Royal Gorge Rt
La Veta Pass Rt
from D&RGW Guidebook
La Veta Pass Route
Walsenburg-Alamosa Main Line
Pueblo to Alamosa via La Veta Pass, 132.3 miles.
Denver to Alamosa 251.7 mi.
WALSENBURG, COLO.-D. 175 mi.; pop. 5,855; elev. 6,187. County
seat Huerfano County. Coal provides the foundation for Walsenburg's prosperity, Huerfano
county annually producing in excess of 700,000 tons of high quality bituminous coal, dug
from a score of operating mines. As the shipping point and trade center for this region,
it is a lively, progressive western city. Agriculture and stock raising are important
activities, with beans, wheat, hay and corn produced in commercial quantities. Cattle and
sheep account for substantial revenues.
Directly west of Walsenburg stands Mt. Blanca (14,363 ft. in elevation), one of the
towering peaks of the farfamed Sangre de Cristo range. San Isabel National Forest, with
well developed recreation centers, is the favorite haunt of Walsenburg sportsmen. Lilly
Lake (12,060 ft. in elevation) in the Sangre de Cristo range, and Blue Lakes (12,000 ft.
in elevation) on the east side of Culebra mountains, as well as 125 miles of streams,
provide excellent fishing. Deer, mountain lions and bob cats are numerous, while there is
fine duck shooting. The Spanish Peaks (West, 13,623 ft. in elevation; East, 12,683 ft.)
are the dominant scenic attraction of southern Colorado, largely because of their
location, entirely disconnected from any mountain range. These peaks, first to greet the
eye of travelers from the south and east, present an impressive picture. Their Indian name
Wahatoyah (Spanish spelling Haujatolla) means "Twin Breasts."
THE TRINIDAD MAIN LINE
Walsenburg to Trinidad 41 miles.
TRINIDAD, COLO.-D. 216 mi.; pop. 13,223; elev. 5,994. County
seat Las Animas County. Largest city in southern Colorado, Trinidad attributes its wealth
and position to the coal fields of Las Animas county, which boast an annual production
exceeding 1,000,000 tons of high grade bituminous coal. Sugar beets, beans, alfalfa and
small grains give the region agricultural prominence. Livestock, in order of importance,
includes cattle, sheep, hogs and goats.
Fisher's Peak (10,300 ft. in elevation) furnishes an impressive background for Kit Carson
park, recreational center of this attractive city. North and west of Trinidad, San Isabel
National Forest, the Spanish Peaks, and the Sangre de Cristo range provide remarkable
outdoor playgrounds, with numerous fishing streams, and plentiful game, including deer,
elk, bear and wild turkeys.
Swimming, boating, golfing and horseback riding are summer pastimes, with good skating and
skiing in winter months. The Trinidad Junior College affords two years of collegiate work
for high school graduates of southern Colorado.
It is thought that Coronado, riding north from Old Mexico in 1542, touched a corner of
southeastern Colorado. First records in this region disclose that the Purgatoire river,
which flows through Trinidad, received its name from the ill-fated expedition of Leyba and
Humana, massacred by Indians in 1595. In 1861 Juan Alirez and Philip Baca settled
permanently at Trinidad. Kit Carson, who came west in 1826, established a home at Taos,
New Mexico. This colorful Indian scout and fur trader became the most trusted figure in
Indian negotiations thruout the entire region. The last Indian skirmish of real
consequence in this district occurred in 1867.
LA VETA, COLO.-D. 190.3 mi.; pop. 897; elev. 7,024. Huerfano County.
Coal mining and stock raising are principal industries, with timber products next in
importance. The famous Spanish Peaks lie directly south, with Trinchera Peak (13,540 ft.
in elevation) raising its lofty summit in the Sangre de Cristo range west of La Veta. San
Isabel National Forest, with numerous high altitude lakes, is just nine miles south. Trout
fishing is a favorite sport. Hunters enjoy the rare privilege of wild turkey shooting, and
ducks are numerous. Just 17 miles west of La Veta, Fir is located at the summit of La Veta
Pass (elevation 9,242 ft.). La Veta Pass, not a part of the Continental Divide, is a
relatively low pass through the Sangre de Cristo range, separating water sheds of the Rio
Grande and the Arkansas river.
