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Old 08-22-2012, 08:30 PM
 
Location: Valley of the Sun
196 posts, read 500,961 times
Reputation: 229

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out of Nebraska heading toward Grand Lake, CO. Is it feasible getting off I-76 west of Fort Morgan then taking US-36 thru Estes Park or...do I take the suggested Google mapping route thru Denver Metro area onto I-70 then onto US-40 north? The G route is longer but more scenic maybe?
Thanks in advance.
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Old 08-22-2012, 08:59 PM
 
2,253 posts, read 5,840,209 times
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Wink Berthoud Pass only if you wish

You can ignore Google's opinion and bypass I-70.

The caveat in this is traveling through Estes Park to Grand Lake, although more direct as the crow flies, entails traversing Trail Ridge Road through Rocky Mountain National Park. That is hardly hard duty for any nature lover, but those with some trepidation of mountainous roads may wish to take exception.

But I-70 / US 40 will not entirely excuse one from that. Most notably the little matter of Berthoud Pass (11,307 feet) between I-70 and Winter Park. It is a lovely drive as well, although necessitating something of a detour, and traversing Denver as well. One advantage, this route is always open (save maybe the occasional avalanche); Trail Ridge Road across RMNP customarily closes for the winter in October with the first major snow.

If wishing to traverse RMNP—which is a spectacular drive—then never mind US 36. Shortly west of Fort Morgan, cut northwest on US 34. This will lead you through Greeley and then Loveland, and directly from there up the Big Thompson River canyon to Estes Park. Even around Fort Morgan one begins to see the Rocky Mountains in the distance; from Loveland on expect some grand scenery.

Unless an annual park pass, RMNP will want $20 from you for passage through the park. It is more than worth it; and an even better deal their $40 annual pass for RMNP, if intending to hang around for awhile.
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Old 08-22-2012, 10:20 PM
 
Location: Denver, CO
5,607 posts, read 20,196,920 times
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I would suggest picking either one, and then making a round trip out of it so you see both, instead of going back the same way.
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Old 08-23-2012, 05:40 AM
 
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
20,827 posts, read 37,497,249 times
Reputation: 20889
Quote:
Originally Posted by Idunn View Post
You can ignore Google's opinion and bypass I-70....

If wishing to traverse RMNP—which is a spectacular drive—then never mind US 36. Shortly west of Fort Morgan, cut northwest on US 34. This will lead you through Greeley and then Loveland, and directly from there up the Big Thompson River canyon to Estes Park. ....
Do This ^^^^

And... for a spectacular Round trip.... I would FIRST go I-80 west to Laramie, (stopping to enjoy VedauWoo Rock Climbing at Vedauwoo, Wyoming. Your resource for climbing, hiking and camping at Vedauwoo. (can't be beat for star gazing spot) AND Sherman pass (EZ, 1 minute detours from I-80) THEN 130 west through Centennial, and OVER Snowy Range.Snowy Range Scenic Byway, the a short detour to Saratoga for a dip in the FREE hobo pool at Hot Springs. Then back south through Encampment (an A-1 Museum), then on South to Grand Lake. While possibly a bit further, I would suspect it is FASTER as WY roads are VERY good and fast and NO TRAFFIC (except 80 mph semis on I-80)

I LUV the Snowy Range AND I prefer to go westbound in WY, and EASTbound through RMNP for best vistas.

These routes will take you through some of the best CO and WY have to offer and within VERY close proximity. (I'm jealous) WIWT... again and again. I used to take this loop many times in summer on Motorcycle after work. Several Hr trip, but dinner in Grand Lake and it was a treat coming back over Trail Ridge Road (and Big T Canyon in the COOL summer evening). I grew up in the BigT canyon, so can do that route in my sleep (as the road was BEFORE the 1976 flood... lost a lot of friends in that 'gully washer'...(an excellent slide show here...R.I.P)
The Big Thompson - The Coloradoan - www.coloradoan.com

Trail Ridge road was my FIRST 100 mile bicycle trip... I was young and REALLY stupid (They had 'chip-sealed' the road that weekend 3" thich Pea Gravel on the shoulders...) I died that day
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Old 08-25-2012, 09:51 AM
 
Location: Valley of the Sun
196 posts, read 500,961 times
Reputation: 229
I'm now off to my maps with a much clearer picture of what to expect. I thank you all for your great input.
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