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Old 10-14-2009, 08:34 AM
 
Location: 305
470 posts, read 1,014,040 times
Reputation: 292

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I'm thinking of taking a weekend(4 day) trip to Colorado and Utah, between early to mid November. I'd be coming from Chicago, leaving on a Wednesday night around 9pm. Take 80 then 76 to Denver, assume I'd arrive in the morning, and stroll around the city to see what it has to offer. I would stay in Denver that night. The next morning I'd like to see the high country (I'm thinking around 10,000ft. or higher...), and the extremely scenic spots Colorado has to offer. Any recommendations on quiet towns in the mountains? I realize ski season is starting, but I'm not interested in skiing, just photography/mountain roads, etc., so I would actually prefer to be away from the ski towns(to stay- would like to check a few out during the day though), assuming towns that aren't centered around ski resorts would have cheaper lodging.

I appreciate it in advance, I've never been to Colorado so any help is greatly appreciated.
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Old 10-14-2009, 09:01 AM
 
1,742 posts, read 2,686,077 times
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Leave Denver via 285 S to Buena Vista, continues S on 285 than go west on 50. You'll go over Monarch Pass, continue west through Gunnison on 50 to Montrose. South on 550 the Million Dollar Highway to Ouray and Silverton to Durango. Than come back E on 160 through Pagosa Springs to Center. Than N on 285 to Buena Vista now NE on 24 through Leadville till you hit 70 just W of Vail (Minturn). Than head E on 70 which will take you back to Denver. If you are afraid of heights though Red Mountain Pass will kick your tail. Not much for guard rails and lots of avalanche chutes but so, so beautiful. Just my $.02 RP
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Old 10-14-2009, 09:49 AM
 
Location: 305
470 posts, read 1,014,040 times
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Thanks for the suggestion. However when I looked at the route on the map, I figured it would be worth going to see the arches in Moab as long as I'm "that direction". What do you think of this route?:

Driving Directions from Denver, CO to Moab, UT

Do I need snow chains or anything of the sort?
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Old 10-14-2009, 01:48 PM
 
Location: Sunnyvale, CA
5,658 posts, read 9,389,023 times
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The route you posted is certainly an option and will get you through some spectacular scenery, ranging from high country, passes and mountains to the high desert. I would certainly recommend taking chains and survival type gear to be on the safe. It's always a good idea to take those things when travelling in the mountains.

If you decide to go the I70 route instead I've got a couple suggestions that will make it a very enjoyable and scenic route for you:

Going west on I70, a couple miles before you hit the Eisenhower tunnel there's a highway that takes a roundabout way to the town of Dillon. It's highway 6. You'd enjoy this because it's a scenic route that goes up to about 12,000 feet. It passes through some pretty country and great views.

Another suggestion: once you make it past Dillon, take Highway 91 south to Leadville, then take Hwy 24 back to Vail. Again, passing through some spectacular high country.

Either way, if you end up in Moab, you might as well see the Canyonlands, which is like a mini-Grand Canyon and in my opinion is even more spectacular than the Arches.
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Old 10-15-2009, 11:39 AM
 
Location: Englewood,CO
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One route I take sometimes is i70 up to Frisco, 9 to Breckenridge and onto Fairplay then 285 back into the city.
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Old 10-15-2009, 01:28 PM
 
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Remember there's always the chance of the high passes and areas blocked off and impassible from snow.

Sounds like an ambitious distance for a 4-day weekend. Just driving into Canyonlands and out again is a day's drive.
It's all gorgeous.
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Old 10-15-2009, 04:25 PM
 
Location: most beautiful place ever
1,836 posts, read 3,559,700 times
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It does sound like too much for 4 days. Moab is amazing, as well as Canyonlands. I second Durango! Great Sand Dunes is amazing! I've made the loop from Denver, down Colorado Springs, over thru Durango, up to Montrose, into Gunnison, Breckenridge, back to Denver in about 8 days. (Not that it took that long, but lingered a lot) Enjoy!
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Old 10-15-2009, 11:33 PM
 
Location: Colorado, Denver Metro Area
1,048 posts, read 3,977,309 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nidex View Post
Thanks for the suggestion. However when I looked at the route on the map, I figured it would be worth going to see the arches in Moab as long as I'm "that direction".
If you do this, don't forget about the Arches National Park! IUt is a must for anyone who drives by that area.
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Old 10-16-2009, 12:52 AM
 
Location: The 719
14,462 posts, read 22,294,090 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by proveick View Post
Leave Denver via 285 S to Buena Vista, continues S on 285 than go west on 50. You'll go over Monarch Pass, continue west through Gunnison on 50 to Montrose. South on 550 the Million Dollar Highway to Ouray and Silverton to Durango. Than come back E on 160 through Pagosa Springs to Center. Than N on 285 to Buena Vista now NE on 24 through Leadville till you hit 70 just W of Vail (Minturn). Than head E on 70 which will take you back to Denver. If you are afraid of heights though Red Mountain Pass will kick your tail. Not much for guard rails and lots of avalanche chutes but so, so beautiful. Just my $.02 RP
I really like this route, but what will 550 be like if there's snow? Is the Million Dollar Hwy even open in mid November? Perhaps.

I've done Wolf Creek Pass (Pagosa to South Fork on 160) in the winter and it's good to have some chains/cables and a few bungie cords handy for the trip down... just incase.
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Old 10-16-2009, 07:49 AM
 
16,488 posts, read 20,864,129 times
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McGowdog is right. Proveik's route really showcases what Colorado's mountains are all about. From Leadville to Salida it's one 14,000 ft. peak after another. That million dollar highway has already gotten some good storms in the last couple weeks, but it's doable. Monarch pass is a little easier drive, was just through there a few days ago.
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