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We are headed out a week from Wed. to escape the heat. West from Tulsa, through Taos and up 550 (Million Dollar Highway). We will stay two nights in Silverton to ride the area and of course will be hitting all the roads in a whirlwind tour before heading home. Only 7 days for the whole trip.

For those who have experience in the area, considering we are staying in Silverton for two nights and basing out of there for 3 days. What are some must see things within a days ride from Silverton and/or anywhere along the loop? We will be coming back home the southern route through Taos the same way we went up.
 

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Although I like Ouray better in that area Silverton is a nice little stop. Obviously in a day ride you can do any road in western colorado and back. If you go to Dave's page on Rockies gold and look at the rides based out of Montrose on the first couple of rallies, all those rides are doable from there. they are probably on the current rockies gold pages on the current trips page. A really nice drive from there is down to Durango, east to Pagosa Springs, up through Crede and Lake city up to Gunnison, take 50 west to Montrose and then Back to Silverton. Great ride and that is only one. You can also go north up to Montrose, up through Carbondale, to Aspen, up over Independence Pass and back around to Silverton. those are two but you can see the exact rides mapped out on dave's page
 

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Having stayed in Durango and Ouray and that you only have two nights I would recommend that you reconsider and stay in Durango and use that as your hub. Better motels and fabulous restaurants.

There are so many good roads in that area you will have a tough time choosing, the #1 road though is Durango to Ouray, at least IMO. Have fun!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for all the advice. I'm looking for things to see such as this ghost town, that mine, those falls etc. There are often many overlooked very cool things to see which are easy to get to but I always seem to find out about AFTER I've ridden a particular area.
 

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If you make the Creede route, plan on spending a little time there. As well, take a stop at Freemans Store for a good old fashioned hamburger on 149 between Creede and Lake City.

Freeman's General Store

39354 Colorado 149, Creede, CO 81130-9558 (719) 658-2954
 

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We are headed out a week from Wed. to escape the heat. West from Tulsa, through Taos and up 550 (Million Dollar Highway). We will stay two nights in Silverton to ride the area and of course will be hitting all the roads in a whirlwind tour before heading home. Only 7 days for the whole trip.

For those who have experience in the area, considering we are staying in Silverton for two nights and basing out of there for 3 days. What are some must see things within a days ride from Silverton and/or anywhere along the loop? We will be coming back home the southern route through Taos the same way we went up.
The ride from Las Vegas, NM to Taos on NM-518 was a pretty ride the last time I was over it a few years ago. YMMV. US-64 between Taos and Raton is a beautiful ride in the mountains, but it would take you many miles out of your way.

You should definitely be able to beat the heat in Silverton. This time of year the highs are in the 60s and the lows in the low 40s. From Silverton you can go north or South on US-550. Most any other road out of town requires a 4-wheel drive.

For a complete change of venue, take a ride on the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge railroad. You can pick up the train at Silverton at 1:45pm and ride it down to Durango and then get a bus ride back to Silverton. If you are going to do this, make your reservations soon.

There are a couple of museums in Silverton that are worth a few minutes. They are on the east side of town. A stop at the visitor center on the west side of town will be very helpful.

If you like hot springs, there is a good one on the north end of Ouray.

Oldguy's 430 mile loop ride over Slumgullion Pass is one of my personal favorites. It will keep you riding all day long. Get an early start.

Don't miss the Lake City Bakery on the north end of Lake City. At the south end of town just after the last switch back is the Alferd Packer Site. He was convicted of eating 5 of his traveling companions.

Fuel management is important on this trip. Few stations exist between Montrose and Lake City and they are not always open. If you are low on fuel when you get to the Lake City turn off (CO-149) take the 8 miles into Gunnison for fuel as it is almost 50 miles to Lake City. Lake City has a couple of gas stations, but they have some of the highest prices in the state. There is no fuel on the 50 miles between Lake City and Creede.

Five miles south of Spring Creek Pass is County Road 16. Take it 1/2 mile east. There is a rest area and over look for North Spring Creek Falls. This is the most photographed water falls in Colorado.

Between South Fork and Pagosa Springs is a little hill we call Wolf Creek Pass made famous in the song by C.W. McCall. On the west side of Wolf Creek Pass is Treasure Falls.

If you want to bypass the town of Durango, you can turn north on CO-501 at Bayfield and ride up to Columbus. At Columbus take a sharp right onto 240 which will drop you off on 32nd street at the north end of Durango after some scenic country.


If you are looking for a shorter ride, the San Juan Skyway loop is about 165 miles around. Silverton -> Ridgway -> Placerville -> Telluride -> Rico -> Dolores -> Durango -> Silverton. CO-145 has little traffic and great scenery.

