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Old 05-08-2010, 09:49 AM   #43
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Check the Wikipedia article on Animus Forks: Animas Forks, Colorado - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

We've been there a couple of times coming from Lake City. The county roads from the west are probably the easiest way to get there as Elvie describes. The efforts to stabilize the buildings mostly started after we first went there and some volunteers are saving the remains of the town.

In any of the smaller towns Alpine Loop maps will be available and you can find out lots on internet searches.


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Old 05-08-2010, 11:36 AM   #44
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Does anyone know about the road north then west from Animas Forks to, if I recall correctly, a heavily restored mill that was northwest (as the crow flies) from AF? Not the one that can be seen from AF, but some miles further. Is that road OK for 2-wheel pickup? I seem to remember one ford and rough road the rest of the way, but that was back in the days of my street legal dirt bike. It's along Co 9 a couple of miles.

I stand corrected. Google maps will show AF if the name is entered at the top, new to computers.

Gene, thanks for the tip about WIKI.

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Old 05-09-2010, 04:40 AM   #45
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Go to Durango Colorado,San Juan National Forest,Weminuche Wilderness,SJMA and click on the books & maps section for the most complete list of USFS and National Geo maps for the southwest. There is a complete map/book store in the Durango land center. Other good USFS book stores run by the San Juan Mountain Association in USFS buildings are in Montrose, Creede, Delores, Pagosa Springs and Bayfield. There is an excellent free campground guide as well as info on the Alpine Loop and other scenic attractions.

There is a law in Colorado that requires you to pull over if 5 or more vehicles are behind you and they are unable to pass safely.
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Old 05-09-2010, 05:29 AM   #46
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We camped in Amphitheatre CG above Ouray several years ago. We were in a Pop-up, but we loved it. Took a hike up to a mine above Ouray, great hike.
Last year we took our AS to Lake City, and really enjoyed it. We were in a private CG south of town. "Something" Lakes, I believe. There are two NF Service CGs near there also, that looked nice.
We did the Alpine Loop in our Tacoma, and saw a few full size Pick ups on the road. They had not been modified (Lifted, or had giant tires) looked basically stock to me. They did fine. Just go slow.
Beautiful area, but we like trees, mountains, streams, etc.. We did travel down to Mesa Verde, the ruins were impressive, but we were not really excited about the CG. Too open for us (no trees.)
I would certainly go back again. We really like that area. )
FYI, Lake City seems like the least "touristy" of the Durango, Silverton, Ouray, group.
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Old 05-09-2010, 08:29 AM   #47
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Jeff may be referring to Castle Lakes CG south of Lake City. The county has a CG (Wupperman) along Lake San Cristobal, also south of Lake City. Very beautiful setting, $15/night. They had a dump station and water available. Lake City isn't as well known, but is very popular with Texans. The Alpine Loop, described in several posts above, can be accessed from Lake City and as 4WD mountain roads go, is fairly mild, though I recall some tight switchbacks that would be difficult though not impossible in a full sized truck. You can get to Animus Forks that way, or from the US 550 side and the county roads mentioned above. There are also 4WD roads around Silverton that are fairly popular.

Den(n)is, that Colorado has a road hog law is a surprise to me. I know one copying the Oregon law was introduced in the legislature in the '90's, but it died. Where was I when it was passed and when was that?

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Old 05-09-2010, 09:22 AM   #48
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Thumbs up

I think that is a very wise law. I am a retired Police Officer and have driven heavy duty tow trucks for some time before fully retireing. I am very conscious about what is following me and often slow or pull over to let traffic pass. It's about time that there is some effort to motivate slower traffic to do likewise. I do the same when towing my AS. I look at it as simply common courtesy and appreciate when others do the same.

Thumbs up to Colorado on that one.

Now, back on topic, I am planning to spend several days in the San Juan Mtn. area and will try and follow some of the previous advice and hit the trails to some of these very scenic locations. The Alpine loop is a must. That is if the conditions permit. By early July I'm hoping to find things passable. I have a 4x4 diesel PU but it's not set up for rough terrain and I shall not abuse it. It's a nice ride and I also need it to get me and my AS home again. So light to mild terrain is my guide. I would like to move around a bit and try several locations but that will depend just how busy the area is and once I plant my AS it might be better to stay put.
Anyhow, appreciate the input, please keep it coming.

