U.S. Route 160 East: Road Trip Diversity at Its Best

Some days end and you think back to morning and ask yourself, "Was that all just today?" We had one of those days as we drove east on U.S. Route 160. Its route, if not its number, was made famous in song in 1975, as the road from Wolf Creek Pass to Pagosa Springs, Colorado in C.W. McCall's country music song Wolf Creek Pass (yeah, we don't know it either).

We started our day at Chimney Rock National Monument, a place of mystery, a sacred place, a celestial observatory and seasonal calendar for the Ancestral Puebloans over 1,000 years ago.

We stopped at a Farmer's Market in the "must visit again town" of Pagosa Springs. We promised to return to this home of the deepest hot water springs in the nation!
We then paused briefly to delight in Treasure Falls, a waterfall that cascades 105 feet into Falls Creek, which connects with the San Juan River. What a beautiful place.

We then got "high" when we stopped at Wolf Creek Pass (10,857 ft.). It was pretty cool (44°) to be on the Continental Divide in the San Juan Mountains.
One of the most interesting hotels I have ever seen was the Best Western Movie Manor in Monte Vista. The Drive-In Movie Manor offers quite a unique experience, allowing you to watch movies on the big screen right from the comfort of your hotel room. Yes, it's a drive-in and hotel all at the same time! The Movie Manor Motor Inn opened in 1964. Its 14 original rooms were angled so that overnighters can lie in bed, flip the in-room switch to "Movie: ON," and watch the drive-in screen through their own personal picture windows. Soundtrack audio and snack bar announcements were piped directly in through suitably lo-fi mono speakers AND it's still in business today. I would totally stay there!
Monte Vista is also the home of a Carnegie Library, right next door to their first library (c. 1885). You have to love a town with a history of libraries.

While traveling East, we had to take the 50 mile (round trip) detour to Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve. These are the tallest dunes in North America and are the centerpiece in a diverse landscape of grasslands, wetlands, conifer and aspen forests, alpine lakes, and tundra.
The park contains sand dunes that rise about 750 feet from the floor of the San Luis Valley on the western base of the Sangre de Cristo Range, covering about 19,000 acres.

These dunes were magnificent, unique, awe-inspiring and so worth the detour!


Home for the night was outside the town of Walsenburg at Lathrop State Park whose peacefulness was the ideal end to our day.
“Sometimes the most scenic roads in life
are the detours you didn't mean to take.”
― Angela N. Blount

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2 comments:

Karen Booth said...

The Drive-In Movie Manor sounded like it would have been worth ditching The Artic Fox for a night. Beautiful contrast between the clouds in the sky against the dunes and Steve with his outstretched arms dwarfed by them.

Karen Booth said...

P.S. Sorry for the Arctic typo. It wouldn't let me correct it.

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