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Old 01-11-2013, 03:32 PM   #1
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Mammoth to fort worth

We leave Mammoth Mountain 29th April for Fort Worth
Thought an interesting track might be via I 70 to Ouray Hot Springs.
Is this a dangerous route to take.
I'm not worried about steep grades. More concerned about becoming snow bound.
I leave USA on 17 th.
Is Ouray worth it?
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Old 01-11-2013, 03:59 PM   #2
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Do you mean Ouray, Colorado? We just had a big snow storm pass through, and Ouray (100 miles from us) got hit, as we all did on the western slope of CO. Ouray is a beautiful place, famous for hot springs and ice climbing (this time of the year) - BUT - if you intend to continue south from there, you'll be going over the million dollar highway (highway 550), or turn around and retrace your path back to I-70. I would NOT do it this time of the year.

Snow bound is one thing, but the thousand foot drop off on the west side of the road (Highway 550) is a long way down, and that's the side you'll be on heading south. After that you have to go over Red Mountain Pass and Molas Pass, and I simply would not recommend it in the winter. Summer time? Gorgeous!

If you want hot springs in Colorado, there are two other choices - Glenwood Springs on I-70, where you could continue on to Denver, then take I-25 south toward Fort Worth, or, the hot springs in Pagosa Springs on highway 160 in southwest CO.

Glenwood Hot Springs Lodge, Pool and Spa in Glenwood Springs CO

To get to Pagosa, go south through Moab from I-70, head to Cortez, then take highway 160 across southern CO through Durango to Pagosa - no mountain passes. Pagosa is a beautiful place, and the hot springs are fantastic. There are no major mountain passes on that route, and leaving Pagosa to head to Fort Worth is pretty easy, with only a short section (3 miles) of mountains as you leave Pagosa on highway 84 headed to Santa Fe, I-25 and on to Fort Worth. We've drive in in the winter with no problems. I would NOT continue on highway 160 over Wolf Creek Pass east of Pagosa - very steep, and very snow packed in the winter. Take highway 84 instead to Santa Fe.

Loading... (This is the link to Pagosa Hot Springs, despite it saying "Loading")

As with any travel in the mountains this time of year, check with the NOAA weather folks and check mountain road conditions before heading out.

Say hi to the McCoy family who own Mammoth for me - I used to go to high school/college/ski with their kids when I lived in Bishop, CA, many years ago.

Hope that helps! Travel safe!
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Old 01-11-2013, 07:42 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pagosajoe View Post
Do you mean Ouray, Colorado? We just had a big snow storm pass through, and Ouray (100 miles from us) got hit, as we all did on the western slope of CO. Ouray is a beautiful place, famous for hot springs and ice climbing (this time of the year) - BUT - if you intend to continue south from there, you'll be going over the million dollar highway (highway 550), or turn around and retrace your path back to I-70. I would NOT do it this time of the year.

Snow bound is one thing, but the thousand foot drop off on the west side of the road (Highway 550) is a long way down, and that's the side you'll be on heading south. After that you have to go over Red Mountain Pass and Molas Pass, and I simply would not recommend it in the winter. Summer time? Gorgeous!

If you want hot springs in Colorado, there are two other choices - Glenwood Springs on I-70, where you could continue on to Denver, then take I-25 south toward Fort Worth, or, the hot springs in Pagosa Springs on highway 160 in southwest CO.

Glenwood Hot Springs Lodge, Pool and Spa in Glenwood Springs CO

To get to Pagosa, go south through Moab from I-70, head to Cortez, then take highway 160 across southern CO through Durango to Pagosa - no mountain passes. Pagosa is a beautiful place, and the hot springs are fantastic. There are no major mountain passes on that route, and leaving Pagosa to head to Fort Worth is pretty easy, with only a short section (3 miles) of mountains as you leave Pagosa on highway 84 headed to Santa Fe, I-25 and on to Fort Worth. We've drive in in the winter with no problems. I would NOT continue on highway 160 over Wolf Creek Pass east of Pagosa - very steep, and very snow packed in the winter. Take highway 84 instead to Santa Fe.

Loading... (This is the link to Pagosa Hot Springs, despite it saying "Loading")

As with any travel in the mountains this time of year, check with the NOAA weather folks and check mountain road conditions before heading out.

Say hi to the McCoy family who own Mammoth for me - I used to go to high school/college/ski with their kids when I lived in Bishop, CA, many years ago.

Hope that helps! Travel safe!
Thanks for the advice. I understand where you are coming from
Does the advice still apply to 1 st week of may. Is it likely to be still snow bound?
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Old 01-12-2013, 09:01 AM   #4
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The weather in the mountains can change rapidly. Best bet would be to check the road conditions ahead of time to make sure you don't get caught. I've been in major snow storms in September (early), and the same in Spring (May). One of the pleasures of living in Colorado.

