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jeep tour from Durango/Silverton - can't choose... help!

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jeep tour from Durango/Silverton - can't choose... help!

Hi all,

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

North Platte...
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1. Re: jeep tour from Durango/Silverton - can't choose... help!

Howdy Tamara & Christophe,

I will do my best to answer a little bit of your questions.

If I had to choose a specific tour, I would go with the Imogene/Ophir pass tour.

I have never done a tour with a company. I have always driven these passes myself in a rented jeep the last week of September for the last 14 years. (except the years that it snows early and the passes close, as in last year) Then I just go hiking in the area of Ouray.

I have read that you will be coming out of Durango. I would encourage you to stay at least two of those nights in Ouray and do the tours out of there. If this is not possible, I understand. If you are worried about the drive from Durango to Ouray, it is not that bad. I would rather drive this road instead of a camping car along the cliff roads of Normandy and Brittany in western France. (which I have done, and that was nerve racking for me)

I do reccomend to people to go to Durango for holidays. I believe there are several great places to see in that area. I just do not know those tour companies. If I can try and answer anymore questions, I will do my best.

Cheers and Happy Trails,


Colorado Springs, CO
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2. Re: jeep tour from Durango/Silverton - can't choose... help!


I have done both the mining tours and 4 wheeling on my own on Imogene/Ophir and if I were you I would skip the mining tours (kinda boring) and take the much more scenic mountain pass tours. imogen/Ophir (or any of them really) are spectacular and definately give you a glimpse of the wild Colorado nature at its finest. Can't speak for the various companies, but I am sure they are all comparable.


Vickie G.

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3. Re: jeep tour from Durango/Silverton - can't choose... help!

Thanks, people! We'll try to go for one of the mountain pass tours around Silverton, then!!

One final question: do you think it would be necessary to make reservations? Or is September usually quiet enough so that we could just turn up at any of the tour offices in the early morning, and immediately go on a tour? I could imagine that, for the companies which offer "personalized" tours, it might be useful for us to make a reservation, in order to be able to choose where we want to go (as opposed to having to join an existing tour...) ?

Thanks again!

Ontario, Ohio
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4. Re: jeep tour from Durango/Silverton - can't choose... help!

I just wanted to pass this along to you....we wanted to do a jeep tour last September, but couldn't because the tours had closed down. I have to add that a snowstorm had gone through the previous couple days...so I don't know if it was because of the condition of the trails or because the season was considered to be over. This was in Ouray.

5. Re: jeep tour from Durango/Silverton - can't choose... help!

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