Southwest and Northwest Colorado – Pagosa Sprngs

Three Day Tour to Pagosa Springs and Ouray Colorado

This journey will take you through the Southwest Region where I stayed the night in Pagosa Springs and then the following day rode to Durango, Silverton, and stopped in Ouray, CO for the night. The next day I took the long way home (the best way) and went into the Northwest Region through Grand Mesa. I planned, mapped, and reserved hotel using all the resources from this website!

Day 1

I hit the road on Monday morning headed to Pagosa Springs, CO to enjoy a relaxing soak in the Famous Pagosa Springs Hot Springs. I took HWY-285 S over Kenosha Pass and through Fairplay all the way to the intersection of HWY-24 N to Buena Vista and HWY-285 S toward Poncha Springs. We’re headed to Pagosa Springs so we will continue S on HWY-285. As we roll South we’ll go through Poncha Springs and over Poncha Pass all the way to HWY-112. At this intersection we turn right and head West until we reach HWY-160 W. Now HWY-160 W will take us over Wolf Creek Pass to our day 1 destination, Pagosa Springs, CO.

Denver_to_PagosaSprings_via_WolfCreekPass

There are several places to stay in Pagosa Springs. Where you chose to stay will depend on how much you want to spend, location to the hot springs, and amenities, right? Well, my preference is cheap and easy! Get you mind out of the gutter! Inexpensive room and close to what I want to see or do is what I’m talking about. I chose the San Juan Motel because it was walking distance to the hot springs and it was inexpensive, only $100 for the night. I did not care for the room, personally, it had hard wood floors, no closet space to hang anything, very small bathroom with a shower (no tub), did not have towel racks, and the TV had a huge scratch and did not work very well. The grounds were unkept, long grass and weeds, and old water heaters and piles of wood. The first room I got had dirty sheets so I had to switch rooms and the breakfast were package donuts and danishes with coffee in the lobby. I would find another place to stay next time I visit.

The Pagosa Springs Hot Springs were very nice and I enjoyed a much needed natural mineral springs soak! It cost $35 to enter, $4 towel rental, and I was able to leave and come back if desired. The only thing is that they are only allowed so many guests in the pool area at a time, so when I get back, they could have a line that I would have to wait in to get back in. I stayed for a few hours and when I left for dinner, there was a line! The hot spring pools ranged from 107 degrees (hottest) to a mild 95 degrees down by the river. I stayed in the 103-105 degree range and that suited my tired bones just fine! The pool area also had 1 large pool and two hot tubs (not sure of temps) separate from the rest. There was also a drink station for alcohol and non-alcohol beverages and a snack food area in a covered/shaded area as well.

Pagosa Springs Hot Springs

There were several places to eat in the area, everything from fast food to brewery’s, pizza joints, Mexican food, and small diners. On my way back to the motel I stopped at a place called Kip’s Grill and had a great buffalo burger and a bear.

Day 2

I departed Pagosa Springs and continue South on HWY-160 headed to Durango, CO where I’ll stop at the Durango HD to get a challenge coin. From Durango I picked up HWY-550 N headed to Silverton, CO and stop at the Worlds Highest Harley Store, Silverton HD for another challenge coin.

Pagosa Springs to Ouray via Durango and Silverton, CO
Durango and Silverton Challenge Coins

The route to Silverton is another spectacular ride that will take us over Coal Bank Pass (10,640 ft above sea level) and Molas Pass (10,910 ft above sea level) where there are some great scenic views!

Molas Pass

From Silverton we’ll continue on HWY-550 N to Ouray, CO where I’m going to stop for the night. On the way to Ouray we’ll go over Red Mountain Pass and the famous Million Dollar Highway, and believe me, you don’t want to get caught in bad weather on this road, so check the forecast and know before you go. Before I went to the hotel I stopped at the Box Falls to take a look at this amazing site.

The hotel I stayed at in Ouray was the Riverside Inn and Cabins, and with the exception that they did not have breakfast, it was a great place to stay. The hot tubs were clean and private, the room was very clean with comfortable beds, there was a riverwalk that was about 2 miles round trip, there was a gas station and convenience store onsite and there was jeep rental next door. They were also nice enough to let me check in an hour early.

