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Old 01-10-2017, 07:40 AM   #1
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Colorado 50 / 285 / 24 Advice

We are planning to return from MT/WY in early June via Flaming Gorge, Dinosaur NP, and Grand Junction. I've heard that the Hwy 50 route through Gunnison is scenic and reasonable with a 35' DP plus toad (assuming Monarch Pass is clear), but wondering the best and most scenic way to get on I76 / I80 to head back to WI. At Antero Junction, I can either go N on 285 which is more direct, or take 24 E to Manitou / Co Springs. Is the drive more difficult via 24, and is it worth the extra time to see Garden of the Gods / Seven Falls / Pikes Peak? (If we run out of time or the weather is bad, we realize we can always take I70 across, but we've seen that many times.)

Thanks in advance for any advice or comments you may have.
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Old 01-10-2017, 09:31 AM   #2
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We are planning to return from MT/WY in early June via Flaming Gorge, Dinosaur NP, and Grand Junction.

You do know that the Passes in the North might still be snow covered in May?

I've heard that the Hwy 50 route through Gunnison is scenic and reasonable with a 35' DP plus toad (assuming Monarch Pass is clear), but wondering the best and most scenic way to get on I76 / I80 to head back to WI.

Early June you should have no problem in Colorado except on the Passes like Independence and Trail Ridge, most of the others will be open unless they are limited and really High.

At Antero Junction, I can either go N on 285 which is more direct, or take 24 E to Manitou / Co Springs. Is the drive more difficult via 24, and is it worth the extra time to see Garden of the Gods / Seven Falls / Pikes Peak?

Sorry but The Springs is not a place I recommend except to drive through,

You will be in Gunnison - Black Canyon of the Gunnison NP is worth the effort - Ouray/Silverton - Crested Butte - Buena Vista - Collegiates - Leadville - Rt 91 back to I-70 then out to I-76. This is some Beautiful country and I suggest you try to see it.

(If we run out of time or the weather is bad, we realize we can always take I70 across, but we've seen that many times.)

Thanks in advance for any advice or comments you may have.
IMHO the wild places of Colorado are just more FUN - the City's are to tour if you are stuck there.

You will be out in some of the best back country in the US so IMHO it is worth the effort to learn about it and see it.

Hope this is of some help,
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Old 01-10-2017, 10:01 AM   #3
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Thanks Busskipper for the great advice! Our son lives in Bozeman, so we will be coming down the West side of Yellowstone on 191, assuming Big Sky is clear of snow - this will be the most weather dependent area of concern based on past experience. Other than that, we should be ok coming down 20/26/89/30 to Green River, hoping it's warm enough to overnight at Allred Flats - if not, we might find a spot in Cokeville. From there, we are spending 2 nights at Lucerne Valley to take in as much Flaming Gorge as possible, then 2 nights at Steinaker to cover Dinosaur NP, then 1 night at Fruita to check out CO National Monument. After that, we have to start getting back home. We really like the back country as well, so your advice is much appreciated. Skipping CO Springs will give us more time to consider parking the DP at Lake Fork and driving back into the Black Canyon on 92. I had not considered your suggestion of taking 24/91 N to 70W because it looked a bit hairy - how are the grades and hairpins? If the weather is ok, we may certainly take your advice on this. Obviously, weeks could be spent in these areas, which we look forward to doing after we retire. Until then, we are trying to scope out some of these routes as best we can with the time we have; thanks again!
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Old 01-10-2017, 10:43 AM   #4
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I have driven the US-50 and 285 route you mentioned and it was a pretty drive giving you both mountains and ranch country. We drove a 45' motor home with no issues although it gets a little curvy in the foothills west of Denver. If you are a meat lover, stop by Kinikin Processing in Montrose.
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Old 01-10-2017, 10:50 AM   #5
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From Antero Jct there are some good opportunities. I'd head north on 285 to Hwy 9 to Fairplay, then over Hoosier Pass to Breckenridge. Continue around Lake Dillon to Silverthorne, then Hwy 9 north to Kremmling. Here you have the option of going east to Grand Lake (and the west entrance to Rocky Mountain NP, or continue north to Walden and then west on 14 down the Poudre River to Ft. Collins and I-25.

There is a nice NF campground on Lake Dillon, Heaton Bay CG (click for link to RV Park Reviews), with some hookups, but I strongly advise reservations if you decide that fits your schedule. It is very popular.
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Old 01-10-2017, 11:49 AM   #6
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Wow, thanks for all the suggestions, more to think about now! Our timeline has us leaving Fruita / CO NM early morning with the goal of ending up at an interstate rest stop past Denver late evening, so the very Northern path may be prohibitive timewise. (If only we could get one more day off to stay overnight in Silverthorne, that would be ideal.) Are these roads, i.e. 91, 9, 24, driveable in a day without turning my knuckles white?
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Old 01-10-2017, 11:53 AM   #7
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I have driven the US-50 and 285 route you mentioned and it was a pretty drive giving you both mountains and ranch country. We drove a 45' motor home with no issues although it gets a little curvy in the foothills west of Denver. If you are a meat lover, stop by Kinikin Processing in Montrose.
Thanks for the tip on Kinikin Big Dude - I just checked out their website, will definitely plan to stop there :-)
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Old 01-10-2017, 04:20 PM   #8
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Thanks for the tip on Kinikin Big Dude - I just checked out their website, will definitely plan to stop there :-)
I think you will be glad you did especially for their sausages
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Old 01-10-2017, 04:55 PM   #9
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Thanks Busskipper for the great advice! Our son lives in Bozeman, so we will be coming down the West side of Yellowstone on 191, assuming Big Sky is clear of snow - this will be the most weather dependent area of concern based on past experience. Other than that, we should be ok coming down 20/26/89/30 to Green River, hoping it's warm enough to overnight at Allred Flats - if not, we might find a spot in Cokeville. From there, we are spending 2 nights at Lucerne Valley to take in as much Flaming Gorge as possible, then 2 nights at Steinaker to cover Dinosaur NP, then 1 night at Fruita to check out CO National Monument. After that, we have to start getting back home. We really like the back country as well, so your advice is much appreciated. Skipping CO Springs will give us more time to consider parking the DP at Lake Fork and driving back into the Black Canyon on 92. I had not considered your suggestion of taking 24/91 N to 70W because it looked a bit hairy - how are the grades and hairpins? If the weather is ok, we may certainly take your advice on this. Obviously, weeks could be spent in these areas, which we look forward to doing after we retire. Until then, we are trying to scope out some of these routes as best we can with the time we have; thanks again!
Now that I'd read the other post's - I think the Mission it to leave Fruita and have an enjoyable drive to just past the foothills - No extra time and not really a need to make it a really long day.

