I am seeking suggestions for a short thru-hike, 3 or 4 nights connected by huts or lodges. While we have done 8 mile day-hikes, this will be our first overnight backpacking experience. We want it to be challenging, but want this first trip to be fun and achievable to ensure we want to do it again! Therefore, we are hoping to be able to stay in a hut or lodge to avoid packing tents and cookware this first trip. We will be flying into Denver and don't mind a 3-4 hour drive to our location. We would need either a loop to get back to our car, or a location that will offer us a shuttle at the end to get back to our car. We love all kinds of scenery and wildlife. Especially sweeping views and waterfalls. We will be travelling from October 10-14, we have to be back in Denver by Friday the 15th for a wedding. The only thing we do not love is crowds, the more secluded the better. Any suggestions you have for a suggested itinerary with route and names of huts/lodges would be GREATLY appreciated!
I expect you have done this already but on the off chance you have not, a Google search for 'Ideas - 3 night lodge to lodge thru hike Colorado?' brings up some suggestions. Seems like altitude & weather could be a concern but a really interesting trip.
The search that really would be what you probably want is 'Colorado lodge hiking'. That gets you:
You are not going backpacking, that means you carry ALL your needs for at least an overnight. You are not going 'hut to hut hiking' either as they only provide a roof and you still need to carry your own sleeping bag and food etc. You are really just talking about 'day hikes' between staffed inns/lodges etc. Nothing wrong with that as an intermediate step before actually trying backpacking.
The first link is a perfect example of what you want but note a couple of things.
The distance and time of year it is available. October in the mountains is late and you may well need to hike more than the 8 miles you mention having previously hiked, between accommodations.
So you may have to consider trying to 'inn to inn' type trip another time and consider just finding a nice inn/lodge somewhere in say Estes Park for this trip and doing a couple of day hikes from there.