River Walk

I had dinner at The Goldbelt Bar and Grill (pizza) and I had breakfast at Timerline Deli of Ouray before I packed for the trip home.

Day 3

After breakfast at the Timberline Deli of Ouray I packed up, fueled up, and hit the road for home, via Grand Mesa that is.

I took HWY-550 N / HWY-50 W through Delta to CO HWY-92 E to CO-65 W (Grand Mesa Scenic Byway) which will take us through Cedaredge then on to Grand Mesa. There are a lot of lakes to fish in and many trails to hike or bike. The are is very wooded with wide open spaces between that are breathtaking!

Grand Mesa
Grand Mesa-2

Grand Mesa Scenic Byway (CO HWY-65 W) goes through the town of Mesa and then the road turns into 45 1/2 Rd which is a very curvey road with tall and steep canyon walls that will take us to I-70 E, just West of Parachute, CO. I-70 will get us back to the Denver area after we make one more stop for gas.

Tour Recap

This was a great trip and I would highly recommend it to anybody visiting Colorado. From Denver to Pagosa Springs where I spent a few hours soaking at the famous Pagosa Springs Hot Springs, had a great buffalo burger and a beer at Kips Grill.

Day 2 I rode to Durango and got a challenge coin for my collection, then rode up Coal Bank Pass and Molas Pass on my way to Silverton for another challenge coin, then continued up Red Mountain pass to the Million Dollar Highway and stayed the night in Ouray, CO. I went to see the Box Falls, had a great pizza for dinner and the hotel was great. The only bummer was the road construction by Telluride, CO…I hate road construction!

Day 3 I headed home via Grand Mesa which was a beautiful, relaxing, beginning of great ride home to Denver!

I hope you enjoyed reading about my Colorado Tour in the Southwest and Northwest region and it inspires you to come visit Colordo and tour this beautiful state.

As usual,

Be Safe, Have Fun and Ride On!

Short Shot

South Central Colorado Touring Videos

Touring Videos

Here are a few videos of the Tour I did down to Alamosa. On this ride I went to the Great Sand Dunes, Independence Pass from HWY-24 to Aspen, then from Glenwood Springs back to Denver. Great Ride, Great Videos!

Independance Pass

Ride to the Summit

Independence Pass

– 12,095 ft above sea level, snow, cold, wind, and AWESOME

The Great Sand Dunes

Hwy 150 into the Sand Dunes

The Great Sand Dunes…A River Runs Through It?

Glenwood Springs East on I-70

Be Safe, Have Fun and Ride On!

Short Shot

Southwest and Northwest Touring Videos – Gunnison

Touring Videos

These videos are from my last tour of Colorado Over Cottonwood Pass, to Gunnison, then to Colorado National Monument, and Glenwood Springs. The return trip went over Independence Pass and Loveland Pass! Great Videos!

Loveland Pass

Summit to I-70

Independence Pass Summit

Ride to Summit from Aspen

Colorado National Monument

Rimrock Dr

Gunnison River Dam

Crossing the dam bridge

Cottonwood Pass

Ride to the Summit

Be Safe, Have Fun and Ride On!

Short Shot

South Central Colorado – Alamosa

Two Day Tour to Great Sand Dunes

South Central Colorado has some great places to visit, Alamosa is one of them. This is the first over-niter I’ve been able to do since the COVID-19 lock-down. The Great Sand Dunes have just Re-opened so I thought I’d go check it out. The hotels are open, I stayed at the Best Western, and some restaurants are open with restrictions.

I took the HWY 285 route all the way up to HWY 17, which took me right along the San Juan Mountain range where the Great Sand Dunes are nestled up to. HWY 17 runs right into HWY 160 and that took me right into Alamosa, CO. In route to Alamosa I road over Kanosha Pass (10,001′), which is exceptionally beautiful in the fall, and Poncha Pass (9,101′), just South of Poncha Springs. Also, on the way to Alamosa, if you like to soak your weary bones in natural hot springs, there are a few you can check out that aren’t very far from Alamosa. Of course, I’d recommend calling for reservations and be prepared for possible “clothing optional” locations also. Joyful Journey Hot Springs and Spa and Valley View Hot Springs, clothing optional, are just a couple to mention. If you enjoy watching bats leaving their cave, there is a nearby viewing area not far from Valley View Hot Springs called The Orient Mine.

