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Top Reasons Why You Need To Take A Jeep Tour In Southwest Colorado

By Kim Cassels   •   May 4, 2021

Top Reasons Why You Need To Take A Jeep Tour In Southwest Colorado

Durango, CO-Durango Jeep-Mild to Wild Rafting

If you’re planning a visit to Southwest Colorado, we hope you’ve put it somewhere on your itinerary to get high… by exploring the mountains either yourself or via Jeep Tour, of course. Millions of visitors flow through Colorado each year, but many never get to experience traversing those big beautiful mountains.

We get it though, as not everyone arrives on wheels that can roll over smashed boulders and clear them at the same time. That’s where our Guided Jeep Tours come in! Read on to get a better idea of what you’ll experience on a jeep tour, and why you’ll want to add it to your Colorado itinerary. 

See Places You’d Never Get to in Your Own Car 

Fall Silverton Jeep Tour - Silverton, CO - Mild to Wild Jeep Tours

Driving through the San Juans or La Plata mountains is a little different than on the San Juan Skyway— not that we aren’t diehard fans of that high line route too! The highway is certainly scenic, but just think of what’s waiting at the tree line.

To trace the sides of Southwest Colorado’s mountain ranges requires a high clearance, 4WD, mean-treaded machine. That, along with a skilled driver who knows how to negotiate roads that haven’t changed much since they were made by wagon-towing, mutton chop-overall wearing miners from 150 years ago. 

Jeep Tours will take you to areas you might not be able to access in your own vehicle, and offer a wealth sites that you’d never get from the bottom of the peaks. Also, riding along in the open-air jeeps allow you to sit back, relax and be a part of the trail rather than cooped up in the cab. 

Learn About Some of North America’s Most Significant Historical Events 

Drone Hero Shot on a Silverton Jeep Tour - Mild to Wild Rafting & Jeep Tours

If you hop on any satellite map, you’ll immediately notice how the Southwest’s terrain is undeniably more interesting compared to anywhere else in the United States. This is thanks to the Laramide Orogeny, a gargantuan geologic event that began about 70 million years ago. The drama all started with an oceanic plate that relentlessly shoved itself under North American for about 40 million years. Today, it’s left us with the many massive marvels of the Colorado Plateau, which your guide will explain more about as you explore the alpine. 

And because the Rocky Mountains were formed by numerous years of unforgiving pressure, they came with the prospect of high dollar minerals. This is due to how compaction and heat bring molten to the crust, and thus precious metals like silver and gold… ”silver and gold, everyone wishes for silver and gold.” Which is totally true, hence the Gold Rush in the 19th century. Colorado’s mountains beckoned thousands of starry-eyed settlers in hopes of striking lucrative veins in them hills. Many of their cabins still stand today beneath abandoned mines.  

But when white men came to dig and dynamite this southern flank of the Rocky Mountains, people were already living here, and had been for thousands of years. The Ute tribes of Silverton and Durango’s surrounding peaks attempted to block settlers from their hunting grounds with treaties, but were bypassed and pushed out by the late 1800s. As you ascend through ancient forests and meadows, your guide will share these happenings in more detail as well. 

Experience the Most Epic Views in the Four Corners Region 

Durango, CO-Durango Jeep-Mild to Wild Rafting

Our jeep tours climb up to 12,000 feet above sea level in the Weminuche Wilderness— Colorado’s largest wilderness area. It goes without saying how killer the pristine landscapes are on these trips.

Colorado has 58 fourteeners (peaks above 14,000 feet), and the San Juan Mountains hold 14 of them. If you’re on a Silverton Jeep Tour, you’re bound to see at least a few of these snow-capped beauties that bring climbers from around the country to summit each year. 

On the La Plata Canyon Tour just outside of Durango, a small, jagged line of peaks rise as a subrange from the massive San Juan Mountains. And while they don’t cover as much area, the La Platas’ wilderness is just as drastic.

The jeep meanders along the La Plata river, and past multi-hued mountains that look more like a string of paintings than actual, ever-growing palisades. When the road allows, the jeeps can climb to some areas where New Mexico, Arizona and Utah unravel into the horizon for 360 degree views. 

Cruise those Immaculate Colors from Spring to Fall 

Durango, CO-Durango Jeep-Mild to Wild Rafting

Colorado’s wildflower season would, in an absolutely not overly-dramatic-proclamation, be a tragedy to miss. Colorado’s state flower is the dainty, oh-so-delicate blue columbine, and it flourishes throughout the awakened alpine in late spring.

In tow come a flurry of other pretty petals, including magenta Indian paintbrush, silvery lupine, velvety larkspur, lilies, and more and more and MORE! For photo ops among these glorious fields, La Plata Canyon has an exceptional stopping point for swaths of pretty paintbrush. 

The Million Dollar Highway is well-known for its El Dorado vibes come late September. Thanks to Colorado’s massive aspen groves, the fall Jeep Tours in Durango or Silverton are exceedingly exceptional for color. Top tip: don’t forget to bring a camera

Get to Know the Locals 

Marmot On High Alert - Mild to Wild

Due to the remote nature of both the Durango and Silverton jeep tours, guests are usually pretty lucky to spot at least one or two animals while cruising the trails. The La Plata Canyon tour has been known to expose the occasional fox, and it’s abundant with elk, mule deer and marmots. During autumn, moose and elk will take to open areas for mating season, especially near Silverton. 

These mountains are also the habitat of black bear, mountain lions, lynx, bobcat, weasels, hawks, golden eagles and great horned owls. For the best chances to spot the most wildlife, afternoon Jeep Tours meet up with most animals’ dinner schedules. Bring a pair of binoculars and that friend with the sharp eye! 

 

Guided Jeep Tours are a great way to experience Colorado’s pristine mountains without having to climb them yourself! They also easily fit in with any schedule since they’re long enough to see a lot, but short enough to take another trip in the same day if you so wish! 

 

More Reading 

Top Places to Adventure off the Beaten Path in Durango

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