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7th August 2003 - Road Trip - day 7 - Telluride, Silverton, Durango, Red Mountain Pass, Million Dollar Highway

After checking out of the hotel we decided to park the vehicle at the end of town and use the bikes up the mountain again. We followed a bike path along the river behind all the buildings until reaching the gondola.

We decided to try out the black runs this time – excellent! Small, narrow single tracks over rocks and tree roots into sharp switchbacks – great fun. A sign half way down the trail stated “This trail is designed for hikers bikers beware this trail is extremely difficult". Thanks for telling us half way down!

black bike run - oh dear!


At the bottom it started to rain quite heavily and it looked like it would be socked in for the rest of the day, so we rode back to the car and got changed out of out soaking clothes.

We then decided to take a drive to Silverton and then on to Durango. Silverton is very close as the crow flies, but we had to take a huge detour north to get around the mountains surrounding Telluride.

We had to cross the spectacular Red Mountain Pass to get there – all the mountains are a strange red colour. The road is called the Million Dollar Highway and it is quite simply one of the most stunning of drives.

red mountain pass


Silverton came about in the late 1800’s and existed purely due to its proximity to the gold and silver rich San Juan Mountains. Located at 9,318 feet and surrounded by four mountain peaks, it’s like it’s been frozen in time – or part of a Wild West movie set. This place really does seem lost in time as all the buildings are original.

We saw the daily Wild West gun fight which was fun.

We then continued on to Durango, arriving early evening looking for a place to stay. There are so many places to stay, but all either full or vastly overpriced. We ended up staying in a so so place for $65 after enquiring, as it seemed, at every single motel.

We then had the crappiest dinner of the whole trip at a shabby family restaurant.