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Summer Trip-Drive from Breckenridge to Durango...

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
We are planning on taking a summer trip that includes driving from Breckenridge to Durango. I haven't spent much time in Colorado other than to drive from Denver to SLC along I70. I friggin love what I saw and have always wanted to explore the area.:

Does anyone have any suggested sights, nice day hikes, hidden gems, anything off the beaten path that most touristas will not know about? Any information is appreciated.

This is going to be my kind of vacation, hiking, mountain biking, hiking, and more mountain biking, then some swimming.

Thanks in advance.:
post #2 of 12
Well, first is to figure out how you're getting there. You've got a few options:

1. Breck - Grand Junction via I-70 - south over Red Mtn Pass to Durango.
2. Breck - Buena Vista - Alamosa - Durango
3. Breck - Salida - Gunnison - Lake City - Durango

The first is probably the most obvious and boring, we'll ignore that.

The second is probably the fastest. It's a pretty drive and you'll go through the Sangre de Cristos. Pagosa Springs is on the way and if you time it right, you can have a late afternoon / early evening soak there. However, overall I don't think it's very exciting of a drive.

The third option has the best chances for a quick day hike and some cool little towns along the way. Now, I'm not sure how long you were planning on spending driving between those locations, but here's my recommedation for going there.. this gets you way off the beaten path. It's possible to complete this route in a day, but it would be a long day. You might want to consider staying in Silverton overnight. We'll assume you want to do this in a day. Also, we're going to consider you have 4WD or at least a car with decent clearance. (You really don't need 4WD for this in good conditions and it's almost possible to do all this with a normal passenger car.)

Start early in the morning in Breck. Go to Daylight Donuts and get fresh donuts around 7am or so. Don't linger in town, you've got some driving to do.

Head up and over Hoosier Pass, take a second to admire Mt Lincoln and Mt Bross (both 14'ers) as you cross to the other side of Hoosier Pass. Blow through Alma and Fairplay. Take a right at Fairplay and head toward Buena Vista. Take a left at 287 and head to Salida. Turn right at the next intersection, head up and over Monarch Pass toward Gunnison. Just beyond Gunnison turn left on Hwy 149 and head to Lake City. Now - if the weather is bad for some reason, you can either continue on to Montrose or go to Lake City.

This is where things get interesting.

At Lake City, reevaluate the weather again. If it's crap, continue on to Creede and get to Durango that way. It's good, then head through town. Now, it may be close to lunchtime and you'll either want to get food here at one of the cool little places or stop at the grocery store for something. Lake City is a neat place and definitely worth a quick stop. Just beyond Lake City is Lake San Cristobal. Turn up that road - it may say "Cinnamon Pass" - this is where you're headed. Note: there is a similar road going to a similar location leaving from Lake City called "Engineer Pass". You DO NOT want to get on that road.

Okay, so head up and over Cinnamon Pass. I think it'll take you 4 - 5 hours. Stop along the way and take a short hike if you want. This is gorgeous terrain in the San Juans and some of the best you can see from a car. Unless something has changed recently, the road shouldn't be that bad. If you bring your skis, you could even make some turns if you're willing to hike for 20 or 30 minutes.

On the other side of Cinnamon Pass you'll find one of the largest, semi-restored ghost towns in Colorado - Animas Forks. It's definitely worth spending a bit of time walking around.

From there, it's a short drive on to Silverton. Spend some time there, possibly even all night. It's a quaint little mountain town that isn't completely ruined (yet.) You could even drive up to the ski area about 10 minutes from town, but there's not much to see there.

If you don't decide to spend the night, continue south from Silverton to Durango.

That's my $.02.
post #3 of 12
good suggestions, Vinn.

I might try a slightly different route. I'd head to Buena Vista, then over Independence Pass to Aspen. In Aspen, I'd hike up to the Maroon Belles (lots of folks, not deserted, but one of the most pictureseque areas of Colorado). Head to Marble.

Do you have a significant 4x4? If so, then head to the Crystal Mill out of Marble -- purportedly the most photographed spot in Colorado. You can also (with a good 4x4) head into the Lead King Basin, there is some lovely country there and some decent hiking. Not too many people.

