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Old 07-21-2013, 12:48 AM
 
Location: MN
3,174 posts, read 2,930,554 times
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I'll be traveling from Crested Butte to Black Hawk in mid Sept and was seeing if anyone has driven the county road 742 and 306 route over the College Peaks area from Almont to Buena Vista.

Is it more enjoyable then the hwy 50/285 route, or not worth it?
I see it's a dirt road at the higher elevations, would a car be acceptable?
Decent chance of snow at the roads summit in Sept?

Anyone driven Ophir Pass road to get from Ophir to Hwy 550?
Doable in a car?
Or 4x4 only?
More of a dirt road or jeep trail?

Any information would be great, thank you!

Last edited by Mike from back east; 07-21-2013 at 10:09 AM.. Reason: Merged 2:1
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Old 07-21-2013, 08:35 AM
 
Location: Na'alehu Hawaii/Buena Vista Colorado
4,877 posts, read 9,625,859 times
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Crested Butte to BV via Taylor Reservoir and Cottonwood Pass is a lovely drive and quite doable in a regular car. It takes about an hour and a half, depending on traffic. We just did the drive last week to go look at wildflowers around CB. Of course, going over Monarch Pass is probably faster.

Snow is always possible in the middle of September, but not enough to cause any concern.

I haven't been over Ophir Pass, but I just Googled it. If you look at some of the images, you will answer your own question.
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Old 07-21-2013, 10:57 AM
 
Location: MN
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dreaming of Hawaii View Post
Crested Butte to BV via Taylor Reservoir and Cottonwood Pass is a lovely drive and quite doable in a regular car. It takes about an hour and a half, depending on traffic. We just did the drive last week to go look at wildflowers around CB. Of course, going over Monarch Pass is probably faster.

Snow is always possible in the middle of September, but not enough to cause any concern.

I haven't been over Ophir Pass, but I just Googled it. If you look at some of the images, you will answer your own question.

Thank you for info Dreaming of Hawaii! I should have googled Ophir pass, just saw it on bing maps balloon view.
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Old 07-21-2013, 12:10 PM
 
Location: Betwixt and Between
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When I drove it at the beginning of July, there was road construction near Almont and we had to detour around it. It's paved on the BV/Chaffee Co side to Cottonwood pass, then dirt until you get down near Taylor reservoir where you return to pavement. The detour wasn't very long, 3 or 4 miles maybe, and we came out on 135 at the intersection with Jacks Cabin Road (CR 813). Lovely drive. I prefer it to Monarch pass.
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Old 07-21-2013, 07:35 PM
 
Location: CO/UT/AZ/NM Catch me if you can!
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Ophir pass is beautiful in September, but you'll need a 4-wd. It's hard to make out, but that white spot with the circle around it is the remains of a jeep that didn't have enough respect for all that loose scree and shale as you drive up over the pass going east from Ophir. That's the worst stretch. I drove it in my Toyota 4wd truck:







Once you get past THAT, it's spectacular in the fall:


Attached Thumbnails
Crested Butte to Buena Vista-hotdogger-remains.jpg   Crested Butte to Buena Vista-colors-other-side.jpg  
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Old 07-21-2013, 09:01 PM
 
Location: MN
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Colorado Rambler View Post
Ophir pass is beautiful in September, but you'll need a 4-wd. It's hard to make out, but that white spot with the circle around it is the remains of a jeep that didn't have enough respect for all that loose scree and shale as you drive up over the pass going east from Ophir. That's the worst stretch. I drove it in my Toyota 4wd truck:







Once you get past THAT, it's spectacular in the fall:


Thanks, we're driving from Aspen to Telluride and then next day to Crested Butte and was seeing if there was an "easier" dirt roads going from Hwy 145 to hwy 550 that are south of Telluride going towards Rico. Just asking because we want to see Ouray and maybe Silverton, but we would have to leave Telluride and redrive back to Ridgeway and then south on 550 then turn around and go back to Ridgeway to make our way to Crested Butte. I take it all the roads heading north and west of Silverton going to Lake City aren't car drivable? I wish I was taking my jeep instead of a rental car...
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Old 07-22-2013, 08:14 AM
 
Location: CO/UT/AZ/NM Catch me if you can!
4,694 posts, read 4,337,002 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wamer27 View Post
Thanks, we're driving from Aspen to Telluride and then next day to Crested Butte and was seeing if there was an "easier" dirt roads going from Hwy 145 to hwy 550 that are south of Telluride going towards Rico. Just asking because we want to see Ouray and maybe Silverton, but we would have to leave Telluride and redrive back to Ridgeway and then south on 550 then turn around and go back to Ridgeway to make our way to Crested Butte. I take it all the roads heading north and west of Silverton going to Lake City aren't car drivable? I wish I was taking my jeep instead of a rental car...
I wouldn't attempt any of those dirt roads in a rented car unless it was a 4-wd jeep. If you want to make a loop, you could drive a little further and head down to Durango and take Highway 160 east to South Fork and pick up Highway 149 to Lake City and Gunnison. From Gunnison take Highway 135 north to Crested Butte. It's the longer way around, but it's all paved and very scenic.
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Old 07-22-2013, 04:15 PM
 
