Telluride and the San Juan Skyway Scenic Byway


Miles Driven Today:    242            Total Miles Driven 5246

Back on the sightseeing front again today.  We planned a day trip to visit Telluride, a mountain ski resort about 110 miles away.  We planned a circular route that took us on scenic byways all the way, new roads from Durango to Telluride, then across the San Juan Skyway to Ridgway and then the Million Dollar Highway back to Durango.

Another beautiful day here – around 25C, dropping to about 6C when we were crossing over the passes at 11000 feet.  Interesting on the news that heavy snow has now arrived in Western Wyoming, and North and West Montana.  Parts of Glacier National Park are cut off in deep snow.  We had good advice to head north first and then to go steadily south as the autumn began.  They’ve even had some light snow in Yellowstone and Grand Teton.

Pretty drive from the south up to Telluride on 160/184/145.  Telluride is in a box canyon surrounded by massive grey peaks.  On the way in we passed the oddest peak which had eroded to have what looked like the figure of a man left on top.  Or an Easter Island figure. I think it is actually the peak called Lizard Head, but couldn’t see that shape at all.  Strange looking thing.

Telluride itself is very pretty.  Western, Victorian…. nowhere near as tourist central at this time of year as say Silverton or Ouray, although maybe that’s just an impression driven by the undoubted wealth of the town.  This is another one where Christies are the prominent realtor and many of the properties advertised in the windows are $6 million +.    Very expensive place.  But very charming too.  Some lovely shops, cafes, restaurants.  And more proud dog owners!

We sat at a food van/coffee shop in the middle of town and enjoyed a drink in the sun.  Got talking to a lovely man from Denver who was holidaying with his Mountain Dog.  Very nice dog too.  I remember a friend of mine owning one decades ago, and the amount of food it ate.  This dog ate 42 lbs a week I believe the man said.  Yep…. glad to have to him stay overnight……

After we’d thoroughly explored the historic centre of Telluride we drove on, entering the San Juan Skyway.  This took us over the mountains to the east going towards Ridgway.  We stopped along the way beside a creek for our picnic.  Then went on and stopped in some viewpoints.  One meadow area was just beautiful – so colourful.   I can’t get over all the colours in the shrubbery.

We reached Ridgway and turned south retracing our way through Ouray and Silverton and back to Durango.  We hit some light rain showers at this point.  Nothing heavy but gosh if it had been a bit colder, it could have been dicey.

Got back to the hotel at about 430.  A lovely day amidst great beauty.  We ate in the suite and watched tv.  We have to be up quite early tomorrow for our BIG TRAIN RIDE.  Tune in to hear all about it!