Southwest Colorado trip, Medano Pass to the Alpine loop

Discussion in 'Overland Trip Reports' started by Kerrymann, Jun 28, 2018.

  1. Kerrymann

    Kerrymann New Member

    I posted in the planning section a few months ago and we just wrapped up our trip through SW Colorado. We had to make a few adjustments for fires (no hiking the Chicago Basin from the D+S RR) but it was a great trip and everyone had fun. We did it in a little over a week and it was a packed schedule but plenty of fun stops. Even though it's the dry SW we were able to play in water ever day of the trip. Usually a waterfall or hot springs (only one night we resorted to a hotel pool). I'm splitting up the report into a couple posts to be manageable.
     
  2. Kerrymann

    Kerrymann New Member

    Skyline drive (since it was on the way)
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  3. Kerrymann

    Kerrymann New Member

    I planned the trip so that we wouldn't be doing any wheeling on a weekend so we left on a Tuesday. Medano pass is one of our favorite places to camp out and we were able to grab a nice spot and luckily the Stage 1 fire restrictions still allowed for using the established fire rings. Our truck is a 2012 Silverado with 3" lift and 33's which did fine but we did have a water crossing that was ~2' (went over the hood driving slowly) which is deeper then I remember previous years. We did some hiking and I bought a pair of big binoculars that we could very clearly see Jupiter and 4 moons with. This trip wasn't ideal for star gazing given the moon was up but still worth it.

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  4. Kerrymann

    Kerrymann New Member

    We stopped by great sand dunes but without the creek flowing to the sand we moved on to Zapata Falls. And we stopped in Alamosa for beer and food at San Luis Valley Brewing Co.
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  5. Kerrymann

    Kerrymann New Member

    We then hit the Cumbres Toltec steam train which the kids loved. And hit Pagosa Springs for a night in civilization. We stayed at the hotel at the springs which wasn't cheap BUT you get into the springs for free anytime, 24 hours. So after the kids were asleep the wife and I hung out in the hot water till the wee hours of the morning.

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  6. Kerrymann

    Kerrymann New Member

    Then it was Mesa Verde where we did the Long house tour and the Cliff Palace tours. Ranger Night Eagle was our guide for Cliff Palace and treated us with a flute performance. It takes longer then you expect to get around Mesa Verde and the campground is at the entrance to the park.
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  7. Kerrymann

    Kerrymann New Member

    A stop over in Durango. Highly recommend Carver Brewing and Steamworks. The bartender at Carver was good enough to can me some of their awesome barrel-aged barely wine. And the kids ran around the Durango Powerhouse Science center. It's small but it was great for them to get out some energy before getting back on the road to go up the million dollar highway.
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  8. Kerrymann

    Kerrymann New Member

    Ouray is one of my favorite towns. We did the perimeter trail, waterfalls, hot springs, more food and beer.....
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  9. Kerrymann

    Kerrymann New Member

    Then it was the alpine loop. I was advised against doing Mineral Creek in a full size but Engineer Pass did not disappoint. And Whitmore falls was a great place for lunch if you are up to the short but steep hike.

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  10. Kerrymann

    Kerrymann New Member

    The most efficient way to reheat leftovers. And our final stop was Black Canyon of the gunnison.
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  11. Morris Yarnell

    Morris Yarnell Well-Known Member

    Thanks. Most posts I have seen do not tell that there is much of a water crossing at the Medano pass trail. Over the hood is a real surprise.
     
  12. Kerrymann

    Kerrymann New Member

    I was surprised myself when I saw the water coming up. I have crossed there before without a worry but this year there was a 30' long stretch of still water across the road. Not sure if there was some sort of blockage just down stream that hasn't been there before. There is a sign saying to cross slowly to avoid drowning your engine so we were going only about 5-10 mph.
     
  13. Jim

    Jim Member

    That deep spot was not there on May19. Maybe the beavers have been busy.
    Nice write-up....thanks. I took note of the lack of crowds in your photos. That was a surprise.
     

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