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Old 05-05-2019, 10:36 PM   #1
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Ouray and San Juan's - Rock-N-Roll 3 days to Visit

I've put this out as a BookMark on Ouray and the San Juan's - Hard to be a trip when It comes from the Locals

Hopefully other will add to and Rock-N-Roll will approve.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rock-N-Roll View Post
Base Camp - Ouray (Day 1) - Recommendations
Note: I will mention a lot of activities. Not knowing each visitor's energy level you all can cut & paste to each ones' interests. (This will be the longest of 3 recommended day trips.....plenty of time to rest when you get to a less scenic area.)

Leave camp early - 0700 and head north from Ouray RV Park to Bachelor-Syracuse Mine Outdoor Café. (I think they open at 0730). By leaving early you will avoid traffic, see more wildlife and just enjoy the quiet beauty. Just past the Rotary ice skate rink, about 250 yards, veer right at the Y and head up the hill on dirt road, CR-14. Go slow. The little neighborhood on the left is called Panoramic Heights, (nicknamed "acid flats" - as it was built on tailings from the mines. It went through a major environmental haz-mat remediation about 7 years ago. Continue heading up the hill, stopping at the turn outs to enjoy views and take photos. Lots of big horn sheep in this area. Go past the small private lake Lenore community and take the curve to the right, (at the Y). Another 200 yards, then 180 right turn to the Outdoor Café. Stan is the owner and does a great job with his breakfasts. If you're not careful you can spend 2 hours there, taking photos, looking at the mine artifacts and talking with other visitors from all over the country. Again - I do not recommend the mine tour here. (Better one in Silverton).

When finished, head back to the highway and turn left/south. Go through town slowly, curve right past last house then sweeping curve to left. You can see the Box Canyon on your right. The large stone building, (about 150 yards off Hwy)-with tarp on arched roof is one of two powder houses. Miners would come into town, purchase their goods, take the receipt for dynamite and pick it up at the powder house on their way out of town, (to avoid burning/blowing up the town). That dirt road is Camp Bird road....leading to several mine sites and 4WD road to Telluride over Imogene Pass, (The pass will not be open in early June...4th of July opening is the annual goal.)

Stay on Hwy, just after next big curve to the right will be the turn-off, (to left) for the NFS Amphitheater campground, (very small RV's/tents - Beautiful town overlook which all should visit). Next curve is a large turn-out with the signs and great place to photo the mtns. and town. Continue on, through the tunnel and take the next turn-out, (on right) at Bear Creek Falls. There is a fly-bridge there, walk out and see the volume of water going under Hwy 550. Opposite Bear Creek falls is another long water fall. The pyramid looking mountain is Mt. Abrams. Looking just to right of Bear Creek falls is the site of the old Toll Booth. Absolutely beautiful photo ops here....don't miss it.

Back on Hwy continue slowly as this is the area that might be the scariest for some. Have the passenger look across the canyon, up the mountain side a little and look for the "Antique Shop". (actually the old Neosho mine site.) Locals started hanging out clothes and put up a sign as a joke over 45 years ago. Visitor's come into Ouray and want to know where the road to the Antique shop is.....a lot of fun). As you continue on, the steep rock cliffs on your left are known as the Ruby Walls. Be careful, as Large vehicles/RV's move way past the centerline of the road. No guardrails. Do not drive over rocks that fall onto road...they are sharp and will cut your tires.

Next large curve and beautiful waterfall, (going under 550) has a turn-out to stop & take pix. The dirt trail on left, going up the hill is Mineral Creek, a 4WD trail that will lead to Engineer Pass, Lake City or Silverton. (Do Not take this off-road trail.) Continue on, through the Riverside snow slide tunnel, past the 2 sets of switch backs and once on top, the views of the Red Mountains and Crystal Lake. If you leave early, the lake will yield beautiful reflective photos of the mountains. Stone foundation opposite the lake is the site of an old 1930's ski lodge/resort. Ended operations in 1933, (burned).

Continue on south about a mile and you'll see the turn-off, (left) for 4WD road to Corkscrew Pass and Brown Mtn. Do not take this off-road trail. The huge rock pile are tailings from the Idarado mine, up the mountain.