Denver to Alamosa

I left about 8:30 AM and I arrived at the Best Western in Alamosa around 1:30 PM. Check-in was at 2 Pm but they were able to get me into my room a little early. Upon check-in is when I found out that there will be NO hot breakfast and they will be serving a “brown bag breakfast” for takeout. This was a disappointment since I called the night before to check on pool/hot tub availability (NOT OPEN) and if there was any other information I needed before I arrive. The brown bag breakfast had a banana, granola bar, water, and a mini muffin which was not the egg breakfast I would normally eat. I wish I would have checked the iHOP next door to see if I could get breakfast there. The room wasn’t as clean as I expected and the vending machine gave me a very stale candy bar. I’m not putting down Best Western, I’ve had great experience with them before, but I think the takeaway is that amenities and staffing may not be up to par yet.

Great Sand Dunes from Alamosa

The weather on the way out was perfect, except for a little rain in the afternoon (to be expected in Colorado), which made for a great ride. It was still cloudy and windy until about 4-5 PM, but when it cleared up, I decided to head out to the Great Sand Dunes! The sun was out and the temps had cooled off since the rain and clouds, so the ride to the sand dunes was great. The ride from Alamosa is only about 45 min, there was very little traffic, and the park was not charging an entry fee! The park has plenty of places to pull over and take some great pictures of the dunes, camping is open, the visitor center is still closed, and surprise, there is a river running running between the parking lot and the dunes! I’d never seen this before, never been here this early in the season, but it happens due to the snow melt runoff from the mountains (https://theknow.denverpost.com/2019/06/03/great-sand-dunes-waves-beach/216254/).

Great Sand Dunes_06-06-2020

I did not trapes through the water to get to the dunes, but I did take some pictures and video, it was a pretty cool sight to see. Oh, and the mosquito’s are hungry! I have been here before and climbed up the sand dune mountains, and let me tell you, climbing a mountain of sand is a challenge, but I’d recommend it to anyone who visits the Great Sand Dunes. I rode back to the hotel and had KFC for dinner then figured out my route home.

Now that I’ve had my brown bag breakfast, I’m ready to saddle up on my steel horse and ride North for home. I found out that HWY 82 opened and I can run Independence Pass, so off I go! This turned out to be one of my better decisions! I can also see this road would be a great fall colors ride too, it has a ton of Aspen trees! Anyway, I picked up HWY 82 from HWY 24 so the first vision of natural beauty was the Twin Lakes on the left and massive snow capped mountains straight ahead! This was a beautify ride all the way up to the summit! I stopped at the summit for a little break and to take in the raw beauty. Oh, and it was COLD with a lot of snow on the ground! There was a path that went further up for a view point, but the clouds are rolling in and it can still snow up here, so I passed on the hike and headed down to Aspen.

Independence Pass 06-04-2020
Alamosa to Denver via Independence Pass (https://goo.gl/maps/EJVF23uiuoxc7buF8)

The ride down to Aspen did not disappoint! There was very little traffic, a lot of twisties, and plenty of spectacular mountain views all the way to Aspen.  Aspen was busy and it’s been threatening rain all the way down the mountain…my luck ran out and here comes the rain. Fortunately the showers are scattered and I’m not getting soaked so I kept moving through Aspen. I’ve never had the chance/time to spend in Aspen, but it looks like a great place to visit.

From Aspen I stayed on HWY-82 and headed to Glenwood Springs where I will fuel up, take a little break and then hit the road for the final stretch home. If you have the time and ever get the chance to check out this place out, I highly recommend it!

Glenwood Springs is where I picked up I-70 East to Denver. The ride through Glenwood Springs on I-70 is probably one of my favorite highway rides. Steep canyon walls, tunnels, and the rushing river all make for a beautiful ride. Be aware, there is road construction going on, so it’s not as nice as it usually is, but the traffic isn’t too bad so I’m rolling right along. From Glenwood Springs it’s about 160 miles and roughly 3 hours away from Denver. There’s some road construction just after Georgetown through Idaho Springs, other than that, it wasn’t a bad ride. But, a word to the wise, I-70 can and will get very congested during weekends, holidays and practically all summer from late morning through early evening…plan your trip accordingly if you don’t want to sit in hours of bumper to bumper traffic. Once again, if you have time on your way down I-70, there are several towns you should check out. On the way down to Denver along I-70, you’ll go over Vail Pass (10,666 feet) and through the Eisenhower Tunnel (11,158 feet).

