In September, we will be spending a number of days in Durango during our first-ever trip to Southwest USA. We would love to see some of the gorgeous mountain scenery the San Juans are so famous for, and had thought of taking a jeep tour with one of the many companies in the area. However, the more time we spend browsing through websites with tour descriptions, the harder it gets to decide which tour to take. So, I was hoping we could get some advice here...
This we've decided, at least: we would like to take a full-day jeep tour (so not a combo trip), starting out from either Durango or Silverton. (I know that some companies in Ouray offer great tours too, but we'll be staying in Durango and would prefer not to have to drive all the way to Ouray and back for a tour.)
The tour companies we know of are Outlaw and Mild2Wild (in Durango) and Silver Summit and San Juan Backcountry (in Silverton). The former two seem to offer primarily "mining town" tours in the Silverton region, while the latter two also offer trips over the passes to Ouray and Telluride (Engineer, Imogene, ...). I should say that we are somewhat less excited about the mining town tours - while they seem fun, we're afraid they will offer less spectacular scenery than the "mountain pass" tours. But then again, is this really the case??? We have no idea... In fact, none of the "mining town" tour descriptions are not very specific in mentioning where they will take you (they only mention "mining towns", including Animas Forks, but not much more).
So, we were hoping we could get a bit of advice from you... Could anyone tell us a bit more in detail where the full-day tours of Outlaw and Mild2Wild go? Also, what is your opinion about which tours provide the best value in terms of scenery? And, if we choose Silver Summit or San Juan Backcountry, which tour(s) should we ask for, specifically? (Imogene/Ophir, the Alpine Loop, or something else...) Any help would be very much appreciated!
Thanks in advance!
Tamara & Christophe