Continue on up the mountain, past the 2nd set of switchbacks. Soon you'll see some wooden buildings on the right. These buildings were moved from the townsite of Eureka, (N.E. of Silverton - about 10 miles away, & pulled up the mountain on Hwy 550). They were moved in the early 1970s and located where you see them - for the Idarado mine operations. Just past the ore car trestle, (you see on the left) is a turn out to a really nice observation area, (recommended).

The Idarado was a huge complex. During WWII it made major contributions to the war effort, providing copper, lead, zinc, silver and some gold. They had no place to dump the tailings, so they piped it down the mountain side, (in wooden pipes). The tailings covered almost all of the old mining town of Ironton. There are a few remaining buildings at the Ironton town site. (The Idarado ended mining operations in 1979 and went through 20 years of environmental clean up.) The Idarado actually tunnels through the mountain rock and comes out in Telluride.

The tall skinny mine building you see across the Hwy, about 1/2 mile is the Yankee Girl mine site, a 1200 foot vertical mine. From the observation area you can see parts of the Red Mountain mining district. There was actually a railroad that came up from Silverton, through the Red Mountain town, town of Guston and turned around at the Corkscrew gulch turn table, then headed back....built in 1880's. Continue on Hwy to Red Mountain pass, starting down the mountain towards Silverton. Take advantage of the turn-outs to take photos. A huge sweeping curve the at the bottom of the steep descent is called the Chattanooga Loop.....hillside to the right, just past the curve is the site of the mining town of Chattanooga. Continue on, the swampy area you see on the right is called the Fen, great place to see moose in the fall - September.

Continue on to Silverton. Just after you go through the major intersection, is the Visitor's center, (1st big building on right - and old mine operation building moved to current site) Recommended stop at visitor's center, (restrooms). Recommended places to eat are the Brown Bear and Handlebars. Silverton is an easy walk-around. The main town area covers 3 blocks on 2 parallel streets, (Greene & Empire). The Durango-Silverton train will start coming into Silverton around noonish, depending on the # of trains they send up each day. If you have a truck or SUV, (no mini-vans or sedans!)….I recommend you make the trip up to the Ghost Town called Animas Forks, (this will be a 2-3 hour trip). This trip leaves out of Silverton, going northeast, (get directions at Visitor's center). This is a fairly well maintained gravel road. Incredibly beautiful trip with lots of photo ops. Highly recommended!

If you want to see a really good mine tour, I recommend the Old 100 Mine Tour. The road to the mine tour goes off to the right, towards Cunningham gulch, (at the old town site of Eureka). Good road for all vehicles to the mine tour. Soon turns into 4WD trail after that. If you have to choose, skip the tour and go to Animas Forks. Beautiful drive, lots of waterfalls and scenery on the way to Animas Forks ghost town at 11,000' elevation. A lot of mine buildings, cabins, houses and the jail remain.

This will be a pretty full but extremely fun scenic day. When you leave Silverton, head north back to Ouray on Hwy 550. Same road as you came in on, but different views....beautiful.

Once you get back to Ouray, head back to your RV, rest a little while, shower then head to downtown for taking in the sights and finding a place to eat, if you like. The restaurant at the RV park is very good and has a good reputation. Don't miss Mouse's chocolates on 1st night....you'll want to go there every evening.

Future posts will be shorter.....that's my goal anyway. (Looking for feedback....is this TMI ??)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rock-N-Roll View Post
Base Camp - Ouray - (Day 2 of 3) - Recommendations

I apologize for the long delay in following through with my commitment to Traveldawg, (& others)….I've been thinking my long winded Day 1 post kinda killed the thread. This post will be much shorter and sentences choppier so as to cram as much info as possible. If anyone needs more info, ask away.

