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Historic, Scenic Drives & Regional Information around Telluride, Colorado

Telluride Adventure Desk-Flyfish, Hike, Rock Climb, Jeeping, More

Region Chambers & Visitors Centers Plan Day Trips From Telluride
Telluride Chamber of Commerce www.telluridechamber.com

Ouray  800.228.1876
Dolores          
Ridgway   970.626.5181     
Norwood 970. 327.4607
Montrose 800.873.0244  
Cortez 
Silverton  800.752.4494
Durango  800.go.durango
Pagosa Springs       
Gunnison  800.323.2453
Crested Butte 970.349.6438
Olathe  970. 323.5601
Gunnison 970. 641.1501
Hotchkiss 970. 872.3226
Delta  970. 874.8616

REGION MAP

Historic & Scenic Drives

Alpine Loop Back Country Byway  Explores 65 miles of spectacular peaks and narrow glacial valleys, including two 12,000 foot passes and well-preserved remains of stamp mills, tramways, and ghost towns from the mining boom of the late 1800s. Portions of the route may be visited in normal passenger cars, but beyond these points, off-road vehicles must be used. Visitors may rent 4-wheel drive vehicles in nearby towns of Ouray, Silverton, and Lake City or take a commercial, guided tour of the area. The Alpine Loop also provides access to exceptional high-country hiking, fishing, mountain biking, camping, and other outdoor adventure.  (970) 249-7791 - ask for the publication "Alpine Explorer"

Bachelor Historic Loop  This 17-mile route takes visitors through Creede's unique silver mining district and past two ghost town sites. The tour begins at the kiosk at the fork of East and West Willow Creek in the canyon north of town and ends at the kiosk on Hwy. 149 in Creede. Guide books can be purchased at the Chamber of Commerce and are available at the kiosks at the start and end of the tour. Priced at $1.00, this 25 page guide book is a comprehensive narrative of the last great silver mining boom town in Colorado.

Grand Mesa  A 51-mile route following Colorado 65 to I-70 between the towns of Mesa and Cedaredge heading west along the Lands End Road (FDR 100) across the top of Grand Mesa to the Lands End Visitor Center. Highway 65 provides access to a variety of outdoor recreational pursuits and breathtaking panoramas. The new Grand Mesa Visitors Center is open year-round.

San Juan Skyway  A spectacular drive through the San Juan, Uncompahgre, Wilson and Sneffels Ranges. Colorado's first National Forest Scenic Byway loops through the San Juan Mountains, and has been called "The Most Beautiful Drive in America." This 236-mile route follows state-maintained highways on a journey through the towering mountains and mining towns, to the rolling vistas and ancient archaeological sites of Indian Country. You will pass through Durango, Silverton, Ouray, Ridgway, Telluride, Rico, Dolores, Cortez and Mancos. Free.
Please Call (970) 247- 4874 for San Juan Skyway Information.

Silver Thread Scenic Byway   This 75-mile long route extends from Lake City through Creede to South Fork along Colorado Highway 149 in the San Juan Mountain Range. Panoramic views, plenty of wildlife, and area rich in the history of Native Americans, the first Anglo explorers, and Victorian-era mining. Route is outlined on current state highway map.

Trail of the Ancients  The trail begins at the Four Corners Monument, travels to the Ute Mountain Tribal Park, then continues to Mesa Verde National Park. From Cortez, you can backtrack to the Anasazi Heritage Center and on to Lowry Pueblo. Hovenweep National Monument is your final stop, but three side trips: Crow Canyon Archaeological Center, Cortez Center, and the Galloping Goose Museum add adventure to your travels.

Unaweep/Tabeguache Scenic and Historic Byway  This 138-mile route follows Colorado Highways 141 and 145 on the western slope of Colorado, from just outside of Grand Junction to Placerville. Follows the course of Unaweep Canyon, continues through the vivid desert "redbeds" of the Dolores River canyon, and opens onto the high plains, framed by the magnificent San Juan Range.

West Elk Scenic and Historic Byway  A uniques combination of geological, historical, recreational and scenic features. The 205-mile byway originates in Carbondale and follows Colorado Highway 133 over McClure Pass to Crested Butte, from there it continues south to Gunnison, then southwest on U.S. 50 along the Blue Mesa Reservoir, through Sapinero to the junction of U.S. 50 and Colorado Highway 92. The route proceeds north through the towns of Maher, Crawford, Hotchkiss and Paonia, completing the loop in Hotchkiss the traveler returns to Carbondale via McClure Pass.

SOUTHWEST COLORADO       MAP

Southwest Colorado seems to put visitors under a spell. The area's beauty amazes, transfixing the eye in an endless metamorphosis of colors and shapes. Blue crags jut between grassy meadows and plunge down to roiling white rapids. Brush-stubbled mesas yawn open, creating impossibly deep stone canyons. Hot springs bubble up from sources unseen, steam flaring. Just after sunset, distant ridges turns soft and gray, silhouetted against purple-pink skies.

The human landscape is as dramatic as the topography; not even lifelong residents have unraveled all of the region's mysteries. Ghost towns and abandoned mines litter the San Juan Mountains, while on the high flats of the Colorado Plateau, nameless ruins bear witness to an ancient civilization. Mesa Verde National Park, Hovenweep National Monument, and the Anasazi Heritage Center make this area an archaeologist's dream.

The towns of the Southwest march to their own rhythm. People are always on the move-biking, hiking, running, climbing, flying, boating, even occasionally working-yet nobody is in a hurry. Telluride, Silverton, and Ouray-the divine trinity of the San Juans-pair stunning physical beauty with high culture, making them attractive retreats for starving artists and CEOs alike. Down the hill, Durango offers Western congeniality, with just a hint of rebellious frontier spirit. And funky, friendly Crested Butte embodies the individualist ethic of the West. Spend a few days in these upbeat locales and you'll be convinced that anything is possible.

That's not an illusion. Anything is possible in this dreamlike land. Do what you must to experience the wondrous beauty of Southwest Colorado.

LARGEST CITY: Durango, population 15,000

FAMOUS RESIDENTS: Singer Joe Cocker has a home in Crawford. Academy Award-winning screenwriter Dalton Trumbo, blacklisted during the McCarthy era, was born in Montrose. Actor Dennis Weaver lives near Ridgeway; Hall of Fame pitcher Steve Carlton lives near Durango.

HISTORICAL FACT: During the cold winter of 1874, Alferd E. Packer and his traveling companions ran out of food in the mountains east of Ouray. Stranded and starving, they resorted to killing and eating each other. Nine years later Packer, the lone survivor of the ordeal, was tried in Lake City for cannibalization, found guilty, and sentenced to hang. Legal technicalities kept him from the noose, and he was retried in Gunnison and sentenced to 40 years. He served 15 before being pardoned.

ETC.: According to the official story, Telluride is named for Tellurium, a mineral extracted in great quantities from the surrounding hills during prospecting days. The unofficial (but more popular) version is that the many desperadoes who hid out in this inapproachable box canyon (including Butch Cassidy) had a code phrase for the place: ?To Hell You Ride.?

QUOTABLE: "It?s always sunny here; it?s rare to have two cloudy days in a row. Within half an hour I can either be in the mountains or in the desert, depending on which way I go. I like the clean air and the way of life. It?s been a wonderful place to raise a family because of the variety of people." -- Rita Murphy, Paonia, homemaker and horse trainer.

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