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Old 06-08-2015, 12:31 PM   #1
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Best and easiest route from Durango, Co. To Denver, Co. please.

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Old 06-08-2015, 01:10 PM   #2
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"Best & Easiest" involve personal opinions & preferences. But here are your options:
1st decide if you want to drive over Red Mountain Pass - sharp bends, 1000 ft drop with no guard rail. (many want nothing to do with this route, but personally I enjoy it). this involves hwy 550 north from Durango through Silverton, Ouray, Montrose, Delta to I-70 east all the way to Denver.
options 2 & 3 involve Hwy 160 east from Durango to Pagosa and then up & over Wolf Creek Pass, a steep long pull up to 10,000 ft and down the other side, but very good roadway and much milder drive than Red Mtn Pass. Option 2 continues on 160 east through Alamosa to I-25 north at Walsenburg and then I-25 north into Denver. Option 3 the one preferred by locals, would cut off hwy 160 in the small town of Del Norte onto Hwy 112 to where it intersects with hwy 285 north near Center, Then stay on 285 all the way into Denver.
each option is going to be about a 6 - 6.5 hr drive depending on traffic & pit stops; each has pluses & minuses depending if you want some scenery, want to avoid interstates, or just get from point A to B.

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Old 06-08-2015, 05:54 PM   #3
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Option?, you have the time: Go West from Durango on Hwy 160 to Cortez. Hwy 145 North over Lizard Head Pass, at Placerville go to Ridgeway, connecting to Hwy 550. North on Hwy550, which changes to Hwy 50 in Montrose. North on Hwy 50, connecting to I-70 in Grand Junction, go East to Denver.

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Old 06-09-2015, 09:40 AM   #4
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I don't know if it's the best, but we've driven from Durango East on US-160 to I-25 North and it was a pretty easy drive with Wolf Creek Pass as the major challenge. We've also turned onto CO-112 at Del Norte then US-285 and I don't recall any additional mountain challenges but the road was a little curvy in the foothills. Due to the scenery up the valley and being off the interstate, I would probably go the latter again next time. We were in a 45' coach with a tow and found no road issues either way.
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Old 06-10-2015, 05:21 AM   #5
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X2 on the Lizard Head route, longer but if you are not an experienced mountain driver the best for your nerves. Have time, take a side trip to Ouray, or stay and enjoy my hometown of Montrose.
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Old 06-11-2015, 11:42 AM   #6
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Best and easiest route is U.S. 160 east over Wolf Creek Pass to Walsenburg, then I-25 north to Denver. Others mentioned are good too, for scenery, but not the easiest nor the shortest routes.
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Old 06-11-2015, 11:59 AM   #7
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Welcome to IRV2!

"Best" and easiest" are relatively ill-defined terms. Kinda depends on what you'd like to see and do, or whether you'd prefer to just get there quickly. We've driven all the routes described above (we live in Pagosa Springs, just east of Durango).

We normally take highway 160 east to I-25. Two passes are involved - Wolf Creek, and La Veta. Wolf Creek can be a challenge due to the long, steep 4-lane climb, and the 2-lane descent through a canyon when heading east. Beautiful scenery! La Veta pass is nothing by comparison, with wide highways, and 4-lanes in places. From Walsenburg north on I-25, it's a 4-lane interstate.

We've also taken the Lizard Head Pass route. Beautiful, and it avoids the Red Mountain/Million Dollar Highway white knuckle driving if that concerns you.

You can also drive west on 160 to Cortez, then go up through Moab, UT, and join I-70 east.

You've received lots of great suggestions - comes down to personal preference. Have a fun and safe trip!
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Old 06-18-2015, 07:28 AM   #8
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we crossed Colorado both dirctions on I70 in the past month. Eastbound between Vail and Denver is pretty bad. The road is rutted to the point our rig stayed in the ruts and went where they did. This got pretty hairy at times. Of course the bottom of the ruts is also where the chuckholes are. Good luck with your plans. It is a beautiful state and Glenwood canyon is pretty amazing, especially westbound.

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