On our first day, we arrived in Durango late afternoon. We first checked into the Homewood Suites, then explored the town. Our first stop was at Ska Brewing, conveniently located right next to our hotel. My girlfriend adored the Steel Toe Stout, which is brewed with milk sugar and has won numerous awards. I was a fan of the Mexican Logger, which is (of course) a lager and has also won several awards. Then we walked around downtown and had dinner and drinks in the famous Strater Hotel, which is historic, visually stunning and definitely worth checking out.
The next thing we did is make a road trip up to Telluride. Telluride also has a slow season in the spring where many businesses are closed. This may be an inconvenience for most but it was nice for us. We got to avoid the crowds and explore the town, read various plaques and catch up on the history of Telluride, including the old red light district, and Telluride Depot. We ate lunch at Baked in Telluride -- a great bakery and pizza place.
Later we had a beer at the Smugglers Brewery. Unfortunately most of the town is closed in the spring, including most restaurants and the gondola up to Mountain Village. Telluride is very busy in the winter and busy during the summer time (after May). This is when most businesses re-open.
After leaving Telluride we explored Ridgeway where we had lunch at the True Grit Cafe and learned more about True Grit the movie and some local filming locations. Besides the True Grit Cafe it is a must to have a few tacos at Taco Del Gnar (located a short walk from the cafe). The short rib taco was our favorite.
The next day we woke up we were able to check out the Box Canyon Falls just a short hike from town. You can drive closer to the falls or make the hike from town. In the winter at Box Canyon Falls you can even try ice climbing, which is free or you can hire a guide. Ouray is also known as the Switzerland of America and I can definitely see why this name fits.
On our last day we attempted to drive up to Owl Creek Pass to visit two film locations from True Grit. Unfortunately when we got to the summit of Owl Creek Pass we saw some very deep snow and weren’t prepared (or comfortable) to continue on the road. We will have to visit these occasions another time. As we headed home, we were surprised that we were ahead of schedule because we didn’t get to see the True Grit locations.
There are many places to camp, fish, and enjoy other outdoor activities along this large reservoir in the area of Cimarron. There was even an old train trestle but the train was not on it as it is currently being restored.
As we continued on our journey home, we went through Monarch Pass which is another treacherous pass. We saw the remnants of a fire that was being put out in Kenosha Pass then continued on our way to Bailey then Morrison and finally back into Denver. This was an awesome road trip. It was amazing how much we are able to fit into just four days. I didn't want to go home, or back to work, but I’ll always have the memories.
Black Canyon of the Gunnison:
Curecanti National Recreation Area:
Off Road Trails of Colorado:
http://www.traildamage.com/trails/index.php (not all trails in Colorado)
Enjoy additional photos on our Facebook page.