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Old 02-25-2009, 03:11 PM   #15
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The MOST beautiful place in the world where we have camped is Molas Lake campground. It is between Silverton and Ouray. We have a larger rig now and can't get into this place, but every time we pass by it I drool!! It is so picturesque. Surrounded by 13,000' peaks all around. It is 10,800 ft or so in elevation. Here is a link.

About.com: http://www.molaslakecampground.com/

The Hot Springs in Ouray is a must.
Black Canyon of the Gunnison is a must.
Renting a jeep or hiring a driver is a must in Ouray.
Ridgway State Park is a great place. We camp there frequently.
Avoid: The Beaumont Hotel in Ouray. Snooty owners and overpriced food!

Hope this helps a bit.
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Old 02-25-2009, 07:28 PM   #16
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"Avoid: The Beaumont Hotel in Ouray. Snooty owners and overpriced food!"

Great historical hotel restoration and I think the food and service is excellent. Owners have always been gracious when we've stayed there. And yes, the prices are inline with most four star accommodations.
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Old 02-25-2009, 07:44 PM   #17
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I'll be in Estes Park this summer. Its bee14 years for Durango and we were tent campers then. There was a KOA just north of town and we had a site directly on the Animas River (wide and fast!). Take the narrow guage railroad to Silverton BUT take the bus back (or vice versa). The train is historic/scenic BUT way too slow to take both ways. We all (the entire train car) threatened to get off and walk back -- would have been faster. Enjoy.
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Old 02-25-2009, 08:49 PM   #18
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Ridgway SP is nice, but fills up fast in the summer. Reservations advised. There's a campground just below Telluride that a friend has stayed at—no hookups, but it has wifi. The town may own it.

Since you've been there before, you'll know this. Good brakes for those passes! A round trip takes you to Lizard Head Pass and Dolores and a nice drive along the Dolores R.

Yes, the Beaumont is very expensive and so are so other restaurants in Ouray. The BonTon used to be our favorite, but quality dropped and prices shot up. Buen Tiempo (same owner) is a sometimes mediocre Mexican place. There are some cheaper restaurants up the road in Ridgway—The Oriental Chinese Rest., for breakfast and lunch place on Clinton—Kate's Place—and a Mexican place which I believe is called the Adobe. I prefer to eat in Ridgway. And yes, there's no "e" in Ridgway.

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Old 02-26-2009, 09:06 AM   #19
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Given the choice of a great place to boon dock and a campground, I'll always choose to boon dock. The top of the Lizard Head pass is an excellent location. A small group of us from the 4CU stayed there 2 years ago in late June and I hope to be able to camp there in early June this year if the weather permits. You never know how June will be in the mountains but if you're in late June the odds are in your favor. Beware of the Bluegrass festival in Telluride which is from June 18th. -21st. It's there busiest weekend of the year, even more so then any ski season weekend. Very large crowds, so unless you're really there for the festival it may take away from the experience. I may try for a late season trip to the area myself as I've never camped near Durango, or Mesa Verde.

Charlie
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Old 02-26-2009, 12:01 PM   #20
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We've been in the South Fork/Creede/Ouray/Western Colorado area many times over the years and will be going back this summer for a month or more, but we'll not likely arrive until mid July. At last count there will be five or six other Airstream trailers likely traveling with us summer.
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Old 02-26-2009, 12:23 PM   #21
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Another area to explore is from Creede—an old mining town—over Slumgullion and Spring Creek Passes and then to Lake City. Lots of Texans to be seen there, hopefully spending all their money in Colorado, so you may feel like you never left home. It is a beautiful area and there should be plenty of places to boondock up around the passes. If you are looking for water, Blue Mesa Res., north of Lake City, west of Gunnison, is popular. Not far from the west end of Blue Mesa Res. is a beautiful drive along Colo. 92 along the north side of the Black Canyon and 40 miles to Crawford State Park, nice accommodations there, and on a smaller reservoir, and pretty remote and quiet. Yes, there's a Crawford in Colorado too, and the most famous person here is Joe Cocker.

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Old 02-26-2009, 01:42 PM   #22
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Yes, the area that Gene describes is spectacular, IMHO. My parents used to have a ranch over north of the Crawford area near Paonia, so we used to travel Hwy 92 a lot. (By the way, it's less "exciting" now because it's paved and even has guard rails for part of the way!)

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Old 05-03-2010, 10:24 PM   #23
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I'm reviving an older thread...
It looks like lots of you travel this area with trailers...We plan on coming through Colorado this July. I'm considering dropping down from westbound Hwy 70 through Ouray to Durango area via Hwy 550.
My question is this: Are there any roads or passes that I should avoid? Is Hwy 550 OK for a 25' trailer?
I have a lot of mountain driving experience, just never been through that area and know that the elevation gets pretty high. As a result, I picture some pretty steep grades.
Please chime in with your experiences, or local knowledge.
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Old 05-03-2010, 11:02 PM   #24
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Having visited the Silverton area many times I can say that I would not hesitate to take my trailer (16 feet) over this road. I love camping in Silverton and exploring the roads and old mines in the area not to mention the town and train.

The road from Ouray to just beyond Molas Pass is not only steep, but narrow and has very sharp curves and a number of switchbacks. I have seen trucks and busses on this stretch so it can be done but would suggest slow, careful driving. Watch for overheating engine and brakes.

The scenery is stupendous, stop a lot and take pictures, also lets brakes cool off. I suggest lunch at the Handlebars in Silverton. I have to say I haven't been there for some years, so can only hope the Handlebars is still open. There is a huge lunch crowd from the trains, but the town handles it very well.

PM if you care to for more details, no, I don't have any commercial interest in this.

Enjoy
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Old 05-03-2010, 11:05 PM   #25
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Forgot to mention I use a re-built 1990 F-150 with a 302 and 4-speed auto.

Yes, 1990, does fine, I go slow and try not to watch the gas gauge too much. Total rig weight 8800 lbs loaded.
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Old 05-03-2010, 11:07 PM   #26
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Thanks Elvie, sent you a PM.
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Old 05-04-2010, 01:28 AM   #27
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The Forrest Service camp ground just on the rim above the town or Ouray is a must stay... You have almost 3000 foot walls of rock on one side and the town and more mountain views beyond! Hike up the box canyon trail less than 5 min away! You must go to TELLURIDE!!! it is a great little town, amazing food, views, culture! Ride the free gondola (up to 12,000 feet) for more amazing views and hikes... You are also a hour from Mesa Verde... plan to spend at least a half a day there! I have been many times and still find it very interesting...Cliff house and big house must see extra! The camping there is not so good so take a day trip from Durango. Not sure of your age (clothing optional) The Orvis hot-springs between Ouray and Ridgeway is a great way to wind down from a long day.
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Old 05-04-2010, 09:38 AM   #28
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Last time I checked, Molas Lake CG was South of Ouray towards Durango. I agree it looks like a great place to camp although I've never stayed there preferring Silverton.
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