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Old 02-18-2020, 06:28 PM   #1
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Denver to Durango?

We may take a trip to the Denver area in late May~Early June. The daughter and son-in-law want to go to Durango for awhile after we leave Denver.
A quick look at the route shows US 285S out of Denver and pick up US 160W to just south of Durango. US 160W merges with US 550N for the last few miles into Durango.
We have a 35' DP and tow an F-150. Total length is about 60'. I can unhook the tow if the grades or turns are not RV friendly.
Has anyone taken that route of have some knowledge about driving it in an RV?
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Old 02-18-2020, 06:36 PM   #2
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I've driven it pulling a 35 ft fiver, no problem. 550 out of Durango can get somewhat exciting, if you are shy about mountain driving. We've been up and down it and 160 but I'm immune to mountain roads.
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Old 02-18-2020, 06:50 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Agesilaus View Post
I've driven it pulling a 35 ft fiver, no problem. 550 out of Durango can get somewhat exciting, if you are shy about mountain driving. We've been up and down it and 160 but I'm immune to mountain roads.
Thanks. We'll be headed back to Florida after Durango. I'm only concerned about the route from Denver to Durango.
I think the video is 550N out of Durango. We may drive that up to Sliverton in the truck but not the RV.
We live in the flat lands of the SE so I don't get much practice in the mountains.
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Old 02-18-2020, 07:25 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by JohnH12 View Post
We may drive that up to Sliverton in the truck but not the RV.

We live in the flat lands of the SE so I don't get much practice in the mountains.
Youíll definitely want to drive the pickup from Durango to silverton, then go on into Ouray. BEAUTIFUL drive.
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Old 02-18-2020, 07:45 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by JohnH12 View Post
Thanks. We'll be headed back to Florida after Durango. I'm only concerned about the route from Denver to Durango.
I think the video is 550N out of Durango. We may drive that up to Sliverton in the truck but not the RV.
We live in the flat lands of the SE so I don't get much practice in the mountains.
being my fist time driving the MH in the mountains I decided not to take the MH. this was my first time, but I would and did drive my other vehicle. now after driving in and around in the mountains it wouldn't bother me much. it would just be the steepness to worry about.
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Old 02-18-2020, 09:42 PM   #6
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The route you gave can certainly be done with your motorhome - nice wide highways. However, you are going to have some mountain passes to come down. Get into low gear before starting the downhill; not in the midst of it. Wolf Creek Pass is on 160 between South Fork coming into Pagosa Springs. You'll have a 7% descent for 9 miles. Semi trucks and RVers use this all the time. Stop in Pagosa Springs and relax in the hot springs to decompress! Gorgeous concrete pools of varying temperatures overlooking the river and town. Awesome. We spend all morning there; pack a cooler or they sell things. From Pagosa Springs it's about flat to Durango.

Taking your towed vehicle up to Silverton, Ouray and Ridgeway and then returning via 62 at Ridgeway over to Telluride and down Hwy 145 into Cortez is a very nice loop.

The other passes around Fairplay and Poncha Springs are short and around 5% - no big deal.

I suggest you get the 'Mountain Directory for Truckers & RVers' to read up on the various highways before you come to them as a 'heads up'. Then you won't have surprises.

We've been on all of these including up and down 550 from Durango to Ouray with our motorhome many times. But then, we love driving in the mountains.

I'd also advise you to get up-to-date weather forecasts for these areas as you will still be early in the season.

You'll be a pro when you're done! You'll love it!!
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Old 02-19-2020, 06:41 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnH12 View Post
We may take a trip to the Denver area in late May~Early June. The daughter and son-in-law want to go to Durango for awhile after we leave Denver.
A quick look at the route shows US 285S out of Denver and pick up US 160W to just south of Durango. US 160W merges with US 550N for the last few miles into Durango.
We have a 35' DP and tow an F-150. Total length is about 60'. I can unhook the tow if the grades or turns are not RV friendly.
Has anyone taken that route of have some knowledge about driving it in an RV?
John, I have driven the route you are thinking about and would offer a suggestion that will take about the same amount of time - just may be a More Beautiful drive.

If you are starting in Denver Look over this houte - RT 6 out of Golden, puts you into one of My Favorite drives in Colorado - out of Golden following Clear Creek to I-70 at Idaho Springs. From there you head West to RT 91 south to Leadville - where you will run into RT 24 taking you to Buena Vista and the Collegiates - Browns Canyon NM and Salida. Great area that is filled with friendly people and Beautiful Country.

Now you can continue south to RT 160 and come into Durango on the Route you had originally proposed, difference being you have now enjoyed the Rockies and Some of their Beauty.

OR - you could continue driving over Wolf Creek Pass - through Gunnison - along Blue Mesa Lake - and the Cimarons - connecting to RT 550 and then At Ridgway skirting by Lizard Head Pass on RT 145 to Durango - driving around the Famous RT 550 through the San Juan's. I've Driven all of the routes and by Far my Favorite would be this one, Just some beautiful driving in some Unbelievable Mountains and Views of Colorado.

