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Old 02-16-2022, 04:01 PM   #1
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Cortez CO.

After postponing for two years, we are going in May and had a few questions.

Is six days in Cortez enough to see Mesa Verde, Durango to Silverton railroad, Telluride, etc.
Santa Fe 3 days
Thanks for advice from those of you who have been there before.
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Old 02-16-2022, 04:27 PM   #2
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Been to Cortez, et al many times. We like camping in Delores just up the road from Cortez proper.

There are National Forest CGs all around there but we usually stay at The Views CG which is a private campground. https://www.theviewsrvpark.com/

We've also stayed further up the road toward Telluride at Dolores River RV Resort. https://rjourney.com/locations/co/do...nd-and-cabins/

We've not stayed at West View RV Resort, but it looks nice. https://westviewrvresort.com/

There's not much to do in Cortez proper. So 6-days is LOOOOONG. You might prefer 6-days in Durango and day trip to the other things you mentioned. We usually spend 10 to 14 days in Durango and then 2 - 3 days in Dolores.

We loved Mesa Verde. We've not taken the train and we've gone to Durango for 10-yrs. I can't tell you how many people we've met in the campground that said skip the train. Too expensive. Too Long and after the first 25 mins they were ready to go home (but had 3 to 4 hours left before getting back to town). However, since I've not been, I really don't know.

We did the big loop of Durango to Ouray To Telluride to Cortez and back to Durango and loved it but it was a very long day trip. Telluride looked really cool but they have a lot of special events on the weekends and it can be very crowded in town. The day we went was a music festival and there was no parking anywhere, 2-hour waits in restaurants and lots of traffic. We ended up getting some supplies and drove up to a lovely national forest campground for Lunch. The drive from Telluride to Cortez is fabulous - so is Durango to Ouray.

It's such a great area you'll already be planning a return trip. We drove into Durango in 2010 "just to check it out." We stayed 2-weeks and have returned once or twice a year since.

One more thing. May can be cold and a lot of campgrounds don't open early in the month. Here's a photo of one of our trips to Durango when we owned a travel trailer. Taken May 9, 2015:
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Old 02-16-2022, 04:31 PM   #3
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You also asked about Santa Fe and we've gone there yearly as well.

It's really pretty and there's plenty to see and do... but eating is the main reason we go. We usually stay 3-days and eat virtually every meal out. For us 2-days is too short and 4-days too long.

We always stay at Santa Fe Skies RV Park: Santa Fe Skies RV Park - Santa Fe, New Mexico

It doesn't look like much when you pull in. All high desert and gravel. But the place really grows on you with it's great views of town:
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Old 02-16-2022, 04:42 PM   #4
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It depends on what you want to do when you get to those spots. We stayed near there a few years ago and di just what you listed. A day for the railroad, a day at Mesa Verde, and the rest around Telluride. The railroad was one of the best rides we have taken. I'd love to go back. I'd recommend riding the train to Silverton and one of the busses/vans to get back to Durango. You could spend several days at mesa Verde if you want to see and do everything. The biggest thing for me was the "Wow" moment when I walked up to the edge of one of the cliffs and looked down into a village. We did an up close tour of one ruin. We didn't climb any ladders. The visitors center is very nice. We went their first the day before visiting the park. Telluride rocks. The best thing there is the free Gondola ride. Most people lark in the ski village and ride the Gondolas to town. Last Dollar Road is a scenic dirt road suitable for most vehicles that is a fun drive. it goes by the airport, through the woods, and then by several big fancy ranches. Avoid this drive if it is wet. Last Dollar Road is very slippery when wet. You may want to visit Bridal Veil Falls in Telluride too. it can be crowded on the dirt road up to there, so plan for that. Baked in Telluride is where I like to go to eat. It is simple and not too expensive.

I wrote a ride report after our first visit that covers most of this:

https://www.irv2.com/forums/f38/6-we...do-215106.html
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Old 02-16-2022, 04:44 PM   #5
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CREATIVEPART gave good replies. I agree, 6 days is too long for Cortez and too much driving if you want to do the Durango things.

Split it - 3 days in each place .... but still not long enough!

Mesa Verde one day; Telluride one day. They used to give a free Gondola ride up the ski hill but in May it still might be ski season so check it out; Anasazi Heritage Center & Hovenweep Nat'l Monument another day from Cortez.

Durango - take train up and bus back down.... a long day. Drive up to Silverton on your own and on to Ouray & possibly Montrose area if time to see Black Canyon Nat'l Park but that would be a very long day.... maybe do it in two days. We absolutely love Silverton & Ouray areas!

Pagosa Springs - spend a few hours soaking in the immaculate concrete pools of varying temperatures. It's overlooking the river and small town - very relaxing. Take a cooler for drinks and snacks and move from pool to pool.

Santa Fe - at least 3 days. Again, lots to see in the area; not just Santa Fe. Bandelier Nat'l Monument, Los Alamos, Kasha-Katuwe (Tent Rocks), Taos could be a day trip and of course, the historic Santa Fe. Yes, the food is awesome!

I'd recommend changing your plans for that area to perhaps the first two weeks of June. You'll still see lots of snow on the mountains but perhaps it won't snow on you!
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Old 02-16-2022, 06:04 PM   #6
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My son was a ranger at Mesa Verde so I'll go against some of the other advice and say 6 days may NOT be enough.

