Recently my friend and I took a road trip from Tacoma, WA to Durango, CO stopping for a night at Valley of the Gods just south of Moab, UT. The scenery was beautiful and the trail is easy on your vehicle. The free camping is a definite highlight. Despite the bats and creepy sounds at night, I would highly recommend spending a night there if you ever have the chance!!
With family waiting for our arrival, we headed on to Bayfield, CO just east of Durango, with a stop at the Four Corners for the obligatory picture op. Although the plan was to hit up San Juan National Forest for some camping and wheeling, the forest was closed due to fires. A change of plans lead us to Silverton and the Alpine Loop with several detours in between, incuding California Gulch and Eureka Gulch.
This area is well known for its mining history and along the way there are several old mines to explore and hike around. Although you can't take trailers up through this area, it's a great place to set up camp and explore with your vehicle or on foot. We huffed and puffed at 13000 feet but the scenery is breathtaking and otherworldly.
We had a great time wheeling, hiking around, exploring some mines, shooting a pellet gun, and chasing after the Marmots (or Whistle Pigs as we like to call them). Exhausted and sunburned, we headed back to reality with plans to return next year for another adventure.
If you are ever in the Durango, CO area looking for some fun, head to Silverton and the old mines, and if you have time, stop by Avalanche Brewing Company for a pint!