Originally Posted by TG Twinkie
There is another route if you are concerned about the switchbacks which aren't that bad. Go west out of Durango then take Highway 145 north thru Dolores and Rico over Lizard Head Pass.
Hwy 145 is a gorgeous route as well, with dispersed camping at Lizard Head and a fine NF CG, Sunshine, just before Telluride. We've also done 550 a dozen times with our FC23FB, and I love the driving. Camping at Haviland Lake SP just out of Durango is really fine, as is Molas a bit further up. Enjoy our area!