Wednesday, August 24, 2016

2016 Western Trip – Day 27 – Jeeping In The San Juan’s

I had mentioned earlier that the campground has buddy sites and the neighbors we were sharing the green space with were very experienced jeepers and went out about every other day.  They live in Farmington, NM (one day’s drive from here) and they come up here for a month each year, meet up with some friends, and ride trails.  After the ladies mentioned they would like to see what off-roading was all about, we asked Mike and Kathy if we could rent a jeep and tag along on one of their rides.  They offered to go one better and make a trip with just them and us, promising to take us places that would not scare my girls too badly.

So we checked the weather and found Monday would have the least chance of rain, made a reservation with Switzerland Of America for a 4-door, Jeep Rubicon with an automatic transmission ($220), and we were set to go.  We left the campground at 8am, picked up the jeep and were heading up the mountain by 9am.  

We began on a decent county gravel road called Camp Bird Rd and we were surprised at the amount of traffic on it – both off-roaders and commercial – and when we came across a mine then the road split and we headed up Yankee Boy Basin Rd to discover the obviously operating Revenue-Virgunius Mine, so we understood the non-off roader traffic.

This shot is back down the canyon toward Ouray.

The scenery was spectacular and you can see Mike’s jeep in this shot while we're still on a road.

The next shots are as we continue up the mountain - the scenery is just spectacular. 

By jeeper standards this was a pretty calm road and when we got to the gnarly part, we turned around and headed for Governors Basin.  Even though the road wasn’t bad, the girls were pretty uncomfortable with it being hung to the side of the mountain with long cliffs to the bottom – needless to say, I kept my eyes on the road.

If you look at the top of the jagged mountains in the first shot, it is where we are heading, the next two are upon arrival, followed by the hillsides of wildflowers in full bloom.

We headed back down for more beautiful scenery, a shot of the mine from above, a group shot, and lunch beside a pretty stream.

Most of the jeep roads are just a cut out along the side of the mountain then we cut across country on the road to Imogene Pass which was much more of a jeep trail and not a road.

When we got to an intersection where we could go up to Imogene Pass or cut through an abandoned mine and head back, the girls had done enough and we started back down – this is the old main office which looks like it's being remodeled.  The signs of mining from the old days are everywhere, even way up in Governors Basin.

We actually saw a little wildlife – several chipmunks and a marmot – and may have seen more had I not been watching the road so intently and the girls doing the same thing plus watching where the cliff was – according to Mike, we drove right past a fawn.

I will likely say this again, but I am just in awe of the beauty of the Rockies - the mountains, the alpine valleys, the canyons, the trees and flowers, mountain streams, etc - it's easy to see why people flock here.

Back in Ouray, we filled the jeep with gas, washed it, and returned it after a very fun day for me and a we-won’t-have-to-do-that-again day for my ladies – guess I won’t have to go Jeep shopping when we get home.  We can’t thank Mike and Kathy enough for taking their day to provide us with this experience.

Photos can be enlarged by clicking on them.

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by Almost Heaven South.


8/15/16 event date


  1. Sounds like a fun day and some beautiful scenery. I have been out with friends jeeping too, even though it was fun, like you I don't need to buy a jeep.
    Thanks for the tour.

  2. No jeep for us either. It is fun but not what I want to do all the time. You do get to see some gorgeous countryside though.

  3. What fun. Renting a jeep would be a blast. Sounds like the ladies should of been dropped off to do some shopping instead.

  4. Larry, Great photos! You certainly are adventurous! These are my kind of roads... I used to drive some of the less threatening ones in rental cars and was lucky we didn't break down. (Against rental car rules!) Now I may have to rent a jeep when we head west the next time! Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

  5. Gee, I wonder why you were watching the road and not the wildlife! Jeff bought himself a Jeep, and goes off roading; there are places around here which cater to off roaders. Looks like you had a great day, despite the ladies' worry about the cliffs.

  6. What fun - and such gorgeous photos. Glad you did it - nothing like getting off the main road sometimes!

  7. We are headed to the San Juans in a couple of weeks and Mike is talking about renting a Jeep. I guess he will have me backseat driving. Very nice photos.

  8. Wow----now that is something which George and I would LOVE. The scenery, the wildflowers, the mountains, just the ride itself...... Oh My Gosh. That is TERRIFIC.... So glad you did it even if the ladies would rather be shopping somewhere... ha


  9. I think Betsy is already planning our jeep adventure for the next time we're in Colorado.

  10. What a fabulous adventure. And that scenery is just spectacular! :) What did Coco think of the whole bumpy ordeal? I've been on many jeep trails that I like, but I'm with Bev and Pat, no cliff hangers please.

  11. What a fun adventure! I think I would love jeeping, although I am not a fan of driving on roads with cliffs. The Rockies are beautiful and you took some excellent shots Larry.

  12. It sounds like a real adventure and the photos of the area are amazing but unfortunately I'd be with the ladies…once would be enough.


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