Home > Vacation > Road Trip – Montrose, CO to Farmington, NM

Road Trip – Montrose, CO to Farmington, NM

Fifth 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.

This 160 mile drive on highway 550 takes much longer than the distance suggests. The road is so curvy that I’d say we spent an hour driving under 30mph. The speed limit around Ouray is 25 for quite some time. There are numerous steep inclines and narrow roads. While it’s quite scenic, I spent so much time paying attention to driving that I didn’t really get to enjoy it. There was also alot of traffic, most of whom are intent on speeding well over the speed limit and generally being rude. I would recommend 145 instead. Between Durango and Silverton, you can take the train. Most of the places Laurent mentioned on 550 require going on unpaved surfaces. After attempting one of these with low-profile tires, I decided to just skip these sites. Next time, I would either rent an SUV or maybe more likely, sign up for all-day tour of the area. With that said, here’s where we did stop.

Just south of Ridgway was a fairly large pullout with a great view of the mountains.

Mountains south of Ridgway

A few miles north of Ouray, is a large pullover with a sign for the Uncompahgre National Forest. This is a good place to stop for photos with a river right there.

We did not stop in Ouray, but on your way out of town there is an official scenic overlook, um, overlooking the town. You can’t miss it, since you’ll only be going 25 mph.

Ouray overlook

About 30 minutes south of the overlook is a sign for the Red Mountian scenic area on your right. Turn here drive up the little hill to a large parking area for views the old mine buildings and several signs describing the history of the area mines.

Red Mountain

We did not make any further stops and plowed on through Silverton and Durango to Farmington. If you ever do a similar trip in the San Juan mountains and want to find the locations mentioned in this book, pinpoint as close as possible the locations on your GPS before you leave. The signage is not always good or may be missing. You really don’t have time to be looking around for a county road sign that may or may not be there.

Categories: Vacation
  1. bobzeller
    July 18, 2010 at 3:49 pm

    Again, very nice photos. Great composition.

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