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Old 12-27-2006, 02:48 PM
 
55 posts, read 197,441 times
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Hi.

We are looking to relocate to CO. Really interested in Durango but have friends in Steamboat Springs who want us to check it out. Need to do both in the same trip..late Jan/Early Feb. Suggestions as to the best way to accomplish this? We will be traveling from the SF Bay Area. Thanks!!
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Old 12-28-2006, 10:16 AM
 
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I_LUVNM,

Thanks for the info. Yes, I had read about the incident in Steamboat. I also think it gets too much snow but my husband wants to check it out. We do have good friends there who love it, but then they live to ski. We like skiing but are more into hiking, kayaking, etc. I also think Steamboat is too much of a resort town for us. Hard to know without checking it out though. I think we plan to fly from SF to Durango but you confirm my fears that driving from Durango to Steamboat during the winter months is just not a good plan. Will have to either pay to fly from Durango to Steamboat or make it two trips.

Thanks for your input!
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Old 12-28-2006, 03:39 PM
 
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It may be possible for you to go to steamboat from Durango by going a little bit out of your way. The most direct route (that I know of) is going north from Durango over 3 nasty passes (Red Mountain Pass can be particularly dangerous). This pass is okay if the weather hasn't been bad or if you are experienced in driving in the snow (and by experienced I mean you're comfortable with the hundred+ foot drop and no guard rails on a two lane highway).

During the winter months if you aren't comfortable with that kind of pass you can take an extra hour or so and go through Cortez into Utah and north to Moab. After you get to Moab you hit I-70 West back into Colorado. Go through Grand Junction on I-70 to Rifle, then take the highway Northish through Craig then to Steamboat. Unless a bad storm hits those roads are usually clear and not difficult to drive. This would be around an 9 hour drive total from Durango to Steamboat.

They are both beautiful towns. Steamboat is a little closer to Denver and about the same drive time as Durango from Grand Junction. They both have that mountain-town feel and they're along the same price ranges. I'm not sure about the job markets but I believe they are similar.

As far as the vibe the other person who posted mentioned I don't know. I do know that Colorado overall has a relatively high hispanic population. I've seen more racism in Illinois than I ever saw in Colorado and I lived near Durango and near Steamboat.
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Old 12-28-2006, 05:42 PM
 
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skigirl,

thanks for the input. Part of me would like to drive just to get a better feel for area. I've spent some time in the Denver and Pueblo areas as my husband has a lot of family there, but unfortunately, not in the areas we are interested in. Durango really seems to fit the bill from what we can determine...small mountain town with great outdoor activities, arts, culture, and family oriented. A bit concerned about the job market although initially, my husband would bring his job with him. Steamboat seems more resort oriented, although our friends seem to think the "resort" feel is seasonal and minimal. Hmmm. I guess we really have to go to both. Oh well, it should be a beautiful trip no matter how we approach it. Any other info/insights into the two towns would be appreciated!! Thanks!
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Old 12-29-2006, 10:50 AM
 
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No problem.

Honestly if I had the choice to live in either Durango or Steamboat I would choose Durango. Steamboat is nice but definitely more touristy and I belive they get more snow. I also forgot to mention that although the shopping in Durango is limited, it is only about an hour or hour and a half drive to Farmington, NM which offers much more selection. Craig, Colorado is a fairly short drive to Steamboat and very cheap to live in, but it's a very ugly place (in my opinion) and has very high rates of drug usage.

If you are looking for less expensive housing near Durango you may wish to look at Bayfield, which is only about 15-20 minutes away from Durango and very pretty. I have heard people on forums mention Cortez as an option as well. Personally I would not recommend Cortez as it is more of a desert area than mountain and I never got a really good vibe from it; it always felt run-down to me. It has been a couple of years since I was in Cortez though so it may have changed.

People also mention Pagosa Springs as a slightly cheaper area to buy in than Durango. Pagosa is beautiful, definitely the most beautiful place I have ever lived. However there are pretty much no jobs there and it isn't much cheaper than Durango. When I lived in Pagosa I used to drive to Durango everyday for work and I wouldn't recommend it. Snow and 1 hour plus drive time aside, the elk and deer population is huge in that area and people are killed fairly often on the highway that stretches between Pagosa and Durango. In my opinion, it isn't worth the risk if you'd be driving that stretch of road daily.
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Old 12-29-2006, 11:13 PM
 
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I second what Skigirl says. Also I have heard so much about Cortez that I decided to drive over there and this is my observation:
It is more deserty like Skigirl says. It has some mountains near it. It is westerny looking like some have mentioned. It is a lot bigger than I thought. I was thinking it was this tiny town but it had a new super Walmart, dollar stores, supermarkets, etc. It isnt tiny but still it isnt big either and much cheaper on land prices. Maybe why it is growing so much? My impression is it would be great for people who are farmer or rancher type people or who like the western type towns. Anyhoo, that is my two cents on Cortez.
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Old 11-07-2007, 03:06 PM
 
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Default Steamboat Springs

I live in Steamboat Springs and it is a wonderful town. We have not seen many hispanics in this town at all until this year. You just didn't see hispanic people shopping or living here. It really threw this town for a loop to have hispanic families moving here that did not speak english. The schools had to totally change their structure last year. I'm originally from the Front Range of Colorado and have been around many many hispanic families most my life. Living here for the past five years you forget.

As for the difference between Steamboat and Durango. The cost of living is going to be much cheaper in Durango. Steamboat is very expensive but has it's perks such as the great school for our kids. Housing is out of this world here unless you look further North such as Hayden or Craig. Finding jobs in SB is also tough as there's a lot of competition so unless you have a major or bachelors in something, finding a typical job will be tough.

