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Old 07-07-2020, 01:02 PM   #1
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Texas to Colorado trip with Looong rig?

Planning a trip by myself with a 38í HR diesel pusher and 24í car hauler with 2 UTVs on it. Never taken a mountain trip in it before. Trip to lake city first via Gunnison to avoid Slumgullion pass:
I35 to ft worth. North of 820, take 81/287 N to Wichita Falls and Amarillo.
Amarillo to Dumas 87 to Hartley 87/385 to Dalhart and 87 to Clayton. 64/87 to Raton. I25 to Pueblo then 50 to canon city, Salida, Gunnison. Stay on 50 thru Gunnison and hit 149 south. 149 to lake city.

After a few days on the alpine loop I want to go to Durango - or just head back to Texas. How bad (or good) is the drive south from lake city to Durango on highway 160 (isnít that wolf creek pass). Any suggestions or comments will be greatly appreciated!!
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Old 07-07-2020, 01:10 PM   #2
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Welcome !!
There are many good folks here to offer help and advice, glad you could join the party
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Old 07-07-2020, 01:25 PM   #3
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Planning a trip by myself with a 38’ HR diesel pusher and 24’ car hauler with 2 UTVs on it. Never taken a mountain trip in it before. Trip to lake city first via Gunnison to avoid Slumgullion pass:
I35 to ft worth. North of 820, take 81/287 N to Wichita Falls and Amarillo.
Amarillo to Dumas 87 to Hartley 87/385 to Dalhart and 87 to Clayton. 64/87 to Raton. I25 to Pueblo then 50 to canon city, Salida, Gunnison. Stay on 50 thru Gunnison and hit 149 south. 149 to lake city.

After a few days on the alpine loop I want to go to Durango - or just head back to Texas. How bad (or good) is the drive south from lake city to Durango on highway 160 (isn’t that wolf creek pass). Any suggestions or comments will be greatly appreciated!!
I'll second the Welcome!

That's mostly the route we use, but be aware that the route you have picked on Hwy50 goes over Monarch Pass. It's seven miles of almost continuous 7% grade on both sides to almost 11,000 foot altitude. It's doable, just be aware of it and don't expect more than 25-30mph going up and using the engine brake coming down. When we go to Lake City I go Slumgullion pass, which is a little steeper but shorter. Hwy 50 is also very winding, especially between Canon City and Poncha Springs.

An alternate route and the one we take to Ouray (headed that way in a week) is to go I25 to Walsenburg, and US 160 to Monte Vista. Then north on US285 to Saguache and CO 114 back to Hwy 50. It's the same distance and you avoid Monarch. There are about eight miles of winding road just before you get back to Hwy 50, but it's not much more winding than Hwy 50 outside of Canon City just a little narrower.

