Summer-Fall 2011 Telluride Magazine

Page 36

Add a Little Adventure If driving is too tame a pastime for your tastes, you can add some spice to your trip by making a pit stop or a detour. Jeep over Black Bear Road Black Bear Road is a one-way (east to west) scree- and rock-covered “shortcut” that starts on Red Mountain Pass between Ouray and Silverton and goes to Telluride. It climbs to 12,840 feet and then drops headlong down innumerable switchbacks and a rocky staircase, passing by Bridal Veil’s hydroelectric plant and falls, into Telluride. C.W. McCall made this jeep trail famous in a song of the same name, noting that a sign at its beginning read, “You don’t have to be crazy to drive this road, but it helps.” Best to let a professional do the driving. Get Hot and Cold Hiking in the San Juans can make you hot enough to want to take a dip in an alpine lake or sore enough to want to soak in hot, spring-fed water. The sun is intense at altitude and those clear azure lakes of the tundra beckon one to strip down and dive in. But give pause to the fact that these “tarns” spend half the year frozen and are fed by the melt of the snowcapped peaks that adorn their shores. If it’s warm water you want, there are hot springs in several places along the Skyway. In addition to Ouray’s city pool, orvis hot springs Wiesbaden Hot Springs Spa & Lodgings offers spas and vapor caves and Box Canyon Lodge touts geothermal redwood tubs. Clothing is optional at Orvis Hot Springs, which is on the highway just south of Ridgway. It has a sauna and indoor and outdoor pools and is beautifully landscaped. Trimble Hot Springs between Durango and Silverton has a warm lap pool and a serene, oversized hot pool, both outdoors. And for the intrepid adventurer, there are “wild” hot springs along the Uncompahgre and Animas Rivers and in some secret spots in Rico and Ouray. little molas lake

Climb a Fourteener There are a dozen Fourteeners that can be accessed along the San Juan Skyway including Sneffels, Wetterhorn and three giants in the Weminuche Wilderness. None of them is a walk in the park, but Uncompahgre at 14,309 feet is the highest and easiest and Mount Wilson (14,246 feet) and El Diente (14,159 feet) are probably the most daunting. A word to the wise: photo By ryan bonneau El Diente has been the site of several climbing fatalities in the last decade. Guides are available in most nearby towns and can take the edge off route-finding. 36

photo By ryan bonneau

durango silverton train

ophir loop region

summer/fall 2011

photo brett schreckengost

photo by jeremy barron

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