Colorado – Ridgway, Ouray, and Telluride

June 4-18, 2015

We love being in Colorado.  It’s just so darn beautiful here!  We are hiking and exploring as much as we can (between all the rain and thunderstorms).  Ohhhh, but when we get a few hours of sunshine, it is glorious!  When I returned from my week in California, we headed to Ridgway State Park for a week.  We stayed in the Dakota Terraces Loop, Site 20.  We hiked a total of 15 miles around the park.

Ridgway State Park in Colorado

Ridgway State Park in Colorado

Hiking by the lake at Ridgway

Hiking by the lake at Ridgway

Ridgway State Park

 

A 9-mile hike over the peak

A 9-mile hike over the peak

 

 

Ouray, Colorado - Switzerland of America

Ouray, Colorado – Switzerland of America

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We drove to Ouray a couple of times to hike to the beautiful waterfalls there.  On a cloudy day we did the short hike to Box Canyon Falls.  Then returned on the next beautiful day to hike the 6.5 mile Perimeter Trail which climbs the mountain and encircles the town.  A fun hike!

Ouray Perimeter Trail

Ouray Perimeter Trail

05 Ouray, CO Perimeter Trail

On the footbridge over a canyon on the Perimeter Trail

On the footbridge over a canyon on the Perimeter Trail

The trail included a series of steep stairs down the cliff after exiting a tunnel.

The trail included a series of steep stairs down the cliff after exiting a tunnel.

07 Ouray, CO Perimeter Trail

Cascade Falls on the Perimeter Trail

07a Ouray, CO Perimeter TrailWe didn’t take Lucy on this hike, so we were free to visit the Ouray Brewery where we enjoyed lunch on their upper deck.

Ouray Brewery

Ouray Brewery

We avoided taking The Bear over the “million dollar highway” as we work our way toward Durango.  That’s just too, too scary for me .. and dangerous.  So we took Hwy 62 over to Hwy 145 and headed south to Cayton National Forest Service Campground (about 20 miles south of Telluride).  Got a fantastic site (#17) for a week right on a roaring river.  I loved listening to the rushing water.

Cayton NFS Campsite, Rico, Colorado

Cayton NFS Campsite, Rico, Colorado

This is the view from our window.  The river is right beside us.

This is the view from our window. The river is right beside us.

We took a 5-mile hike on Basal Pass Road behind our campground

We took a 5-mile hike on Basal Pass Road behind our campground

Animals were regularly spotted.  I usually wasn’t quick enough with the camera to get a shot before they would run away.

12 Moose13 Marmot13 marmot 313 Marmot 212a Deer14 Elk herd

We made a number of trips into Telluride to walk around town, do some grocery shopping, check email (since we didn’t have wifi at the campground).  On one visit, we took a 6 mile hike up to Bridal Veil Falls.  It rained on us a little during the hike, but it was worth getting a little bit wet and the sun dried us out quickly after the shower.  Then we got soaked again from the spray of the waterfall!

Telluride, Colorado

Telluride, Colorado – See the zig-zag trail up the mountain and one of the waterfalls

We begin our hike on the River Walk Trail through Telluride

We begin our hike on the River Walk Trail through Telluride

Half way up the mountain, looking back at Telluride way in the distance

Half way up the mountain, looking back at Telluride way in the distance

Getting close to the waterfall

Getting close to the waterfall

Bridal Veil Falls

Bridal Veil Falls

Near our campground, we took a 10-mile drive on a jeep road to reach the Navajo Lake Trailhead.  It was a beautiful drive, but the trail was too muddy to hike, especially since we had Lucy with us.  We started the hike, but turned around when it became apparent that it wasn’t going to get any better.

Driving to the Navajo Lake Trailhead

Driving to the Navajo Lake Trailhead (another reason to get a Jeep!)

Navajo Lake Trail - too muddy!

Navajo Lake Trail – too muddy!

So we took another 45 minutes on the dirt road to drive back to the highway and head up to Lizard Head Wilderness Trail.  We were about 2.5 miles into the wilderness when the sky opened up again!  We turned around and hiked the now muddy trail, with stream crossings, while the rain drenched us for the next hour as we returned to the car.  I wish I would have thought to take a picture of Lucy at the end of that hike!  I wrapped her wet, muddy body in a towel and held her til we got back to the RV where she got a nice warm bath.