FORT GARLAND, COLO.-D. 227.7 mi.; pop. (prec.) 1,062; elev.
7,936. Costilla County. Located at its extreme eastern edge, Fort Garland marks the
entrance to the
San Luis Valley. Colorado farming traces its beginning to the territory now embraced by
Costilla County, Mexican colonists in 1852 having established a community near the site of
San Luis, present county seat, 16 miles from Fort Garland. Replacing Fort Massachusetts,
originally built in 1852, six miles north, for protection of the Mexican farmers against
the warlike Indians, Fort Garland by 1858 was the only fort within the present boundaries
of Colorado. Ruins of the fort are a treasured land mark. It was here that Col. Edward R.
S. Conby in 1861 mustered into Union Service two companies of Colorado infantry organized
by Colorado Territorial Governor Wm. H. Gilpin.
BLANCA, COLO-D. 231.7 mi.; pop. 407; elev. 7,751. Costilla County.
Stock raising and general farming, including the growing of fine vegetables, are principal
industries. The San Luis Valley Southern, a railroad running 32 miles south of Jaroso,
Colo., joins the Rio Grande at Blanca.
ALAMOSA, COLO-D. 251.7 mi.; pop. 5,613; elev. 7,546. County seat
Alamosa County. Hub city of the San Luis Valley, Alamosa is industrially prominent as
headquarters for the narrow gage lines of the Rio Grande, a unique and progressive
railroad system covering 561 miles, serving southwestern Colorado and northern New Mexico.
Strategically located, Alamosa is a favorite gateway to Mesa Verde National Park (see
description page 70), and the Great Sand Dunes National Monument, located just 30 miles
northeast. San Luis Lakes, to the north, provide an ideal setting for attractive resorts.
Adams State Teachers College, a fully accredited institution of high standing, has enjoyed
a steady growth since its founding in 1925. Enrollment averages more than 300, with the
summer school drawing numerous outof-state students, attracted as much by recreational
opportunities as by class room work.
Alamosa is the focal point for extensive operations of Rio Grande Motor Way, subsidiary of
the Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad and prominent unit of National Trailways
System. The motor route over Wolf Creek Pass (10,850 ft. in altitude), between Alamosa and
Durango, is rapidly becoming one of the West's favorite crossings of the Continental
Divide. The summit of Wolf Creek Pass, through the San Juan mountains, is an excellent
vantage point from which to view the astonishing beauty of the rugged high peaks of this
famous range. Motor lines radiate throughout the San Luis Valley, connecting at Salida
with transcontinental Rio Grande trains and buses.
GREAT SAND DUNES NATIONAL MONUMENT
Great Sand Dunes National Monument, created by presidential proclamation March 17, 1932,
covers an area of 46,034 acres, although the peculiar formation extends for a distance of
approximately 60 miles by 15 miles along the western slopes of the Sangre de Cristo range.
Rising in soft slopes from the valley floor to a height of a thousand feet or more, the
dunes shine in the sunlight like silver. At sunset they catch the light rays reflected by
Sangre de Cristo (Blood of Christ) peaks, and their silver turns to a delicate rose, green
and lavender, bathing the whole valley in a beautiful alpine glow. It is estimated that
there are over eight billion dollars worth of gold in this body of sand, but no man has
yet succeeded in commercializing the flour gold so cleverly buried by nature.
THE SAN LUIS VALLEY
Most unusual of the four great parks or mountain basins in the central Rockies, the San
Luis Valley, probably the bed of an ancient lake, is almost entirely surrounded by
mountain ranges. About 100 miles north and south by 50 miles at east and west extremes, it
is so flat that scarcely a mound is visible. Yet the floor of this plain, embracing
4,604,800 acres, averages 7,500 feet above sea level.
