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Old 01-04-2012, 07:34 PM
 
28 posts, read 59,677 times
Reputation: 27

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Thank you Double H, I really want to get off the beaten path and am seeking a scenic route to Moab. I could go 70 and then 128 (?) I think or 90 and 46. Undecided at this time. I want to see as much as possible, mountains + rocks + roads = fabulous roadtrip.
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Old 01-04-2012, 07:54 PM
 
Location: SW Missouri
15,533 posts, read 29,261,945 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by obbiemay View Post
I will be visiting in June and intend to drive the Million Dollar Highway. Which way is the safest, north or south? Also, can anyone tell me anything about highway 149. Is it scenic or should I bypass it altogether.
I went on this road exactly three times during the years I was in Durango and I hated every second of it.

That having been said, if you *must* go it is safer north to south because you are on the "mountain side", rather than the "not a damn guardrail in sight" side.

Personally, I'd skip it if you don't care for 400 foot drops and a rather uncomfortably narrow road.

Besides, every mountain looks like every other mountain in Colorado, if you haven't already noticed.

good luck.

20yrsinBranson
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Old 01-04-2012, 09:22 PM
 
28 posts, read 59,677 times
Reputation: 27
Hahahaha, I've never been to Colorado so I haven't seen an Colorado mountains, yet. I appreciate the information, I will take your advice and go north to south (this means Ouray to Silverton, correct ?) Out of curiosity, how many miles approximately with no guardrails?
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Old 01-04-2012, 09:28 PM
Status: "Not politically correct" (set 3 days ago)
 
Location: Western Colorado
10,548 posts, read 11,649,542 times
Reputation: 24223
20yrsinBranson we all know your hatred for Colorado. To the OP, there's no guard rails at all, the mountain scenery is worth it. Have fun.
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Old 01-04-2012, 10:24 PM
 
16,181 posts, read 20,194,083 times
Reputation: 46732
Quote:
Originally Posted by obbiemay View Post
thank you for clearing that up for me, I got some weird info on it from a web site.
I'm sure I don't have to tell you that you don't believe everything you see on web sites. A quick note on Naturita and beyond. As that part of the state is remote and fairly economically depressed, it doesn't mean its unfriendly. Most small towns have clannish ways. I know some people in the area, specifically the gal who runs the public library there. I donated a few hundred hardback fiction books to them this past Spring. When I do go down there to visit I get a room for the night.

Also-Colo. 90- forgot to mention when you get west of Paradox you'll do quite a bit of climbing westbound. One time I went through there and I had a stare down contest with elk standing in the road. Got a kick out of it! There are no passing lanes and it isn't a mountain pass by any means, but it offers some awesome views. And like I said before, you don't have much services there.

Last edited by DOUBLE H; 01-04-2012 at 10:49 PM..
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Old 01-04-2012, 11:10 PM
 
Location: Colorado Springs
18,933 posts, read 8,893,958 times
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Hulu - Dangerous Drives: Million Dollar Highway - Watch the full episode now.
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Old 01-04-2012, 11:56 PM
 
