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Old 12-06-2021, 08:11 AM   #1
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Winter Drive through Raton Pass

Planning a trip from Los Luceros NM to Larkspur CO in January. With possible weather conditions, I am thinking of back tracking (a little bit) to Santa Fe so I can take 25 on up to Larkspur. Raton pass is likely the worst grade for the entire trip. There is probably better scenic options but for my first drive through there with the RV and a toad in possible winter weather I thought I would take the "easier" route. Any thoughts or recommendations?
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Old 12-06-2021, 12:33 PM   #2
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Check weather reports the day before the drive and make your decision then. Why go out of your way if not needed?
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Old 12-06-2021, 12:48 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by twogypsies View Post
Check weather reports the day before the drive and make your decision then. Why go out of your way if not needed?

I agree. Make the decision at the last minute based on weather.


Both routes could be clear, one impassible or both impassible.
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Old 12-06-2021, 01:31 PM   #4
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I’d rather take 285, all things otherwise equal.
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Old 12-06-2021, 04:51 PM   #5
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It all depends on the weather. Both are fine if roads are clear and dry (watch out for black ice).
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Old 12-06-2021, 04:59 PM   #6
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Check weather reports the day before the drive and make your decision then. Why go out of your way if not needed?
That is my plan.
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Old 12-11-2021, 12:19 AM   #7
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I love the I-25 drive from Santa Fe north to Walsenburg. Raton Pass is no big deal provided the weather is good. There's an RV park right at the top. Stayed there last year, but might be a little chilly at night this time of year.
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Old 12-11-2021, 04:55 AM   #8
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Moving on up Raton Pass:

https://youtu.be/c7sktMD8b9o
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Old 12-11-2021, 08:28 AM   #9
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There is a pretty significant road construction project on the NM side of Raton Pass. Some of the lanes are closed reducing traffic to one lane each direction. Knowing that I might take a different route.

Suggestion 1: Click this MAP 1. This route takes you over La Veta Pass on US160 between Alamosa and Walsenburg. La Veta has similar grades to Raton Pass. It it NOT a major pass.

Suggestion 2: Click this MAP 2.. This route is over Poncha Pass. Poncha Pass is almost not a pass at all. Short and with mild grades and easy curves. At Poncha Springs you would head east on US50 through Salida and the Arkansas River canyon. It is a very scenic drive with no major grades and on to I25 at Pueblo. Look at your map. You might short cut this a little by taking CO115 from Penrose to Colorado Springs. It is shorter but may have more traffic on a 2 lane highway.

Suggestion 3: Click this MAP 3. I camp near Saguache. This is the route I take to get over Poncha Pass. I think I do it out of habit! I'm not sure it is faster nor shorter and it includes 2 minor passes. Just east of Johnson Village on US24 is Trout Creek Pass and East of Hartsel is Wilkerson Pass. Both are more bigger passes than Poncha Pass but still pretty mild passes. This route has a bigger chance of winter weather than Suggestion 2.

In any case check the weather. In Colorado you can get current weather and road conditions by going to Colorado DOT.
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Old 12-12-2021, 02:06 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yeloduster View Post
There is a pretty significant road construction project on the NM side of Raton Pass. Some of the lanes are closed reducing traffic to one lane each direction. Knowing that I might take a different route.

Suggestion 1: Click this MAP 1. This route takes you over La Veta Pass on US160 between Alamosa and Walsenburg. La Veta has similar grades to Raton Pass. It it NOT a major pass.

Suggestion 2: Click this MAP 2.. This route is over Poncha Pass. Poncha Pass is almost not a pass at all. Short and with mild grades and easy curves. At Poncha Springs you would head east on US50 through Salida and the Arkansas River canyon. It is a very scenic drive with no major grades and on to I25 at Pueblo. Look at your map. You might short cut this a little by taking CO115 from Penrose to Colorado Springs. It is shorter but may have more traffic on a 2 lane highway.

Suggestion 3: Click this MAP 3. I camp near Saguache. This is the route I take to get over Poncha Pass. I think I do it out of habit! I'm not sure it is faster nor shorter and it includes 2 minor passes. Just east of Johnson Village on US24 is Trout Creek Pass and East of Hartsel is Wilkerson Pass. Both are more bigger passes than Poncha Pass but still pretty mild passes. This route has a bigger chance of winter weather than Suggestion 2.

In any case check the weather. In Colorado you can get current weather and road conditions by going to Colorado DOT.
That construction was going on when I went through Raton Pass a year ago and also in June of this year.. I don't recall any significant delays in either case, but of course things can change so best to check Google Maps and/or Waze before you head out.
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Old 12-13-2021, 06:23 PM   #11
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I live close by Larkspur, Going up I25 is the best route and most direct.Also i25 get lots of snow plow clearing so will be the first cleared of snow. Raton pass is a breeze, but ice more than snow!
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