On day 2, (a much easier day):

-north on Hwy 550 to Ridgway, left on Hwy 62 at traffic light. The park in middle of town is where the hanging scene in the original "True Grit" movie was filmed. About 5 miles out of town, past the cemetery you'll see the beginning of split rail fencing on left that goes all the way up to the Dallas Divide. This is Ralph Lauren's ranch, (quite a success story for a guy who started by selling suit ties out of his briefcase & trunk of his car). The Tee-Pees you see are actually guest quarters for ranch guests. Very large turn-out on left to take pictures of Mount Sneffels range. On to Dallas Divide, (the pass) look for elk on left. About 1-1/2 miles from the pass going downhill, look for sign that points out Last Dollar Road, to the left. Turn left, slow down and enjoy the scenery. (This is an easy 2 wheel drive road if you follow my recommendation and head towards the town of Sawpit.) Beaver dams on left, through the aspens and the Huge Last Dollar Ranch on left. Great place to take pix. Lots of elk bunching up around the area, both left and right of the road....sometimes hundreds, (in early June - waiting to move up into the mountains). Lots of very large ranches along the way. As the road starts to go down a hill, curve to the right, look for the old, abandoned farm house with split rail fencing, right side of road. This is the farm house used in the opening and closing scenes of the movie True Grit. About 1-1/2 to 2 miles past the old farmhouse take the road to the RIGHT at the Y-intersection.....going to Sawpit. DO NOT take the road to left -down the hill to Last Dollar Road and Telluride. It gets very muddy through the aspens and you will get stuck. OK if you are with another vehicle and are prepared, not good if you're alone. Onto Sawpit, very scenic along the way -left on the paved highway to Telluride.

You can go into Telluride and park or go up hill to Mountain Village and park there. The tram is free, runs continuously.....beautiful views. In Telluride, don't miss Telluride Bakery, historic downtown walk/shopping, beautiful city park. If you park in town, take you vehicle up to the Bridal Veil falls.
Hwy 145 past Mountain Village, Ames power station, (world's first commercial Alternating Current power plant - built by Westinghouse & still generating). Beautiful scenery all along the way.
Head back to Ouray when you feel like it. True Grit café in Ridgway has been good place to eat, (Kate's place for breakfast).

Still energetic? Highly recommend the Ouray Perimeter Trail hike, (ask visitor's center). Not a lot of elevation change, Cascade Falls along the trail will be roaring. The trail starts/ends at visitors center.
Evening walk downtown Ouray, don't miss another opportunity to hit up

Mouse's chocolates.

Have fun, be safe!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rock-N-Roll View Post
Base Camp - Ouray (Day 3 of 3) Recommendations:

Breakfast at Timberline Deli, (across from the Old Red Barn-east side). Good breakfast, donuts made fresh daily. Owners will take your order and cook for you. (Or, you could go back up to the Bachelor-Syracuse Mine Outdoor Café...or Bombie's).
After breakfast, head north towards Ridgway. As you are just entering Ridgway, you can see the 4-H center on left side of highway, bordering the rodeo grounds. Factoid: This building was funded by Victoria Hearst, sister of Patty Hearst, (granddaughters of William Randolph Hearst - an American publishing magnate). Victoria lives in the area, has a great little Christian book store, right by the bridge and she also runs a Christian center, just to the east of the traffic light, (only traffic light in Ouray county!). Inquire at the book store to see if there is a Christian concert scheduled while you are there.

There is a good little railroad museum in Ridgway, worth the stop if you like old trains or want to learn more about the galloping goose. After your stop in Ridgway, if you do - continue north through the traffic light, (make sure you have a full tank of fuel). Go about 2 miles, look for the signs that point to the turn off to the Dennis Weaver memorial. You must see the Eagle sculpture. It is a Huge, absolutely beautiful sculpture of an eagle in flight......amazing!

If you are interested, google "Marlowe Brothers, Ridgway, CO". Read the article on www.historynet.com by Jim Pettentgill. Its an interesting story of cowboys, murder, Texas Rangers who came to Ridway for an arrest and sent home empty handed. The Marlows had a ranch a few miles past the Ridgway reservoir. There is A LOT of history in this area!

