Enjoying the Beauty and History of Southwestern Colorado

We don’t make our way to southwestern Colorado as often as we should. Whenever we do take the time to go there, we always have a wonderful time. There are so many different reasons to make your way through the mountains and valleys, as there are definitely some beautiful locations throughout the area. Regardless of whether you want to get into the mountains and go hiking, see some locations of geological interest, or visit ancient ruins, there is something that will appeal to everyone. We have been to each of these locations multiple times, but never in the same trip. It would actually make for a very interesting loop from Colorado Springs to go to all of these locations on a single trip with short stays along the way.

At the Base of the Sand Dunes
Like Walking on a Strange Planet
A Sandboarder
Ancient Pueblo Petroglyph

Alamosa and the Great Sand Dunes National Park – If you head south from Colorado Springs and then go west once you reach Walsenburg, it is about a 3 hour trip to reach the town of Alamosa. At least for us, the main reason to visit this quaint town is to enjoy time in the Great Sand Dunes National Park, which is truly an amazing experience. It is also a great location to enjoy food of the southwest in one of the several restaurants located in Alamosa. There are some very interesting hiking trails in the area, even one that allows you to get up close to some petroglyphs.

Mesa Verde
Aztec Ruins
Cliff Dwelling
Kiva with Sapapu

Durango, Mesa Verde National Park, the “Four Corners”, and the Aztec National Ruins Monument in New Mexico – Located in the southwestern corner of Colorado, about 3 hours west of Alamosa, Durango is a great place to explore. The area is known as the four corners because it is where Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, and Arizona all come together in a single location. There is even a marker right where all four states come together and if you want, you can put one body part in each state by putting your hands and feet in different states all at the same time. Mesa Verde National Park is certainly spectacular to see and it worthwhile taking the time to go into New Mexico to visit the Aztec National Ruins Monument.

Mountain Peaks
The Main Street of Telluride
Town of Telluride Seen from the Gondola
San Miguel River that Runs Through Telluride

Telluride and Ouray Colorado – After seeing the historic area of the four corners, you can continue north for about 2 hours to the town of Telluride where you can enjoy some upscale relaxation. There are many trails to hike for people of all ages as well as mountain biking and other outdoor activities. Since it is a resort town, there are more than enough food options for any type of meal or budget. Whether staying in the actual town of Telluride or staying in the Mountain Village, taking the gondola between the two provides incredible views without having to exert any energy. The mountain vistas are some of the most spectacular in Colorado, which makes Telluride a destination all on its own.

Dramatic Scenery
Mountain Summit
Pond with a Beaver Damn Just Outside of Telluride
More Aztec Ruins in New Mexico

After spending time in Telluride, it is about a 6 hour drive back to Colorado Springs, but the scenery is beautiful and varied as you go through valleys and mountain ranges. Any of these destinations are worthy visiting simply for their own reasons, but combining them into a single trip will provide you with a very unique experience since each location has something different to offer. There are obviously other locations along the way that can be added, so this route can be added to for those who have more time to spend on the road.

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