Longer days and warmer weather beckon in the San Juan Mountains!
Spring is in its full glory. As Mother Nature stretches from a long winter nap, flowers are beginning to bloom, and the world is showing signs of preparation for the Summer season.
A scenic drive along highway 550, even just a few miles, shows the signs of the season to come.
Calves and foals frolic in the fields along the highway, and the truly observant may catch sight of young wildlife as well!
Knowing that the high country has not yet had enough time for a safe adventure, something a little lower sounded like a fine idea. Time to jump in the car and see how far we could go!
After much debate, we decided to make an attempt at Buckhorn Lake, located just on the edge of Ouray County.
Following Highway 550 North towards Montrose, turn right onto Buckhorn Road (just after the Conoco station). The road curves a bit, but in just short time turns into a dirt road, and houses quickly become sparse.
The steep incline is easily traversable for a couple of miles, and the views are spectacular!
A sharp curve takes you to, well, close to the end of this adventure in the first week of May.
Sunlight hasn’t had time to melt all of the snow, and the road becomes a little more demanding.
Shifting into four-low, the first snow packed switchback was easy enough to overcome, but alas! A dry stretch was misleading, and another curve brought us to a patch of road we obviously weren’t the first to attempt.
Tire tracks and footprints told a tale even the most inexperienced could easily read..someone got stuck…perhaps this was a good place to stop and let the dogs play before turning back for safer adventures.
Some folks passed us by, eager to prove they could get to the lake at the top, and it was a short fifteen minutes before we waved to them as they headed back down. Apparently even the most adrenaline driven weren’t willing to walk back down the mountain!
So, turning back, we drove a short distance before turning off onto a drier patch, leading to a campsite overlooking the valley below.
It was a little breezy, but still short sleeve warm, and we wandered about for a while, enjoying the grid like view of Montrose and Colona, before hopping back into the car and heading home.
Spring is in the air, it was apparent from the number of others we passed on the road that we were not the only ones ready for such a beautiful day, and eager to escape into the high country, but also pleasant to see we were not alone in the decision not to put ourselves in danger as others headed back down for a drier picnic spot.
It won’t be long before all of the four wheel drive roads are open for the season, but until then, just like everyone else, we will have to keep an eye on the County websites as they update everyone on road conditions, and remember to always be safe.
Let the staff at the Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs help you to plan your next escape! We research the road and weather conditions daily to ensure the safety of our guests as they experience the majesty of the Uncompahgres. Ready with advice on hiking, off roading and dining options, the Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs is your perfect base camp for any adventure!