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Overnight to Ouray and getting there

Baton Rouge...
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Overnight to Ouray and getting there

This will be my husband and my 4th trip to Durango and we love it. Our problem is we love hiking in the area so much and we spend 25 hrs in the car getting there it's hard to think of taking long day trips. We've spent the night in Mesa Verde in the past and are planning another overnight. Next we'll drive to Ouray. Do you think we need more than one night to fully enjoy the area? Also, everything I've read about the drive betw Silverton and Ouray (SCARES ME). Is it really that bad??? We'll be traveling in late Sept. so you can see I'm scared even without snow concerns (I'm sure some of you are smiling right now). And, which would be less intimidating Silverton to Ouray or Ouray to Silverton. We've driven Durango to Silverton. How does that drive compare? Thanks for your suggestions!

Tyler, Texas
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1. Re: Overnight to Ouray and getting there

The road concerns IMO are greatly over exaggerated. We did it both ways and had only minor trepidations...and we are flat landers!

You could spend a day in Ouray or Silverton if doing a backcountry jeep tour

Atlanta, Georgia
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2. Re: Overnight to Ouray and getting there

I am a flat lander and did not really mind the drive. I like driving Silverton to Ouray- had great scenery. Road is more curvy imo than between Durango and Silverton.

Tyler, Texas
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3. Re: Overnight to Ouray and getting there

PeachBelle...Great minds think alike!

Charleston, South...
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4. Re: Overnight to Ouray and getting there

I live at sea level most of the year and I have done that drive many times, both directions and not found it to be "white knuckle", etc. I often drive from Telluride to Silverton just for a change of pace, spend the afternoon in Silverton and head back again. IE - Telluride to Ouray to Silverton and the reverse. If it makes a difference, I am a girl, not a thrill seeking, testosterone poisoned guy. :-D

A day is enough to see the town of Ouray, but if you want to do hiking, jeep tour, etc , you may want to have longer.

WestSlope,CO
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5. Re: Overnight to Ouray and getting there

If you've already driven from Durango to Silverton, you've gone over 2 high mountain passes and very similar roads to what you'll have from Silverton on to Ouray. Coming down from Red Mountain Pass is pretty steep and curvy, but at that point the road has plenty of shoulder, so you just need to take the switchbacks slowly...downshift so you don't ride your brakes. The approx 10-12 mile section just south of Ouray is the usual place that gives us white knuckle types our white knuckles, but it's the same width highway (just very narrow shoulders, so keep it between the lines!) It is mostly straight and flat through that section, where the highway passes along a canyon wall along (above?) the Uncompahgre Gorge. Driving from Silverton to Ouray puts you on the inside next to the mountain through that section so for us white knuckle types that is usually cited as the preferred direction, although I'm not sure it makes a whole lot of difference because there are a couple of other sections where the drop off is on the other side. Just make sure the person driving is one who isn't always hitting the rumble strips on the side of highways because they're talking with their hands or turning around to talk to someone in the back seat.

Do check the weather and road conditions before you set out, but it is very likely that your weather will be just gorgeous at that time.

There's so much great hiking and scenery around Ouray that I'd spend two nights there, or possibly three, depending on what you plan to do.

Were you thinking of driving back to Durango via the rest of the San Juan Skyway loop around to Telluride, Dolores, etc? You'd see some awesome aspen color and mountain views that way, too. Lots of hiking around Telluride, too, and you could ride the gondola between town and Mountain Village for some awesome views.

Baton Rouge...
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6. Re: Overnight to Ouray and getting there

Well, we love Mesa Verde (the sunsets are my favorite) so we plan to spend the night there and loop around Delores, telluride (quickly) so we can get to Ouray early enough to get in a hike in and enjoy the town. The next day hike some more and head back to Durango in the afternoon. I really want to go to Yankee Boy Basin and Box Canyon. That said, if you have any recommendations, do tell. Should we skip MV (this will be our 3rd time in 3yrs) and add a night in Ouray and just drive from Durango through Silverton to Ouray? Also, we'll be in a Nissan Murano. Do you think we'll need to rent a jeep? Thanks for your input!

Charleston, South...
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7. Re: Overnight to Ouray and getting there

Personally, I would skip MV this time and go directly to Ouray. Did you say when you will be there? Early to mid July at Yankee Boy Basin is fantastic with wildflowers! Have gone in our own car (a Jeep Cherokee at that time), not that familiar with a Murano, so can't say about that.

Telluride also has some really wonderful hikes, so keep that in mind as well.

WestSlope,CO
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8. Re: Overnight to Ouray and getting there

You should be able to get to Yankee Boy Basin in your Murano unless there's been some road damage/washouts. You might check at the visitor center when you get there, or if we get up that way before your trip I'll try to remember to post an update. There is a washout gully just at the entrance to the basin that's tricky without high clearance, so you might want to park a little way down the road and hike in.

I tend to agree with endosunshine to go for two nights in Ouray since you want to hike and go to Yankee Boy. However, your plan would work well, too, since you've been to Mesa Verde and could just spend the afternoon/evening and start out for Telluride first thing the next morning. Whether or not you include a night at Mesa Verde, I'd recommend you do the loop around by Telluride to complete the Skyway loop either clockwise or counterclockwise. The scenery over Dallas Divide > Telluride/ Lizard Head Pass is outstanding.

9. Re: Overnight to Ouray and getting there

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