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Trip to SW Colorado

5070 Views 81 Replies 13 Participants Last post by  mtnbound
I'm planning to take a trip from Denver to Gunnison and then maybe down alittle farther into SW colorado to the ouray/ silverton/ telluride area. I've never been down there and wonder if anyone has any good tips for places to stop along the way. I would like to camp the first night or two, then stay in a motel somewhere for a night and then camp again on the way home for the last night to break up the drive. Im off for a whole week plus a few days in sept, the week after labor day, so that's when it would be.

any help appreciated, maybe one day or night some site members would like to meet up and run a trail and do a group camp somewhere.. just a thought..
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Yeah i need to research what trails I do/ dont want to do. My rigs is mostly stock so nothing super crazy. I guess I should do some of the main ones while im there though.

but, I also want to get into some more secluded wilderness, away from others if possible.
View attachment 138222

Lake San Cristobal near Lake City. If you keep going up that road along the lake you will get to Alpine Loop. And if you go to the left towards Slumgillian you will see the site where Alfred know.

thanks for 2 things:

the info on the spots, and, the history lesson on Alfred Packer! I had never heard of this and just spent about a half an hour reading about him and his escapades! It certainly lends some context to the land and times.

I want to try some fishing if possible. I have a small fishing rod, reel type, no fly stuff here. so, can i do this, what bait or lures should i use and where should I buy a permit? is there just a "colorado" fishing permit, or is it more regional. I fished in FL but havent since moving here. thanks in advance.
Ok so at this point im pretty sure i want to do immogene and engineers pass, and maybe the alpine loop? not sure if ill have enough time for all three. not sure im up to black bear, it seems pretty butt clenchy.
The Engineer part is fine, but the Mineral Creek part is not. OP - Do not take your stock rig down or up Mineral Creek. Take Engineer into Animas Forks, then up California, then down Corkscrew and into Ouray.

And I shouldn't have to say it, but no Black Bear for you.

Also if you end up in Silverton, the Mining Museum is fantastic!

The Fun Treks Book, their GPS tracks, and the Nat Geo paper map will do you right.

Air down, hold on, pay attention, and have fun.

yeah im not going to attempt Black Bear until maybe next year with some other more experienced folks, I think imogene will be enough "fun" for me lol. thanks for the tip.

FYI its not totally stock, 2" lift and by then 285's. oem skids. few other odds and ends, but its no where near a "fully built rig". I also plan on new pads and maybe rotors, possibly a brake fluid flush by then as well, lol i want to be confident in my brakes.
Fishing license you can buy in walmart.
What kind of rod you have? I only fly fish.
Best overall rigging for colorado is classic san juan worm as attractant fly and rs2. It's all in the proper weighting.
You can try spinning in Blue mesa, but spinning us not my forte so I can not speak to it. Taylor river is tricky as it has pools and shallow runs, depth always changing. Hermosa creek is nice in Lake City. Arkansas river is great fishing near Granite.

My advice try not to pack to much in one trip.
And on a cautious note. Hwy50 was closed for whole summer niw with I70 being closed due to mudslude dot reopend 50 as one lane road. It can affect gas stations in the area. Bring gas can.

thanks for the tips! I literally have a mini rod/ reel, used it for fishing in shallows around my condo in the swamps of FL! I dont plan on doing a whole lot of fishing, but if im camped by a lake or river, the ability to cast out a few times would be nice.

to your point on not packing too much. I've already started going through my 4 bins of camping gear and pulling out only the good stuff that I know i will use. Im also looking at building a lightweight stove/ drawer set up on one side of the rear to help keep things organized and easy to access.
Good overall rod for trout fishing is 5wt 9'.

No,i didn't mean how much gear you bring. That's up to your prefference.
But you mentioned where you want to go and that was a lot of miles. Mountainous Colorado is tricky, you look on a map it seems really close, but when you start driving those passes it takes time. Besides when you are going from A to B you likely to miss fun stuff in between. I guess I was projecting. Being an avid photographer I like to stop and pause, and look and inhale the beauty. Unfortunately legalization of pot in CO brought different meaning to high. Mountains make you feel high in pure context.

There is nice flyshop in Arvada, Charlie Craven is well known. I use his fly tying book a lot. That pretty much use for my X. Get me to cool streams. Right now we exploring WY fishing.

Ah, I understand, and agree. I think i may just stick to the alpine loop, and not try to get in too many other trails, I do want to be able to relax a good bit.