Alamosa_Left – BuenaVist_Right

Be Safe, Have Fun and Ride On!

Short Shot

Southwest and Northwest Colorado – Gunnison

Three DayTour to Gunnison and Glenwood Springs

Cottonwood Pass, Gunnison, Black Canyons of the Gunnison, Colorado National Monument, Glenwood Springs and Independence Pass were the destionations on this 3 day tour in Colorado. This tour covered areas of the Southwest and Northwest Regions of Colorado, AND I did all the planning, mapping, and reservations from This Website!

DAY 1

I left Monday morning for Gunnison, CO and I decided to take the scenic route over Cottonwood Pass. I’ve never been over this pass and it was a great ride. I left from Lakewood, CO and jumped on HWY 287 South, went over beautiful Kenaosha Pass and down to Fairplay. From Fairplay I stayed on HWY 287 to US-24 West to Buena Vista. I think I’ve said this before, but I’ll say it again, if you get the chance to visit Buena Vista and the surrounding area, I highly recommend it. There are several hot springs around, hiking and biking trails, and abundant scenery. Here’s a link to check out all that Buena Vista has to offer (https://www.colorado.com/cities-and-towns/buena-vista). From Buena vista take HWY 306 to Cottonwood Pass.

Down From Summit
Cottonwood Pass-Summit
Overlook at Cottonwood Pass

It was a beautiful ride up to the summit, very little traffic, and it wasn’t very cold either…a perfect ride!

From Cottonwood Pass to Gunnison, CO is a great ride through the Gunnison National Forest. I’ve never taken this route to Gunnison before and if you have the time for the scenic route, I would highly recommend it. I noticed a great deal of camp grounds along this route, so if you enjoy camping, I’m guessing you could find a very nice spot.

Denver_to_Gunnison_via_CottonwoodPass

I stayed at the Roadway Inn in Gunnison. It is located outside the downtown area, very quiet, the hot tub was very nice and they had breakfast, not a sack breakfast to go like I had a week ago in Alamosa. The reason I mentioned this is because it seems the hotels are starting to become more accommodating as time goes on since the COVID-19 shutdown and breakfast is getting better as well.

DAY 2

Today is one of my favorite rides that goes through the Curecanti National Recreation Area and takes you by the Gunnison River and Blue Mesa Reservoir along Highway 50. Someday I’m going to stay in the Gunnison area to go fishing for a couple days.

Take HWY-50 to HWY-92 which will take you through a scenic ride up to Hotchkiss and Delta, CO. In Delta I jumped on HWY-50 which took me into Grand Junction where after a few left turns got me onto Glade Park Rd / Monument Rd which turns into Rimrock Dr in Colorado National Monument.

Gunnison to Glenwood Springs via Colorado National Monument

 

Colorado National Monument
Colorado National Monument
Colorado National Monument
Colorado National Monument

After exploring Colorado National Monument I headed to Grand Junction Harley Davidson to get challenge coins for my collection.

Grand Junction Harley Davidson

This is my collection so far!

Collection

After getting my new challenge coins I saddled up again and headed to Glenwood Springs and checked into Glenwood Springs Inn. These rooms, at least the one I stayed in, was a fresh remodel and very nice.

While I was in Glenwood Springs I had to visit and soak in the hot springs, so I went to the Glenwood Springs Hot Springs Pool and relaxed in the pool for an hour before they closed. It made me feel like a millions bucks and helped me sleep like a baby! It was just a short walk from the hotel to the hot springs and it was a beautiful evening for a walk. Again, since COVID-19, there are certain rules you need to follow while at the hot springs (at the time of this post), so be sure to have a mask and plan on social distancing .

Glenwood Springs Hot Springs
Day 3

The hotel had breakfast in the dining area but it was only single serving and individually wrapped items, no eggs, meat, or waffles due to COVID-19 restrictions.

