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Telluride or Ouray for overnight?

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Ohio
posts: 42
reviews: 66
Telluride or Ouray for overnight?

Coming in July, up from Mesa Verde NP on Million $ Hwy. Want to explore Silverton, Ouray, and Telluride. Which is the better place to stay overnight - Telluride or Ouray? We're looking for scenic beauty and a charming town, not interested in glitz or commercialism. Also, how long to travel between them? It looks like there's a small road that connects them rather than going around. Lastly, want to take a jeep tour. Had looked at the Yankee Boy Basin tour and waterfalls tour - can you get to these from both T & O? Your knowledge is appreciated.

WestSlope,CO
Destination Expert
for Colorado
posts: 8,250
reviews: 120
1. Re: Telluride or Ouray for overnight?

Both Telluride and Ouray are very picturesque, historic, and charming, IMO. Telluride would be the more glitzy of the two, and somewhat more expensive, (usually), because it has become such a resort...skiing in the winter and festivals in the summer, with more lodging and restaurant choices and "ritzier" lodging options, but there are some fairly reasonable options, too. But it still retains its historic character, so IMO either is a good choice. The small road you see is not passable in a regular vehicle. It requires a 4 wheel drive high clearance vehicle and a driver with some off road experience. The drive from Ouray through Ridgway, over Dallas Divide, then to Telluride is a beautiful drive on a good paved highway, and it takes about an hour.

The Yankee Boy Basin tour that I am familiar with departs from Ouray. I'm not sure which waterfalls tour you are referencing.

Charleston, South...
Destination Expert
for Charleston, South Carolina, Telluride
posts: 8,152
reviews: 31
2. Re: Telluride or Ouray for overnight?

Agree, both towns are unique and historic. Telluride has been there well over 100 years. It is more upscale than Ouray regarding number and quality of restaurants, hotels, etc., but does not qualify as "glitzy". Neither town has chain stores (think McDonalds, Days Inn, Walgreens, etc). No "designer" stores, such as you find in Aspen. Both are surrounded by beautiful mountain views. Telluride has the free gondola that goes between town and Mountain Village (additional hotels, restaurants, lodging) that has wonderful views you would not see any other way. The two are about an hour apart, as mentioned, you can not take the "shorter route" ~ it goes over a high mountain pass, is a dirt road and only passable a few months of the year. My personal preference is Telluride, but I often suggest Ouray if it suits someones intinerary/budget more.

www.visittelluride.com

www.mountain-village.co.us

www.telluridemuseum.org

www.OurayColorado.com

WestSlope,CO
Destination Expert
for Colorado
posts: 8,250
reviews: 120
3. Re: Telluride or Ouray for overnight?

Why not do both? If there's any way to eke out enough time in your schedule, I'd recommend driving the entire San Juan Skyway loop. The views from Cortez/ Dolores to Rico and then over Lizard Head Pass and to Telluride are just awesome! And then from Telluride to Placerville and Dallas Divide to Ridgway to Ouray...gorgeous, too.

Ohio
posts: 42
reviews: 66
4. Re: Telluride or Ouray for overnight?

I have been trying to figure out a way to spend a night in each - O & T - but next stop is Black Gunnison...and Crested Butte. From what I've read, CB is a two-night stop with hiking options. Does anybody know the differences between the 4x4 tours from O & T? Maybe that could be a deciding factor. Have read about Yankee Boy Basin from O and some sort of waterfalls trip from T. Are they the same territory just starting from different places or completely different destinations?

WestSlope,CO
Destination Expert
for Colorado
posts: 8,250
reviews: 120
5. Re: Telluride or Ouray for overnight?

There are several different tours from each location, some of them into the same areas, some with different destinations. For example, you can take the Imogene Pass tour from Ouray to Telluride and back, or from Telluride to Ouray and back. Or the shorter tour will go about half way from either location.