Popularly known as the "Roof Garden of America," this valley, by reason of
fertile soil, abundant water supply, and good climate, is one of the richest and most
productive general farming and livestock regions of Colorado. Irrigation was first
practiced by the Mexican farmers, whose colonization antedated the Civil War. In fact,
more than 40 irrigation ditches in the San Luis Valley have decrees dating earlier than
those of the oldest ditches in other parts of the state. Rainfall is light but abundant
water is derived from the Rio Grande and its tributaries. The great supply of artesian
water is gradually being tapped and flowing wells augment irrigation waters throughout the
valley. With these wells shooting their streams high into the air, the fields of the San
Luis Valley present an unusual agricultural spectacle.
The five San Luis Valley counties-Alamosa, Conejos, Costilla, Rio Grande,
Saguache-annually produce more than 50 per cent of the potatoes raised in the entire state
of Colorado. Seed potatoes from this region are in great demand. Delicious, crisp,
high-altitude vegetables are shipped out by the carload, including, in order of
importance, peas, cauliflower, head lettuce, cabbage, onions, tomatoes, spinach, broccoli
and beans. More and more acreage is being devoted to sugar beets. Tame and wild hay,
alfalfa, grain and small grain cover a tremendous acreage. Lambs and wool constitute a
major industry, the San Luis Valley being one of Colorado's notable sheep raising areas.
Large herds of cattle graze on surrounding high ranges. The feeder business is developing
rapidly, because of abundant and varied feed. Pea-fed hogs from this section always bring
top market prices.
Several prosperous flour mills are the forerunner of canneries and sugar factories certain
to accompany future growth of this great agricultural empire.
Mesa Verde National Park; Great Sand Dunes and Wheeler National Monuments; the 5,000,000
acres embraced by San Isabel, Rio Grande, and Cochetopa National Forests, surrounding the
valley; with thousands of miles of trout fishing streams and abundant big game; make the
San Luis Valley one of the West's great recreational areas. The San Luis Valley is
recognized as Colorado's favorite duck shooting haunt.
The San Luis Valley was undoubtedly visited by Spanish explorers in the sixteenth century,
long before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock. The musical names of rivers, towns and
peaks date back to this period. Records show that in 1779 Juan Bautista de Anza, governor
of New Mexico, led an army of 645 men northward to punish warring Indians. This force
entered the valley in the vicinity of present Del Norte. The Pike expedition reached the
San Luis Valley in 1807, erecting the Conejos Stockade, where the American flag was first
raised within the present boundaries of Colorado. Pike's description of
the San Luis Valley approaches that of the promoter. The San Luis Valley was a part of New
Mexico until 1861. Extensive land grants made to Mexican families started a stream of
picturesque Spanish influence that still makes itself felt.
Principal towns in the five counties of the San Luis Valley are Alamosa, Monte Vista, Del
Norte, Hooper, Center, Saguache, La Jara, Antonito, Blanca and Ft. Garland.
CREEDE MAIN LINE
Alamosa to Creede 70.1 miles.
MONTE VISTA, COLO.-D. 269 mi.; pop. 3,208; elev. 7,665. Rio
Grande County. Far-famed as the "potato capital" of this vast inland empire,
Monte Vista is terminal of the San Luis Central railroad, the "Potato Line,"
extending 121/4 miles north to Center. A modern, progressive little city, Monte Vista has
attained national prominence thru its annual Ski-Hi Stampede, Colorado's most famous
summer rodeo. The State Soldiers' and Sailors' Home is located here. The Summitville
mining district, located in the southwestern section of Rio Grande County, passed as a
"ghost town" until intensive operations, started in 1934, gave it prominence as
a gold camp producing approximately $1,000,000 annually.
DEL NORTE, COLO.-D. 282.8 mi.; pop. 1,923; elev. 7,880. County
seat Rio Grande County. Head lettuce fields dot the territory surrounding this prosperous
town, pleasantly situated below the junction of Pinos Creek and the Rio Grande. One of
Colorado's 16 fish hatcheries is located here.
CREEDE, COLO.-D. 320.7 mi.; pop. 670 (seasonal 1,500); elev. 8,844.
