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Old 06-01-2014, 08:55 AM   #15
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Wolf Creek pass on 160 can't be avoided, but it isn't a big problem either. Seeing the sights of Mesa Verde will take at least 1/2 day. US 550 between Durango and Silverton has two passes over 10k, Coal Bank and Molas. Then there is a nice stop at Red Mountain pass on the way to Ouray, last few miles on 550 down into Ouray is an eye opener, stop at the overlook above town. While 145 and 62 is an easier drive than 550, you will also miss Silverton and Ouray.

If you want a tough hike, east of Glenwood Springs on I70 is Hanging Lake Trail. US 40 has Berthoud Pass. Trail Ridge Road will likely be the biggest challenge with many turns, especially if the weather is bad or there is lots of traffic.

Finally, earlier in the day is better for any of the passes, better visibility and less chance of rain. We drove up Cottonwood Pass yesterday morning and it was clear at the top when we arrived. But rain and sleet closed in during our decent.
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Old 06-01-2014, 10:02 AM   #16
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Thanks for all the great responses! We're getting so excited for this trip! I know it's a lot of driving, but it sounds like it will be some of the most scenic driving in the country.
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Old 06-01-2014, 10:33 AM   #17
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While 145 and 62 is an easier drive than 550, you will also miss Silverton and Ouray.
There was a major rock slide in the canyon just south of Ouray in January. When I drove thru there in my toad 3 weeks ago, the single lane road controlled by traffic lights was completely closed 6 days a week during daylight working hours, except for 1 hour during lunch. They are trying to stop the rocks from falling 900 feet above the roadway, but no luck so far. The detour thru Delores and Mancos added 75 miles to my trip to Durango. Travelling Colorado highways is an adventure.
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Old 06-01-2014, 11:10 AM   #18
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Colorado springs, at garden of the gods rock formations are awesome you will enjoy them, in Durango it is beautiful north of town river campgrounds ,also have glider rides ,you will enjoy the train ride, would be really nice to have a jeep behind to enjoy more of the sites our family lives in Denver we always stop in Durango and colorado springs on the way up from Southern AZ. Just take your time be safe you will have a wonderful trip.
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Old 06-01-2014, 08:05 PM   #19
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There was a major rock slide in the canyon just south of Ouray in January. When I drove thru there in my toad 3 weeks ago, the single lane road controlled by traffic lights was completely closed 6 days a week during daylight working hours, except for 1 hour during lunch. They are trying to stop the rocks from falling 900 feet above the roadway, but no luck so far. The detour thru Delores and Mancos added 75 miles to my trip to Durango. Travelling Colorado highways is an adventure.
According to Colorado DOT web site, construction is supposed to be completed by June 13th. I'm sure this is a hot project to minimize impact to summer tourism for Ouray and Silverton. The OP can verify status of US550 before leaving Mesa Verde.
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Old 06-03-2014, 01:28 PM   #20
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....Wolf Creek Pass is one of the windiest/steepest in CO. ........Going down, make sure you take your time, it is very steep and can get away from you........
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