Where can I find a scenic outlook en route to Durango?
May 21, 2013 9:57 AM   Subscribe

Help from Colorado Mefites! I'm driving right now from Silverthorne, CO to Durango, CO and want to find a nice scenic backdrop of the Rockies for some photos. Between not knowing the area very well and finding out about closed roads, I'm having a hard time figuring out where to go. Ideally, it would be a place we can take pictures of our car with nearly nothing in the background but beautiful mountains. Ideas? Thank you in advance!
posted by TessaGal to Travel & Transportation around Silverthorne, CO (6 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
What's your route going to be? If you're going to be on 550 at all it's basically nothing but insanely scenic mountains the entire drive.
posted by saladin at 10:29 AM on May 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

If you take 285 you will drive through the Arkansas Valley in front of the Collegiates, which are very picturesque. There will be a number of pull-offs and the like. If you take a short detour from Silverthorne over Loveland Pass on Hwy 6 you can get some nice photos of the Great Divide. Wolf Creek Pass near Pagosa Springs will also have some nice vistas. Basically, any route you take will include some very mountainous parts of Colorado; just pull over when the light is good.
posted by craven_morhead at 10:34 AM on May 21, 2013

Best answer: Get onto 285 as quickly as you can (I think you can take 9 south onto it from Silverthorne). The Arkansas Valley makes happiness bubble up in my chest every time I drop down into it. As you continue on along 285, you'll hit Salida, and then you'll go up and over a small pass. You'll come down into top of the San Luis Valley, which also me bounce with delight in my seat like a two-year old. As a bonus, Great Sand Dunes National Park is also in the San Luis Valley if you're looking for a different kind of dramatic scenery.

If you don't want to go to Sand Dunes though, follow 285 to Monte Vista and then take 160 through the San Juan Mountains to Durango. This will give you a couple of good options: you can pull over just about anywhere in the Arkansas Valley or at the top of the San Luis Valley and get some good shots. The top of Wolf Creek Pass will also give you some good views (that's on 160, before you hit Pagosa Springs).

If you travel this way, please sing the hello song for me to the San Juan mountains when you get there (the ones you'll go through traveling on 160). The song goes like this: "Hello, Mountains! Hello, Mountains! Hello hello hello hello!"
posted by colfax at 10:46 AM on May 21, 2013 [2 favorites]

I would second going down 550, with the addition of a stop at Molas Pass. It is absolutely stunning, and has a viewing stop.
posted by Gneisskate at 11:21 AM on May 21, 2013 [2 favorites]

There's almost no way you can avoid scenic backdrops with that drive. Just pull over somewhere (safely, of course!) and you should be able to get what you're looking for....
posted by heurtebise at 11:22 AM on May 21, 2013 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks so much for the responses!! We ended up going through Leadville and then took the 50 to the 550. The views were so gorgeous and we stopped so often that we didn't even make it to Durango (in Telluride). So amazing. We will hit up Molas Pass tomorrow! Oh and colfax, that is a fantastic song. I sang it in Leadville, I'll sing it again tomorrow :)
posted by TessaGal at 9:38 PM on May 21, 2013

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