Either route is about 3.5 hours. I think the route via Telluride is an easier drive, but it has been a long time since I drove to Telluride.
I don't think you are going to be able to make it from MVNP to Montrose in the daylight if you are going to spend a full day at MVNP. The mileage is only about 142 miles or so either way but it is slow driving over narrow, 2 lane mountain roads for parts of the trip so it will take at least 3 hrs. or more to drive either way. If you are not comfortable driving in the mountains (not hills) then I would suggest taking the Telluride route. You will bypass the Million Dollar Highway - a section with sheer dropoffs and few or no guardrails. Some great videos are on YouTube - look for them by truckertwotimes's Videos. He has 3 of them going from Durango to the top of Red Mountain Pass - not quite all the way to Ouray. It will give you a good visual. Just type in Durango in the search at his website and you can view all 3. Another thing is that the sun "sets" a lot earlier in the mountain canyons since many areas only get sunlight when it is directly overhead so by late afternoon it will begin to be darker in some areas and deer will begin to move onto the highway areas. Would it be possible for you to spend the night in either Cortez or Durango and begin the drive in the a.m. when you are fresh?
Thanks for the info. I think we will take the Telluride route and check out the Million Dollar highway video instead of driving it!
We will be at MVNP the previous day also, so I think we can leave by mid afternoon.
Here it is several years later, and I too am planning to spend 1/2 day at MVNP and drive for an overnight in Montrose. Just wondered what route you chose, and if the timing turned out just right. Remember where you stayed by chance and/or ate? thanks...leaving in a week or so.
what kind of place are you looking for to stay & eat? B&B? chain motel? what type of food? I can recommend some favorites if I know what you're looking for.
Thanks. This is a just an over night stop and already have lodging arranged, however I would appreciate any dining suggestions. We are small portion eaters and was considering the Bubble Lounge in Telluride...know anything about it? It is a tapas/oxygen bar and looks interesting on-line, but can find nothing on TA. Thanks alot for the help. Am traveling through that part of colorado the first week of October and am trying to find something warm to take...here in my home state...tee shirts and shorts! :)
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