Durango to Alta Lakes, CO (through Purgatory)

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phxdsrtrat

Rank V
Member

Member III

2,362
Glendale, AZ
First Name
Curtiss
Last Name
S
Member #

8501

I have attached a google maps link for the route we took from Durango CO, to the Purgatory Ski Resort, then over on several back roads to 145 and up to the Alta Lakes dispersed camping area. I adjusted the endpoint on the map to my exact camp site. It sits on a small hill and is a great spot. Large and flat.

The route posted here has an overlanding component from the Purgatory Ski Resort over to 145. There are much easier and faster routes to get to Alta Lakes Road however I wanted some overlanding. I did this route during a very wet time of the year towing an overlanding teardrop trailer. It required 4 wheel low in spots and the use of my Traction Jacks. Without the trailer I believe it could have been done without 4 wheel drive on a dry day and 4 wheel high on wet day. The road is very narrow and goes past some beautiful country.

Alta Lakes Road itself is passable without 4 wheel drive although some of the spots back in the dispersed camping area do require a high clearance vehicle. Before reaching the dispersed camping area you pass through the abandoned town of Alta Lakes which is definitely worth exploring.

The route:
https://www.google.com/maps/dir/Durango,+Colorado/Purgatory+Resort,+1+Skier+Pl,+Durango,+CO+81301/37.6536713,-108.0445719/37.886648,-107.8482115/@37.5811771,-108.2041594,10z/am=t/data=!3m1!4b1!4m16!4m15!1m5!1m1!1s0x873c02a6bd85fc23:0xdc2b8882a3a67e5a!2m2!1d-107.8800667!2d37.27528!1m5!1m1!1s0x873c02a04e894585:0x822964527080b13a!2m2!1d-107.8140452!2d37.6302699!1m0!1m0!3e0

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Toyfool

Rank I

Traveler I

I've ridden most of that on a mountain bike. Great riding and fishing between Hermosa Park and Rico. If someone were seeking a little more sketch then taking the route along 578 over Bolam Pass is more exciting. Also, a prime a section of the Colorado Trail crosses through here (little dashed lines on the map) and the sections either way from Bolam Pass are epic to ride or hike in their own right. But.... one probably needs to wait until May or June of 2018 to get back up there.

I do still need to get to Alta Lakes as it's been on the list a while now. How was it up there? Busy or were you pretty much alone?
 

phxdsrtrat

Rank V
Member

Member III

2,362
Glendale, AZ
First Name
Curtiss
Last Name
S
Member #

8501

I've ridden most of that on a mountain bike. Great riding and fishing between Hermosa Park and Rico. If someone were seeking a little more sketch then taking the route along 578 over Bolam Pass is more exciting. Also, a prime a section of the Colorado Trail crosses through here (little dashed lines on the map) and the sections either way from Bolam Pass are epic to ride or hike in their own right. But.... one probably needs to wait until May or June of 2018 to get back up there.

I do still need to get to Alta Lakes as it's been on the list a while now. How was it up there? Busy or were you pretty much alone?
It was fairly busy. We did camp at the tail end of the dispersed camping area so we were pretty isolated. Many people just go up for the day and don't camp. Lots of fishermen, kayakers, mountain bikers, etc. I had originally planned on camping a little further back by one of the other lakes but we came to a gate on 64F. This gate is right before you get to the Observatory. We should have gone through the gate and camped farther back on 64F. I bet there would have been nobody back there.

-Curtiss