Mesa Verde is bigger than you think as it's about a 17 miles slow ride from the entrance to first cliff dwelling. Then they are spread out all over the park and you can only get tours at certain times. We always ended up spending more days in MV than we planned.

We did the Durango/Silverton RR and went for the presidential car which was pretty posh with food and drinks. Looking at the poor freezing families in the open cars told us that we made the right, albeit expensive, choice! We did take the bus ride back.

Enjoy!
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Old 02-16-2022, 06:37 PM   #7
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Thanks so much for the info, 5/11 at Santa Fe Skies Rv, then Cortez, or Durango, maybe Ridgeway to rent a Jeep, depending on the weather.
The Delores area does look better for scenery too and would be closer to Telluride.
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Old 02-16-2022, 07:19 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Garyp4951 View Post
After postponing for two years, we are going in May and had a few questions.

Is six days in Cortez enough to see Mesa Verde, Durango to Silverton railroad, Telluride, etc.
Santa Fe 3 days
Thanks for advice from those of you who have been there before.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Garyp4951 View Post
Thanks so much for the info, 5/11 at Santa Fe Skies Rv, then Cortez, or Durango, maybe Ridgeway to rent a Jeep, depending on the weather.
The Delores area does look better for scenery too and would be closer to Telluride.
San Juan's - seriously some of the Best of Colorado, so as I often say Schedule MORE TIME for this part of your trip - from Monument Valley - Cortez - Rico - Trout Lake - Skip Telluride and enjoy Ridgway - and Ouray - Silverton - possibly even Lake City - Montrose for supplies.A week is just a tease, Get More TIME here you will not regret it!

May is early for the Mountains so I'd also spend a good deal of the time in the desert then about middle of June get into Colorado's elevation - No Need for A/C. Seriously there is more to see and do than is imaginable.

I'll edit to add a great link.- https://www.irv2.com/forums/f42/ouray-and-san-juans-rock-n-roll-3-days-to-visit-442372.html

So much to see just never enough TIME!

Best of Luck,
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Old 02-16-2022, 09:47 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Garyp4951 View Post
Thanks so much for the info, 5/11 at Santa Fe Skies Rv, then Cortez, or Durango, maybe Ridgeway to rent a Jeep, depending on the weather.
The Delores area does look better for scenery too and would be closer to Telluride.
Don't have your heart set on Jeeping that early in May. You're going to see lots of snow.
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Old 02-17-2022, 07:25 AM   #10
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Went to Durango last year to do MV, Silverton, and Quray. Stayed about 5 days, did MV in 1 day via the drive thru and stops to view what we could as most tours were closed via GOV. Going back again this year but staying in Montrose even longer, as mentioned above by a few there is a lot to do in this area. Last year was my 1st trip there and I feel in love with this place. It is truly the Switzerland of the west.

Busskipper and Twogypies know there stuff. And true NO jeeping in May, trip back this year is Aug., learned my lesson on last year's June stay.
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Old 02-17-2022, 03:48 PM   #11
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We go to the Cortez area about every other year, minimum and going back this fall. There are tw ways to look at spending time in Cortez / Mesa Verde. 1) Doesn't look like much and I'll just drive through Mesa Verde and see the sights (that's a day, maybe two) or 2) Im going to really look at the area from a historical and informational viewpoint as there is much more to see in the area than Just Mesa Verde. If you're interested in the ancient India cultures, then there is Mesa Verde, Hoveenweep National Monument, Canyons of the Ancients, etc. Most people pay no attention to any of the other areas aside from Mesa Verde. Durango - well, if you've never been there guess it's OK. It is nothing like what it was - a small mountain ski town that has now become an expensive, overpriced and crowded tourist destination, but that is just my viewpoint. Went there again last year, and we stayed for about an hour and left due to crowds, hardly and parking and if you happen to be there around a holiday, buckle up, because it gets crazy. The Durango to Silverton train is just a big ripoff now as it is over $100 a person to ride it and that is just nuts, unless you have money to burn. Telluride and Ouray are nice day trips and if you don't mind two lane roads, high elevations and no guard rails, Hwy 550 is very scenic. We too, have stayed at the Dolores River CG, in Dolores, and it is a very nice place about 20 minutes out of Cortez. Further up is Priest Gulch, also on the river. We have never stayed at CG's in Cortez as they seem to be your basic gravel lot with hookups. SW Colorado has always been a favorite place for us to go. Hope this gives you some insight, and in May, I'd be prepared for some snow and cold weather.
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Old 02-17-2022, 04:54 PM   #12
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We were just there last June. We stayed around Durango for a few days to cover that area and Silverton, and then stayed in Dolores to cover that side including Telluride. Loved it.
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Old 02-17-2022, 04:56 PM   #13
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I very much appreciate all the info, and it has helped me a lot.
I'll do the desert things first and then head to the mountains later in May or June.
We went to YS a few years ago in May and loved the snow.
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Old 02-19-2022, 08:29 PM   #14
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Telluride one day. They used to give a free Gondola ride up the ski hill but in May it still might be ski season so check it out
Ski season ends in early April--April 3 this year, so that won't be an issue in May. But even during ski season, the gondola is free if you're just riding it and not skiing. Also, they close the gondola for maintenance when the ski season ends, and don't reopen it until just before Memorial Day.
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