Here is the second part of my favorite things to do in the beautiful state of Colorado. This article features Rocky Mountain National Park, Black Canyon of the Gunnison NP, the Durango to Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, the Million Dollar Highway and Ouray. The photos are from our roadtrip in 2004.
Established on 26 January 1915, Rocky Mountain National Park features majestic mountain views, a variety of wildlife, varied environments, from wooded forests to mountain tundra, and easy access to back-country trails and campsites. Elevations range from 8,000 feet in the grassy valleys to 14,259 feet at the top of Longs Peak. On our visit to Rocky Mountain National Park in 2004 we stayed at Tiny Town Cottages in Estes Park. We drove Fall River Road to Alpine Visitor Center, which is one of five visitor centers. From here we had a great view on a valley with hundreds of grazing elk.
Photos below from top-left to bottom-right: Copeland Falls, view from Alpine Visitor Center, Trail Ridge Road, Moraine Park.
The Black Canyon is a 2,000 feet deep gorge with the Gunnison River flowing through it. It is so deep and narrow that little sunlight reaches into it, hence the name “Black Canyon”. The area was established a National Park in 1933. It features spectacular landscape, with sheer walls and startling depths. We visited this national park on 8 September 2004.
Photos below from top-left to bottom-right: Visitor Center, Gunnison Point look-out near Visitor Center, view from Gunnison Point, Painted Wall View.
Durango was founded by the Denver & Rio Grande Railway in 1880. The railroad arrived in Durango on August 5, 1881 and construction on the line to Silverton began in the fall of the same year. By July of 1882, (only 11 months after construction began), the tracks to Silverton were completed and the train began hauling both passengers and freight.
We travelled the three-and-a-half hours from Durango to the old mining town of Silverton and back on 5 September 2004, and it was a magnificent journey along the Animas River through 46 miles of the San Juan National Forest.
The San Juan Skyway Scenic Byway is a 236-mile loop in the heart of the San Juan Mountains. We followed the road from Durango to Ouray, which is known as the Million Dollar Highway, and had some beautiful scenic views.
On 7 September 2004 we rented a jeep in Ouray and did an ‘easy’ jeep trail to Yankee Boy Basin. It was a great drive, and we saw some nice waterfalls and abandoned mines and houses.