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Old 09-20-2009, 04:03 PM   #1
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Denver, CO, to Chama, NM

We're leaving for Chama, NM, this coming Friday (9/25) and would like to know if anyone has traveled part or all of the following route:
  1. South on US-285 from Morrison, CO, to Mineral Hot Springs, CO
  2. Continued south on Colorado SR-17 to Alamosa, CO
  3. Back onto US-285 to Antonito, CO
  4. West/South on CO SR-17 again down to Chama, NM
An alternative route is:
  1. I-25 south to Walsenburg
  2. West on US-160 to Alamosa
  3. Back onto US-285 to Antonito, CO
  4. West/South on CO SR-17 again down to Chama, NM
I've looked up all the passes along the route and they all look doable, especially in that I'm not in any hurry. On the other hand, the weather report for this coming week isn't totally promising, with low temps and rain/snow forecast at the higher elevations along some of the passes. On the upside, the weather looks to be clearing late Thursday into Friday.

Any advice and/or experiences anyone has will be more than appreciated!

Wayne
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Old 09-20-2009, 04:48 PM   #2
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Cumbres, CO on SR17 is 10,015 Ft high. Be carefull across SR17 from Fox Creek, Co to Lobato, NM it's pretty but take your time and be carefull.

Dick
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Old 09-20-2009, 09:44 PM   #3
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I'm based in South Fork, Co in summer and southern NM in winter, so I've tried most of these at least once.

The other possible options are 1) I25 all the way south to Raton and then west on 64 thru Taos; or 2) from Alamosa continue west on 160 to Pagosa Sprgs then south on 84 to Chama. This involves Wolf Creek Pass which is high but good road and 84 is much better than sr17.

Regardless of your choice you can't avoid a lot of up and down and a few high passes. even 285 sw of Denver can be dicey in bad weather.

I agree that the one that would worry me the most in questionable weather would be SR17 thru Cumbres. It may not get any higher than the other passes, but its a much narrower roadway; and help is much farther away if trouble arises.

In good weather, you'll be ok on any option; in questionable weather its a toss up. I favor 160 to 84, mostly because I use it more often, am familiar with all its turns and can wait out a storm at the bottom, since I dont have a schedule to keep.

have fun
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Old 09-21-2009, 09:17 AM   #4
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We drove Wolf Creek Pass in a 36.5 Ft Tradewinds 300HP Cat just about a month ago and had no problem. The highway is four lane and plenty well maintained. It's a real nice drive and once you get to Pagosa Sprgs it's clear sailing into NM.
I'd pick this way because if something does happen at least you'll be around people and help.
Just be carefull comming over the pass into Pagosa Sprgs and don't crash into the Feed Store in downtown Pagosa Sprgs,
Dick
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Old 09-21-2009, 09:42 AM   #5
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If you do choose to go through Wolf Creek Pass, have your camera charged and ready. Stop often and take pictures. It's on of the most beautful places we'v been through.
Dick
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Old 09-21-2009, 09:59 AM   #6
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I Don't remember when Salmon snagging season starts at the lake west of Chama, NM, but it is something to watch or do. Seems like it is in the fall.
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Old 09-21-2009, 10:08 AM   #7
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New Mexico has some pretty nice State parks New Mexico State Parks
and this time of the year it's not crowded. Cost is $14.00 / night and no reservations required.
Dick
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Old 09-24-2009, 09:07 AM   #8
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Thanks for all the feedback & suggestions! As we speak, it looks like the sky is lightening up with clearing on the way.

I have the alternatives mapped out and will pick one by the end of the day, currently leaning towards going over Wolf Creek Pass.

Thanks again everyone!
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