Red Mountain Pass

Known as one of the most beautiful passes, Red Mountain Pass offers direct passage to some of the most pristine camping and hiking adventures. As part of the "Million Dollar Highway" the strecth is  located in between Silverton and Ouray, Highway 550 reaches a height of 11,018ft just below Red Mountain itself. Red Mountain Pass stands at one of the highest paved roads in the United States. As the road twists and turns between majestic scenery in the Uncompahgre National Forest there are many spots to pull off and stop or camp to appreciate the surroundings. Along the highway there are continuous county roads that service trail heads to the surrounding mountain tops that include Anvil Mountain, Lookout Peak, Ohio Peak, McMillan Peak and of course Red Mountain. 

Courtesy of  Behm Photography

Camping at Vallecito Lake

The Essence: Just 18 miles Northeast of Durango in the San Juan National Forest and adjacent to the Weminuche Wilderness is the beautifully tucked away, Vallecito Lake. Vallecito Lake offers ample recreational activities year-round from camping, hiking, snowshoeing, horseback riding, boating, fishing, hunting, dog-sledding, and much more! The name Vallecito means "Little Valley" and is considered one of the largest and most beautiful bodies of water at an elevation of 8,000 ft above sea level in Colorado. 

With all that in mind, there are many camping opportunities at Lake Vallecito. To begin, there are 3 full-service RV and Cabin Resorts for the 'glampers' (glamor campers) of the world and 7 seasonally-maintained campgrounds.

Getting There: From main avenue head north to 15th street and make a right, this will lead into Florida Road and go straight through the round-a-bout. Go straight on Florida Road for 13 miles then make a right onto County Road 240. From here, travel about 3 miles till you make a left onto County Road 501 stay on this road for 4.5 miles then turn right onto County Road 501A. At this point in time, you should be making a right by a small convenient store (don't expect much if you forgot something). Along this road you will come up behind the lake and see there are many campsites along the path!

Comments: In total it should take about 45 minutes to an hour to get to a campsite. It is a good idea to bring an all wheel drive vehicle for some of the rougher terrain (depending on the time of year) but I have effortlessly romped around in my Volkswagon Jetta several times. Other things to be mindful of when driving are the free range cattle roaming this area.