat, guide etc. You can also fish the Cimarron River just E of Eagle Nest all the way to Ute Park and beyond. Cimarron Canyon has some good hikes and is very pretty, esp around the Palisades area. Angel Fire resort is really going full time this summer on the mtn biking trails, lifts etc.

    Not much in the way of restaurants in AF. Burgers at KawLigas in Eagle Nest are some of the best you'll ever have. Taos is much better for food, from super fancy to burrito wagon. Mtn weather can be real sketchy, afternoon rains are frequent, and almost guaranteed during "monsoon" season (late July thru mid Aug) Ya gotta get your rides in early.
    What time will you be there? PM me for more details. I might be able to hook you up with
    folks who can help you find a place. Yes they are in Real Estate, but good people who cycle. They work the ski area full time this time of year, but after the season they'll be back in RE.
    Birddog

  25. #25
    waterproof*
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    Ruidoso was kinda cool, when we went the kids were still pretty young but they had fun. Artsy little city, not far from White Sands, Cloudcroft, 2 ski areas, lots of national forest, mtb trails in town and epic road riding.

    Plus from Dallas it's the shortest drive time to real mountains. Also, you pass through Roswell.

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