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  1. #1

    Default Austin, TX to Ouray, CO

    Taking a road trip from home (Austin, TX) to Ouray, CO June 6-17, 2012. I know we will have to layover one night on the way up and on the way back down because we are traveling with our 3 yo son. I have LOTS of questions! First, does anyone have any advice as far as what route will be easiest from TX to CO? Was thinking of going up through Lubbock, laying over in Roswell NM then up to CO. The other option was staying on major highways by going up through Amarillo, laying over in Amarillo and then to CO. Either way is about the same time/distance. I just worry about a gajillion miles of nothing to see and no places to stop.

    Also - once I'm in CO, I will stay for a whole week. Looking at daytrips to Silverton, Durango, Telluride, maybe even Moab UT. Have already been to Mesa Verde and Garden of the Gods and that whole area about a year ago. Anyone have any recommendations?

    Side note - we will be traveling in our 1991 Chev K5 Blazer 4x4. We are interested in getting off of the beaten path a little bit in CO once we are there. Any suggestions?

    Thanks all! I know it's a lot of questions! I am SUPER excited!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default What's Available

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    While the arid high plains of west Texas can certainly be a forbidding landscape so you'll have to make the most of the opportunities that do present themselves, such as Abilene State Park and Lake Allan Henry. If Lubbock is not a destination and Roswell is, then I'd skip Lubbock altogether and just use US-380 to head more directly to Roswell. And once you're onto New Mexico, a number of the number of opportunities increases.

    Either the Quarai or Abo units of the Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument would require only a minor detour on your way to Albuquerque, then in Albuquerque, there's Petroglyph National Monument, Next, heading north on US-550, just before Colorado there's Aztec Ruins National Monument. For a little 'off road' excursion, I would recommend the drive back up into Animas Forks. Another great scenic drive is US-50 through both the Black Canyon of the Gunnison and the Curecanti National Recreation Area.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default A train ride.

    With a three year old, you might consider a train ride, such as the Durango to Silverton steam train. (I wouldn't recommend the bus ride back.) If the three year old is anything like my grandchildren, he'll love it, as will you. There is another one just south of the border in north west NM. I don't know the details of that one.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    There are lots of great 4 wheel drive roads in the Silverton/Ouray area.

    What I would recommend is that you check out Animas Forks, a ghost town between the two towns. The easiest way to get there is to drive up from Silverton - which is a gravel/rock road where a high clearance vehicle is recommended (I wouldn't take a rental car), but you don't really need 4 wheel drive . However, from there in every direction there are 4 wheel drive roads, including a drive over Engineer Pass to Lake City.

  5. #5


    Great advice, everyone! We LOVE ghost towns and mining and would certainly not miss the Silverton-Durango train. We actually just confirmed on a cabin about halfway between Ouray and Ridgway to stay in for the week.

    As far as my route goes, I have no real reason to go to Lubbock or Roswell since either place will just be a place to sleep for the night before we head out again in the morning. I just want to procure the safest route with decent roads and access to gas stations.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Mining

    If you love mining, then you should plan on one additional activity while making the drive back up into Animas Forks. On the way you will pass a former gold mine which has been taken over by its former miners and currently operates as a mining museum with an ore car ride back into the mine and a walking tour of its operations. You will even have the opportunity to do a little panning before and after your tour of the mine.


  7. #7

    Default I'd get a Benchmark

    Hello staffbul,

    With a week to spend plus the inbound and outbound parts of your trip covering much of Colorado, I'd invest the $25 or so which a Benchmark Colorado Roads and Recreation Atlas might cost you, including shipping. They're great tools for on-road and off-road trip planning. I get out to the Mountain West at every opportunity, and I depend completely on my Benchmarks for planning and execution of the trips as a whole and for day-trip excursions.


  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    It's 2 long full driving days from Austin to Ouray - with essentially no time for any activities. I would probably take I-10 to I-25 to US-550 with a night in Las Cruces.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default A couple more.

    I thought I would 'chime in' with another couple of options. In Ouray you have the Box canyon waterfall, and north of Ridgway near Fruita is the Colorado National Monument and it's wonderful rim drive through the tunnels. Another that I didn't have time to visit when in the area that looked appealing was Ridgway State Park.

  10. Default

    Hi, we live in Ouray County and just moved here a year ago from TX. We go back and forth A LOT. From Austin, we go up 183 or I-35, over to 287 and up to Amarillo. If we are staying there, we stay at the Best Western on I-40. Continue on loop 335 around downtown and up 287 to Dumas, then 87 to Dalhart. Lots of motels along highway in Dumas -- Comfort Inn a favorite of ours. Then to Clayton and Raton, N.M. If you want super cheap and don't care about amenities, stop at the Colt Motel in Raton, N.M. You can even go online and reserve a room. Usually under $40. Then from Raton, up I-25 to Walsenburg, take the Highway 69 exit and wind through the beautiful Wet Mountain valley. If you hit it right, you can see the buffalo on the ranch. Talk about off the beaten path! Then take the turn to Westcliffe (CR 1A?) and go to Cotopaxi on Hwy 50. Stop at the Cotopaxi store for a light sandwich. Go west on 50 through Salida (great pizza places downtown) then over Monarch Pass, through Gunnison, to Montrose. Left on Hwy 550 down to Ridgway and Ouray.
    Good day trips: Arches National Park near Moab; Million Dollar Highway to Silverton and back -- great train ride between Durango and Silverton but you'll need more than a day; Over Lizard Head Pass to Rico and eat at the Argentine Grill for dinner.
    Stop in at the Ouray County Plaindealer office in Ridgway, next to True Grit. We own it and would be glad to see you. Ridgway has a great park in the middle of town. And pick up a copy of the paper and the Summer Guide for the county. Lots of concerts and festivals in the county all summer. Have a great trip!!

    Moderator Note: Email and Off-Site Links removed per forum policy
    Last edited by Midwest Michael; 03-09-2012 at 11:54 AM.

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