"Typically", the weather begins to improve in late April...but there are no guarantees. The roads will be plowed as soon as possible after a storm, but they could still be snow packed and icy. It's currently -21F this morning, sunny and clear after the big storm we had yesterday.
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Old 01-12-2013, 01:46 PM   #5
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I've put both Pagosa Springs and Ouray into my planner and will make a decision on the day.
If 550 is clear and dry it sounds like a great drive. It looks like it runs along the top of the continental divide so I now understand how exposed it is
We don't get the extremes of weather here in Australia like you do.
Having said that 2 yrs to the day we were in serious flood but this January it hasn't rained more than a few drops.
Talking of current temps - I mowed the lawns yesterday in 37 degrees Celsius and its supposed to be similar today. Overnight lows in the high 20's.
thanks for your input
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Old 01-13-2013, 10:10 AM   #6
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Highway 550 (Million Dollar Highway) is a fantastic drive - beautiful scenery. Ouray (pronounced "yer-AY" if you're a local) is called the Switzerland of America. It's an old mining town, and the scenery is breathtaking.

As you depart Ouray, the road climbs sharply, and there are lots of curves. You'll soon discover that there are no guard rails on the road except in a few places, and the passenger (right side, heading south) gets quite the view of the sharp drop off and the valley about 1000 feet below. That's the primary reason not to attempt the highway in the winter if the road is snow packed.

Once past the Million Dollar Highway, you'll come to Red Mountain Pass (11,000 feet) and Molas Pass (over 10,900 feet), equally beautiful, but without the major drop offs, although when traveling north, there are a few places where it's a long way down. They too are narrow and winding roads.

There are campgrounds (commercial and public) near the crest of the passes that offer some beautiful places to camp. You'll also want to stop in for a visit at Silverton, CO, another old mining town near Red Mountain Pass. Lots of history there, including a narrow gauge railroad the runs to Durango, CO, and back. Depending on the weather/snow, it may not be operating in April/May until the track is cleared.

The pictures attached show various parts of the highway to give you an idea on what it's like. The snow covered one happened in September as we were driving our Corvette home, passing through Ouray. Snow can happen anytime in the high mountains. The storm intensified shortly after we got through.

We participated in the Pikes Peak Hill Climb race near Colorado Springs in July a few years ago, and the road was closed over half the course due to a foot of snow falling during the race.

When the weather is clear, it's a fantastic ride. Enjoy!

Speaking of enjoy - we'd enjoy some 37C weather right about now. It was -21F (-29C) this morning. I've never made it to the Land of Oz - one of these days...although we do have an Aussie Cattle Dog as part of our family.

Hope that helps!
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Old 01-13-2013, 02:52 PM   #7
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We truly love America's National Parks and spectacular drives.
We drove the toad to Pikes Peak whilst returning from Yellowstone in early October. Read about the run. Must have been grueling assuming it was the running race.
If we don't get to do Ouray Springs this trip there will always be next time. I'm not deterred by 550 but as you say icy increases the risk.
Our following trip in August is to Boston and beyond. Next march/April is yet to be determined. We love to go to Cabo San Lucas and Alaska. Would love to repeat our Jasper, Banff, Glacier, Yellowstone trip one August/ Sept
Australia is a great place to live or tour.
Our biggest problem is the Aussie Dollar. It's so high at 1.05 US. Our first trip to the states however was when our dollar was worth about 50c US - that hurt.
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Old 01-14-2013, 12:04 PM   #8
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Sounds like you've seen a lot of the country. There's much to see. used to live on the east coast, had an office in Boston and throughout the north east. I lived in Alaska for nearly 20 years - it's a beautiful place. About now, the place I'd like to visit is Cabo! We could use some warmth. I lived in Germany for 3 years, and the exchange rate at that time was excellent, but faded a bit about the time I left. Good timing.

Enjoy your trip! I hope 550 works out for you - it's certainly worth the drive...
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Old 01-14-2013, 12:24 PM   #9
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Coming to Fort Worth after Colorado ?!?

Boy are you in for a drop in scenery


But Fort worth has it's charm !

We just ate here on Saturday - not high dollar but the best TexMex we've found:
http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restauran...rth_Texas.html

Can give you some pointers on some fun little restaurants when you get here

We eat out all the time as my wife considers the kitchen 'decorative'
and stated she was helping our new 5er's resale by NOT using the stove and oven !!!
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Old 01-14-2013, 02:41 PM   #10
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The coach lives in Lewisville.We live in Brisbane Australia
DFW is a Qantas destination so it suits us.
We love the scenery and try to pick routes that are above average.
We have driven the Needles hwy, Going to the Sun road. Lots Of national parks.
Looking forward to 550 weather permitting
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Old 01-18-2013, 06:58 PM   #11
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I

We just ate here on Saturday - not high dollar but the best TexMex we've found:
http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restauran...rth_Texas.html

Can give you some pointers on some fun little restaurants when you get here

We eat out all the time as my wife considers the kitchen 'decorative'
and stated she was helping our new 5er's resale by NOT using the stove and oven !!![/QUOTE]

I've put this restaurant in our travel planner.
Being Aussie we are only just starting to enjoy Mexican food. We regularly stop at Chiptole for lunch
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