After leaving the eagle stop, get back on Hwy 550, turn left/north and immediately look for the brown sign for the turn off to the right for Owl Creek Pass & Silver Jack Reservoir. This is a long, well maintained dirt road, (2WD) that leads to incredible scenery. If you look, you can see Debbie's meadow, (on your left) - where a scene from "How the West was Won" and John Wayne had the final shoot out in True Grit. Other scenes from the original "True Grit" movie were filmed along this route. You should be able to average 10-20 mph along the entire route. Lots of places to use turn outs and take pictures. Just past Owl Creek Pass, about 1-1/2 - 2 miles you can see a BLM campground on your left. It might not yet be full the first week in June. Continue along the road towards Silver Jack Reservoir. At Silver Jack, there is a nice parking area on your left, (toilets, picnic tables, short hiking trails). Good spot for picnic lunch and relaxation. (This is about 24 miles from the turn-off from Hwy 550.)

From the parking spot/picnic area - you have a choice to make. You can turn left onto the main road, (about another 10-12 miles to Hwy 50 - east of Montrose about 20 miles) or go to the right, back towards the way you came. I recommend you head back the way you came. You will see different scenery even though you're going back on the same route.

When you get back to Hwy 550, turn right/north. Go along the reservoir, to the Ridgway State Park Visitor's Center. Stop at the visitor's center to learn about camping/RV sites, boating and fishing. The lake should be full this time of the year. Very important!.....take the short walk along concrete pathway to the lake overlook. This is the most beautiful time of the year to stop here, the lake is full, the mountains in background will still have snow on the peaks and pictures from this area are ones you will keep for a long time. Entrance to the park's visitor center is free, entrance to the park is a fee area.

Since I promised the OP, Traveldawg - his last day would be an easy one, you can head back to Ouray to get ready to head out next morning. Or, you can go another 15 miles north to Montrose....a fantastic little city. No matter which way you choose, I will finish up in Ouray, the last day of TD's 3 day stop over.

Note: there are interesting historical presentations at the Ouray Civic center on Tuesday evenings @ 7 pm. They are free and put on by knowledgeable locals.....some better than others. There are free concerts in the park on Wednesday evenings....alternating a month in Ouray, month in Ridgway, then back to Ouray.....something like that. (Inquire @ visitor's center)
The city's museum is small, but really amazing....all should go there. The county courthouse on corner of 6th avenue and 4th street was used in the True Grit movie. Don't pass up your last chance to visit Mouse's chocolates....take a few truffles with you for the road.

And last.....Have a wonderful trip to the San Juan mountains area. Hope you all have a safe and enjoyable time in S.W. Colorado. (Thank you all for your patience with my loooong posts.)
As other read and add this could Include 4X4 trails along with trips along RT 145 and RT 149 - IMHO this is one of the Great Resources of the State of Colorado.

Thank You Rock-N-Roll,


----

Monticello - Gunnison - Ouray - Leadville.
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Old 05-28-2019, 07:53 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Busskipper View Post
I've put this out as a BookMark on Ouray and the San Juan's - Hard to be a trip when It comes from the Locals

Hopefully other will add to and Rock-N-Roll will approve.







As other read and add this could Include 4X4 trails along with trips along RT 145 and RT 149 - IMHO this is one of the Great Resources of the State of Colorado.

Thank You Rock-N-Roll,


----

Monticello - Gunnison - Ouray - Leadville.
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Old 05-29-2019, 07:39 PM   #3
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you getting paid by the word?
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Old 06-27-2019, 02:09 PM   #4
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you getting paid by the word?
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Old 06-27-2019, 04:53 PM   #5
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Wow! We've been to those places.... brings back good memories for a favorite area of ours! Thanks.
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Old 07-15-2019, 09:18 PM   #6
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Talking

Just recommended this again

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Old 07-15-2019, 10:26 PM   #7
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Nobody goes there anymore. It’s too crowded.
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Old 07-16-2019, 06:39 AM   #8
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Nobody goes there anymore. It’s too crowded.
Good point, Let's change it to Moab - It's too HOT -

Moab - https://www.rv.net/forum/index.cfm/f...d/29448394.cfm

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Old 10-21-2019, 10:26 AM   #9
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