County seat Mineral County. Founded by Captain N. C. Creede in 1889, this famous silver
camp boomed in 1890 when high grade ore was first located in the Holy Moses mine, assaying
at $80 per ton, and bringing a wild stampede to a district referred to as "King
Solomon's Mines." All the romance, all the excitement, all the tawdriness of the
typical wild mining camp was found here. Richard Harding Davis, the famous author, in 1892
described Creede as "like a city of fresh cardboard; the pine shanties seem to trust
for support to the rocky sides of the gulch in which they have squeezed themselves."
Bob Ford, said to be the slayer of the glamorous western outlaw Jesse James, met death in
a Creede saloon, shot by O. Kelly. Creede is still an important mining camp, but also has
become a prosperous ranching and stockraising section, as well as one of the state's
finest recreation areas. The Rio Grande and countless lakes in Rio Grande National Forest
provide remarkable trout fishing, while big game abounds. Attractive and numerous are dude
ranches in the vicinity. Wagon Wheel Gap, famous summer camp, was once the scene of many a
furious Indian fight. Spectacular Wheeler National Monument is 16 miles northeast of
Creede. Embracing an area of 300 acres, it is especially noted for its weird and
picturesque rock formations, unlike anything found elsewhere in Colorado, due to eccentric
erosion and volcanic action.
Narrow Gage System
ALAMOSA-DURANGO MAIN LINE
Alamosa to Durango via Cumbres Pass 199.8 miles. Route of the San Juan.
The San Juan, between Alamosa (see page 64) and Durango (see page 69) is America's
finest narrow gage passenger train. Steam heated and vestibuled, it is equipped with
110-volt electricity, and is the only narrow gage train in the United States on which
radios, electric shavers, curling irons and other such appliances may be used. It carries
well appointed parlor-observation cars and offers dinette service. Coaches are fitted with
attractively upholstered deep-cushion reclining chairs that swing to any position.
LA JARA, COLO.-D. 266.2 mi.; pop. 897; elev. 7,609. Conejos County.
First cannery established in the San Luis Valley is located here, and presages future
industrial development for a community already notable as a cattle, sheep and hog feeding
center. A state hatchery for propagation of trout covers a seven acre area.
ANTONITO, COLO-D. 280.3 mi.; pop. 1,220; elev. 7,888. Conejos
County. This thriving agricultural and stockraising community is pleasantly located in the
Conejos river valley just seven miles north of the New Mexico border. Only one mile from
Antonito, is Conejos, county seat, where was located the first permanent church building
erected within the present borders of Colorado. Spanish Catholics built the church
"Our Lady of Guadalupe" in 1856, and it was occupied continuously until
destroyed by fire in 1926. The early settlement and later the county was named, because of
the abundance of prairie dogs or rats, Conejos, a word recalling words of the Psalmist;
"The rocks are a shelter for the conies."
TOLTEC, NEW MEXICO-D. 310.5 mi.; elev. 9,465. Rio Arriba County. High
on the slopes of Cumbres Pass, and on the very rim of far-famed Toltec Gorge stands a
granite monument erected to the memory of the martyred President, James A. Garfield. Its
inscription is self-explanatory: "In Memoriam. James Abram Garfield. President of the
United States. Died Sept. 19, 1881. Mourned by all people. Erected by members of the
National Association of General Passenger and Ticket Agents, who held memorial burial
services on this spot Sept. 26, 1881."
CUMBRES, COLO~D. 330.6 mi.; pop. 25; elev. 10,015. In an extremely
snowy section of the San Juan Mountains, Cumbres Pass cuts thru the Continental Divide.
Because of abundant moisture the mountain slopes afford ideal grazing for live stock.
CHAMA, NEW MEXICO-D. 344.1 mi.; pop. (prec.) 975; elev. 7,863. Rio
Arriba County. Sheep, cattle, oil and lumber are principal industries of the region.
Carson National Forest is closely adjacent.
IGNACIO, COLO.-D. 425.7 mi.; pop. 555; elev. 6,437. La Plata County.
