There's so much more to Southwest Colorado compared to exclusive ski resort of Telluride. Even while snow covers some mountain passes, the location is paradise for outdoor enthusiasts in the sunshine too. My recent road-trip with the San Juan Mountains and along the Gunnison River included stops on the way to hike, bike, and fish. I even visited the Ancestral Puebloan cliff dwellings and washed everything down with some regional wine.
The city of Ouray-aptly nicknamed The Switzerland of America-is nestled inside a steep valley between the peaks from the San Juan Mountains. More than 500 miles of four-wheel-drive roads criss-cross the region, making expansive views accessible just moments from town. On a jeep tour to Yankee Boy Basin, I rode towards the dramatic alpine views encompassed by jagged peaks, old mining equipment, as well as the first wildflowers.
You colorado summer vacations may be so magnificent by some attractions. The real excitement this is actually the journey, as the Durango-Silverton Narrow Gauge Railway winds 45 picturesque miles with the San Juan National Forest. I got a little taste of the experience watching the train entering the Durango station and the riders strolling with the old mining town of Silverton. It's on my small must-do list for my next trip.
Because the first national park to "preserve the whole shebang of man," Mesa Verde's Ancestral Puebloan sites have been in a dramatic natural setting. I came for that archeological significance but the landscape seemed to be very impressive. Cliffs hang above winding canyons, protecting the best preserved sites. People lived here and cultivated the land from about 600 to 1300.
My very first time fly-fishing was a huge success-five cutthroat trout between 15 and 20 inches. I fished the non-public Gurley Reservoir and practiced catch-and-release. Colorado also offers rainbow, brook, and brown trout, more often than not in picturesque mountain streams. So summer vacation in Colorado may best.