Given the nature of our work, we focus a lot on car accidents and driver safety, but we know you want to have some fun behind the wheel as well. So, we’re highlighting several Colorado road trips in our next few blogs to help you bring back the joy of exploring the open road. First up: The gorgeous southwest region of our state.
Head west on Highway 285 out of Denver and connect with Highway 50 west of Salida on your way to Ouray. This 5.5-hour drive ends between Mt. Sneffels and Uncompahgre Peak in the San Juan National Forest. These two 14ers rise majestically over the relaxed town of Ouray, offering stunning views from almost any spot in town.
The area has achieved global fame for its winter ice climbing, but summer visitors will find no shortage of beauty or outdoor activities to enjoy. Be sure to check out the Ouray hot springs or one of its many top-rated hiking trails. The abundant trails can be enjoyed on foot, four-wheels or horseback. After a day in the great outdoors, step onto Main Street and experience some of Ouray’s old mining-town charm.
One of the bigger towns in the area, Durango offers many lodging, dining and entertainment options. Check out the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad & Museum to gain a deeper understanding of the region’s mining history. Or enjoy river rafting along the Animas River.
The town offers a wide variety of restaurant options, from local breweries to world cuisine. It’s also a great place to take in some live music or see a movie. Top off your visit with a stop at Animas Chocolate Co. for a decadent cup of cocoa or gourmet truffle – you won’t be disappointed!
After refueling your family and your car in Durango, take time to visit an archaeological treasure. Mesa Verde National Park features well-preserved cliff dwellings that date back to the year 650, one hallmark of the area’s ancient human history. President Teddy Roosevelt helped establish the national park in 1906, and it has also been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Visitors can tour many of the dwellings by hiking paths, ladders and access points. Some sites can only be visited by taking a ranger-guided tour which are very popular and require more athletic ability than others, but visitors of all abilities can enjoy the park. Stay at one of the area’s lodges or campgrounds and stop for meals at the park’s lodge cafes or restaurants.
For first-time visitors, the hour drive southwest out of Mesa Verde offers you the opportunity to touch four states at the same time: Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and Utah. The states converge in one point, at their corners, in a Navajo Nation park and reserve. The monument runs a pretty strict 8 a.m.-4:45 p.m. schedule, so be sure to make it before the gates close!
Perhaps one of the prettiest drives in the state, Highway 145 winds through beautiful mountain valleys dotted with small farms and ranches. The drive will take you alongside Blackhawk Mountain and 14ers San Miguel Peak and Mt. Wilson.
Telluride itself boasts one of the best mountain town main streets anywhere (in our opinion) and feels like stepping back in time. While it is a ski town, it is far from a manufactured tourist experience. It retains its small town charm and a unique culture that you need to experience first-hand to understand.
Take a gondola ride up to Telluride’s Mountain Village to enjoy stunning views, shopping and dining. Throughout the summer, Telluride hosts world-renowned music festivals, so be sure to check on camping and lodging well in advance of your visit.
If you have never visited the southwest region of our state, make this loop one of your first Colorado road trip priorities. You will not be disappointed. Now, get out there and enjoy the open road!
As you head out on your Colorado road trip adventure, review traffic safety tips and equip your car with a roadside emergency kit. Have fun out there and stay safe! If you do encounter a problem on your trip and need some personal injury legal advice, contact us. Our first consultation is always free.
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