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Driving from Denver to Ouray

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Liverpool
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Driving from Denver to Ouray

I'm looking for the best route from Denver to Ouray, taking in the some great scenery, but I need to make it comfortably in one day to find a room in Ouray that night. Any suggestions?

Thanks

WestSlope,CO
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1. Re: Driving from Denver to Ouray

When are you travelling?

There are several routes you could take. Here are a couple of my favorites:

Proceed west on I-70 to Glenwood Springs. Take 82 south to Carbondale, then 133 to Redstone->Paonia->Hotchkiss->then 92 to Delta. In Delta, you will turn south on 550->Montrose->Ridgway->Ouray.

An alternate route would take you to the Buena Vista/Salida/Poncha Springs area, then west on Hwy 50 through Gunnison to Montrose, then aouth on 550 to Ouray.

To get to Poncha Springs, you could take I70 as far as Vail, then south on 24. Or, you could take 285 from Denver.

I would recommend you get a reservation for a room in Ouray. Then you can take your time and sightsee along the way, perhaps including stops at Redstone, or St Elmo ghost town near Buena Vista and/or the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park near Montrose. If you like gardens, the Betty Ford Alpine Garden in Vail is very beautiful and peaceful.

Liverpool
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2. Re: Driving from Denver to Ouray

Thanks for the advice. I'd thought about the second route myself.

We'll be travelling next Monday (May 11th) actually. We pick up our car in Denver at 9am. How long do you think each route may take, with stops etc?

Thanks again.

WestSlope,CO
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3. Re: Driving from Denver to Ouray

From the airport, Mapquest puts it at 327 miles and 6 hours. I was going to guess 6 and a half hours with a couple of quick fuel/rest stops. Maybe longer if you get behind a slow moving truck or RV and can't pass for a bit...or run into some road construction. (I'm not aware of any...maybe someone else will post if they know) It's hard for me to estimate how long to allow for other stops :-) Depends on if you like to stop and take lots of pictures...If you take the side trip to St Elmo ghost town, that's about 17 mi each way but you'd need to allow something like 30-40 minutes each way (I'm not sure of the driving time...it's been awhile and I wasn't really paying attention to the time)plus time to look around. So, an hour and a half to two hours. You could hit the highlights of the Black Canyon in about the same amount of time.

So it will be a pretty long day, but a beautiful drive. Are you planning on driving that far the day of your arrival? If so, I would sure encourage you to break up the trip and stop in Buena Vista or Salida, (or Gunnison or even Montrose if you are making either or both of the side trips) then proceed to Ouray the next day if at all possible.

WestSlope,CO
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4. Re: Driving from Denver to Ouray

I don't think there would be much time difference in the Glenwood Springs/Redstone route.

It is actually takes a little less time if you go on to Grand Junction and then south to Montrose because you would have 4 lane highway all the way to Montrose and can travel faster, but it isn't quite as scenic.

Liverpool
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5. Re: Driving from Denver to Ouray

Thanks for the advice. It won't be our day of arrival as we get into Denver on the Saturday so we should be well rested and ready for a day's drive.

I think we'll just have to see how far we get! If we don't get as far as Ouray, can you recommend any other towns to stay in with some nice places and stay and restaurants. I'd considered Gunnison and Montrose but they look nowhere near as picturesque as Ouray.

Thanks again

WestSlope,CO
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6. Re: Driving from Denver to Ouray

No arguments about that from me, lol! IMO, there aren't many places as picturesque as Ouray! (Well, okay, Redstone is pretty close) Since you're starting out fresh, I think you'll make Ouray okay.

If you come the 285 route, I think you'd want to get farther along your way than Buena Vista or Salida, so Gunnison would be the next stop if you decide you need to stop. And if you get as far as Montrose, it's only 45 minutes to Ouray. However, if it's getting dark I would stop in Montrose and drive to Ouray in the morning because you don't want to miss the scenery. There are several good restaurants in Gunnison and Montrose.

FYI, you may know this, but keep an eye out for deer along the roadsides throughout Colorado, especially in the evening. If you spot them standing by the road, slow down, as they tend to bolt out in front of you at the last second. And if you see one cross the road out in front of you, slow down because he likely has a couple of buddies nearby who will decide to join him.

Colorado Springs, CO
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7. Re: Driving from Denver to Ouray

If you want to check whether a particular stretch of road in Colorado has construction on it or not, try this website: http://www.cotrip.org/roadWork.htm

Sarasota, Florida
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8. Re: Driving from Denver to Ouray

Great comments by MissP; she knows the turf well! The only addition would be to caution you regarding the weather. You can still get snow on the passes during May so doublecheck the forecasts when you're in Denver and that may guide you on which route to take.

Liverpool
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9. Re: Driving from Denver to Ouray

Just wanted to say thanks to everyone for their advice especially missp. We've just got back from our trip. We easily made it to Ouray within the day and loved it there, it certainly is a beautiful little town.

Thanks again.

WestSlope,CO
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10. Re: Driving from Denver to Ouray

You're very welcome...glad we could help. Which route did you end up taking?

Hope your weather was okay. We've had rain the last couple of days. As my grandma used to say, "It come a gullywarsher" yesterday.