I'm thinking drive down there day one and find a nice camp site in the area. wake up day 2 and do alpine loop, find a good place to camp for the night. next day, day 3, wake up and spend some time aroundf telluride or ouray , coffee breakfast etc, then head on home. I may be able to squeeze in a night 3, but idk, we'll see.

that sound reasonable?
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If in Telluride, go to the base of Bridal Veil Falls. Fun little trip up the lower portion of BB.
sounds perfect!
We just made it to Ouray today, plan on taking Blackbear to Telluride then Imogene/yankee boy basin back to Ouray. View attachment 138259
View attachment 138260
beautiful, where'd ya stay?
Have a wonderful trip. Don't be obsessed with selfies but enjoy yourself and scenery and unwind.

Safe trails

thanks! I have the opposite problem though, I ignore my phone when im in the mountains and end up coming howmewith hardly any pics...
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Oh, one last thing. You moved from sea level not to long ago. Cottonwood pass, for example, 12000 ft, Gunnison is 7700,Leadville 11000. You might want to get little oxygen bottle in walmart.

We were skiing in Ski Cooper and there was a fellow from South Dakota.
He stayed night in Leadville. We stroke a conversation at the yurt and he complained that he felt light-headed. He was doing motorcycle trip around Colorado. Told us about Twin peaks at SD. I offered to stay with him on a way down and later saw an ambulance. I don't know if he was there or just a coincidence.
It still bothers me that I didn't check.
So just a little heads up.

Enjoy enjoy.
thanks, truly appreciate your knowledge on this!!

that said, i've lived here in denver for 5 years and spent enough time over 10k ft that im not too worried about that.

yes, its sad its taken me 5 years to plan this trip.

I also would have felt bad not checking on that myself as well. but, ultimatley, not your responsibility and not much you could have done at that point anyways.
OK, so help me sort this out. at this stage in my planning im really trying to iron out my route, roughly at least.

here is what im thinking currenty, and i have a few questions:

285 sw to salida, then west on 50 to gunnison. from there south down to lake city, i believe thats 149.

then it looks like you can maybe get from lake city to ouray by west going up over that mountain range, using parts of the alpine loop, to Ouray.

then I could take imogene fro ouray to telluride.

telluride up to blck canyons. and then back home.

I may have to cut out that last part, depends on time.

day 1, get to lake city and then on back roads and find a place t camp for the night.

day 2 make it to ouray, then imogene on to telluride. camp somewhere.

day 3, telluride, and start heading back home.

so questions:

1. does this sound feasible and or make sense?

2. can i get from lake city to Ouray using back roads.

3. does anyone have a better proposed route or alterations?
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4. Anyone able / willing to join for a day/ night/ pass?
maybe thats too much to try to fit in? idk this is knda overwhelming.
We stayed in Ouray, made it to box canyon around 8:30am, did Yankee Boy Basin and Governs Basin then Imogene Pass to Telluride. Made it to Telluride around 2:45pm, drove the strip (good luck finding any parking there (On a Thursday). Refueled, grabbed some snacks and headed south on 145 to Ophir Pass. We made the Summit right at 5:00pm then started the way down and were airing up around an hour later. Went south on 550 to Silverton and ate at the Pink BBQ place, finished up and took 550 north back to Ouray. We were at our Hotel around 8:30pm. We didn’t rush anything and stopped plenty of times for pics.

I would recommend trying to do this during the weekday, it seemed pretty busy even then so I can’t imagine what the weekend would be like.
thanks! super helpful.

I plan to leave either sunday or monday morning.

I wonder if should just skip the lake city part and go straight to ouray and take it from there?
Telluride parking is off the strip, UNDER some of the buildings.
I've got a few guys in stock trucks/ motorcycles that want to meet me down there and camp, so does anyone know any dispersed camp sites near ouray that a stock X could easily make it to? they have a stock 4 rnr, a stock colorado z71, and some sort of adventure bike.
ok so a couple buddy's are going to come with me in a chevy colorado zr2. still trying to hammer out a route, but im thinking we go either to lake city> Ouray then ouray to telluride via imogene?

is imogene "easier" than black bear? whats the easiest route through the alpine loop?
mineral creek would take you west towards ouray right? as opposed to animas which is more south to silverton?

i think thats one of the routes were considering lake city> enigneer> animas> silverton? does that include hurricane as well?

it seems like most of it is 2 way right? are there any 1 way areas to keep in mind?
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