A couple of the Maps;

1. Similar to your original Route just a more Colorado Beautiful Rocky Mountain Drive - Still RV friendly just more of what most people come to Colorado to See - https://www.bing.com/maps?osid=6cab5...=2&form=S00027

2. This would be the more Scenic drive - exposing you to even more of the Beauty of Colorado (JMHO) - the number of Places and the things to Do are just about endless as this weaves it's way through and by so much of the Really Wild and Beautiful Colorado most come to see. - https://www.bing.com/maps?osid=f2ef5...=2&form=S00027

Take a look at both as they avoid the Long Boring Drive on RT 285 between the mountains and through the Arid Valley, again IMHO.

I'll just Name drop on some of the Great opportunities of things to see and visit along the way.

Golden
Coors
Clear Creek
Breck
Leadville
Quincy's
Camp Hale
Collegiates
Independence Pass
Cottonwood Pass
Arkansas River
Crested Butte
Black Canyon of the Gunnison NP
Ridgway State Park
Ouray
Silverton
Million Dollar Highway
4X4 trails to Die for
Alpine Loop
Lizard Head
Train Ride
Ski Resorts
Pagosa Springs


on and On..........................

Hope this helps, while you may be able to make the drive in a single day, IMHO it deserves many more as it is Colorado!

And Yes I've driven all of these routes in the Signature RV along with a 37' gaser with a toad, so IMHO all the route are Very RV Friendly, and and both deserve many more than just a couple days to make the drive. Late May will keep the unplowed Passes closed - Independence and Cottonwood - but the rest of the trip, Provided there is not a Late Storm high in the Mountains will be fine, as all these roads are state maintained.

CDOT cameras and Map will help - https://www.cotrip.org/map.htm#/defa...CameraId=10829

Best of Luck,
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Old 02-19-2020, 10:20 AM   #8
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Edit on the Passes - Didn't proofread - Sorry

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monarch_Pass

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wolf_Creek_Pass

Quote:
Originally Posted by Busskipper View Post
John, I have driven the route you are thinking about and would offer a suggestion that will take about the same amount of time - just may be a More Beautiful drive.

If you are starting in Denver Look over this houte - RT 6 out of Golden, puts you into one of My Favorite drives in Colorado - out of Golden following Clear Creek to I-70 at Idaho Springs. From there you head West to RT 91 south to Leadville - where you will run into RT 24 taking you to Buena Vista and the Collegiates - Browns Canyon NM and Salida. Great area that is filled with friendly people and Beautiful Country.

Now you can continue south to RT 160 and come into Durango on the Route you had originally proposed, difference being you have now enjoyed the Rockies and Some of their Beauty.

OR - you could continue driving over https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monarch_Pass (Wolf Creek Pass) - through Gunnison - along Blue Mesa Lake - and the Cimarons - connecting to RT 550 and then At Ridgway skirting by Lizard Head Pass on RT 145 to Durango - driving around the Famous RT 550 through the San Juan's. I've Driven all of the routes and by Far my Favorite would be this one, Just some beautiful driving in some Unbelievable Mountains and Views of Colorado.

A couple of the Maps;

1. Similar to your original Route just a more Colorado Beautiful Rocky Mountain Drive - Still RV friendly just more of what most people come to Colorado to See - https://www.bing.com/maps?osid=6cab5...=2&form=S00027 - Note here on Edit this will take you over Wolf Creek Pass - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wolf_Creek_Pass

2. This would be the more Scenic drive - exposing you to even more of the Beauty of Colorado (JMHO) - the number of Places and the things to Do are just about endless as this weaves it's way through and by so much of the Really Wild and Beautiful Colorado most come to see. - https://www.bing.com/maps?osid=f2ef5...=2&form=S00027 - Note here on edit this is Monarch Pass - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monarch_Pass

Take a look at both as they avoid the Long Boring Drive on RT 285 between the mountains and through the Arid Valley, again, IMHO.

I'll just Name drop on some of the Great opportunities of things to see and visit along the way.

Golden
Coors
Clear Creek
Breck
Leadville
Quincy's
Camp Hale
Collegiates
Independence Pass
Cottonwood Pass
Arkansas River
Crested Butte
Black Canyon of the Gunnison NP
Ridgway State Park
Ouray
Silverton
Million Dollar Highway
4X4 trails to Die for
Alpine Loop
Lizard Head
Train Ride
Ski Resorts
Pagosa Springs


on and On..........................

Hope this helps, while you may be able to make the drive in a single day, IMHO it deserves many more as it is Colorado!

And Yes I've driven all of these routes in the Signature RV along with a 37' gaser with a toad, so IMHO all the route are Very RV Friendly, and and both deserve many more than just a couple days to make the drive. Late May will keep the unplowed Passes closed - Independence and Cottonwood - but the rest of the trip, Provided there is not a Late Storm high in the Mountains will be fine, as all these roads are state maintained.

