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View All : Scenic Drives on Dirt Roads


Elbert Creek Road
Elbert Creek Road
Drive north (left out the driveway) from the Lodge about a mile to the entrance to Durango Mountain Resort. Drive up the pavement to the bottom of the upper parking lots and keep going strait up and onto the dirt road. Hermosa Park road switchbacks up the side of the ski area until it reaches a "T" intersection a couple of miles up. Turn left onto Forest Road 581. The Elbert Creek Road winds up across ski runs and under chair lifts and offers magnificent views of Graysill, Gray Rock, Engineer, the Twilights as well as the Needles. Once you crest the hill, you come into the Elbert Creek Drainage, a truly remote and lonely high country landscape. The road crosses the trickle of Elbert Creek and continues on a few miles to dead end at the Strawberry Patch.
 
General Info
There are several scenic drives on dirt roads within a short distance of the Lodge that are suitable for 2 wheel drive vehicles. However, depending on the weather and the Forest Service maintenance schedule, the roads may be dusty and bumpy. Still, it is a quiet pleasure to drive in the mountains and just look at the scenery. Remember to SLOW DOWN and you won't have any problems. It is bad form to leave trails of dust in your wake.
 
Lime Creek Road
Drive north (left out the driveway) from the Lodge a couple of miles until just past Cascade Village to where the highway makes a 270 degree U turn. Just past the turn and on the right is the "Old Lime Creek Road." This road is 12 miles long and comes back out on US 550 on the other side of Coal Bank Pass about 9 miles north. The road winds up through aspen and spruce to a very pretty lily pond on the right and the Spud Lake Trail on the left. The trail up to the lake is only a mile long and climbs at a very gentle grade past beaver dams and huts. Continue along the road to the most spectacular view of the Twilight Peaks at the China Wall, built by the CCC during the Great Depression. From here the road winds down to Lime Creek and to a campground and picnic area and thence back out to the Highway 550.
 
Hermosa Park Road
Drive north (left out the driveway) from the Lodge about a mile to the entrance to Durango Mountain Resort. Drive up the pavement to the bottom of the upper parking lots and keep going strait up and onto the dirt road. Hermosa Park road switchbacks up the side of the ski area until it reaches a "T" intersection a couple of miles up. Turn right and go a couple of hundred yards where Forest Road 580 takes a hard left and winds down thru the trees to the beautiful Hermosa Valley. You can continue on for several miles along the creek to picnic and fishing spots until the Creek crosses the road and unless you have a 4 wheel drive your trip is over.
 
Cascade Divide Road
Drive north (left out the driveway) from the Lodge about a mile to the entrance to Durango Mountain Resort. Drive up the pavement to the bottom of the upper parking lots and keep going strait up and onto the dirt road. Hermosa Park road switchbacks up the side of the ski area until it reaches a "T" intersection a couple of miles up. Take a right and keep going strait for a ways (past the Hermosa Park turnoff on the left) down and then back up until you come to a "Y" in the road. Take the right fork up Forest Road 579. The Cascade Divide Road hugs the flank of Graysill and Gray Rock mountains and offers spectacular views of Engineer, San Miguel, Rolling Mountain and Grizzly. The road dead ends just shy of the Colorado Trail. The road may be inaccessible at points depending on the runoff and road conditions.
 
Relay Creek Road
Drive north (left out the driveway) from the Lodge about a mile to the entrance to Durango Mountain Resort. Drive up the pavement to the bottom of the upper parking lots and keep going strait up and onto the dirt road. Hermosa Park road switchbacks up the side of the ski area until it reaches a "T" intersection a couple of miles up. Take a right and keep going strait for a ways (past the Hermosa Creek turnoff on the left) down and then back up until you come to a "Y" in the road. Take a left at the fork onto Forest Road 580. The Relay Creek Road meanders on and around the southwest flank of Gray Rock Mountain and offers great views of Durango Mountain Resort and the forest primeval.