After breakfast I packed up and decided to go over Independence Pass, the oposite direction I did on my way home from Alamosa the week before, because the scenery is very different from another point of view or coming from a different direction or angle. I’m glad I decide to go over Independence Pass because the weather was perfect, the scenery was Amazing, and summit was not crowded…this visit was better than the first!

As you may remember, from my previous post “Motorcycle Tours in 2020 / South Central Colorado“, we get to Independence Pass via HWY-82. We will pass through Snowmass and Aspen before we start the ascent to the summit.

Glenwood Springs_to_Denver_via_IndependencePass

I took my time on the summit of Independence Pass this time. I walked up the path to the look out points, took pictures and video, and watched a guy try to get a parasail in the air.

Independence Pass Summit
Independence Pass Summit
Independence Pass Summit
Independence Pass Summit

From Independence Pass I headed down to Twin Lakes and hopped onto HWY-24 toward Leadville, CO. In Leadville I picked up HWY-91 for a beautiful ride toward Copper Mountain. Then I caught I-70 East to HWY-6 and went over Loveland Pass, the round about way back to I-70 East to Denver.

Wrap Up

This was a great tour, great weather, and some of the best scenery! The hotels I stayed at were very accommodating, comfortable and clean. The restrictions from COVID-19 still have a grip on tourism but it seems to be getting better as time moves on. The road through Colorado National Monument was amazing and the pictures do not do it justice! Glenwood Springs Hot Springs was fantastic and the sun setting on the mountains while I soaked my road worn body was amazing! The ride over Independence Pass, going a different direction than I did last time, really made this ride a New Ride because everything looks completely different.

I’m hoping that this COVID-19 issue continues to get better and I can take a tour outside Colorado soon, but I think my next trip will be in the Northwest and North Central regions of Colorado while I wait out the travel conditions.

I will be posting my tour to Pagosa Springs, Durango, Red Mountain, Molas Pass, Million Dollar Highway, Ouray and Grand Mesa in the very near future, so be sure to Follow me (by e-mail) and Like me on Facebook to get notifications about updates, tours, and destinations.

 

Be Safe, Have Fun and Ride On!

Short Shot

Shopping-Resources-Tools

Shopping

Amazon – They have a ton of great gear and deals for motorcycle enthusiasts. They sell everything from helmets to boots, jackets and pants, and ever electronics such as camera’s and video recorders, which I use to record my rides.

Revzillia – Has great deals on all sorts of motorcycle gear and wear. They also have videos to help you install parts on your own.

Cycle Gear – Great deals on all kinds of motorcycle gear and wear.

Performance Cycle – Great deals on all kinds of motorcycle gear and wear.

Harley Davidson – Online or at any dealership, if you like Harley garb and enjoy collecting from dealerships you visit. I have purchased my last two bikes from Avalanche Harley Davidson in Golden Colorado and they are also the sponsor for the Denver Chapter Harley Owners Group (DCH-Denver Chapter HOG) that I belong to.

Resources

Eagle Rider (motorcycle rentals) – I’ve rented motorcycles from this company and have had great experience with them.

When and What to Do in Colorado – If you would like to know when to visit based on events and activites in Colorado.

Colorado Mountain Passes – Colorado has some of the most beautiful mountain passes that are accessible via paved and unpaved roads.

Colorado Directory – This is a great interactive map that is very useful to find places and activities in Colorado.

Tools

Google Maps – Free map provided by Google. I use this a lot to plan rides, stops, traffic, etc.

REVER – App for tracking and planning routes. There is a free version available but there is a paid version that provides a great deal more along with tech support. I use Rever, when I remember to start it, and I really like the application.

My Objective

My Objective is to provide Motorcycle Touring Enthusiasts with a “One Stop” site that will provide information and resources for all your Motorcycle Touring needs. I want this site to be the place people go when they are looking for ideas and places to go on a motorcycle tour. No matter if you own your own bike, you’re renting a bike, or you’re borrowing a bike, I can help with your ride. On this site, We can plan a route and stops, We can find motorcycle rentals, We can check weather, and We can book hotels. Bookmark this website, make it your start page, or set as a favorite, but make it the place you go to plan your Motorcycle Tour in Colorado.

