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Unread 01-11-2011, 02:05 AM   #1
billzcat1
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Places to go, Sights to see in Colorado

Hello All!

I'm planning a lengthy road trip (7-10 days) in late May/early June as a honeymoon. My fiancee is very outdoorsy (has a BA in Environmental Science) and we plan on camping as well as hotels.

On the way down I've planned on stopping in Christmas Valley (lots of interesting volcanic formations) as well as Crater Lake in Oregon.

So, since I don't know the area AT ALL, where can we go to enjoy the sights? Four Wheel Drive not a problem but we can't really afford to run any hard 4x4 trails because A)my rig isn't built for it and B)breakage 1000 miles from home sucks. However, FS roads, dirt, gravel, easy trails are fine. We'll be taking my WJ Overland which is pretty much stock but with a 2" BDS lift w/Bilsteins, SilentArmor tires.

So, if anyone has any recommendations for sights, scenery, trails, or even "hey check out city X", that would be great!

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Unread 01-11-2011, 08:50 AM   #2
Polecat
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You can never go wrong visiting the Ouray/Silverton/Telluride area and the San Juan Mountains. The trails vary in difficulty from easy to challenging. Many can be done in a stock Jeep. Poughkeepsie Gulch and Governor Basin are easier with a lift and bigger tires.

The Wall obstacle on Poughkeepsie Gulch is about the most difficult obstacle in the area. Lockers are helpful and a winch might be necessary.

Black Bear Pass has a high pucker factor because of the sheer drop offs on the switchbacks. It is not for the faint of heart but it is doable in a stock Jeep.

You can easily spend a week in the area and be on the trails all day.
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Unread 01-11-2011, 08:55 AM   #3
nhel
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billzcat1 View Post
Hello All!

I'm planning a lengthy road trip (7-10 days) in late May/early June as a honeymoon. My fiancee is very outdoorsy (has a BA in Environmental Science) and we plan on camping as well as hotels.

On the way down I've planned on stopping in Christmas Valley (lots of interesting volcanic formations) as well as Crater Lake in Oregon.

So, since I don't know the area AT ALL, where can we go to enjoy the sights? Four Wheel Drive not a problem but we can't really afford to run any hard 4x4 trails because A)my rig isn't built for it and B)breakage 1000 miles from home sucks. However, FS roads, dirt, gravel, easy trails are fine. We'll be taking my WJ Overland which is pretty much stock but with a 2" BDS lift w/Bilsteins, SilentArmor tires.

So, if anyone has any recommendations for sights, scenery, trails, or even "hey check out city X", that would be great!
Agree w/ Ouray--etc... Great area... Be sure and do the Silverton RR. Just for the experience do Pikes Peak
and go through Rocky Mtn. Natnl. Park as well as Buffalo Bills Grave outside of Golden. Coors Brewery too!!

Congratulations and Good Luck...
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Unread 01-11-2011, 09:04 AM   #4
colojeepguy
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Just about any area in Colorado west of I-25 is worth seeing. Considering the time frame involved, the higher trails will still be blocked by snow. The San Juan mountains around Ouray, Telluride, and Silverton are not to be missed. Most of the trails down there are fairly easy and are plowed open by bulldozer in the spring, so you might be able to hit some of those, depending on the snowpack levels. Other nice places-the Elk mountains around Crested Butte & Aspen, Chaffee county (Salida & Buena Vista area) and Summit county (Breckenridge). Also Black Canyon Nat'l Park & Great Sand Dunes Nat'l Park are very cool.
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Unread 01-11-2011, 03:04 PM   #5
rouxbicon
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The two suggestions already for the San Juan mountains around Ouray and Silverton are good ones...except...a timeframe of late May/early June was mentioned.

It would really be kinda dicey as to whether or not the high mountain trails would be open by then. None of the San Juan trails are plowed through the winter, and winter stays late in the high country. The county road crews will clear the last of the snow, usually in late May/early June, but that's not guaranteed. I think after heavy snow winters and/or cool springs, it could be later, i.e. late June or early July before the tails are open and passable.

A little research on Bushducks.com will give you an idea of when the major trails throughout Colorado have opened each spring/summer. In the San Juans, look for passes called Hurreican, California, Corkscrew, Engineer, Cinnamon, Imogene, and Black Bear.
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Unread 01-11-2011, 03:49 PM   #6
billzcat1
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A little snow is no problem, I've got a lot of snow driving experience and my tires rock on snow...of course unplowed/closed roads might be a problem (lol).

You've given me a lot of places to look at and I appreciate it! However I saw one thing that was dissappointing. They are PAVING Pikes Peak? What a shame.
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Unread 01-11-2011, 04:15 PM   #7
colojeepguy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billzcat1 View Post
They are PAVING Pikes Peak? What a shame.
Yep, it's true. We were up there last summer, & most of it is paved already. It really sucks for the Pikes Peak Hillclimb race (2nd oldest auto race in the US).
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Unread 01-11-2011, 05:04 PM   #8
billzcat1
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Frown.
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Unread 02-02-2011, 07:18 PM   #9
Yams
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Your original post only has you making it into Oregon. Do you have a route you plan on taking into Colorado? You missed Idaho, Utah, and Wyoming.
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Unread 02-02-2011, 08:34 PM   #10
billzcat1
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Yes, well the original post was when I was just getting started and I provided those destinations as examples of what we find interesting.

