Highway 114 to Gunnison
We wanted to take a scenic route from the Santa Fe area to Gunnison Co and we decided on hiway 285 to hiway 114 to hiway 50 to Gunnison. We were not disappointed, especially 114.
After doing a search for info on 114, I did not find much, so thought I would offer my experience, for anyone interested.
The Mountain Guide states that it is steep grades and curvy downgrades with speed limits of 25 mph in places. They were very accurate. As we began the ascent from the east end, we found a gradual ascent very easily driven, very scenic. This lasted until we approached approximately 4 miles from the summit, and began to experience the 6%, 7%, and 8% grades we were were warned of. We pull a CRV and left it hooked up. My 2006 Ford V10 pulled the grades in second gear at 4200 rpm and 35 mph. There were a couple of times when we reached 4600 rpm, but not many. The ambient temp was 79 degrees, my water temp varied between 195 and 209 degrees and my tranny temp never went over 178. Very acceptable performance. All readings provided by my ScanGauge.
At the summit, we were warned of sharp curves and steep descent for the next 18 miles, again this was true. We began our descent traveling down hill in Tow Haul mode utilizing the braking power of the engine, assisted by the occasional use of the brakes. We encountered many tight S curves and almost U turns, snake like in the descent and traveled through a variety of steep, shear canyons, tall pine trees, aspens, bright green and lush meadows with ranch houses nestled against the lee of the surrounding cliffs and a lot of livestock grazing in the fields. The road itself is a narrow two lane with no shoulders and drop offs on the outside edge when it is not in between 2 shear canyon walls, following a meandering mountain stream, it follows the route of the land as it descends toward Gunnison.
All in all, 114 demands good driving skills, confidence in your driving ability and your RV, and constant attention to controlling the vehicle. The reward is a journey through an awesome landscape with astounding vistas which we thoroughly enjoyed. Upon reaching the bottom on the west end, I breathed a sigh of contentment after witnessing the scenery that had been presented to us. At no point did I feel the road was dangerous or beyond my driving skills, nor was I white knuckled. We will do it again, probably on our way back to Ruidoso.
Bruce, Dennie & Riki the Skizoid Chihuahua
2006 Damon Challenger 355