Roger in a cool and very windy NJ
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Old 05-09-2010, 03:36 PM   #49
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There is a law in Colorado that requires you to pull over if 5 or more vehicles are behind you and they are unable to pass safely
Calif. also has a law like this. Since the 60's IIRC.
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Old 05-09-2010, 05:39 PM   #50
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Have fun in Colorado!

Hi Roger:

Over a decade ago, I ran a few vintage Dodge Power Wagon Rendezvous rallies out of Lake City and Quray. We drove these 1940s to 70's wide-turning radius, heavily sprung full-size, straight-six powered 4-speed pick up trucks over the Alpine Loop many times. Except for snow possibly blocking a trail, you should not have any problem on the Alpine Loop in your diesel 4X4. My all-manual 1947 Power Wagon has a wheel base on 126" but couldn't turn on the Denver Mint, much less a silver dollar, and I drove all around the Alpine Loop. The view from the top is spectacular!

One year we also drove a herd of old Power Wagons down Blackbear Pass and into Telluride. That was a high pucker experience. We had to "back and fill" on a couple of the hairpin turns, but slow and steady we did make it. Some mountain tour companies drove some full size Chevy Suburbans down Blackbear, so we felt our old PWs would make it, and they did. But don't start the Blackbear trail from U.S. 550 without first driving to Telluride on a regular highway and looking closely at the Blackbear trail descent down a rather sheer cliff into Telluride. It has a lot of "exposure", as we call it our here. Make sure your brakes work!

The Imogene Pass 4X4 trail out of Telluride up to the Tomboy Mine and beyond has a half-mile or so of a one lane shelf road with a pure vertical drop off on the passenger side. If you are driving up, just focus on the road, not the view. Let the passenger enjoy the view. That short shelf road portion is a bit hairy, but the rest of the trail is a pleasant drive.

Twenty years ago I drove my parents from Telluride part way up the Imogene Pass trail to the Tomboy Mine for lunch, then back down to town. They are from N.Y., where the highway dept. puts guard rails alongside every roadside depression. They have never forgotten the stretch along the shelf road! My Mom still remarks about the absence of guard rails; that made a lasting impression on her in the passenger seat.

Have fun out here in July. It's a spectacular part of our beautiful state you have chosen to visit, and I'm sure you will be favorably impressed.
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Old 07-25-2011, 10:00 PM   #51
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Looking for some advice. Left Denver Saturday. Been through Great Sand Dunes. Now at East Fork FS campground outside of Pagosa Springs. Went into town for dinner this evening so already seen the town. I have a reservation at Rifle Gap State park on Friday night (7-29). So with three nights between now and Friday, what route should I take and what campgrounds should we do?

My wife and I have our 2 month old and 2 year old with us, so shorter driving times are better. I was thinking of Ridgway State Park for Thursday night, maybe Wednesday also. She's a little mad because we haven't stayed anywhere with any hookups since we left. We would love to see Telluride but that seems like a lot of extra driving, unless we do a day trip from Ridgway. Sounds like with good equipment and careful driving, 550 is doable?? Coming down wolf creek pass, the truck and trailer did fine in the lowest gear at 30MPH the whole way with only needing to use the breaks a handful of times. Thanks for any advice!
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Old 07-26-2011, 03:53 AM   #52
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Ridgway State Park is a nice park, but a lot of people know that and it is often booked up at this time of year. I think they may have some sites with partial hookups.

US 550 is doable, but will be slow driving. It is not easy to go from Pagosa Springs to Rifle. The Rockies are in way. Either backtrack over Wolf Creek Pass and go through Lake City, Montrose (close to Ridgway), Grand Junction, Rifle, or Durango, Cortez, Dolores, Telluride, Grand Junction, Rifle. There are no reservation Forest Service sites near Telluride. Any way you go, you will see beautiful country.

My wife likes hookups some times and I listen to her.


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durango, haviland, ouray, silverton

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