Head over McClure and Keebler pass into Crested Butte. Lots of Hiking and mountain biking. Down to Lake City -- up Engineer Pass. Lots of hiking here as well, and if you have a 4x4, you can take the Alpine Road in Ouray.

From there, into Ridgeway. Nice hiking around the Sneiffels range -- spectacular. Over Last Dollar road into T-Ride. Take about a week.

Mike
post #4 of 12
Good mountain biking around Fruita if you go near there. Decent pizza shop and a really good mountain bike shop in the town too - which can tell you about all the trails.

We did a lap last year that went:
Dillon,
Glenwood Springs (walk & hot springs)
Fruita (mountain bikes & dinosaur bones walk)
Moab (mountain bike on slick rock)
Durango (more mountain biking)
Pagosa Springs
Breckenridge
Dillon

We should have taken our ski gear as we had about 15" fall the day we went over the pass near Wolf Creek and it would have been worth the hike for a few runs.
post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 
Awesome!

Thanks so much for the advice and tips everyone. We are going with another family, they have a pretty nice jacked up F150, we have an Expedition with good knobby tires. Every one of us love to hike and explore, my kids and I love to bike.

This is all great advice, thanks again!
post #6 of 12
With those rigs, you should try:

http://www.sangres.com/coloradobyways/alpine.htm
post #7 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by habacomike View Post
good suggestions, Vinn.

I might try a slightly different route. I'd head to Buena Vista, then over Independence Pass to Aspen. In Aspen, I'd hike up to the Maroon Belles (lots of folks, not deserted, but one of the most pictureseque areas of Colorado). Head to Marble.

Do you have a significant 4x4? If so, then head to the Crystal Mill out of Marble -- purportedly the most photographed spot in Colorado. You can also (with a good 4x4) head into the Lead King Basin, there is some lovely country there and some decent hiking. Not too many people.

Head over McClure and Keebler pass into Crested Butte. Lots of Hiking and mountain biking. Down to Lake City -- up Engineer Pass. Lots of hiking here as well, and if you have a 4x4, you can take the Alpine Road in Ouray.

From there, into Ridgeway. Nice hiking around the Sneiffels range -- spectacular. Over Last Dollar road into T-Ride. Take about a week.

Mike
here is a better variation.

Head south from Breck past Alma, before you get to Buena Vista take Westin Pass over to 24 just south of Leadville, turn left on 24 and then take 82 over independence pass into Aspen (continue with recommondations above) Westin Pass requires a 4x4 (easy road, mostly dirt) and it is a beautiful way to get over to the Arkansas River Valley.
post #8 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thanks again everyone. I am printing off responses and will go over the options with the other driver before we head out.

Thanks again.
post #9 of 12
Here's one list of some options.

If you end up in Silverton, Ophir and Imogene Passes (Ouray) are options to get you over to Telluride. You can then head over Lizard Head Pass on the highway and then get over to the backside of Purgatory via Bolam Pass, which is a great place for hiking and views.

Also check out Engineer Pass between Lake City & Silverton/Ouray. Then there's........
post #10 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alpinord View Post
Here's one list of some options.

If you end up in Silverton, Ophir and Imogene Passes (Ouray) are options to get you over to Telluride. You can then head over Lizard Head Pass on the highway and then get over to the backside of Purgatory via Bolam Pass, which is a great place for hiking and views.

Also check out Engineer Pass between Lake City & Silverton/Ouray. Then there's........
Save your vehicle (and your marriage) by taking a commercial 4x4 tour to some of those passes mentioned above. The San Juans are the best range in the rockies IMO. Telluride and Ouray have great options. I would recommend Telluride Offroad Adventures. They use Ex-military Swiss Army trucks called Pinzgauers, which are super cool!
post #11 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by DropCliffsNotBombs View Post
Save your vehicle (and your marriage) by taking a commercial 4x4 tour to some of those passes mentioned above. The San Juans are the best range in the rockies IMO. Telluride and Ouray have great options. I would recommend Telluride Offroad Adventures. They use Ex-military Swiss Army trucks called Pinzgauers, which are super cool!

DCNB,

I see that you are a tour company owner, do you have a website?

I would like to get something like this set up.
post #12 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by okolepuka View Post
DCNB,

I see that you are a tour company owner, do you have a website?

I would like to get something like this set up.
www.tellurideoffroad.com
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