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Old 05-08-2017, 06:10 PM
 
828 posts, read 956,013 times
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I'm sure this has been asked before, I just don't know what to use as search terms for it. I also realize this will be highly subjective, but I'm curious anyways.

I'll be making a road trip from Phoenix to Detroit soon, and as I've never been through Colorado, I'm planning on going through Denver. What I'm not sure is whether I should go via the 160 through Durango then north via 285 to Denver, or head farther north to the 70, and go through Grand Junction to Denver.

I'm looking primarily for a more "scenic" route, even if the drive takes longer (though according to Google Maps, it will be similar drive time and distance), and seeing different things than another 24 hours going through scrub desert like I normally would taking the 40 east through Oklahoma. See trees, forests, old time towns, etc. Rifle looks pretty neat, and I'm thinking a stop at the Shooter's Grill will be an experience :P

I'm leaning towards planning on the Grand Junction to Denver route, but am a little concerned about potentially hitting snow on the mountain passes, as although I grew up in Michigan, it's been a good decade since I've even seen snow, much less driven through any accumulations. I'll also be driving a Chevy Volt, which isn't exactly a high clearance car...the front air dam drags on large speed bumps, and mildly steep driveways, lol. It's not that I want to avoid snow at all costs, but rather that I'm concerned about potentially hitting a foot or more of the stuff on a mountain pass somewhere.

Also, will I be able to find non-resort style motels along that route (or either of them, for that matter) as in places that won't cost me a couple hundred bucks a night? I'm not necessarily looking for a $39 Motel 6, but I don't want a Hilton or Mariott either.
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Old 05-08-2017, 06:18 PM
 
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If you want more scenic, I'd personally say go through Durango.
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Old 05-08-2017, 07:36 PM
 
20,306 posts, read 37,790,850 times
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Without a doubt, Durango is well worth seeing.

I'd advise 160 to Durango, then take CO-550 north over Red Mountain Pass and a stop in Silverton to eat, then at Montrose take U.S. 50 east, then at Poncha Springs take CO-285 north, then near Buena Vista take CO-24 north thru Leadville and on up to I-70 and then east thru Vail and into Denver.

THAT will be the mother of all scenic routes. BTDT.
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Old 05-08-2017, 09:15 PM
 
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
20,790 posts, read 37,451,783 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike from back east View Post
Without a doubt, Durango is well worth seeing.

I'd advise 160 to Durango, then take CO-550 north over Red Mountain Pass and a stop in Silverton to eat, then at Montrose take U.S. 50 east, then at Poncha Springs take CO-285 north, then near Buena Vista take CO-24 north thru Leadville and on up to I-70 and then east thru Vail and into Denver.

THAT will be the mother of all scenic routes. BTDT.
Travel dates?

yes, similar. Do see the Black Canyon of Gunnison (On that route)
Nice 'friendly' stay along your route Waunita Hot Springs Ranch

If you have the time (and the weather is right... a trip over Independence Pass (Buena Vista to Aspen is pretty sweet.

285 into Denver is nice (I avoid I-70 when I have another choice) and I avoid Denver at all costs (or pass through at night)

I use private guest homes when traveling (For last 28 yrs) free to $20 / night worldwide. The personal care and great ideas / food are a bonus. Many homes are beautiful / private guest suites or cabins.
Hospitality exchange - Wikitravel


if you MUST use a hotel... I use Agoda to book (get points) or Bookings.com

Drop into Ole's Big Game Bar (Paxson, NE)
http://olesbiggame.com/

If you like antiques and interesting history... Spend a night at Pioneer Village (discounted admission with stay)
http://www.pioneervillage.org/

Windmill State Park is nearby and very nice place to visit. http://outdoornebraska.gov/windmill/

I also enjoy the Amana Colonies and Villages of Van Buren in SE IA. http://villagesofvanburen.com/
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Old 05-09-2017, 01:34 AM
 
828 posts, read 956,013 times
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I'll be leaving either late Thursday this week, or early Friday, depending on how tired I am after work Thursday. I have a wedding to attend in Detroit from the 18th to the 20th, otherwise I'll be spending time with my folks in northern Michigan until the 25th or 26th, when I will return to Arizona.

Unfortunetly, I won't be able to spend much time in Colorado as a result, but it is close enough to Arizona that I'll be able to return later for a longer period of time if I like it.

Thanks for the tip on the hospitality exchange, but I'm an odd duck..solo flier, with...comfort "issues"... around people. I have a hard enough time spending a night at the homes of friends that I've known for years (I've been known to take my camper to parties to sleep in at night)..spending a night at a stranger's home just ain't happening, lol.

I'll check out the other links when I get to work tomorrow, thanks all!
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Old 05-09-2017, 07:24 AM
 
1,810 posts, read 1,548,966 times
Reputation: 1631
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike from back east View Post
Without a doubt, Durango is well worth seeing.

I'd advise 160 to Durango, then take CO-550 north over Red Mountain Pass and a stop in Silverton to eat, then at Montrose take U.S. 50 east, then at Poncha Springs take CO-285 north, then near Buena Vista take CO-24 north thru Leadville and on up to I-70 and then east thru Vail and into Denver.

THAT will be the mother of all scenic routes. BTDT.
This is pretty much what I was going to suggest. Depending on time I might skip Leadville and Vail, and after Buena Vista head to Denver.

From Durango to Ouray is the best Rocky Mountain experience in my opinion.

Here is the weather for Red Mountain Pass. Be careful going through there if it's snowing. Especially with a camper.
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Old 05-09-2017, 07:47 AM
 
3,302 posts, read 915,017 times
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From Denver, cut down 285, stopping in Salida. If you have time, head west on US50 to Montrose before turning south on US500, or the Million Dollar Highway through the San Juan mountains, hitting the towns of Ouray and Silverton and terminating in Durango, before continuing on your way.
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Old 05-11-2017, 11:06 PM
 
Location: Reno, NV
459 posts, read 142,672 times
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Try not to fall off the 3,000 foot cliff right off 550!
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Old 05-12-2017, 08:59 AM
 
Location: Washington Park, Denver
6,529 posts, read 5,838,462 times
Reputation: 6829
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike from back east View Post
Without a doubt, Durango is well worth seeing.

I'd advise 160 to Durango, then take CO-550 north over Red Mountain Pass and a stop in Silverton to eat, then at Montrose take U.S. 50 east, then at Poncha Springs take CO-285 north, then near Buena Vista take CO-24 north thru Leadville and on up to I-70 and then east thru Vail and into Denver.

THAT will be the mother of all scenic routes. BTDT.
Agree with this.
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Old 05-13-2017, 08:43 PM
 
828 posts, read 956,013 times
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Got into Durango late at night, so didn't see much, but it looks like a place I'll definitely want to return to in the future. Drove up to about 10 miles south of Silverton and stopped off just beside a river to camp that night.

The drive out of Silverton the next morning - amazing! Unfortunately, the scenic route was taking a bit too long, so I ended up taking the 285 straight into Denver, then to Brush to stop for the night.

Probably won't have time to return this year, but I'm absolutely going to take a week or two next spring to spend some time in central Colorado.

Thanks all!
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