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Old 01-21-2022, 12:24 PM   #1
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Smile Summer route suggestions; info.

We plan to travel US 285 out of Santa Fe, NM to just south of Denver, CO in August this year. Any insights, experiences, info on traveling that route in the summer? Our 43 DP has a 450hp engine and we pull a GMC Acadia toad. Appreciate your thoughts. Safe travels. 😎
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Old 01-21-2022, 12:44 PM   #2
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I usually travel between Santa Fe and Denver via I-25, but US285 is shown as a truck route in my truckers atlas.
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Old 01-21-2022, 02:14 PM   #3
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I've traveled 285 many times and it's a good road. You will have a lot of small towns to go through and some easy grades but it's highly doable. You'll get into some curvy roads between Fairplay and Denver but again not bad.
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Old 01-21-2022, 02:55 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Old Dinghy View Post
We plan to travel US 285 out of Santa Fe, NM to just south of Denver, CO in August this year. Any insights, experiences, info on traveling that route in the summer? Our 43 DP has a 450hp engine and we pull a GMC Acadia toad. Appreciate your thoughts. Safe travels. 😎
We were on a lot of that same route last year with a very similar rig. No issues, a few small towns. Fuel is more difficult so plan accordingly.
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Old 01-22-2022, 12:45 PM   #5
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If you need to take a break or two on the way, here are a couple of ideas:

-The eastern terminus of the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad is in Antonito, Colorado. You'll cross the tracks just south of town. I have not visited in years, so there might not be much to see unless you ride the train itself.

-Most Coloradoans that I know do not take US285 from Alamosa to Villa Grove. Instead, go east on US160 and then go north on CO Hwy 17, affectionately known as "The Gun Barrel." On the way, if you are so inclined, you can stop at the Alligator Ranch in Mosca!

-Finally, turn left or north in Fairplay, CO on CO Hwy 9 and stop at South Park City. It is a collection of old buildings set up as a town that recall mining towns in the mountains. As I recall, you should be able to find a spot to park your rig while visiting.

I cannot speak to camping opportunities along the route, maybe someone else can.
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Old 01-25-2022, 08:27 AM   #6
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I live in Colorado. 285 is a good route. Be aware that there are 3 minor passes between the Colorado state line and Denver. Poncha Pass is the first you encounter. The south side of the pass is so gently you may not notice but the north side is ~5% downgrade with 35-40 MPH curves.

You turn right at Johnson Village to stay on US 285. As you leave Johnson Village you immediately start climbing Trout Creek Pass with lots of curves and an occasional short grade up to 5%. The downgrade of Trout Creek pass is a straight shot without curves. About 1 mile of ~5% grade.

Between Fairplay and Denver is Kenosha Pass with curves and ~5% grades.

All very mild driving in comparison to other Colorado passes. Your DP can do this in a breeze!
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Old 01-25-2022, 11:41 AM   #7
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285 is a good, scenic route! Plan time around Buena Vista to explore in all directions. It sure beats an interstate!! Your RV will have no issues. Enjoy.
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