CDOT cameras and Map will help - https://www.cotrip.org/map.htm#/defa...CameraId=10829

Best of Luck,
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Old 02-19-2020, 10:59 AM   #9
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If you don't like mountain passes / driving - not the route to take. Pucker factor can increase along the way if you are not comfortable in mountain driving.
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Old 02-24-2020, 11:05 PM   #10
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If you want to "drive" the route on-line to see if it appeals to you or not, there is a YouTube channel called Riding Shotgun you might want to explore. The gentleman who does this channel has 2 or 3 videos driving SR 550 in an 18-wheeler, and gives an extended and very representative (and watchable) revue of driving the Million Dollar Highway. Based on these videos, you ought to be able to make your own mind up.
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Old 02-25-2020, 06:45 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Mike8253 View Post
If you want to "drive" the route on-line to see if it appeals to you or not, there is a YouTube channel called Riding Shotgun you might want to explore. The gentleman who does this channel has 2 or 3 videos driving SR 550 in an 18-wheeler, and gives an extended and very representative (and watchable) revue of driving the Million Dollar Highway. Based on these videos, you ought to be able to make your own mind up.
Thanks. I'll look for it today.
Plans have been changed recently. We're going from Denver to Ouray, via I70W then south and will stay a few days at Ouray RV park and Cabins. Then south through Durango towards home in Florida. That route is still in work.
35' DP pulling an F-150 but can unhook if I feel uncomfortable.
While in the Navy I've driven over the Sierras and Rocky's from California to eastern duty stations several times but never in an RV pulling a toad.
Looks Like I get to drive quite a bit of 550.
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Old 02-25-2020, 07:19 AM   #12
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Thanks. I'll look for it today.
Plans have been changed recently. We're going from Denver to Ouray, via I70W then south and will stay a few days at Ouray RV park and Cabins. Then south through Durango towards home in Florida. That route is still in work.
35' DP pulling an F-150 but can unhook if I feel uncomfortable.
While in the Navy I've driven over the Sierras and Rocky's from California to eastern duty stations several times but never in an RV pulling a toad.
Looks Like I get to drive quite a bit of 550.
Excellent choice!

What exact Route will you be using to get from Denver to Ouray?

There are a Number of Options, IMHO all would require a stop along the way.
So where might that be? In post #8 I mapped out a few to get you to Durango.

Now if I-70 is the Choice I'd still Highly recommend that you start the trip out of Denver on RT 6, It's a Beautiful Drive following Clear Creek to Idaho Springs and I-70. the next choice is where to get off of I-70 - RT 91 (exit 195) to Leadville - or RT 82 at Glenwood Springs (exit 116) to Carbondale/Aspen/Maroon Bells/RT 133 Redstone/Marble and on to Ouray - or to continue on I-70 to Grand Junction and RT 50/550 to Delta and South to Ouray.

All of the Above are options but the First two will give you more of the Beauty of Colorado most come to See. All of the options are routes used by Many, Many RV'ers The Biggest issue is that both of the First two options are filled with so many Great side trips and stops as you head to Ouray.

If you could make your plans to accommodate at least a Couple Weeks in this part of Colorado you will be Well rewarded with more Eye Candy than you ever imagined!

Ouray in and of itself is IMHO a week of the Best of Colorado.

If you are interested here is a Great Post on and around Ouray - https://www.irv2.com/forums/f42/mont...-425074-3.html

More time is a serious consideration, as this is Colorado - This is the Rockies - as wild and Beautiful as you will find anywhere.

Hope this Helps,

few images always help - https://www.flickr.com/photos/michae...n/photostream/

https://www.pbase.com/sparker1/root%26view=tree

https://lynn.smugmug.com/Travel/Colo...pens/i-tsVRkXg
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Old 02-25-2020, 07:39 AM   #13
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It doesn't seem like the OP is considering Independence Pass but I wanted to point out that it has a 35' length restriction.
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Old 02-25-2020, 07:47 AM   #14
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Thanks Bussskipper. Our time is dictated by the daughter and son-in-law's schedule.
The reason for being in Denver is a conference they'll be attending. We're driving out from home and they fly out for the conference. All of us head out in the RV for the rest of the trip.
We leave Denver on Sunday, June 7 and have reservations in Ouray for June 7 ~ 12. Not much opportunity to stop along the way. We'll be taking the F-150 for things in and around Ouray and Silverton. I'm letting them drive the tour plans. I just drive the RV.
They are looking for an RV so this is also an exercise for them to plan the trip. They worked out the route on RV Trip Wizard. It looks like I-70 out of Denver then US 50S at Grand Junction to 550S to Ouray. Then we have to start back towards Florida because they have a business to run.
It'll be a good experience for me to hone my mountain driving skills. I haven't driven in real mountains since I was stationed in California during the '70s. We would drive up to the Sequoya/Kings Canyon area and camp out for the weekends when we had some liberty.
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