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View Full Version : San Juans in late November....wise move???


IBCRUSN
11-05-2006, 11:13 PM
Since I'm not getting much info on mud I figured I'd try going to the source of CO wheeling info.

My wife and I are thinking about making a Thanksgiving trip out to Ouray from Wichita, maybe 4 or 5 days. I'd like to get at least one day of wheeling as it's been a few years since my last trek through the San Juans. My question is how feasible is it to run the Alpine Loop in late November? I have driven it in July/August and I'm aware that later in the year snow storms can pop up and a greater possibility of the passes being closed but I wanted to see what those from CO have to say.

On a side note if is a go and anyone would like come along it would be all the more fun. Thanksgiving in southwestern CO, what could be more relaxing?

Unless something else comes up I'm pretty sure we're heading that way because when I asked the wife, she said only if we go to the hot spring on Ouray. Thanks much for your assistance, I'll keep an eye out.

Kris

corsair23
11-05-2006, 11:50 PM
Kris,

That late in the year I don't think you'll have much luck but you never know. I know the mountains have received quite a bit of snow already this year. If others on the board don't chime in you could always call the Ouray Chamber of Commerce (might be Ridgway) (http://www.ouraycolorado.com/Chambers+and+Visitor+Centers).

I've only been in Ouray in the summer but I know often the area trails are closed late into the spring/early summer. You could also try calling these folks http://www.coloradowesttours.com/index.htm assuming they are still open and ask them about the conditions. Obviously a lot could change between now and Turkey Day :)

If you can't do the Alpine Trail you still might be able to find a trail or two that are passable. If not, definitely will free up more time for soaking in the Ouray hot springs or over at the Wiesbaden's springs/vaporcaves :)

BTW, got an uncle that lives in Wichita...You KS folk are good people :D

wesintl
11-06-2006, 09:36 AM
You can't get up there or over the alpine loop. That stuff has been closed for the ~month. Thanksgiving is ski season in the high country. You won't be able to do any high passes.

http://www.ouraycolorado.com/Jeep+Road+Conditions

I'm going to move this to chat as well.

Hopefully we'll see you on the trail soon.

corsair23
11-06-2006, 03:29 PM
Wes,

Thanks for the link...I was looking for that one last night and couldn't find it to pass along. The only one I could find was one that hadn't been updated since 5/06 :(

Now I have the page bookmarked :)

IBCRUSN
11-06-2006, 07:49 PM
Wes,
Thank you.

It's a drag there is no wheeling but at least we know. I'm just glad someone responded, I haven't heard anything on MUD.

Maybe I can convince the wife to go to Arches NP instead. Thanks again guys.

Kris

PS looking forward to CM '07, it'll be my first experience on the slickrock.

wesintl
11-06-2006, 11:45 PM
There's some wheeling in grand junction. Talk to Hugh from Safari Ltd. http://www.safari-ltd.com/

I've never run 21 road or anthing else out there so I couldn't tell you.


Sorry, I didn't see your post on mud.

Rzeppa
11-07-2006, 12:08 AM
I'm going to move this to chat as well.Why isn't this in run planning?

Corbet
11-07-2006, 11:44 AM
I 2nd the Grand Junction area. You should be able to advoid the snow there in November. Plus its "on the way" to Ouray.

IBCRUSN
11-11-2006, 11:13 AM
Our route to Ouray was going to be via Alamosa and Durango but a quick look on my map program for a quickest route sends us through The Springs, Salida and along Blue Mesa Res.

At any rate what is 21 Road like? Is it a scenic ride or more technical? To keep the wife happy on this trip it would have to be reasonably easy.

wsdavies
11-14-2006, 09:30 AM
From what I've read about Road 21, you'd want a locked rig and need to be willing to risk some body damage. I don't think it is to wife friendly. There are still some roads open up here in Delta County, but they are either muddy, snowy or both. I think the road over Kebler Pass is still open, but I don't know for how much longer???
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corsair23
11-14-2006, 02:01 PM
What about Owl Creek Pass? Scenery is SPECTACULAR in the summer and it is pretty much just a dirt road...Should be very :Princess: friendly and you might be able to find some mild wheeling if there is snow. Nice lake (Silver Jack Resevoir) up there if you are into fishing as well. Even saw that supposedly the movie "True Grit" with John Wayne was shot somewhere along this route. If you take the route proposed above you will go right be the turnoff...Sort of a "short cut" to Ridgway then on to Ouray from a mileage perspective.

Anyone know for sure if that is open in the winter?

Here is a google search on Owl Creek Pass (http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=owl+creek+pass)

Map of trail (http://www.treknow.com/colorado/backroads/southwest/owl_creek_pass.htm) States "season" is July-Oct :confused:

I've only driven it from the Ridgway end which offers awesome views of Courthouse Mtn and Chimney Rock...

wsdavies
11-15-2006, 11:31 AM
I was on that road a few weeks back. It was pretty muddy then, with good sized ruts.

What about Owl Creek Pass? Scenery is SPECTACULAR in the summer and it is pretty much just a dirt road...Should be very :Princess: friendly and you might be able to find some mild wheeling if there is snow. Nice lake (Silver Jack Resevoir) up there if you are into fishing as well. Even saw that supposedly the movie "True Grit" with John Wayne was shot somewhere along this route. If you take the route proposed above you will go right be the turnoff...Sort of a "short cut" to Ridgway then on to Ouray from a mileage perspective.

Anyone know for sure if that is open in the winter?

Here is a google search on Owl Creek Pass (http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=owl+creek+pass)

Map of trail (http://www.treknow.com/colorado/backroads/southwest/owl_creek_pass.htm) States "season" is July-Oct :confused:

I've only driven it from the Ridgway end which offers awesome views of Courthouse Mtn and Chimney Rock...
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IBCRUSN
11-15-2006, 10:31 PM
I'll take a look see. It looks like it may come down to the wire before we make a final decision. If we wheel it looks more like Moab and if it's just R&R it'll be Ouray. Thanks guys for the info I appreciate it.

Kris

IBCRUSN
11-30-2006, 10:10 PM
Well, we ended up in Ouray. Had a great weekend, nice and quiet and we did wheel some locally. We checked out an easy trail that runs by a few mines and did some hiking. The trail was pretty well snow covered but the view at the end was worth it.

I don't know if we'll make it back this summer but I'd like to try some of the trails closer to the front range. Can a wagon make it through Blanca? It comes to mind because we drove past Blanca Peak on the way home.