My Itchy Travel Feet | The Baby Boomer's Guide To Travel

Saturday’s scene: San Juan sunshine

2013/03/09by Donna Hull

California Gulch

Wildflowers bloom in California Gulch

Discovering a field of yellow wildflowers in California Gulch is one of the treats on a mid-summer 4-wheel-drive-adventure in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado. But, California Gulch offers much more than pretty scenery. The remnants of gold and silver mining history are strewn about adding a historical flavor to the journey. Weeds grow through a rusted-out truck body, turning discarded trash into a creative photo opportunity. Farther down the trail, the rickety silhouettes of deteriorating mine structures cast shadows onto rocky mountainsides.

Numerous jeep trails in the San Juan Mountains offer plenty of opportunities to explore the Colorado back country. On this trip, our journey began at Ironton Park, located off the San Juan Skyway (U.S. 550) between Ouray and Silverton. We followed a trail that climbed Corkscrew, Hurricane and California passes before descending into California Gulch. From here, it was a short drive to the ghost town of Animas Forks, where we stopped to explore, before driving to Silverton, then circling back to Ouray on the San Juan Skyway (also known as the Million Dollar Highway).

We recommend Southern Colorado 4-Wheeling, The San Juans for researching your driving itinerary.

Have you explored the 4-wheel-drive trails in Colorado’s San Juan Mountains? Post a comment to share your experience. This is one of our favorite boomer adventures.

A boomer travel and lifestyle authority who is exploring the world one activity at a time. Besides writing and publishing My Itchy Travel Feet, she also writes about boomer travel for My Well-Being Powered by Humana, Make It Missoula and is the author of New Mexico Backroads Weekend Adventure.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Claire Walter December 7, 2008 at 4:06 pm

I’m in Telluride right now. Beautiful, sunny day w/ immaculately groomed slopes and glorious San Juan scenery — but no more wildflowers till spring.


Claire Walter December 7, 2008 at 4:06 pm

I’m in Telluride right now. Beautiful, sunny day w/ immaculately groomed slopes and glorious San Juan scenery — but no more wildflowers till spring.


Melanie March 10, 2013 at 5:02 pm

Beautiful. We are in drought at the moment, so even though it is warm, not many flowers are about.
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Sheryl March 10, 2013 at 7:58 pm

Lovely! I can’t wait for the flowers to start blooming. The crocus are just pushing through the soil right now…a good sign.


Alisa Bowman March 11, 2013 at 6:04 am

I love meadows full of flowers–one of my favorite aspects of hiking.
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Mark H March 11, 2013 at 3:27 pm

Wildflowers lift a scene so majestically…
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March 12, 2013 at 1:09 pm

Again, it’s completely snow / cold / foggy here on our Colorado mtn. C’mon spring!
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MyKidsEatSquid March 16, 2013 at 8:43 pm

I love, love Ouray. My suggestion: after a long day exploring, hit the natural hot springs in Ouray


Jane Boursaw
March 17, 2013 at 10:39 pm

So beautiful. Makes me want to go lie down in that field and let the sun wash over me.
Jane Boursaw recently posted..A&E’s Bates Motel Treats Psycho Backstory with Respect, Reverence and Just the Right Amount of CreepinessMy Profile


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