Scenic Drive from Durango to Denver

In my quest to complete the Colorado Trail, I’ve driven through many small towns in the state and have hardly stopped to check any of them out as I was destination bound.  On my way home from Durango, I opted on a scenic tour.

I first stopped in Pagosa Springs.  I came here once probably 25 years ago, and don’t remember much of it, so I took an hour for a quick visit.  I parked at the visitor center and followed a recommended loop for a short hike through the wetlands.  About half the walk was by a busy road which I didn’t find enticing, but soon I found a paved sidewalk that snaked along the river which made the walk more enjoyable.

Toward the end of the trail and next to the visitor center were the hot springs with very nice resorts offering lounge chairs and pools riverside.  If I were a hot springs person, I would say these were worth a visit as they appeared lovely.

From the riverside, I followed the ramp up to the main street where most of the businesses could be found in the historic district.  I had hoped there would be a few blocks of quaint buildings and interesting shops, but what you see on the highway while driving through, is what you get.  I didn’t find the two blocks that special, and confirmed I would likely stay elsewhere to enjoy the nearby wilderness.

My next visit was to Treasure Falls.  I was apprehensive about this roadside stop near the pass, as I read it was a nice, short walk for tourists.  The walk was short, but it was closer to a hike in my opinion…no paved trails.  In fact, there were two paths to chose from; the main trail and the steep, primitive trail.  I took the “primitive” trail up to the falls as I bypassed all the tourists, and took the main trail down for an easier route on the knees.  This was a perfect 20-minute option to see the falls.

Del Norte came next.  It was lunch time and its Three Barrell Brewing was a popular spot.  The pizza was excellent!  I took a short stroll through this small town as well, and didn’t find much either.  Its main business district was right on the highway as well.  A mineral well was located on Colombia St.  It was once drilled in order to fight fires.  It was kind of interesting.  There was also an old hotel that was intriguing enough to warrant a one night stay to explore the back country nearby.

The drive included several more small towns such as Poncha Springs, Saguache, Fairplay, Jefferson, and Bailey though I had seen most of them more than once, so I passed through to finally be home sweet home.  I’m glad I checked out the places along the way to satisfy my curiosity!  ETB