We just returned from our fantastic journey we we spent time in Colorado Springs to Durango Colorado.
To date, this was one of my favorite adventures!
Colorado Springs to Durango. Day or Days?
In actuality, our location is smack dab in the middle of Colorado.
Our drive time from A to B is a total of about 5 1/2 hours.
But before we go on this adventure, let me back up and share some of my adventures in Colorado Springs before we head to Durango.
Our trip was hosted and all opinions and images are my own. Everything is subject to copyright!
You might want to try them out for yourself!
The journey I am sharing is from Colorado Springs to Durango which will take us from the middle more West, closer to Utah!
The trip can be done in so many different ways, and there are so many experiences along the way, I just don’t think I can share enough, but I will provide what I did, as a guide for you to plan around!
You can use my table of contents to see what parts you prefer to read, or read it all!
Set Your Expectations For Getting to Durango from Colorado Springs
If a solid drive, it’s about 6 hours without stops.
We did a solid drive and it did take us every part of 6 hours, and we stopped along the way, which is actually its own roadside attraction.
Or if you break a trip down from Colorado Springs to Durango, and make each of the stops suggested, it will take you a few days, so you can visit each area and enjoy!
So, day or days, really it’s up to you!
Travel to Satisfy Wanderlust. Colorado Springs to Durango
I love to travel and sometimes when I get to a destination by plane, I then will get into a car to really cover more of the area.
One destination is never enough to fulfill my wanderlust.
So, now, that we are in the car, and headed to our first stop, it’s time to take in the scenery and small towns along the way!
Fortunately for me, I had Where Niko Travels with me, snapping photos everywhere.
Use this article to help you map out your road trips whether by day or when headed to a dude ranch in Durango!
Colorado Springs to Durango: Road Tripping
The vehicle was courtesy of Mazda USA. Opinions, images, and stories are my own based on my experience. All are subject to copyright!
First, we landed in Denver, and then drove off to Colorado Springs.
We picked up our car!
How do you deal with all the Denver traffic when you are so not used to it?
The intensity of the mammoth airport, coupled with a rougher landing kick-started our travels.
Plus, unexpected amounts of highway traffic were what we were greeted with and I was just not quite ready, but we were off!
Thankfully, about an hour away, our first destination stop awaited our arrival.
We stayed in a location in Colorado Springs that I can say I might recommend for its brilliant location and clean rooms.
Day Tripping. Colorado Springs to Durango. Garden Of The Gods
Whether you want to hike, ogle or take photos, the Gardens of the Gods is a major great first stop!
Daytrips in Colorado Springs should include the famed Garden of the Gods.
Discover what the Colorado Springs area offers.
What an adventure this registered “National Nature Landmark” is for both history and imagery!
Get there early on and enjoy the day.
It’s free to enter and free to hike through.
In fact, there is a lot of areas to cover and you will do some on foot and some by car.
The suggested drive-through is fun you get to see where you might want to hike.
I love it here and this can be a full-day destination or a few hours depending on how much you want to see.
Appetizer for Wanderlust Helen Hunt Falls: Colorado Springs to Durango
Location: North Cheyenne Canon Park.
Just in case you want to know, there are bathroom facilities here at the base but not at the top, just in case nature calls!
A day hike through trails, to falls, and of course through the little streams that are trickling from the falls.
Now, there was a drought here, so the water was not pounding hard.
We had a great chance to get up close to the falls.
Parking is free and a little tricky.
We parked along the stream and hiked from the waterfall through the streams to the car.
I am happy we found shaded parking and there were only a few cars parked along this part of the road.
Therefore, we had time to change our shoes from athletic to hiking and back again!
Discovering Colorado Springs to Durango: Gold Camp Road
Just for kicks, after a hike at Helen Hunt Falls, we stumbled upon this fabulous road and I am happy we took it SLOW!
This was a great road to drive the Mazda on and learn its capabilities and at the same time, we were on this fabulous crazy road adventure!
Honestly, when I look back on this adventure, the day, the road, and some of the ‘others’ driving I may not have repeated it again, but it’s all behind me now!
Gold Camp Road is totally off the charts as far as discovering Colorado Springs to Durango
Let me overview Gold Camp Road in Colorado so you get a feel for it!
