Home > Vacation > Road Trip – Durango to Montrose, CO

Road Trip – Durango to Montrose, CO

Third in a series of posts covering our Texas, New Mexico, Colorado road trip. The destinations for the trip came from Volume 3 of Laurent Martes’ Photographing the Southwest: Colorado & New Mexico.

Wolf Creek Pass overlook

This doesn’t really belong here, but I forgot to mention it in the previous post. On the way to Durango via 160 there is a spectacular overlook in the Wolf Creek Pass area. This is an ‘official’ overlook with a parking lot. We arrived very late in the afternoon and the lighting was good. I can’t speak for other times of the day. Do NOT miss this.

Originally we were going to take highway 550 from Durango to Montrose, but decided to take the western skyway (145) through Cortez and Telluride. I think this way works better, because of which side you’re driving on. Going north on 145 gives you easy access to the numerous pull-offs. Whether or not you should be stopping here for scenic photos is debatable, but they are there. Making the return trip south on 550 gives you more drive time against the mountains rather than against the railing that separates you from the massive drop, IMHO. 145 is not a fast road. There are many curves and you will frequently be driving below 55, so be prepared for a longer drive than normal. Thankfully, there was little traffic.

Lizard Head Pass

The first major point of interest we stopped at was Lizard Head Pass around noon. The lighting wasn’t very good due to the time of day and overcast conditions. There is a trail here I would love to go back and hike.

Gold Point overlook

Next stop was the Gold Point overlook. Another official one that even includes a large sign. This is likely best as a morning spot as you’ll be facing west.

Telluride and one of the Gondolas

Lunch (as planned!) was at Telluride. As the book recommends, so do I: park in Mountain Village and take the gondolas to Telluride. They are free, fun, and provide you with great views of the Valley. There’s no shortage of signs to direct you. For some reason, we had a hard time just walking around and finding restaurants. We would up eating at a mobile hot dog stand which was really good. Personally, I was fascinatined with being in a ski resort when it wasn’t filled with snow. We ski every year so it’s a very different experience without snow. However, there was still snow on the ground, even in June. Pretty awesome.

One of the stops between Mountain Village and Telluride

We finally arrived in Montrose around 6pm. After getting settled in we headed out to the nearby Black Canyon, which I’ll cover in the next post.

San Juan Mountains Gallery (spans 3 days)

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Categories: Vacation
  1. bobzeller
    July 16, 2010 at 5:18 pm

    Great photographs! I’ve never been to Colorado and it looks like I need to put it on my list of places I need to get to see and photograph. Our next trip is to the Big Bend in early October. I can see by your outstanding composition that you could really do justice to the Chisos Mountains and all the other canyons there. Your pictures look like they could have been made with a large format camera. And that’s a compliment. Outstanding!

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