About Me

Motorcycle-Touring-Enthusiast
Glenn (Short Shot) 2019

My road name is Short Shot and I’ve been riding motorcycles since I was 10 years old. I’ve ridden dirt, enduro, street, sport, race, and touring machines. I’m not into building or modifying engines, I’m into touring this beautiful country on my motorcycle. I love my Harley but I do not judge or discriminate against any make or model that an enthusiast enjoys riding. I bought my ’18 Street Glide with 32 test miles on it, today (01-2021) I’ve got 65,100 miles on it! I’m always down for a ride!

How I Want To Help

I want to provide a “one Stop” site with Info, links and resources to help Motorcycle Touring Enthusiast with whatever they are looking for. I also want to meet new people who like to ride, who love to tour, and would like to share their stories and adventures! I’m here to share my rides, my favorite tours and help others to tour Colorado. Whether you live in the Denver area, your out of town, out of state, or out of this country, if you are in Colorado (or coming to Colorado) and want to go for a ride with me, shoot me an e-mail or leave me a comment with details and let’s go for a ride!

The Black Canyons of Gunnison National Park, CO

My Goal

I would like to help fellow Motorcycle Touring Enthusiasts get what they need in order to fuel and enable them to ride, explore and tour the places they want to visit.

My plan is to build a site for people who have the same love of riding as I do. A place to share stories, experiences, destinations, routes, and resources with each other.

Motorcycle Enthusiasts are passionate collectors, owners, riders and builders that love motorcycles, the freedom of riding and the therapeutic energy they provide and I want this site to be the place that will bring us all together.

Though I have ridden to many different states, I live in Colorado and I absolutely love riding this state! If you’re ever planning a trip to tour these beautiful mountains of Colorado, I’m always down for a ride and I’d love to help with your plans!

This site will be a continuous work in progress and I will be updating it often, so be sure to check back to see more links, information, and help with all your Motorcycle Touring needs.

 

Be Safe, Have Fun and Ride On!

Short Shot

Motorcycle Tours in 2020 (Year Of COVID-19)

The Year of COVID-19

This is the year life as we knew it came to and end! But it was also the year that people found new ways to “live”. Some found new hobbies, some found new jobs, some found new friends and some found new homes but we ALL were locked down and shut down around the world The Year COVID-19 Hit! What did You do? Me? I hopped on my Harley and I Rode!

Texas Tour

Okay, Texas is really hot and really humid and you might think your tires are melting to the asphalt while riding, but there are plenty of things to do and places to go where you can beat the heat and enjoy what Texas has to offer!

California Coastal Tour – Bucket List Ride

Riding the California Coastline has been on my bucket list for decades and this tour did not disappoint.

An Over-Night Getaway – Craig, CO

Sometimes I just need to go for a ride and to get away to check out something new for a couple days so I headed Northwest to see the Dinosaur National Monument and ended up rolling down the Tarantula Highway!

Read the full post and all about “Tarantula Highway

Three Day Tour to Pagosa Springs and Ouray Colorado

This journey will take you through the Southwest Region where I stayed the night in Pagosa Springs and then the following day rode to Durango, Silverton, and stopped in Ouray, CO for the night. The next day I took the long way home (the best way) and went into the Northwest Region through Grand Mesa. I planned, mapped, and reserved hotel using all the resources from this website!

Read the full post at “Southwest and Northwest Colorado – Pagosa Springs”

Three Day Tour to Gunnison and Glenwood Springs Colorado

Cottonwood Pass, Gunnison, Black Canyons of the Gunnison, Colorado National Monument, Glenwood Springs and Independence Pass were the destionations on this 3 day tour in Colorado. This tour covered areas of the Southwest and Northwest Regions of Colorado, AND I did all the planning, mapping, and reservations using all the resources from this website!

Read The Full Post “Southwest and Northwest Colorado

South Central Colorado

South Central Colorado has some great places to visit, Alamosa is one of them. This is the first over-niter I’ve been able to do since the COVID-19 lock-down. The Great Sand Dunes have just Re-opened so I thought I’d go check it out. The hotels are open, I stayed at the Best Western, and some restaurants are open with restrictions. I did all the planning, mapping, and reservations using all the resources from this website!

Read the Full Post “South Central Colorado