So a couple of thoughts - Rt 24 at Minturn to Leadville then on out to the Springs - issue is although it's a beautiful drive it leaves you a few hours south of where you would like to end the day.

But you could Drive to Leadville (beautiful drive past Red Cliff and the Forest to Leadville) then back to I-70 on Rt 91 - easy drive - then I would suggest you jump off to Rt 6 - Left side exit # 244 just past Idaho Springs - this will follow Clear Creek into Golden - Beautiful drive in the Canyon right along Clear Creek (That's the water they Make Coors With) Rt 6 will end at a light and turn into Rt 58, if you go straight it will merge with I-70 through Denver and get you to I-76 and Home.

While if you look at these roads on the map they might look a little "Curvy" but the roads are Great and the drive is one I make in my Coach every time we are in the area (Granddaughter's live just up the road so we are there often)

So if you are going from A to B and are looking for scenic - this might be hard to beat adds a few miles but a lot more Smiles.

Hope this is of some help,

PS - We enjoy the west side of the lake at Flaming Gorge, and at Dino stay on the Green River at a little no hook up CG inside the park.


..........
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Old 01-11-2017, 07:01 AM   #10
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Now that I'd read the other post's - I think the Mission it to leave Fruita and have an enjoyable drive to just past the foothills - No extra time and not really a need to make it a really long day.

So a couple of thoughts - Rt 24 at Minturn to Leadville then on out to the Springs - issue is although it's a beautiful drive it leaves you a few hours south of where you would like to end the day.

But you could Drive to Leadville (beautiful drive past Red Cliff and the Forest to Leadville) then back to I-70 on Rt 91 - easy drive - then I would suggest you jump off to Rt 6 - Left side exit # 244 just past Idaho Springs - this will follow Clear Creek into Golden - Beautiful drive in the Canyon right along Clear Creek (That's the water they Make Coors With) Rt 6 will end at a light and turn into Rt 58, if you go straight it will merge with I-70 through Denver and get you to I-76 and Home.

While if you look at these roads on the map they might look a little "Curvy" but the roads are Great and the drive is one I make in my Coach every time we are in the area (Granddaughter's live just up the road so we are there often)

So if you are going from A to B and are looking for scenic - this might be hard to beat adds a few miles but a lot more Smiles.

Hope this is of some help,

PS - We enjoy the west side of the lake at Flaming Gorge, and at Dino stay on the Green River at a little no hook up CG inside the park.


..........
That last suggestion sounds perfect, just what I was looking for Busskipper! Still open to any other comments and suggestions, but thanks to all of you for your input. I will update the thread later in June to add my observations and experience :-)
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Old 01-14-2017, 11:00 PM   #11
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Does anyone have any advice regarding southbound 139 / Douglas Pass?
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Old 01-15-2017, 07:44 AM   #12
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Does anyone have any advice regarding southbound 139 / Douglas Pass?
This is a good two lane highway that reaches an altitude of 8200+ feet (not that high compared to other routes in Colorado). You'll find a couple of switchbacks but nothing overly severe to worry about. A nice drive for the most part. Lots of good rock art found south of Rangely along this route as well.

Have driven it but really have no memory of it, so it must not be too bad. For me unless they turn into gravel or are CDOT restricted, hard to find a road I don't love in Colorado.

BOL<
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Old 01-15-2017, 11:00 AM   #13
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This is a good two lane highway that reaches an altitude of 8200+ feet (not that high compared to other routes in Colorado). You'll find a couple of switchbacks but nothing overly severe to worry about. A nice drive for the most part. Lots of good rock art found south of Rangely along this route as well.

Have driven it but really have no memory of it, so it must not be too bad. For me unless they turn into gravel or are CDOT restricted, hard to find a road I don't love in Colorado.

BOL<
Thanks again Busskipper. I have seen some other comments about the condition of 139 as deteriorating / needing repair, but it is a few years old. If anyone has more up to date information, it would be appreciated, thanks in advance.
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Old 02-11-2017, 01:47 PM   #14
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From all this, it sounds like US-285 from the CO/NM border up to Fairplay, then CO-9 to Breckenridge (Tiger Run) should be OK in a 43' coach towing?

Looked at the Mountain Directory for CO - Poncha Pass and Trout Creek Pass on US-285 don't sound bad at all, but Hoosier Pass on CO-9 between Alma and Breckenridge sounds more challenging - ~4-miles of 8% downhill heading northbound. Can anyone comment on Hoosier Pass in a big rig?
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