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from D&RGW Guidebook c. 1936

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."


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, 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.


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.

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 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, 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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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