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Old 01-02-2018, 01:25 PM
 
Location: Kentucky
311 posts, read 690,860 times
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Hello everyone,

I will be travelling in New Mexico in late March/early April. We're considering flying home out of Denver, and I was curious if there was any possibility of taking the Million Dollar Highway north and hit I-70, or if we should just stick to I-25. I'm from the lower midwest, so I've driven in snow a little, but not like you all are used to I'm certain.

Any thoughts?
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Old 01-02-2018, 01:36 PM
 
Location: Aurora, CO
6,522 posts, read 10,187,795 times
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I wouldn't recommend doing that unless you're looking to add 200+ miles to your trip. It's a straight shot up I-25 from Albuquerque to Denver.

If you're just looking for a scenic route, take I-25 to Santa Fe and US-285 from there into Denver. You could detour a little east and north from Alamosa to check out Great Sand Dunes if you have time.
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Old 01-02-2018, 01:42 PM
 
Location: Kentucky
311 posts, read 690,860 times
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One reason for flying home out of Denver would be to see some scenery in Colorado on the way, so we don't mind the extra miles at all. I'm hoping to see some good mountain views, as I've never seen anything taller than maybe a couple thousand feet at most.
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Old 01-02-2018, 01:47 PM
 
Location: Aurora, CO
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lmcintyre1s View Post
One reason for flying home out of Denver would be to see some scenery in Colorado on the way, so we don't mind the extra miles at all. I'm hoping to see some good mountain views, as I've never seen anything taller than maybe a couple thousand feet at most.
550 is awesome no doubt, but in April that drive could be dicey. 285 will still get you great mountain scenery without the white knuckle, no shoulders, no guardrail, 250' dropoff experience of 550 between Ouray and Silverton.
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Old 01-02-2018, 01:49 PM
 
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oh, it might be alright to good. That is the tail end of heavy actual mountain winter. There could be fresh storms or the road could be clear (with moderate to heavy loads on the side... that are managed but sometimes avalanche). See what the forecast is a few days ahead of time and decide then.


There are other scenic alternatives that might have less possible issues.


If you take 550, be careful, don't rush. Occasionally tourists or speedster / drunks go off the side of the mountain.
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Old 01-02-2018, 05:56 PM
 
Location: Kentucky
311 posts, read 690,860 times
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Thanks for all the detailed responses!

I'm wondering if 285 isn't my best bet. Less chance of weather cancelling my plans, not as far out of my way, and also allows me the possibility to duck off to see Garden Of The Gods and Pike's Peak if possible.
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Old 01-02-2018, 06:30 PM
 
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285, look at the mountains from afar a long time, quickly cross 2 9,000 foot passes. 550, 50 plus miles in high mountains and 3 distinct 11,000 foot passes.
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Old 01-02-2018, 07:18 PM
 
Location: Washington Park, Denver
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550 is awesome. Just check the weather right before the trip and be ready to call an audible if it looks stormy.
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Old 01-02-2018, 08:57 PM
 
16,505 posts, read 20,899,000 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluescreen73 View Post
I wouldn't recommend doing that unless you're looking to add 200+ miles to your trip. It's a straight shot up I-25 from Albuquerque to Denver.

If you're just looking for a scenic route, take I-25 to Santa Fe and US-285 from there into Denver. You could detour a little east and north from Alamosa to check out Great Sand Dunes if you have time.
Hwy. 285, when you get north of Santa Fe and Espanola, is a pretty drive, very doable in mid-April. As you come into the san Luis Valley you'll see the snow capped Sangre De Cristos to the east. Poncha Pass going out of the valley is an easy climb. As you are coming into Salida you'll see the 14,000 plus Collegiate peaks to the west which are part of the Sawatch range--Harvard, Yale, and Columbia.

The most impressive peak is Mount Shavano, another 14,000 mountain. If you time the trip just right you can see the snow shaping up on "the Angel Of Shavano." Better yet, google in those three words. Beautiful, beautiful area. In my younger years I would stay a day or two at the Shavano campground. Salida would be a good place to spend the night if time is running late. They have a number of motels on U.s. 50 and good restaurants, my favorite is the Country Bounty.

As Bluescreen73 suggests, weather can be tad dicey during April through that area, for that matter it can be dicey in I-25 from Colorado Springs to Denver.

Enjoy!
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Old 01-02-2018, 08:58 PM
 
3,793 posts, read 3,982,404 times
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IF you don't think it would be a "spoiler", check out some YouTube videos on the drives and see how jazzed you are to be there in person.


If you do any of the drives, plan to pull over where it might be worthwhile and is safe. If you don't lean toward pulling off, sometimes you wait too long or a last second decision might catch another driver off-guard. If nothing catches your eye, you can get back on the road in 2 minutes or 3 seconds. I sometimes regret not pulling over more. It is different than the moving view. You can look longer, farther, closer. You can hear stuff. You can be still.

Last edited by NW Crow; 01-02-2018 at 09:22 PM..
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