August 1, 2020 Durango, CO La Plata Canyon 4WD (Day 4)

We took our time to get going this morning, but left the campground at 10:30 to make a stop at the post office in town and then head out on our 4WD adventure today.

On the way into town, we spotted this small RV towing a truck which was towing a trailer carrying a motorcycle and a side-by-side. He towed that all the way from Texas. That was crazy! We didn’t want to be anywhere near him!

Bob did his research and found a great road to explore. We traveled up Highway 160 out of the west side of town to La Plata Canyon Road, Highway 124, about 11 miles out of town.

Highway 160 out of town is very scenic. This is one of the rock formations that we’ve seen every day off in the distance. I think it is very unusual and had to take a picture.

Here’s another one.

Finding the road was easy because it was filled with many homesteads along the paved 6 mile stretch. This mountain top was so pretty with the pinkish and green colors it showed.

There even seemed to be a little snow left up in the mountains.

After 6 miles, the road turned to smooth gravel and we discovered about 6 different state forest campgrounds along the way. These campgrounds seemed to be pretty popular.

The campgrounds were pretty full, but it was the weekend, after all. Traffic on the road was busy too, with people traveling to the campgrounds and others just exploring the road like we were. Eventually after 6 miles, the road turned rocky and became a little rougher to travel over.

There were many waterfalls to view along the way. It was amazing that there was this much water still flowing out of the mountains, but it seems to rain somewhere in the mountains every afternoon, so it keeps the waterfalls fed. Some of the falls were large with massive amounts of water flowing over the top and some were smaller. Everywhere you looked there seemed to be one. Some were up high and some were roadside level. There was even one that cascaded down the mountain in 4 or 5 stages.

We were traveling in the San Juan National Forest where the mountains were more forested, than rocky.

We came upon this fireplace that was left over from a house that was once stood there on the bluff. The house foundation was still there. This fireplace was quite a structure and stood the test of time.

The road traveled along the La Plata River that cut into the canyon.

For the last 4 miles, we had to take it slow and easy as the surface of the road was covered in larger rocks and we were climbing higher and higher. Quite a few vehicles passed us along the way, going up and coming down.

The road narrowed but got smoother and continued to climb.

The scenery was beautiful as we climbed higher into the canyon.

We got to a point where we didn’t know if we wanted to go any further.

Bob got out and walked up ahead to scout it out. There were no shelf sections, so we continued on.

The road was mostly wide with areas to turn around in all along the way.

There wasn’t much wildlife up higher, but we did see a pica sitting in the sun along the side of the road.

We came to a fork in the road with a sign that said to Kennebec Pass, so we took that road.

The road was narrower and a little rougher, but the views were beautiful.

We got to the end of the canyon where the road started to become steeper and rougher.

We decided to stop here and eat our lunch. We had reached an elevation of 10,490 ft.

It was near a stream that was coming down from up above and crossing the road. The skies turned dark over the mountain and we thought we might get some rain.

From there, we headed back down. We put the Jeep in 4L to descend the mountain. For some reason, the road seemed rougher going down than coming up, but we took it slowly.

We noticed the dark clouds hanging over the city and wondered if we would be getting any rain.

We got back to the main highway and turned out on Highway 160 for town. On the way back, it started to rain hard. We were grateful for the rain as it would wash off the Jeep from the dust. We got back to the campground around 3:00 as the rain started to let up. We relaxed a little before dinner and had steak on the grill after the rain stopped. It was pretty windy and a few big gusts blew over the patio chairs and knocked one into the bus. As the sun started to set, the wind stopped and it turned out to be a pleasant evening. We took our walk and caught the sunset as it dipped below the clouds.

We watched some TV outside with a campfire. We had a wonderful drive today.

1 thought on “August 1, 2020 Durango, CO La Plata Canyon 4WD (Day 4)”

  1. I thought your train ride was a unique way to see the terrain.
    In Butternut, it was 79 yesterday, 61 today & 45 tonight.
    Safe travels to the adventurers.

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