- It is one lane, a 2-way road of dirt.
- Often you are left on the edge of the road, without a guardrail (yikes!).
- Other times you are wedged on a rock that has been cut through to make the pass.
- Oh, by the way, the road is up from Helen Hunt Falls, and it is unmarked, but what a blast!
- We went through 2 tunnels, each more harrowing and scary than the other.
- First, you hardly could see if there was traffic on the other side of the first tunnel.
- Second, they are very dark tunnels cut through the mountains.
- #Daredevil driving. The lights LED headlights lit our path!
It seems when you are driving it there are 2 kinds of drivers here, cautious and those that just throw caution to the wind.
Overall the road is about 21/2 miles long and it empties out into a neighborhood.
Before you get to the neighborhood, a massive downhill grade will face off with you and your brakes!
GARDEN OF THE GODS: Colorado Springs to Durango
Balanced Rock in the Garden of the Gods Colorado is a must.
So, Garden of the Gods is a must-stop, but this almost seems like its OWN IG-Worthy, separate attraction, albeit within Garden of the Gods.
Red sandstone formations beckon cameras to come alive!
Of course, I stopped even though I was jamming traffic behind me since it is always busy in this spot!
Once you drive through here, the other lane goes tight between the formations and you may want to go to the bottom, turn around and try it out!
We did that too of course!
Colorado Springs to Durango: Spend the day at Manitou Springs
A quaint mountain town with mystique, shopping, and LOTS to do.
Really a day here just enough to traipse through but honestly, you could easily spend 2 at the shops and the Manitou Springs!
Plus Pikes Peak is a stone’s throw from here and I know you will want to spend a day trip there going to the top of the summit!
See my Colorado Springs Travel guide to learn more about what to do while in Manitou Springs.
Royal Gorge Area for spectacular scenery and adventures
Scenic and picturesque are the words to use when describing the Royal Gorge area.
If you love heights and want to defy all odds to walk across the Royal Gorge Bridge, we did (well kinda)
The Royal Gorge Bridge is an absolute driving destination must while in Colorado!
Don’t forget the stop below.
Read my travel guide to get all the tips!
South Fork, Colorado
No, I am not lost and I am not in Texas with JR Ewing in Southfork, that is a totally different destination.
Allow your eyes to focus on the gorgeous basin-like area of South Fork, Colorado.
Here, I felt like time just had stood still!
We made a pit stop that really stayed with me.
While the imagery may not do it justice, the area is spectacular, I want to just go visit here and uncover all of its great spots!
You kind of drive on forever wondering if there will be anywhere to stop or what might be next.
There are a few little towns, but overall it is more scenery than people.
Definitely a cooler side of the road trip!
At some points though it was definitely different and I wanted to see more people than open country!
For the greenest part of our trip, it’s hands down the Rio Grand National Forest.
I felt like we missed what should have been an adventure, from hiking to biking, and everything else outdoorsy.
We needed time and time was ticking against us, as we were headed to a Dude Ranch and didn’t have the chance to stay and discover the Rio Grande National Forest, but I will return!
Truly phenomena on its own, boasting 1.86 million acres!
It is in Southwestern Colorado and part of the route we used to get to Durango, Colorado.
Along the roadway, you will find curves, swerves, tunnels, and sometimes cops watching to see if you can make the steep grades without burning your brakes!
There’s more, however.
You will see and smell pines all along with the route and rock formations that just are like statues guarding the preservation of this most holistic area.
Additionally, there is a 7% grade over about 7 miles to tackle.
Want to challenge yourself, braking skills, and the car you are driving?
Driving down these steep grades, + watching the scenery, wow what a rush!
Totally incredible. Yes, I want a repeat trip!
After several days of driving around and touring, I decided it was time to settle down and retire for a few days, so I kicked back at the Dude Ranch.
There’s hiking, horseback riding, white water rafting, fly fishing, and more.
Maybe I am not resting after all!
We’ve reached our final destination on this particular journey.
I have to say the drive was easy, and scenic and I would do it again.
I would want to experience a different dude ranch with different offerings and well I have a whole other story for you too!
I’d love to hear from you ~ DANA XO