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If  you don't want to miss the chance to have a beer and a shot at 9,300 feet Durango is the place. Durango is a bit spiffier than it once was, but it still has some scruffy charm and is a great jumping-off point for exploring Mesa Verde, the Canyons of the Ancients and Four Corners – that sparsely inhabited southwest corner of the state that is its most starkly beautiful. Durango also programs a vibrant calendar of old-time events all summer – a top-notch classical Music in the Mountains series, Fiesta Days in late July, the True West Railfest and Rodeo in mid-August, and an awesome Labor Day motorcycle rally. This route is a loop so you can start anywhere on the loop and take the loop in either direction but my description below in the "roadside amenities" section describes the route starting in Ridgway, CO and ending in Telluride. Following my recommended route you start in Ridgway on Rte. 62 heading east and immediately get on Rte. 550. Take that road south all the way to Durango. From Durango, get on Rte. 160 heading west towards Mesa Verde National Park and the town of Cortez. Before you get to Cortez, you need to turn north on Rte 145 and that will take you all the way up to Telluride. You'll definitely want to stop in Telluride and take a look around, stretch the legs, grab some chow, and gas up. Once you get back on 145 continuing north, you'll want to head up to Placerville at which point you need to get on the road you started, 62, and take it east all the way back to the starting point of Ridgway, CO. A spectacular 225 mile loop!!


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