Ignacio, named after a famed Ute Chief, is headquarters of the Consolidated Ute Agency,
directing both the Ute Mountain Utes and Southern Utes reservations. A boarding school has
an enrollment of 200 pupils, and Taylor Indian Hospital has a capacity of 35 patients.
Alfalfa, tame and wild hay, small grains, corn and potatoes are major crops. Dairying,
poultry and honey production are being developed.
DURANGO, COLO.-D. 451.5 mi.; pop. 5,887; elev. 6,520. County seat La
Plata County. Durango, metropolis of the San Juan Basin, was started in 1880 by Dr. W. A.
Bell, and was incorporated in 1881. Lead, zinc, gold, silver, timber and coal are
principal natural resources. Smelting of ores is a major industry. Stockraising, dairying
and poultry raising are being developed rapidly. Beautiful Electra Lake, covering 840
acres, lies 25 miles to the north. Over 1,000 miles of nearby trout streams beckon ardent
fishermen. One of Colorado's finest fish hatcheries is located here. Deer, elk, bear,
mountain lion and grouse furnish sportive hunting in season. Quoting a Colorado historian:
"The San Juan River watershed is notable for varied interest in Southwestern America.
From the view of the economist, the San Juan drains a country well supplied with water,
timber, coal and agricultural promise, besides the precious metals which loom so large in
its history. Durango, its metropolis, is, in St. Paul's phrase, 'no mean city,' for all of
being cut off from the world by hundreds of miles of mountains on one side and what is
practically desert on the other. For the recreation seeker, there are no mountains in the
United States of more bold and precipitous grandeur. The student will remember that on the
slopes of these mountains are the Cliff Dwellings of Mesa Verde National Park, the
ghostliest relics of our past, that thereabouts the great Navajo Indian tribe lives its
Arab-like life and weaves its blankets with Ship Rock (New Mexico) as a center, and that
Spanish place names were fixed by the Franciscan friar Escalante in 1776. In that year
Escalante explored, 'for the glory of the Mother of God,' as he said, this land of peaks
and thirst, when it was as distant and unknown as the mountains of the moon to his
contemporary George Washington."
MESA VERDE NATIONAL PARK
Mesa Verde National Park, created by an act of Congress approved June 29, 1906. embraces
an area of 80.2 square miles (51,334 acres); the largest tract of land in the United
States set aside solely for the antiquities it contains. This archaeological preserve
encloses the largest group and best preserved prehistoric ruins in America. Park
headquarters is 59 miles west of Durango.
A typically excellent National Park Service highway covers the twenty miles between the
entrance and headquarters. About midway is the highest point in the park, 8,575 feet in
elevation, and 2,000 feet above the Montezuma Valley. At no other spot in the United
States can travelers enjoy the unique experience of looking in one glance upon portions of
four states. The broad verdant expanse of Montezuma Valley in Colorado; Ship Rock, a
jagged shaft 1,860 ft. high, rising from the sandy New Mexico plain to closely resemble a
"windjammer" under full sail; the La Sal and Blue mountains of Utah; the deep
blue Carrizos of Arizona-such is the entrancing view surrounding the only common
intersection of four state corners in the United States.
The Mesa Verde, or "Green Table Mountain"-so named for the forest of pinons and
cedars that grows dense as an orchard on its top-is a high walled mesa, trenched far back
by a series of abrupt canyons from the Mancos river. In these canyons, clinging usually
like swallow nests just under the lip of the terrific cliffs, are the deserted towers and
towns of the ancient Cliff Dwellers. Tree-ring records disclose that the cliff dwellings
were inhabited in the period between 1066 and 1273 A. D. The story of the "Little
People"-skeletons indicate that the Cliff Dwellers were small-is shrouded forever by
the mysterious veil of centuries that left their habitations in ghostly silence from 1300
to 1874, when W. H. Jackson led a geological survey party to explore the green mesa. An
earlier government party in 1859 found the plateau to be a stronghold of the warlike Utes.
