We left St. Charles, Missouri on Sep. 7th. After driving 11-12 hours we stopped at a Walmart in Colby, KS. While Walmart is not our favorite spot to spend a night, we found this one to be very convenient. We needed to get some grocery shopping done and there was a decent restaurant down the street.
The following morning we were back on I-70 by 7:15am. The trip was uneventful, even through Denver. It was a nice drive from Denver to Glenwood Springs. The RV did great on the steep mountain roads. We arrived at the Glenwood Canyon Resort early in the afternoon. We had a great back-in site. It was roomy and set against a mountain backdrop. After parking we headed into the town of Glenwood Springs. Unfortunately, the bridge into the town was closed due to major reconstruction. This led to a traffic nightmare. We found ourselves taking an hour to go about a mile. We got what we needed at the hardware store and returned to the RV without exploring Glenwood Springs.
The campground we stayed at offered cabins for rent and unfortunately, it appeared that a large group of young locals decided to spend the weekend in them. About half a dozen of them were stone drunk, loud and obnoxious throughout most of the night, walking up and down the campground street in front of our RV. It was the first time we had ever had an issue like this.
Early the next morning we left the RV and took the Jeep to Aspen with the goal of photographing Maroon Bells. These mountains, Maroon Peak and North Maroon Peak, are touted as the most photographed in Colorado.
We had breakfast in Aspen and then headed to the Bells, on a reconnaissance mission. I didn’t want to have the next morning be our first visit to the park, as it would be pitch black and we wouldn’t know where the best spot would be for taking the picture. We took in the spectacular scenery and then took a hike up to Crater Lake. It was a challenging 3.5 mile round-trip hike. We started at an altitude of around 9,400 ft and walked up another 750 ft. Since it was our first full day at the high altitude I often struggled to catch my breath on the hike.
The water level in Crater Lake was low and the scenery was anticlimactic after seeing the Bells. It was good to get some exercise in though after so many days of driving.
After hiking we strolled through downtown Aspen. We found ourselves in the middle of a Mac & Cheese festival. We enjoyed sampling each and every kind!
In the evening, we checked into the Snowmass Village Westin for the night. As we drove into Snowmass we came upon a very large buck strolling along in the middle of the road. The next morning we came across another buck in the road, and a fox. It was very nice to see the wildlife, and glad we were able to avoid a collision with them.
The weather was cold and rainy when we turned in for the night. I was afraid that sunrise would not be as I had hoped at Maroon Bells. However, when I looked out the window at 4:45 am the next day I was pleasantly surprised to see a clear sky. We quickly packed up and headed to the Bells where I captured the picture below.
After photographing Maroon Bells we hiked the short 1.5 mile Scenic Loop. It was an enjoyable and pretty walk.
We then headed back to Glenwood Springs to pick up the RV and continue our journey. Our next destination was Ouray, CO (prounced you-ray), where we spent a week.
We arrived at the Ouray RV Campground on Sep. 10th. The park is very nice, located right on the river and within walking distance to the quaint downtown district. They also have a small restaurant offering breakfast and dinner most days. We would definitely stay there again.
During our stay in Ouray we rented a Jeep Wrangler, from Colorado West Jeeps, for a couple of days. We began our off-road adventure on Corkscrew Gulch, and then merged onto California Gulch, over Hurricane pass, onto California Pass and then California Gulch. We also did part of the Alpine Loop, Ophir Pass and the Alta Lakes Trail. We had a great time and thoroughly enjoyed exploring the area this way. The next day we took the Last Dollar Trail from CO-62 to Telluride and the Imogene Trail from Telluride to Ouray. The Imogene trail was the most aggressive, and a lot of fun.
The scenery in the backcountry is spectacular. You are able to explore old mining towns and get a feel for how life might have been for the early Westerners, back in the late 1800s.
We enjoyed an afternoon walk around Silverton with lunch at Handlebars, a well-known Western Saloon. We then took a scenic drive on some of the back roads around the town. I’d highly recommend a visit to Silverton for acquiring a feel of the old West, although Ouray does a very good job of that as well.
Our drive along the Million Dollar Highway, from Ouray to Durango, was very enjoyable. It is a fun, and scenic drive. In Durango we strolled around the old town area and visited the Train Museum. The Train Museum was very interesting and a highlight of our visit to Durango. On our return to Ouray we stopped by Honeyville, a honey specialty store that has been around since 1918. We sampled, and purchased, some good honey! Right down the street from Honeyville we found a ranch selling produce, meats and cheeses. We stopped in and purchased Filet Mignons, Hamburgers and Cheese. Since then we have eaten all of them and all were excellent!!
We loved our stay in Ouray and look forward to returning some time in the future.