Location: MN
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Colorado Rambler View Post
I wouldn't attempt any of those dirt roads in a rented car unless it was a 4-wd jeep. If you want to make a loop, you could drive a little further and head down to Durango and take Highway 160 east to South Fork and pick up Highway 149 to Lake City and Gunnison. From Gunnison take Highway 135 north to Crested Butte. It's the longer way around, but it's all paved and very scenic.

Have you driven the loop you mentioned? I looked into doing it when I started planning our trip, I just don't know if I wanna drive for 8-9 drive hours plus stopping to see sites, eating, etc...where it turns into a 12 hr day. If its very highly recommended, then I'll do it. Have you been to any hot springs in Ouray?
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Old 07-22-2013, 05:16 PM
 
Location: CO/UT/AZ/NM Catch me if you can!
4,694 posts, read 4,337,002 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wamer27 View Post
Have you driven the loop you mentioned? I looked into doing it when I started planning our trip, I just don't know if I wanna drive for 8-9 drive hours plus stopping to see sites, eating, etc...where it turns into a 12 hr day. If its very highly recommended, then I'll do it. Have you been to any hot springs in Ouray?
I've driven those roads on different occasions except for 149 between Lake City and Gunnison. If you take 160 East, you'll be going over Wolf Creek Pass which is very nice. There's a pull-out maybe half way up that affords a scenic vista back toward Pagosa Springs (there's a nice hot springs there, too). Lake City is an interesting little town and either way you go, you'll be going thru Gunnison and turning there to catch the road to Crested Butte. It would make for quite a bit of driving.

The other loop you could take is to go to Durango, but take 160 West to Cortez. Right as you're coming into Cortez, you'll see the sign for 145 going to Dolores. Continue all the way up 145 and over Lizard Head Pass - very beautiful in the fall. Continue on 145 to the junction with 62 and turn east on 62 to Ridgeway. I drive this route often and I estimate that you could do it in 6 hours. Of course, if you're pressed for time, the quickest way is just to turn around in Silverton and go back over 550 the way you came. Highway 550 is always spectacular - even more-so in the fall. You probably won't mind seeing it twice.

My favorite hot springs (Orvis) is actually closer to Ridgeway than Ouray. Check out its web page: Orvis Hotsprings. Ouray has a public hot springs and you can also test the water at the Weisbaden in Ouray - a nice hot springs also.

Last edited by Colorado Rambler; 07-22-2013 at 06:20 PM..
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Old 07-22-2013, 07:29 PM
 
Location: MN
3,174 posts, read 2,930,554 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Colorado Rambler View Post
I've driven those roads on different occasions except for 149 between Lake City and Gunnison. If you take 160 East, you'll be going over Wolf Creek Pass which is very nice. There's a pull-out maybe half way up that affords a scenic vista back toward Pagosa Springs (there's a nice hot springs there, too). Lake City is an interesting little town and either way you go, you'll be going thru Gunnison and turning there to catch the road to Crested Butte. It would make for quite a bit of driving.

The other loop you could take is to go to Durango, but take 160 West to Cortez. Right as you're coming into Cortez, you'll see the sign for 145 going to Dolores. Continue all the way up 145 and over Lizard Head Pass - very beautiful in the fall. Continue on 145 to the junction with 62 and turn east on 62 to Ridgeway. I drive this route often and I estimate that you could do it in 6 hours. Of course, if you're pressed for time, the quickest way is just to turn around in Silverton and go back over 550 the way you came. Highway 550 is always spectacular - even more-so in the fall. You probably won't mind seeing it twice.

My favorite hot springs (Orvis) is actually closer to Ridgeway than Ouray. Check out its web page: Orvis Hotsprings. Ouray has a public hot springs and you can also test the water at the Weisbaden in Ouray - a nice hot springs also.

Thank you Colorado rambler for all the great info! I'm gonna drive south out of Telluride to Dolores and then east to Durango and north on million dollar highway, I can't wait. This area of the state has always been my favorite even though last time I was there I was maybe 10 (23 years ago) and I can't wait to show my wife it! I regret not coming to this area when I lived in Ft Collins and hope to make it back with a jeep and more time in the future.
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