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Old 06-04-2012, 06:53 PM   #1
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Four Corners, Utah, Durango advice

Taking our Airstream Interstate from Santa Fe to the Four Corners area for 3 nights later this week. Any suggestions on things to do in such a short period?

We are a bit worried about it being too hot so may just spend a night at Goulding's then head to the mountains. I have spent hours searching strings to get suggestions....head is spinning.
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Old 06-04-2012, 06:58 PM   #2
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If you're going to Gouldings you might want to consider taking their tour, but allow at least 4 hours for it.
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Old 06-04-2012, 07:24 PM   #3
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Don't know what your general route from Santa Fe is or how far you want to get into the 4 corners area, but the Jemez Mts area south of Los Alamos (north of Albuquerque and northwest of Santa Fe) are nice...several nice campground in the mountains...Jemez Falls Campground and a few others in that area...and Fenton Lake State Park. Also north from Santa Fe to Chama just shy of the CO border is pretty...and are El Vado Lake State Park and Heron Lake and where we've stayed a few times. There are a couple of commercial RV parks in Chama as well...interesting area. The drive between Chama and Farmington is pleasant and unexpectedly pretty...and there are some NM state parks along there...the drive from Farmington west to Shiprock and south to Gallup is pretty desolate. Hope this helps!
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Old 06-04-2012, 07:55 PM   #4
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That's such beautifull country. Unbelievable that you've gotten that far and only give Santa Fe to Durango three days.
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Old 06-05-2012, 02:45 AM   #5
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Suggest TBRich's route through Chama, then on to Pagosa Springs and Durango. Durango is a small college town with lots to do, and it's only 40 miles short of Cortez.

Durango is in the mountains, so it will be cooler; and water activities include fishing and white-water rafting. There are lots of little shops and restaurants (it's ski country in the winter), and the Durango/Silverton Narrow Gage Railway Station is one of the main attractions. One usually needs advanced reservations to ride the train, but I have heard that their no-show waiting list sometimes yields last-minute tickets.

Silverton is about 45 miles north of Durango on the Million Dollar Highway, and it's an old mining town (lots of touristy stuff to do there, too). If you decide to go there, don't miss the "Old 100 Gold Mine Tour", where you ride ore carts into a mine, and old miners entertain with demonstrations of tools and equipment, and lots of hilarious old mining stories. Kids can pan for gold and silver near the entrance after taking the tour (they salt troughs with little silver BBs, so you won't get rich; but the kids will have lots of fun).

Be forewarned that the Million Dollar Highway is narrow and winding with steep drop-offs, and it is not for the faint of heart. You may wish to do this as a day trip and leave the Airstream behind. However, we've driven it with our 19-foot Bambi; and it's safe enough. But take your time and don't let the people behind rush you through this beautiful scenic drive. Northbound (headed from Durango to Silverton) you'll be on the inside, so watch that rock overhangs and outcroppings don't reach out and scrape your Airstream; and southbound, you'll be on the outside, which does NOT have guardrails in most areas. Your wife or significant other may wish to wear blinders or read a book on this stretch of road, if they are afraid of heights like mine is.

Lots more to see farther north in Ouray, like dramatic waterfalls and hot springs (big public pools downtown), but that will take you farther away from Cortez, if Mesa Verde is your primary destination.

By the way, there are lots more beautiful areas northeast of Pagosa Springs, like the Great Sand Dunes National Park and an alligator farm (yes, in the Rocky Mountains).

This is a beautiful part of the Rockies, and you may wish to extend your stay or plan on coming back when you can explore this area more.
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Old 06-05-2012, 06:14 AM   #6
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Do you have suggestions for camping near Durango and Pagosa Springs?
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Old 06-05-2012, 07:04 AM   #7
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Exclamation

How difficult is it to get reservations at Gouldings during the summer months...specifically how far in advance should reservations be made?
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Old 06-05-2012, 07:42 AM   #8
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Skip 4 corners monument, but catch Hovenweep National Momument if you can.
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Old 06-05-2012, 07:58 AM   #9
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It wasn't a problem getting reservations at Goulding's. I originally made them for the end of June but then switched them a week ago. We have a house in Santa Fe and just wanted to take a quick trip to the Four Corners Area since I base our Interstate here in the summer/fall months.
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Old 06-05-2012, 08:14 AM   #10
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Mesa Verde NP.

Canyons of the Ancients NM—near Cortez with a visitor center north of the town. The NM is dispersed and few people go there, so although it doesn't have the number of ruins Mesa Verde, no crowds. In Cortez I believe the CG we have stayed at is Sunshine or something like that.

The Navajo Res. has trading posts, Hubble Trading Post is a National Historic Site (near Ganado). Canyon de Chelly just east of Chinle. Navajo capital is at Window Rock—there's a museum and the Navajo legislature building is interesting.

There's more, but you don't have much time.

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Old 06-05-2012, 08:22 AM   #11
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We just came back from taking the Million Dollar Highway from Durango to Gunnison where we boondocked for five days. Did not think it was bad at all excepting the rock falls that slowed things up a bit.
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Old 06-05-2012, 08:53 AM   #12
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Phoenix wrote, "Be forewarned that the Million Dollar Highway is narrow and winding with steep drop-offs, and it is not for the faint of heart. You may wish to do this as a day trip and leave the Airstream behind. However, we've driven it with our 19-foot Bambi; and it's safe enough. But take your time and don't let the people behind rush you through this beautiful scenic drive. Northbound (headed from Durango to Silverton) you'll be on the inside, so watch that rock overhangs and outcroppings don't reach out and scrape your Airstream; and southbound, you'll be on the outside, which does NOT have guardrails in most areas. Your wife or significant other may wish to wear blinders or read a book on this stretch of road, if they are afraid of heights like mine is."

In as much as there is a law in Colorado that calls for vehicles with five or more vehicles behind them to pull over, I would recommend either going over the passes early in the morning or just using the TV. Even though it adds an hour to the trip time, I go through Mancos, to 145 and over Lizard Head pass to please my wife.
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Old 06-05-2012, 08:56 AM   #13
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The OP has an Interstate, probably does not have a tow vehicle. Jim
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Old 06-05-2012, 09:02 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CrawfordGene
... In Cortez I believe the CG we have stayed at is Sunshine or something like that. ...
Gene
We stayed over in Cortez about 2 months ago and the park we found was called Sundance. I would have no hesitation going back to them if I was in the area. It was about a half mile from the Walmart so it was convenient to restock the groceries.

http://sundancervpark.com/
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