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Old 06-04-2021, 10:34 AM   #1
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550 vs. 145 (Durango to Ridgway)

I've driven 550 via Silverton and Ouray often enough to know that I'm not really interested in traveling that route any more, especially now that I'm a "solo traveler." And time of no particular consequence to me.

So what do you think about doing the end-around to go via Dolores and (past) Telluride to get to Ridgway? How does the route compare to 550? I lived for quite a while in western Colorado, but somehow never drove that route.


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Old 06-04-2021, 12:51 PM   #2
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I've driven both towing my 30'. I really didn't find 550 all that stressful. But regardless, the round about way is a beautiful, easy drive. Make sure you stop in Telluride it's a great little town to explore!
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Old 06-04-2021, 03:56 PM   #3
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We have done both routes. I love the 145 route over Lizards Head Pass is less stressful for me than down 550.
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Old 06-04-2021, 06:19 PM   #4
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Lived in Durango for 15 years...Lizard Head Pass is less stressful than 550 between Silverton and Ouray. A liitle longer but hey, the scenery is great either way.
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Old 06-05-2021, 06:29 AM   #5
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Super duper! I think I'll do that route!

Thank you for the info!


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Old 06-05-2021, 08:32 AM   #6
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We have done both routes. I love the 145 route over Lizards Head Pass is less stressful for me than down 550.
This area was my motorcycle vacation spot for years.
I agree. But, the white knuckle part of 550 is the last five miles before Ouray. The rest is pretty tame (But I wouldn't tow there.) The road is nice, but diminishing radius turns, semi-trucks coming the other way, no guardrails, and the mountain itself is darn close to leaving a mark.
I'm a flatlander, but no matter how many times I've taken 550 it still takes my breadth away.
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Old 06-05-2021, 09:24 AM   #7
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145 from Dolores to Telluride and Ridgway is also known as the San Juan Skyway because it is beautiful, many writers name it as a top ten motorcycle road. There are several nice campgrounds on the route including Priest Gulch, Dolores River and Cayton cg all on the Dolores river.
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Old 06-05-2021, 09:46 AM   #8
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Over Lizard Head Pass to Ridgeway has always been my preferred route.
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Old 06-05-2021, 10:03 AM   #9
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I drove both about two weeks ago. They were both clear and easy, but I fully understand the desire to skip the Million Dollar Highway when pulling a trailer or driving a motor home.
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Old 06-05-2021, 04:08 PM   #10
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It gets worse when you travel alone, believe me. No more second set of eyes. Sure, driving just the car, I wouldn't hestitate, but just don't want the stress of 550 while driving the Interstate and towing the car.

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I drove both about two weeks ago. They were both clear and easy, but I fully understand the desire to skip the Million Dollar Highway when pulling a trailer or driving a motor home.
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Old 06-05-2021, 05:23 PM   #11
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I completely understand.
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Old 06-06-2021, 02:56 PM   #12
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Don't miss the old hanging flume that still exists in places
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Old 06-06-2021, 06:14 PM   #13
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Did the entire loop 2 weeks ago. Durango to Silverton to Ooray, Ridge, Telluride to Delores and back to Durango. Should have stopped at the Black Canyon of the Gunnison. The train from Durango to Silverton did not run all the way until memorial day. Easy drive Telluride to Delores. White knuckle from Silverton to Ooray. I found Southern Colorado does not believe in guard rails or shoulders on these souther passes.
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Old 06-06-2021, 07:53 PM   #14
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Less vehicles per hour on 145. If you have tire or mechanical problems on 550 you have no shoulder so the risk factor goes way up. At the best you will cause a major traffic jam.
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Old 06-06-2021, 08:09 PM   #15
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Don't miss the old hanging flume that still exists in places
We stopped at the scenic overlook, and noticed something way down by the river. In binoculars we saw it was a car, upside down. We asked locally and somebody missed the turn and did the plunge 250' to the bottom.
I can't imagine.
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Old 06-07-2021, 07:35 AM   #16
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Lynn - You can also go through Naturita or even Moab if you donít want to do mountain driving
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Old 06-07-2021, 08:25 AM   #17
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I actually thought about that, though more for the photography than for the driving.

Mountain driving per se isn't that bad; it's basically that I really dislike driving alone and towing that stretch from Silverton to Ouray.

Actually, this whole thread is a bit backwards: I'll be driving from Ridgway back towards home in NM. For the trip up there, I'm doing a major dogleg to visit a good friend in Taos (who lost his spouse shortly after I lost Maria). From there, I'll hit Gunnison and then on to Ridgway. Taking lots of time so that I have lots of time to take pics.

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Lynn - You can also go through Naturita or even Moab if you donít want to do mountain driving
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Old 06-16-2021, 10:29 AM   #18
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I drove 145 3 to 4 nights a week for 8 years in a semi truck. I personally prefer this route over 550. It might be a little slower, but it is a really nice change. I hope you try it. Enjoy a different scenery. Safe travels.
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Old 06-16-2021, 09:19 PM   #19
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We've done a lot of driving in the Rockies and Sierras, but that stretch of 550 is insane. I'm surprised it's a US highway. I don't mind no guardrails, hairpin turns and steep drop-offs but 550 will definitely get your attention.

One thing I haven't seen mentioned in this thread is the beautiful scenery on 62 between Placerville and Ridgeway. It is spectacular!
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Old 06-16-2021, 11:37 PM   #20
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Quote:
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145 from Dolores to Telluride and Ridgway is also known as the San Juan Skyway because it is beautiful, many writers name it as a top ten motorcycle road.
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Lynn - You can also go through Naturita or even Moab if you don’t want to do mountain driving
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I actually thought about that, though more for the photography than for the driving.
I just rode my motorcycle these routes last week....both are gorgeous! I kept thinking "I gotta find a place to bring the Airstream & stay awhile"...just not in the heat! Enjoy the drive or ride!

Couple of years ago I rode the Million Dollar Highway...that was a scary ride! Also an attention-getter towing...definitely a more relaxing trip through Delores/Placerville or Naturita/Moab LOTS of photo ops!

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