At Telluride, go through town and on the east side you will see Bridal Veil falls.

Shortly before you get to Lizard Head Pass is Trout Lake. If you are up for about a mile of hard packed dirt road, take 63A road past the railroad water tank. When you get to the switchback, there is a parking area. Get off and stretch your legs. Here is the last remaining trestle bridge from the Rio Grande Southern railroad. The track was taken up in the early 1950s.

If you want to add a few scenic miles, about 2 miles south of Stoner on 143 turn right on RD-38. It is paved for about 15 miles up toward Dunton. Turn around when you get to the dirt road.

On the north end of town in Rico is an old mine headframe. Worth a few minutes to stretch your legs. If you are in need of fuel there is a station on the south end of town.

Stop for a break in Dolores and check out the Galloping Goose motor car. It was built in the 1930s by the Rio Grande Southern Railroad as a cost saving measure. Across the street is a grocery store where you can purchase local (yummy) produce etc.

About half way between Cortez and Mancos is Mesa Verde National Park. Very interesting Indian ruins. It will be warmer here than in the mountains.

If you have a hankering for some desert country, this 375 mile loop may be up your alley.
Silverton -> Ridgway -> Placerville -> Naturita -> La Sal Junction, Utah -> Montecello, Utah -> Dolores -> Rico -> Placerville -> Ouray -> Silverton. There are few gas stations on this loop. Fill in Ridgway because there may not be fuel again until Montecello. Take snacks and plenty of drinking water along this one.

On your way back to Taos, you might consider taking US-84 / US-64 from Pagosa Springs down to Chama. If you hit Chama at lunch time, stop in at Fosters across from the narrow gauge railroad. They have the best tacos I've ever eaten. After Chama go South on US-64 to Tierra Amarilla and then over the pass to Tres Piedras. This is a beautiful ride with a few switch backs and very little traffic.US-64 will continue from Tres Piedras to Taos.

Have a good ride.
 

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Fuel

Great "article" by pingjockey-thanks! I am planning on keeping this for a future ride.

Just one comment regarding "There is no fuel on the 50 miles between Lake City and Creede." I had mentioned above Freemans Store between Creede and Lake City and when I was there last year, they had fuel. Probably high, but they did have pumps and fuel.

Again thanks for the article.
 

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Soutwestern Colorado

You must ride the San Juan Skyway Loop. It's gorgeous. Also the loop from Silverton up to Montrose over and down through Lake City, Creede, South Fork, over Wolf Creek pass, through Pagosa Springs, Durango and back up to Silverton is a very nice ride. I forget the exact mileage, but it's an all day ride so leave early.

Maps with mileage and photos of the rides are on my website.

Enjoy and ride safe.
 

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Great "article" by pingjockey-thanks! I am planning on keeping this for a future ride.

Just one comment regarding "There is no fuel on the 50 miles between Lake City and Creede." I had mentioned above Freemans Store between Creede and Lake City and when I was there last year, they had fuel. Probably high, but they did have pumps and fuel.

Again thanks for the article.
Thanks for the kind words, Bill. I did not know about Freeman's Store. I looked them up on Google Maps and they are 30 miles south of Lake City and 20 miles north of Creede. Now I'll have to go check it out for myself. :yes:
 

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Freedmans has "OK" burgers, the same burgers are also servered at many local "Malt/Burger locations all over Colorado as they all buy from the same "Food Wholesaler". I guess it is about the location.
 

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You must ride the San Juan Skyway Loop. It's gorgeous. Also the loop from Silverton up to Montrose over and down through Lake City, Creede, South Fork, over Wolf Creek pass, through Pagosa Springs, Durango and back up to Silverton is a very nice ride. I forget the exact mileage, but it's an all day ride so leave early.

Maps with mileage and photos of the rides are on my website.

Enjoy and ride safe.

This is a day long ride.. and a must do..
 

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Since you're staying in Silverton, take the Durango-Silverton Steam Train. Very relaxing view of the canyons that can't be seen from the roadways.
 

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Since you're staying in Silverton, take the Durango-Silverton Steam Train. Very relaxing view of the canyons that can't be seen from the roadways.
Buy those tickets -soon- they seem to sell quite quickly, especially this time of year.
 

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Just returned from Colorado today. Watch that heat going and coming. 111 in Woodward yesterday was so had to pull up and make it in early this morning. Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thanks for all the tips. Starting to get excited about the trip.
 

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Great report Pingjockey. Seven days is sure a short time to see it all.

As long as you're staying in Silverton, check out Handlebars Food & Saloon. Good eatin' and an interesting place. :thumbup:
 

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Been a lot of places and for me that area is the best. Have fun enjoy and take a ton of pictures so you can relive the ride over and over.
Jimbo Dean:thumbup:
 
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