The route is fully "planned" at this point but it goes like this.

1)Seattle - Bend
2)Bend - Newberry Volcanic National Monument - Paulina Peak - Christmas Valley - East to roughly Vale, Or
3)Vale - Craters Of The Moon National Monument - Yellowstone - Old Faithful
4)Old Faithful - East across Yellowstone - South to Co. Springs
5)Co. Springs - Up Pikes Peak - Backroads to Highway 9 - Lake City
6)Lake City - Alpine Loop (Engineer Pass, Cinnamon Pass) - Animas Forks - South to Silverton - North to Ouray
7)Ouray - Grand Junction - Dinosaur National Monument - Salt Lake City - Boise
8)Boise - Multnomah Falls - Seattle.

We have 9 days available for the trip and specific destinations are for the most part, optional. We'll be camping 4 nights.

There are some concerns with snow pack in early June. We'll have to play it by ear.
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Unread 02-03-2011, 05:44 PM   #11
Yams
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billzcat1 View Post
4)Old Faithful - East across Yellowstone - South to Co. Springs
5)Co. Springs - Up Pikes Peak - Backroads to Highway 9 - Lake City
Seattle to Colorado Springs via Yellowstone? 5 days? It takes me 16+ hours of straight driving, just to get to Boise.

I would scrap the Pikes peak deal, And do Red Rocks, and sights in Denver. Much More entertaining.

When you get to the Springs, bring me some of that smoked salmon.

Good site in Idaho would be to go through Sun Valley to Craters of the Moon. Then Yellowstone. Come down through Craig Colorado (Freakin' beautiful), and head east to denver.

Just my FRIENDLY advise.
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Unread 02-03-2011, 09:45 PM   #12
bvjeep
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billzcat1 View Post
A little snow is no problem, I've got a lot of snow driving experience and my tires rock on snow...of course unplowed/closed roads might be a problem (lol).

You've given me a lot of places to look at and I appreciate it! However I saw one thing that was dissappointing. They are PAVING Pikes Peak? What a shame.
Ok what he means by snow is closer to 15 FOOT deep. The high country in Colorado is not an easy pass until mid June in most areas. I was up in the Ouray area in the first of July before and seen where they had cut through the snow that was 2 times higher than my Jeep. That time of year you will be able to get into the mountains but you might not be able to do some or most of the Forest Looser roads. Plenty of camping areas will be available for you though.


BV Jeep

Ps Central Colorado is beautiful also. Salida, Buena Vista, Leadville, Gunnison will all be beautiful
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Unread 02-03-2011, 10:25 PM   #13
billzcat1
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yams View Post
Seattle to Colorado Springs via Yellowstone? 5 days? It takes me 16+ hours of straight driving, just to get to Boise.
Well, I did book extra time into each day and I've done many cross-country trips before. I can do 4400 miles in 5 days. I didn't book more than 700 miles of driving per day until the return trip home. Also, I've been from Seattle to Idaho in 5 hours so I don't know how it could take 16 to Boise.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yams View Post
Good site in Idaho would be to go through Sun Valley to Craters of the Moon. Then Yellowstone. Come down through Craig Colorado (Freakin' beautiful), and head east to denver.

Just my FRIENDLY advise.
We are going through Craters of the Moon already. I'll look into Craig, CO.

I do appreciate the advise.
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Unread 02-03-2011, 10:26 PM   #14
billzcat1
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bvjeep View Post
Ok what he means by snow is closer to 15 FOOT deep. The high country in Colorado is not an easy pass until mid June in most areas. I was up in the Ouray area in the first of July before and seen where they had cut through the snow that was 2 times higher than my Jeep. That time of year you will be able to get into the mountains but you might not be able to do some or most of the Forest Looser roads. Plenty of camping areas will be available for you though.


BV Jeep

Ps Central Colorado is beautiful also. Salida, Buena Vista, Leadville, Gunnison will all be beautiful
Wow...that's a lot of snow. I'm working on "Plan B" trip in case conditions or road closures become an issue and I'll definitely take your comments under advisement.
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Unread 02-04-2011, 08:28 AM   #15
colojeepguy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yams View Post
Seattle to Colorado Springs via Yellowstone? 5 days? It takes me 16+ hours of straight driving, just to get to Boise.

I would scrap the Pikes peak deal, And do Red Rocks, and sights in Denver. Much More entertaining.

When you get to the Springs, bring me some of that smoked salmon.

Good site in Idaho would be to go through Sun Valley to Craters of the Moon. Then Yellowstone. Come down through Craig Colorado (Freakin' beautiful), and head east to denver.

Just my FRIENDLY advise.
I'm gonna respectully disagree on this one-unless you like millions of people and horrendous traffic, avoid Denver like the plague. And Craig? Really? It's OK if you like sagebrush & coal mines. Once you get east of there around Steamboat Springs it's pretty enough, but there's nicer parts of the state IMO.
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