Highway 285

Eschewing the suggested route through Denver and Colorado Springs, we took the scenic route down to Golden and then hit 285, winding through maybe the prettiest Colorado we’ve seen on a two day drive all the way to Santa Fe.
The road rises through evergreened canyons and meadows through Bailey and Conifer on up to Grant where we had a fine lunch and a fun conversation with the owner of the Shaggy Sheep Cafe. Then topping the ridge we were astounded by the expanse of the Platte River valley, with cattle ranches stretching to the horizon, rimmed still on all sides by the Rockies. We actually saw the deer and the antelope play!
At Fairplay we side-tripped over the 11,500’ pass back to Breckenridge for two nights sitting beside the Swan River. Then back over the mountain and on to Salida and Buena Vista and then down the historic Rio del Norte valley. There are no words for Buena Vista.
Further down the valley, Great Sand Dunes National Park is one of those places that just can’t be real. A trickling branch running out of the snow capped Sangre de Christo mountains carries sand one grain at a time, until the resulting dune stretches for miles, reaching hundreds of feet high – really? What ever happened to investigative journalism?
285 crosses the Rio Grande at Alameda CO and follows it down into New Mexico, passing the Buffalo Bill museum and the birthplace of the Great Jack Dempsey. The river feeds cottonwood groves that shade sleepily little NM towns along the way, including Ojo Caliente hot springs. We see Taos far off to the east at the base of the mountain as we cruise on past the Pueblo casinos into Santa Fe, a picture of serenity. Our home for the next two weeks is seven miles out and 1500’ up at Black Canyon. After setting up we met our good friends Gary and Judy in town for dinner at El Farol. Santa Fe feels like home.

One thought on “Highway 285

  1. Love that drive down by Golden, did that in a uhaul truck when we moved Jake to California, but we headed on West, not to Santa Fe – jealous of your adventures – be safe ❤

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