For this particular trip, fly into Durango and spend a night in room 222, the Louis L’Amour suite at the historic Strater Hotel. Novelist, L’Amour penned many of his western novels in this very room, at the drop leaf table that still sits in the room today. The ambiance transports you back in time, further enriched by the melodious piano notes from the bar below.
While in Durango, check out the Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum and consider taking the narrow gauge train to Silverton. The entire town of Silverton is designated as a National Historic Landmark. If you dare, you can also drive this route and continue on to Ouray on the Million Dollar Highway.
Durango to Dunton Hot Springs
The journey from Durango to Dunton Hot Springs can be challenging. Once, relying on GPS, I found myself on a precarious road with no turning back. Only a well-equipped off-road vehicle saved the day. For this trip, plan your route in advance.
Dunton Hot Springs, nestled within the majestic San Juan Mountain range, is a luxurious and meticulously restored ghost town. Here, you'll relive the wild west while enjoying modern comforts. Indulge in horseback rides, campfires under the starlit sky, and soak in mineral-rich hot springs.
Don’t miss: Butch Cassidy’s name carved into the bar at the saloon
Dunton Hot Springs to Telluride
After leaving the tranquil resort, the scenic drive to Telluride is mesmerizing. Surrounded by towering mountain peaks, it's a challenge to keep your eyes on the road. Telluride offers both a charming historic town and a mountain village. Both have unique views and lodging options. My favorite lodgings are The Madeline Hotel in the upper village and the Pandora rooms at the New Sheridan Hotel in the historic lower town.
If You Dare
The little over two hour route from Durango to Telluride is a relaxing drive with little traffic and incredible views. In as little as 3 days, you can enjoy the changing leaves and serenity of this beautiful place. If you are the more fearless type, you can continue on to the towns of Ouray and Silverton then complete the loop back in Durango. Reminder that the route from Ouray to Silverton will require the white knuckle drive on the Million Dollar Highway.