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Old 04-01-2021, 07:46 AM   #1
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Question Zion - Kodachrome - Moab - Durango - Montrose?

Hi,

INPUT PLEASE
Planning a trip for May/June 2022...doing fine until we reach the mountains. Never been out West and our trip planning has put us on the following roads. Would greatly appreciate feedback...!
[Rig is F-450 towing a 35' fifth wheel that is 11,100 lbs loaded.]

Arriving at Zion (Springdale) via I-15 out of L.V.

Leaving Zion going north I-15 to Cedar City, Rt 14 East to Rt 89 North to Rt 12 arrive Kodachrome State Park

Next - head to Moab - take northern route Panguitch Rt 89 to Sevier Rt 259 to Salina I-70. East to Rt 191 then South to drop down into Moab.

Next - Cortez/Mesa Verde - Take Rt 191 South to Rt 491

Leave the Mesa Verde - Jump over to Durango - and now it gets interesting.

======================
Would love to go north to Black Canyon Gunnison camp in Montrose - but the drive there is questionable with a 35' RV behind us. I know it can be done - Semi trucks do it - but just not comfortable making decision without input.

Then IF GO TO MONTROSE, would have to drive over Rt. 50, then Rt 285 south to Alamosa, then East on Rt 160 into Walsonburg and north to Pueblo area, putting us back on Interstates.
====================
OR skip the Black Canyon/Gunnison and stay in the Durango area longer - then go East to continue plans to Alamosa/Walsonburg/Pueblo.

Sorry for long post - thanks for any advice !!!
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Old 04-01-2021, 09:05 AM   #2
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Don't know 14 but 89 and 12 are fine

Don't know 259 why not 89 to I70

191 to Moab is fine coming, down off the San Rafeal Swell on 70 just west of Green River is a good descent just watch the speed, do take the time to stop at the few pull offs on the Swell to enjoy the views. Rest area around mm 116, a couple more after that. Then you hit Green river about 30ish miles more to Crescent Junction and 191.

191 to 491 to 160 is good, a few hills south of Moab some steep but relatively short

While I don't think you will have problems on 550 but some are scared you could back track to Cortez go up 145 to 62 to 550 at Ridgeway and bypass the infamous portion of 550. Montrose a few miles north of there.

50 is fine go over Monarch Pass, in Poncha Springs where you meet 285 immediately go up Poncha pass no problem. Then it is gentle downhill all the way to Alamosa. (might even take a short side trip to the Great Sand Dunes going to drive right by them) I also would very much consider abandoning 285 shortly past Villa Grove and take 17 into Alamosa instead of 285 to Monte Vista and 160, road fine save 25 miles or more and again if going to Dunes cut off on 6 to cut over to Dunes save you another 25 miles if you were inclined to make a quick stop at the Dunes.

160 to Walsenberg is good road you go over La veta pass but it is no problem.
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Old 04-01-2021, 09:36 AM   #3
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I can't imagine why you would want to skip Cedar Breaks national Monument
and Bryce Canyon National Park. Both are among the most beautiful places in the country.

Joel
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Old 04-01-2021, 11:36 AM   #4
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I can't imagine why you would want to skip Cedar Breaks national Monument
and Bryce Canyon National Park. Both are among the most beautiful places in the country.

Joel
We're staying in Kodachrome S.P. providing we can get a reservation there...and will visit Bryce.

Cedar Breaks, rt 148, doesn't open Nov-May so may not be open (according to website)...will have to wait and see.
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Old 04-01-2021, 02:02 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by ts_breezes View Post

Arriving at Zion (Springdale) via I-15 out of L.V.

I-15 to Hwy 9 to Springdale is easy.


Leaving Zion going north I-15 to Cedar City, Rt 14 East to Rt 89 North to Rt 12 arrive Kodachrome State Park

If you're 'iffy' on mountain roads, don't take Hwy 14 to 89. It's a biggie. Instead, go north on I-15 to Circleville and take Hwy 20 to 89 then south to Panguitch and Hwy 12 to Kodachrome. Cedar Breaks is a small version of Bryce so if you're planning on touring/hiking Bryce I'd just do Bryce.

Next - head to Moab - take northern route Panguitch Rt 89 to Sevier Rt 259 to Salina I-70. East to Rt 191 then South to drop down into Moab.

We always take Hwy 12 to Torrey (Capitol Reef Nat'l Park then 24 to I-70 at Green River.

Next - Cortez/Mesa Verde - Take Rt 191 South to Rt 491

Easy drive.

Leave the Mesa Verde - Jump over to Durango - and now it gets interesting.

The best route for you from Cortez to Durango - Hwy 160. Then return to Cortez and take 145 north to Telluride and on to 62 To Ridgway and 550 to Montrose. 550 from Ouray to Montrose is almost flat. You probably wouldn't like driving 550 from Durango to Ouray and on to Montrose. We do but it's a big climb.