As for the incident of the people taking the fruit and vege's out of the trash. All charges were dropped. That was the summer we had all the Rainbow People here and it was a mess with people begging for money and food everywhere. Kind of a scary thing. Steamboat has wonderful people living here and everyone is very kind. You're going to get differences in opinions no matter where you live when it comes to stuff like that.
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Old 11-07-2007, 03:46 PM
 
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Quite bluntly, if winter driving intimidates someone, then that person has no business living in Steamboat or Durango. It is what it is--if you live in those places and expect to go much of anywhere in winter, winter driving is part of the deal.

Now to what I think the original poster's question is--how to get from Durango to Steamboat. That's a question of how much winter driving experience you have and how much risk you are willing to take. Of course, you could luck out (as I have done many times in winter driving in Colorado) and have dry roads all the way--no problem then. But, if you don't, the trip from Durango to Steamboat can be "interesting." The direct route is up US 550 from Durango to Montrose then north to I-70. That involves driving over Coal Bank Hill, Molas Pass, and Red Mountain Pass. Each of these can be hazardous in winter. They are two-lane mountain roads with switchbacks, high dropoffs (many so close to the highway that there is no space for a guardrail), and frequent snowstorms. They also have the highest number of avalanche runs per mile of any road in the state. Snowslides are a definite risk. An alternative route to Montrose is to go west on US 160 to Cortez, then north on Colo. 145 and 62 over Lizard Head Pass (no picnic in winter, but better than Red Mtn.) into Ridgway, thence north to Montrose. Longer, but somewhat better in bad conditions than 550. Or, as someone else suggested, you can go out to Monticello, Utah, then north to La Sal, back into Colorado to Ridgway then noth to Montrose. Or go clear to Moab, then to I-70 into Grand Junction. Long, but usually dry in winter.

Once one gets to Grand Junction the options are easier. East on I-70 to Rifle, then north on Colo. 13 through Meeker to Craig, then east on Hwy. 40 to Steamboat. Colo. 13 from Rifle to Craig is called "Bloody 13" because of the number of deer/automobile accidents on that road. The deer can be thick. This road can blizzard pretty well, on occasion, too. There is a lot of gas field traffic on that road these days. Lots of pickups, semis, and slow-moving trucks loaded with equipment. Another alternative is to drive east on I-70 to Walcott, then north on Colo. 131 up through Oak Creek and Toponas and into Steamboat. This is an up and down curvy road, but generally not bad in the winter until you get up towards Toponas. There are other alternatives, too, but I probably wouldn't recommend them to people who don't know the roads and what they can be like in winter conditions.

I've driven all of these roads so many times that I've lost count--often in some pretty horrific winter conditions. Hwy. 550 north of Durango, especially, is absolutely no place for "pansies" or winter driving "virgins" if road conditions are bad. I've driven it for nearly 40 years and I still have one heck of lot of respect for its hazards. When you watch a 30 foot deep avalanche run less than 200 ft. in front of your vehicle (and wait for and watch a rotary snowplow work for 4 hours to clear a one-lane path through the slide so you can get home), it puts the fear of God into you. (By the way, that slide had 40-foot tall spruce trees mixed in with it--quite a deal to see.)

Also, US 40 east out of Steamboat over Rabbit Ears Pass can be one mean SOB in winter--deceptively bad considering it is not a particularly high pass. It also enjoys the "Front Range driver effect"--that is, a crowd of Front Range motorists who THINK they know one heck of a lot more about winter driving than they really do. Always good for some "bumper-cars" action when the roads are bad.

Last edited by jazzlover; 11-07-2007 at 03:55 PM..
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Old 11-08-2007, 09:31 AM
 
Location: Wherabouts Unknown!
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Many years ago I drove thousands of miles on snow covered roads, including 3 mid winter trips along the Alaska highway. On one trip, from Anchorage to Boulder, I didn't drive on so much as a single mile of bare pavement along the 2500 mile route. With this wealth of winter driving experience ( admittedly somewhat rusty ), I still wouldn't relish the thought of driving US 550 from Durango to Ouray in the winter. Even in the summer on perfectly dry roads it is not for the faint of heart, and certainly wouldn't be the place to hone your winter driving skills. The so-called million dollar highway entails crossing over 3 mountain passes of approximately 11,000 feet. Many sections of the highway have no guard rails to keep you from sliding over the cliff. For the safest route, I concur completely with skigirl who wrote:
During the winter months if you aren't comfortable with that kind of pass you can take an extra hour or so and go through Cortez into Utah and north to Moab. After you get to Moab you hit I-70 West back into Colorado. Go through Grand Junction on I-70 to Rifle, then take the highway Northish through Craig then to Steamboat. Unless a bad storm hits those roads are usually clear and not difficult to drive. This would be around an 9 hour drive total from Durango to Steamboat.
Have a safe enjoyable trip......Franco
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Old 11-08-2007, 10:08 AM
 
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Default The Durango to Steamboat trip

AMEN~!!! Red Mountain pass is awful. We traveled from Farmington NM to Grand Junction thinking the 550 was a 4 lane like it is out of Albuquerque and OMG NOBODY told us we would be crossing the San Juan mountains. Although it was gorgeous I couldn't enjoy it because my husband was having panic attacks with the drop offs and no gaurd rails. We stopped in Silverton at the gas station and the guy said it was a good time to come thru there since in the summer the motor homes are bumper to bumper but still was scary. I wouldn't recommend you driving there in the winter
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