50 posts, read 113,999 times
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[SIZE=3]By all means, do a complete circuit of the 236-mile long San Juan Skyway. One of the great mountain ranges in all of America, the San Juans most definitely are high, wild and rugged. Certain locales, such as Yankee Boy Basin, which is accessible from Ouray, provide some of the most spectacular wildflower displays of any area in Colorado, a point worthy of consideration, given the timing of your visit. This region is also unsurpassed in terms of the quality of its fall foliage. Indeed, James Kay, one of the foremost landscape photographers in the country, stated that, if forced to select a single area for fall foliage photography, he would choose that portion of this range located "within a 20-mile radius from Telluride" (Outdoor Photographer, October 2006, p. 63). For a spectacular sample of the autumnal crescendo of color provided by these majestic mountains, see [/SIZE][SIZE=3]http://www.widerange.org/photo/sneffels-range-autumn/[/SIZE][SIZE=3] .[/SIZE]
[SIZE=3] [/SIZE]
[SIZE=3]Recommending specific aspects of the San Juan range is an exercise in splitting very fine aesthetic “hairs,” but I would devote particular attention to the Sneffels subrange, which is located near Ridgway. Take the time to leisurely explore Ouray County backroads which emanate from the Dallas Divide area (see [/SIZE][SIZE=3]http://www.rockymtnrefl.com/dallasdividefence2003.html[/SIZE][SIZE=3]). This sweeping panoramic vista has appeared in many television commercials, perhaps the most memorable of which featured horses playing football. You also might want to consider taking a ride on the historic Durango & Silverton Narrow-Gauge Railroad, which affords access to the rugged Animas River gorge. Because of its rich mining history, high-altitude jeep roads crisscross the San Juans and a number of tour operators, including several in Ouray, provide access to portions of the San Juan backcountry that you simply will not see via the Million Dollar Highway.[/SIZE]
[SIZE=3] [/SIZE]
[SIZE=3]Some additional resources that you might want to consult include:[/SIZE]
[SIZE=3] [/SIZE]
[SIZE=3]http://mycolorado.org/san_juans.html[/SIZE][SIZE=3] [/SIZE]
[SIZE=3] [/SIZE]
[SIZE=3]http://www.widerange.org/gallery/san-juan-mountains/[/SIZE][SIZE=3] [/SIZE]
[SIZE=3] [/SIZE]
[SIZE=3]http://www.johnfielder.com/search.php?term=San+Juan+Mountains[/SIZE][SIZE=3] [/SIZE]
[SIZE=3] [/SIZE]
[SIZE=3]http://www.durangotrain.com/[/SIZE][SIZE=3] [/SIZE]
[SIZE=3] [/SIZE]
[SIZE=3]http://www.soajeep.com/[/SIZE][SIZE=3][/SIZE]
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Old 01-05-2012, 08:30 AM
 
Location: SW Missouri
15,533 posts, read 29,261,945 times
Reputation: 21270
Quote:
Originally Posted by jim9251 View Post
20yrsinBranson we all know your hatred for Colorado. To the OP, there's no guard rails at all, the mountain scenery is worth it. Have fun.
You forgot the "well deserved". As in "well deserved" hatred for Colorado.

It's just NOT what it is cracked up to be. And contrary to your implication, I am not the only person on the planet that feels that way.

20yrsinBranson
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Old 01-05-2012, 08:35 AM
 
Location: Wherabouts Unknown!
7,756 posts, read 16,461,314 times
Reputation: 9292
Branson....Obviously Colorado is not your cup of tea, which is probably much to the liking of our beloved jazzlover. One less person cluttering up Colorado!
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Old 01-05-2012, 08:53 AM
 
8,317 posts, read 25,113,571 times
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I disagree with those who say traveling US550 from north to south has less severe dropoffs. While the total distance without guardrails, etc. may be less, the most severe dropoffs with the least margin of error are on the southbound lane south of Ouray and north of the Riverside slide snowshed. There are places there where the edge of road (and cliff) is literally just off the right lane marker.

The hairiest single spot on US550, in my opinion, though, is in the northbound lane about a mile or so south of Red Mountain summit. The road is narrow, with a severe dropoff on a sharp left-hand curve on an uphill grade for northbound vehicles. The problem is that the road there is canted toward the edge of the cliff. If the road is snowpacked, icy, or wet, it is very easy for a northbound vehicle to slide toward the dropoff on the right side of the road. It's been that way for years and there are still some wrecked hulks of vehicles down the cliff from that spot. Why CDOT has never seen fit to fix the elevation of that curve, I don't know.

Again, I speak from experience of driving that road hundreds of times in all weather and road conditions, including numerous trips towing large equipment or livestock trailers.

How scary is the Million Dollar Highway to some flatlander drivers? Enough that, on several occasions, I've seen drivers "frozen" in the middle of the road--unable to drive another foot. A couple of times, my passenger had to get out, and drive their vehicle over Red Mountain Pass to Silverton for them.
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