Amazing Cliff Palace-first apartment house in America-represents the highest point in
Cliff Dweller architecture, with seven floor levels, or terraces, the lower terrace being
occupied by 23 kivas (ceremonial rooms). Balcony House, Square Tower House, Spruce Tree
House, Sun Temple-to name only a few-unfold to fascinated wonderment towns and villages
that echoed to thousands of feet during that period in history when Richard Coeur de Leon
was leading his mailed Crusaders into the Holy Land to recapture Jerusalem. No globe
trotter can claim he has worn out the thrills of travel until he has gazed into these
haunted dwellings and attempted to fathom their ageless mystery.
During the season-May 15 to October 15-Rio Grande Motor Way provides motor transportation
on call from Durango to Mesa Verde. Spruce Tree Lodge, in the park, offers dining and
recreational facilities in a central building, with sleeping accommodations in modern
cabins of various sizes and styles. Favorite rail gateways to Mesa Verde are Grand
Junction (see page 31), Montrose (see page 35), Alamosa (see page 64), and Durango.
THE FARMINGTON BRANCH
Durango to Silverton, (Passenger Service via Rio Grande Motor Way), 44.8 miles.
AZTEC, NEW MEXICO-D. 481.8 mi.; pop. 756; elev. 5,686. County seat San
Juan County. Center of a prosperous farming and fruit raising section, Aztec is gateway to
Aztec Ruins National Monument, an interesting group of prehistoric ruins.
FARMINGTON, NEW MEXICO-D. 496 mi.; pop. 2,161; elev. 5,305. San
Juan County. The Farmington oil fields, producing oil of high gravity in large volume,
lend industrial importance to this region. This progressive little city is center of a
notable fruit-raising and agricultural district.
THE SILVERTON BRANCH
Durango to Silverton (Passenger Service vio Rio Grande Motor Way), 44.8 miles.
SILVERTON, COLO.-D. 496.3 mi.; pop. 1,127; elev. 9,300. County seat San Juan County. This branch line leads
thru the Canyon of the Rio de Las Animas, one of the most spectacular gorges traversed by a railroad any
where on the North American continent; its beauty defies
adequate description Silverton is a high ranking producer of gold, silver, lead and zinc. The San Juan district
in the past 60 years has a production record exceeding $300,000,000. Best known of the Silverton mines are the
Shenandoah-Dives and the Sunnyside. Molas Lake, six miles from Silverton, is a scenic gem. The impressive beauty of Red Mountain, with
"ghost" mining camps nestled at its base, lends romantic interest to a section
rich in recreational opportunities.
THE ALAMOSA-SALIDA LINE
Alamosa to Salida 85.3 miles.
Between Alamosa (see page 64), and Salida (see page 18) the narrow gage line cuts straight
north thru the San Luis Valley (see page 65). Distinguishing feature of this line is 53
miles of absolutely straight track between Alamosa and Villa Grove; this is the longest
straight track mileage on the Rio Grande system and is one of the longest in the United
States. It serves to emphasize the extent of the vast mountain-enclosed valley, and is
unusual because of its average high elevation of 7,500 feet. Hooper (pop. 170), in Alamosa
County; Moffat (pop. 149) and Villa Grove (pop. 267) in Saguache County, are principal
stations. Mineral Hot Springs is an attractive resort. Saguache (pop. 1,219), county seat
of Saguache County, is not on the railroad, but is served by Rio Grande Motor Way.
Saguache County is a notable live stock center, both for sheep and cattle. High point on
the line is Poncha Pass (elev. 9,059) 14.5 miles from Salida.
THE SALIDA-GUNNISON-OURAY MAIN LINE
Salida to Ouray 172.3 miles. Rio Grande Motor Way Passenger Service via Monarch Pass.
PONCHA JUNCTION, COLO.-D. 220.1 mi.; elev. 7,481; Chaffee
County. From this point a branch line leads 15.3 miles to Monarch, notable for its vast
deposits of limestone and extensive quarrying operations.
