We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

August weather

Dallas, Texas
3 posts
Save Topic
August weather

Will be in SW Colorado August 8-12, traveling with my husband and teenage son. We're driving from Dallas, through Albuquerque to Durango. Spending 2 nights in Durango (Doubletree) and 3 nights in Ouray (Box Canyon Lodge.) We're really looking forward to the trip and I've already made non-refundable reservations for a 1/2 day rafting trip with Mild2Wild in Durango (the mild one.) Looking at the weather reports, it appears the area has been getting more rain / thunderstorms than usual.

Should we be concerned about the weather? We plan to spend a good bit of our second day at Mesa Verde, then drive from there up to Telluride and around to Ouray. We would like to take a jeep tour one day, but I've hesitated to make any more reservations, due to the weather forecast. I read somewhere that the drive between Ouray and Durango on 550 is easier going south, so planned to travel that way on the way back.

Any advice from local experts would be welcome.

Thanks!

vcv
Tennessee
Level Contributor
1,747 posts
180 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: August weather

I'm not an expert but am just back from the Ouray/Durango area. We were able to walk in and get a jeep tour last week with Switzerland of America (in Ouray). I highly recommend them (they were recommended to us by two locals). When we reserved (mid-morning for an afternoon tour), the woman at the desk said that due to uncertainty with the weather, she wouldn't take our credit card info until we returned for the afternoon tour. (I was very impressed with that action.) We did the Imogene Pass tour and it was VERY cold. The guide had the warmest blankets I'd ever seen, but I wished I'd taken gloves and a winter hat. We did get in some rain, and sometimes the guide stopped to put up the top but would take it down when it cleared. Our guide was absolutely the best and the tour was a highlight of the trip. (Some people recommend the morning tour, but we didn't get in early enough and were leaving the next morning.) Also, be sure to take plenty of water as drinking often will help offset altitude effects (the guide kept repeating this).

As to the San Juan Highway, we drove from Durango north to Ouray and then around to Telluride and south to Cortez. The lanes are very wide with well marked center and side lines; there are plenty of places to pull over if you have cars behind you that want to go faster. We had just one tailgater for a very short time in the 200+ miles of road, and every single oncoming car was very observant of the center line. There were only a very few places where the shoulder had eroded away. Some of the grades are very steep, so using lower gears on those grades will prevent damage to brakes. I probably wouldn't want to drive an RV on the San Juan Hwy, but I didn't understand why the highway has the reputation it does.

IF THE COLORADO EXPERTS THAT HELPED ME READ THIS, I'LL BE DOING A TR ASAP.

Pagosa Springs...
Destination Expert
for Durango, Pagosa Springs
Level Contributor
415 posts
7 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: August weather

We are getting seasonal monsoonal rains in southwest Colorado. The mornings and early afternoon are typically dry. Most of our big rains (in Pagosa, an hour east of Durango) have been coming through in the middle of the night - although we did have a shower pass an hour ago - around 12:30 for 15 min. Blue skies now.

Don't be concerned about the weather - you'll have a great time even with a little rain. The clouds are really neat in the mtns after storms, and we get a lot of rainbows!!

Ouray, Colorado
Level Contributor
629 posts
38 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: August weather

Hi,

When you check into your hotel, let them know you want to book a jeep tour. I am sure they will be happy to do it for you.

The weather in the San Juans is always uncertain and the jeep tour companies know that. They communicate with one another and know how to read the clouds so in isolated storms, they can move around to keep everyone seeing the best scenery and yet minimizing the wether impact.

As for being concerned with the weather, I wouldn't be concerned... We are in a wet period but I wouldn't call it extreme. By the time you come, it might just dry out. The trouble with heavy rain is the possibility of flash flooding. The mountains around Ouray are steep. There has been minimal trouble but trouble nonetheless.

Just an FYI... Most people think traveling from Durango to Ouray is preferable (means traveling north) since you are cliff side on most of the "naughty" sections of Red Mountain Pass (Million Dollar Highway).

Edited: 03 August 2010, 21:12
Dallas, Texas
3 posts
Save Reply
4. Re: August weather

Thank you all for the quick and helpful responses. I will stop fretting and just expect to have a wonderful time. (We're under a heat advisory all week here in North Texas, with highs every day around 103, so the cooler weather in the San Juans will be a welcome change!)

kavery123,

Thanks for the info about 550 between Durango and Ouray. If we backtrack from Mesa Verde through Durango to take the road north to Ouray, how long do you estimate that will take?

Thanks again...

Ouray, Colorado
Level Contributor
629 posts
38 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: August weather

Depends where you are in the park but I would say about 3 hours to Ouray. Make sure to do it during daylight hours so you don't miss the views!

WestSlope,CO
Destination Expert
for Colorado
Level Contributor
10,625 posts
166 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: August weather

I wouldn't miss the drive around through Rico, Telluride, Dallas Divide, Ridgway and south to Ouray. If you feel you must drive Durango>Ouray south to north, then please drive on around the San Juan Skyway loop on your return trip, as the scenery is awesome (in the non-cliche sense--awe-inspiring).

I actually think your original plan would work well. The worrisome section of the Million Dollar Highway (with the steep dropoffs, no guard rail and little or no shoulder) actually extends only a few miles just south of Ouray through the Uncompahgre Gorge and a cautious, competent driver will be able to make it just fine. It is a paved state highway. I don't have any official data on accidents here, but the only ones I know of have involved either winter ice/snowslides or a driver with ability impaired by alcohol or drugs. Dallas or Denver rush hour traffic is scarier ;)

…blogspot.com/2009/07/million-dollar-highway…

Dallas, Texas
3 posts
Save Reply
7. Re: August weather

Thanks, missp, I'm sorry for the delayed response. We still haven't decided which way to go, but it will be gorgeous, either way. We're in Albuquerque this morning, on our way to Durango today. Already loving the views and cooler weather.

Thanks again to everyone for helpful comments.

8. Re: August weather

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 05 February 2011, 05:17
Get answers to your questions about Ouray