Ridgway, CO Monday May 26
Mountains are now surrounding us. Ridgway is at 7,000 feet in the San Juan Mountains. The San Juans have 14 of Colorado’s 53 peaks over 14,000 feet. This morning we drove past Ridgway and went another 20 miles to Ouray.
We visited two falls in Ouray, and even did some shopping. Falls number one was Box Canon Falls which drops 285 feet into a narrow canyon. We took the lower route to watch the water splashing and passed up on the opportunity to climb to the top and watch it from there. The falls were never commercially used and were donated to the city in the early 1900s. The area is also used for ice climbing in the winter.
Cascade Falls is out in the open and while there is a longer hike to the top, we just hiked to the lower viewing area. These falls are supposed to be 120 feet tall.
After lunch and shopping, we drove the “Million Dollar Highway” to Silverton, CO. This is a 25 mile section of the San Juan Scenic Byway which is a 230 mile loop road. This section goes over the Red Mountain Pass at 11,000 feet and is supposed to be the most scenic portion of the byway. It took us close to an hour to make the drive to Silverton. Silverton is an old mining town, silver being one of the primary minerals mined here in the 1800s and early 1900s. Now the town is the turn around point for the Durango and Silverton Railroad, a tourist, scenic railroad.
We passed numerous spring waterfalls along the road, old mining shafts, and roaring creeks. The sky was primarily clear so the blue skies and white, snow-capped peaks made for a scenic contrast. Of course, we had to get back to Ridgway for our night’s lodging so the return trip took another hour. But the beauty was worth it.
Dinner was in Ridgway at a local diner with $5 burgers tonight. With a cup of soup or other side included, it was a pleasant way to end the day.
Ed and Chris May 26 9:45 pm