MARSHALL PASS, COLO.-D. 240.7 mi.; elev. 10,856. Saguache
County. Highest railroad crossing of the Continental Divide in the United States, Marshall
Pass is world-famed for its rugged, colorful scenic vistas. Frightened deer scampering
across the right-of-way into the timber furnish a hint of abundant wild life. The crater
of an extinct volcano is plainly visible on Mount Ouray (elev. 13,955), dominant peak of
the Sawatch range in this vicinity.
GUNNISON, COLO.-D. 288.6 mi.; pop. 2,177; elev. 7,683. County seat
Gunnison County, named for Captain John W. Gunnison, who, in 1853, wrote detailed reports
of the Gunnison Valley. From the foot of Marshall Pass the railroad traverses the fertile
Tomichi Creek valley, where far-flung hay fields and thousands of Hereford cattle grazing
on lush meadows tell the story of the county's leading agricultural and livestock
pursuits. Gunnison County is rich in mineral resources and coal deposits. Branch lines,
serving coal centers, lead 27.7 miles to Crested Butte (pop. 1,300) and 18 miles to
Baldwin (pop. 152). Gunnison County annually produces 500,000 tons of bituminous coal. The
largest undeveloped anthracite deposits in the United States are in this county, and
several anthracite mines have been successfully operated.
Western State College, highest of Colorado's institutions of higher learning, is a fully
accredited liberal arts college with an average enrollment of 500 students. Its summer
school enjoys a national reputation, with students from almost every state in the Union
attracted by the delightful climate and remarkable recreational facilities. Lecturers
include noted American educators.
The Gunnison River, described by outdoor authorities as "the best trout fishing
stream in the United States," with its tributaries, provides more than 1,200 miles of
trout fishing streams in the immediate vicinity. The Taylor Park dam and reservoir, 40
miles northeast, stores water for the Uncompahgre Reclamation project. Covering 2,030
acres, and with 106,200 acre feet of water, the lake is impounded by a dam 610 feet long
and 168 feet high. Water surface elevation is 9,330 feet.
Between Gunnison and Montrose (see page 35) are such well known resorts as Iola, Cebolla,
Sapinero, and Cimarron, all served by Rio Grande Motor Way, unit of National Trailways
system. There is an entrancing view of the famous Black Canyon of the Gunnison from Blue
Mesa, over which U. S. Highway 50 is routed.
RIDGWAY, COLO-D. via Marshall Pass 377.1 mi.; D.-M. 372.8 mi.;
pop. 354; elev. 7,003. Ouray County. Ridgway is the northern terminal of the Rio Grande
Southern Railway, which taps a famous mineral area rich in scenic grandeur along its route
through Placerville, Telluride, Rico, Dolores and Mancos to its southern terminal at
Durango (see page 69).
OURAY, COLO-D. via Marshall Pass 387.4 mi.; D.-M. 383.1 mi.; pop. 951;
elev. 7,721. County seat Ouray County. Named for the great chief of the Uncompahgre Utes,
a "white man's true friend," this region richly merits its designation as the
"Switzerland of America." More than 30 snow-capped peaks of the San Juan
Mountains, many over 14,000 feet in elevation, tower within 12 miles of the town. Highest
of nearby peaks is Mount Sneffels, 14,143 ft. Unique Box Canyon Falls, its perpendicular
granite walls roofed by stone, is an amazing natural phenomenon. Alluring mountain trails
beckon riders and hikers, and tap a region abounding with big game. The section of Chief
Ouray Highway between Ouray and Silverton is locally known as the Million Dollar Highway,
because of the original cost of cutting this spectacular mountain boulevard through solid
gran-. ite. The trip over brilliantly colored Red Mountain Pass (elev. 11,018 ft.) is said
by travelers to be without a parallel in majestic scenic grandeur. Rio Grande Motor Way
maintains daily bus service over Chief Ouray Highway 181 miles between Grand Junction (see
page 31) and Durango (see page 69).
Ouray was settled in 1875 when rich silver and gold ores were discovered. Mining is still
the chief industry, production including gold, silver, copper, lead, zinc and tungsten.
Farming and stockraising have been developed into important industries. Major crops are
hay, small grains, potatoes and vegetables.