Starting out on Lizard Head Pass Trail.  We should have noticed the clouds coming in.

Starting out on Lizard Head Pass Trail. We should have noticed the clouds coming in.

After the meadow, we head into the forest on the Lizard Head Pass Trail.

After the meadow, we head into the forest on the Lizard Head Pass Trail.

I got this one picture when the rain started, but then I had to protect my camera in a waterproof bag.

I got this one picture when the rain started, but then I had to protect my camera in a waterproof bag.  We got soaked and muddy!

After our rainy week at Cayton, the weather cleared completely on the day we departed.  We are now at the McPhee Reservoir National Forest Service Campground looking at 90 degree weather all this week.  We’ll be exploring the Anasazi Heritage Center, Hovenweep National Monument and Canyon of the Ancients.

McPhee Reservoir in Dolores, Colorado

McPhee Reservoir in Dolores, Colorado — Our home for the next week

Cheers!

 

23 thoughts on “Colorado – Ridgway, Ouray, and Telluride

  1. I’m taking notes for next summers travels…. hoping to spend our time exclusively on the western slope. We loved the hiking around Ouray and up to Bridal Veil Falls in Telluride.

    • The hardest part about Cayton is the lack of cell service. I’m not sure about reception in the other NFS campgrounds closer to Telluride. Cayton is about 20 miles south, but the drive is gorgeous so we didn’t mind doing it several times.

  2. We were suppose to be spending the summer in Colorado but a much needed visit to see my mother in the east changed that for us. But we did enjoy the three weeks we spent outside Denver. The rain really put a damper on long hikes. I do like the trails you chose. We will try again next summer:) Looks like you had a fun time despite the rain:)

    • The hardest part was being without cell service for a whole week. About killed us. Funny how we went 7 years on the boat without communication and now we can’t go a week without it.

  3. Oh I have SUCH fond memories of this area. We spent over a week at Cayton some years ago and it made our top campground of the year list. The Lizard Head Wilderness…oh my! Of course now that you’re down by McPhee I’m sure you’ll be exploring the Trail of the Ancients, visiting The Anaszi Heritage Center and going to see the Galloping Goose (and excellent, fun little museum). I’ll be re-living the area vicariously through your blog pics!

    Nina

  4. So being a pair of white knuckle rv ers what route would you suggest from Cortez to Pueblo with out scareing the bejesus out of us .route 160 doesn’t look that bad on the map but you never know

    Thanks
    Don

    • That one will give you a lot of twisty uphill after Pagosa Springs. We did that route a few years ago going in the other direction. Lots of winding downhill for us. It was a little bit scary for me because we had to control our downhill speed for such a long time. Mike said it wasn’t that bad though.

  5. You aren’t too far from where we live. I see you stayed near Rico… We love to eat at the Argentine restaurant there for our anniversary sometimes.

  6. Ok… Seriously, when are you guys going to come back to Tortola? We miss your, “periodic pass through” back when you were sailing! Frank & Patti

  7. We have not been to this part of Colorado since long before our RVing days. Your photos make it look very inviting. I will have to bookmark some of these hikes for a future visit.

  8. Hi guys! excellent post… Barb and I were out there in that same location last year for 2 months. Stayed at Dolores River RV Park… nice young couple own it. We got a nice monthly rate from them. You are right about it being a nice part of Colorado to visit… Lot’s of hiking and Jeep trails to explore….We have decided to “hang” this summer north of Atlanta on Lake Lanier. We bid a COE federal campground gate attendant job and got the bid… it gives us a chance to see our 2 grandbabies and daughter and son-in-law who live up here on the lake. Our COE contract runs thru Sept 4th and then we are not sure what we are going to do after that……. Will keep watching your posts… your friends, Maynard and Barb Correll

  9. If we enjoyed the eastern part of CO I bet with your experience and pictures the western side looks better. We may come that way this fall or next summer. Thanks to all the hikes you did for we will surely follow them.

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