To get back to Hwy 160 south from Lake City (we will be there in three weeks) is to go back over Slumgullion pass to Creede and South Fork then over Wolf Creek to Pagosa Springs. The only alternative is to go back to Montrose then south through Ouray to Durango but that takes you over Hwy 550 the Million Dollar Highway. It's a spectacular drive but narrow winding road, steep dropoffs, no guard rails and switchbacks. Again, it's doable depending on your driving experience but would be a LOT longer drive. When you are in Lake City your only ways out are north back to Gunnison or south over the pass.
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Old 07-07-2020, 03:10 PM   #4
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Okay, I was told that slumgullion might be too tight for 62’ rig. I assume 7% is steep?
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Old 07-07-2020, 03:30 PM   #5
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Okay, I was told that slumgullion might be too tight for 62’ rig. I assume 7% is steep?
I agree with going to saguache then take 114 back to highway 50. It is winding, but a beautiful drive through the canyon. I drove that and went over Slumgullion pass with a 45 ft. Mh pulling a full size pickup. Slumgullion pass over to highway 160 and Wolfcreek pass is by far your best way to get to Durango. You won’t have any problems, just take your time.
I would advise not to take 550, especially going South, over red mountain, also know as the million dollar highway. You won’t like it.
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Old 07-07-2020, 03:46 PM   #6
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Okay, I was told that slumgullion might be too tight for 62’ rig. I assume 7% is steep?
7% is not extremely steep but it is a pretty good climb. Your length is not a problem over Slumgullion. Our friends that are in Lake City now are in a 42' coach with a 20' trailer and they go over the pass with no problem. I've been up and down it with a 42' coach pulling a Jeep. It gets a reputation because in places on the downward side into Lake City it can be 8+% grade for short stretches and a few switchbacks. The key is keep your speed down to 20-25mph by gearing down to 2nd or 3rd and slow even more in the curves, use your exhaust brake and don't ride the brakes. If your speed starts building, brake fairly hard for a few seconds to slow back down then get off the brakes. Also be aware that if your RPMs start building up to maximum the transmission will upshift to protect the engine and it can scare you the first time it happens. There are more brakes burned up coming into LC than you can count because people ride them all the way down instead of using their transmissions to gear down.
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Old 07-07-2020, 04:02 PM   #7
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Just make sure your engine cooling system is up to the job !! Tough on a engine when climbing mountains !! A side or rear radiator needs a good cleaning with Orange Simple Green and a medium pressure washer !!
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Old 07-07-2020, 05:13 PM   #8
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Okay, so most would prefer slumgullion over Monarch? I am staying a couple of miles south of Lake City so that did seem the shorter route than going to Gunnison.
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Old 07-07-2020, 06:03 PM   #9
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Okay, so most would prefer slumgullion over Monarch? I am staying a couple of miles south of Lake City so that did seem the shorter route than going to Gunnison.
It's six of one half dozen of the other. The Slumgullion route is definitely shorter and the descent though steeper is much shorter. I prefer going that way to Lake City, but take the northern route when going to Ouray first. We'll be there first then back to Lake City for ten days at the Highlander.
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Old 07-07-2020, 11:11 PM   #10
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You've received some good answers. Your question was going from Lake City to Durango.

149 south to 160 you'll have Slumguilion Pass and Wolf Creek Pass.

Going north of Lake City on 149 to 50 west to 550 south at Montrose and on to Durango you will have Red Mountain Pass.

One other alternative from Montrose would be to take 550 south to Ridgway then 62 to 145 to Telluride and down to Cortez (Mesa Verde Nat'l Park) then east on 160 to Durango. This route is longer but the easiest of the above.

Do you have a camping place in Lake City? You could stay in Ridgway/Ouray and do the same trails as from Lake City.

Google the Passes to get an idea of what they're like. The will probably be on YouTube, also. Gear down before you even begin the descents; not all at once in the midst of the descent.

We've driven all those passes with our 40' motorhome often. We love them all!

Lots of beautiful options!
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Old 07-14-2020, 08:43 AM   #11
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Overheating... I found out the hard way. Had issues with overheating on hills and both Raton and Monarch passes. I think i figured it out heading into lake city by keeping it in 2nd gear, high RPMs and 25-30 mph. I have to tackle slumgullion and wolf creek tomorrow. Cleaning radiator and added a gallon of coolant today. It cooled off really fast when I pull over into a turn out. I just hope they aren’t occupied when I head up tomorrow!
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Old 07-14-2020, 02:32 PM   #12
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Overheating... I found out the hard way. Had issues with overheating on hills and both Raton and Monarch passes. I think i figured it out heading into lake city by keeping it in 2nd gear, high RPMs and 25-30 mph. I have to tackle slumgullion and wolf creek tomorrow. Cleaning radiator and added a gallon of coolant today. It cooled off really fast when I pull over into a turn out. I just hope they arenít occupied when I head up tomorrow!
Wow! You're ambitious . . both in the same day!

If you know you could have an issue, why not pull over before the issue presents itself? Of course, if on an uphill it's always difficult to get going again. Yes, use your gears going up and down.

Let's us know how it was. Have fun!!
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Old 07-15-2020, 01:32 PM   #13
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Made it up and down Slumgullion no problem. Hit a rock in the road and blew out left front tire 25 miles out of creed. What a way to start the day. Only tire i can find is in Pagosa $355 for the tire and $450 for the service trip. Guess I need to find a place to store a spare.
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Old 07-15-2020, 02:47 PM   #14
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Made it up and down Slumgullion no problem. Hit a rock in the road and blew out left front tire 25 miles out of creed. What a way to start the day. Only tire i can find is in Pagosa $355 for the tire and $450 for the service trip. Guess I need to find a place to store a spare.
Think I’d take the toad and go get the tire. There’s surely a place in Creede that would come over and change the tire. I know there’s a station on the corner just before you turn south on 149 leaving Creede.
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