I'm not sure which tour from Telluride would be the "waterfalls" tour. Endosunshine or Ttown, do you know? There are waterfalls (some of them seasonal) on tours and hikes from either location. Twin Falls is the one in Yankee Boy Basin...it is the one pictured on the Coors beer label. Ouray also has Cascade Falls, Box Canyon Falls, Bear Creek Falls. …boxcanyonouray.com/bid/102533/Ouray-Waterfa…

Telluride's most famous is Bridal Veil Falls, and there's a Bear Creek Falls there, too.

Great hiking in either location, too. http://www.ouraytrails.org/

http://www.telluridetoday.com/hiking.htm

Charleston, South...
Destination Expert
for Charleston, South Carolina, Telluride
posts: 8,152
reviews: 31
6. Re: Telluride or Ouray for overnight?

Yankee Boy Basin is an incredible tour, especially if you wil be there anywhere close to wildflower peak! My best guess is that a "waterfall tour" from Telluride would be Bridal Veil Falls. There is a building at the top was a power station (now a private home & power station) and is the 2nd oldest operating AC generator in the US. It provides about 25% of Telluride's power. At 365 feet, it is the tallest freefall waterfall in CO.

Bear Creek falls can be accessed as a hike up Bear Creek Trail from Telluride. There is also a jeep tour called Black Bear Pass. It travels in one direction only and is considered very dangerous. It is one of the few things in the area that I have never done and have zero interest in doing ~ primarily due to the danger factor.

Telluride...
Destination Expert
for Telluride
posts: 334
reviews: 5
7. Re: Telluride or Ouray for overnight?

There are many more waterfalls than just Bridal Veil on the waterfall tours. There is also Ingram Falls, Owl Gultch, and the Twin Falls in Royer gultch. Don't forget about all of the seasonal sprays that are only viewable in the late spring/early summer either.

Telluride Offroad Adventures and the other 4x4 tour companies (I think) do a special waterfall tour. www.tellurideoffroad.com

Ohio
posts: 42
reviews: 66
8. Re: Telluride or Ouray for overnight?

You have given us wonderful information, but the decision is so difficult.! Maybe we'll plan to leave Mesa Verde first thing in the morning, drive up through Silverton to Ouray, take a jeep tour out of Ouray, and then head over to Telluride for dinner and the evening. Get up the following day, go to Black Gunnison. At end of that day, drive to Crested Butte. Stay overnight, have the full following day in Crested Butte to hike and explore, overnight in CB, and then head onward from there following morning. Does that sound like a do-able and good three day itinerary?

WestSlope,CO
Destination Expert
for Colorado
posts: 8,250
reviews: 120
9. Re: Telluride or Ouray for overnight?

Will you be in Durango prior to Mesa Verde? Any chance you could drive to Silverton and back from Durango?

Your Silverton to Ouray to Telluride day is doable with one of the short tours, Yankee Boy Basin, probably. But it will make a long day without much time to stop at overlooks, Silverton, and no time to hike or explore Ouray, and not really any time to explore Telluride or do any hikes there. And from your interest in hiking at Crested Butte, I'm sure you're going to see some hikes in Ouray and Telluride that you'll want to do.

Hmmmm....

Can you give me a better idea of the rest of your itinerary? I might be able to see somewhere that you could eke out an extra half day somewhere.

Edited: 2:07 pm, February 23, 2013
Ohio
posts: 42
reviews: 66
10. Re: Telluride or Ouray for overnight?

All right, here goes....

Day 1 - In Denver with family (living in Denver)

Day 2- in Colorado Springs with family (living in Denver)

Day 3- Great Sand Dunes NP, drive to Durango

Day 4-Mesa Verde NP

Day 5-Drive Mil. $ Hwy to Silverton, Ouray, Telluride (content of previous post)

Day 6-To Black Canyon of Gunnison, explore, hiking, to Crested Butte

Day 7-Crested Butte, hiking, exploring

Day 8-Kebler Pass to Glenwood Sprgs, Aspen, maybe a short hike

(don't think Aspen will be our "thing" but want to do Maroon Bells hike)

Day 9-Maroon Bells hike (was told would need to do this first thing in AM)

Day10-Indep. Pass to Leadville, Lake Dillon, O/Nt in Brecksville or Keystone?

Day11-Up to RMNP for several days of hiking, etc.