Then IF GO TO MONTROSE, would have to drive over Rt. 50, then Rt 285 south to Alamosa, then East on Rt 160 into Walsonburg and north to Pueblo area, putting us back on Interstates.
====================
OR skip the Black Canyon/Gunnison and stay in the Durango area longer - then go East to continue plans to Alamosa/Walsonburg/Pueblo.

Hwy 50 will be worked on with delays this summer; hopefully for only one summer. You could drive it but it'll be slow. Looks like your destination is Colorado Springs. Why would you go down to Walsenburg to get there?

From Montrose you could get on I-70 east to Hwy 24 south to Buena Vista and 24 into Colorado Springs.

I'd probably recommend skipping Black Canyon if that's your only reason to head north after Cortez/Durango. It's nice but not one of our favorite national parks.

From Durango you would take 160 east to Pagosa Springs. Plan a stop and do some soaking in the immaculate concrete pools of varying temperatures overlooking the river and small town. We always pack a small cooler and spent 3-4 hr. soaking and just relaxing.

Then you'll have to navigate Wolf Creek Pass on 160 to South Fork. The rest of your planned highways are easy beyond South Fork. Wolf Creek Pass is a biggie. If you're heading south on I-25 then from Pagosa Springs you can get into New Mexico for easier driving.
I'd highly recommend you get the 'Mountain Directory for Truckers and RVers' to give you a 'heads up' on your drives. They are all very doable with the biggest of RVs. Once you tackle one you'll feel like a pro!

Sounds like a good trip!
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Old 04-01-2021, 03:45 PM   #6
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Leaving Zion going north I-15 to Cedar City, Rt 14 East to Rt 89 North to Rt 12 arrive Kodachrome State Park

If you're 'iffy' on mountain roads, don't take Hwy 14 to 89. It's a biggie. Instead, go north on I-15 to Circleville and take Hwy 20 to 89 then south to Panguitch and Hwy 12 to Kodachrome. Cedar Breaks is a small version of Bryce so if you're planning on touring/hiking Bryce I'd just do Bryce.

Next - head to Moab - take northern route Panguitch Rt 89 to Sevier Rt 259 to Salina I-70. East to Rt 191 then South to drop down into Moab.

We always take Hwy 12 to Torrey (Capitol Reef Nat'l Park then 24 to I-70 at Green River.

Next - Cortez/Mesa Verde - Take Rt 191 South to Rt 491

Easy drive.

Leave the Mesa Verde - Jump over to Durango - and now it gets interesting.

The best route for you from Cortez to Durango - Hwy 160. Then return to Cortez and take 145 north to Telluride and on to 62 To Ridgway and 550 to Montrose. 550 from Ouray to Montrose is almost flat. You probably wouldn't like driving 550 from Durango to Ouray and on to Montrose. We do but it's a big climb.


We're more worried about our safety - not the mountain climb or descent - grin. Two lanes are fine - but switchbacks with sheer cliffs - not so much!

Our truck-RV combo can handle the ups and downs - we have a diesel and can use the engine brake on descents, plus we have a relatively light load. So, again, mostly concerned about getting on a 2-lane road that a towed 35', 13'6" RV shouldn't travel on.

We bought the Rand McNally Truck book - didn't see the mountain version. Thanks for that tip! So, Hwy 14 looks to be similar to 550, with the cliffs and switchback...Will avoid it!
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Old 04-01-2021, 06:37 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by ts_breezes View Post

So, again, mostly concerned about getting on a 2-lane road that a towed 35' 13'6" RV shouldn't travel on.

We bought the Rand McNally Truck book - didn't see the mountain version. Thanks for that tip!

The Mountain Directory isn't by Rand McNally.

https://www.mountaindirectory.com/

Based on your last statement, all the roads you mentioned are OK for RVs and many RVers do them. I just got the impression you were leery about mountain driving. Sorry.
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Old 04-01-2021, 07:07 PM   #8
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You are vague on why you want to go to Alamosa and Walsenburg. If your destination after leaving Black Canyon of the Gunnison is Colorado Springs I suggest you go north on 285 to Johnson Village then east on US24 to Colorado Springs. All good roads and not challenging. No drop offs or white knuckle driving.

If the destination is Pueblo, just stay on US50.
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Old 04-04-2021, 09:36 AM   #9
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Hwy 50 will be worked on with delays this summer; hopefully for only one summer. You could drive it but it'll be slow. Looks like your destination is Colorado Springs. Why would you go down to Walsenburg to get there?

From Montrose you could get on I-70 east to Hwy 24 south to Buena Vista and 24 into Colorado Springs.

I'd probably recommend skipping Black Canyon if that's your only reason to head north after Cortez/Durango. It's nice but not one of our favorite national parks.


There's a KOA in Carbondale, never stayed there but rode past many times. Beautiful country, easy drive from 70 and sets you up for interesting side trips. Aspen is fantastic in the summer, the dirt road to Crested Butte is amazing, and you can take 92 down to see at least part of the Black Canyon. All easy day trips

24 is a cool road
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