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Old 01-06-2010, 05:20 PM
 
2,253 posts, read 5,842,932 times
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Might I suggest that any rental be at minimum front wheel drive, with decent winter tires on it? Also, that an ETD of 2pm will more or less insure you end up driving in the dark.

While the most possibility of snow on the road exists over Loveland Pass (via Eisenhower Tunnel) and Vail Pass, the river canyon just east of Grand Junction is shaded in places, with possibility of being either wet or icy, depending (also, river canyon just east of Glenwood Springs). If you avoid a storm much of this route may be deceptively dry or nearly so, but certain places can be icy, particularly at night. At 65 or 75mph it only takes one spot.

One advantage of I-70 are frequent services and options in lodging if need be. BTW, if I-70 wider and not as hairy as some other mountain routes, guard rails only exist in places and many opportunities for the unwary driver to slide off into someplace they definitely don't want to be. While I-70 generally open, whether snow packed or not, if closed for several hours at a time likely due someone's bad driving and an accident.

Safe travels.
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Old 01-06-2010, 06:11 PM
 
Location: SW Colorado
147 posts, read 549,413 times
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Wolf Creek Pass really isn’t too bad anymore with all of the improvements that have been made. The new tunnel that was built five or so years ago as well as the road widening has certainly helped. It is a fairly well traveled road with all of the ski traffic coming from both sides of the pass. Our kids here in Pagosa travel frequently back and forth during the winter for sporting events in Alamosa, Salida, etc. CDOT does a very good job of maintaining the road. If weather/road conditions really get bad, or if there is avalanche danger, they will close the road until things improve.

That being said, I still do not like driving over Wolf Creek at night. Leaving Denver around 2pm would put you on the pass during the evening. I wouldn’t recommend driving this road at night to someone not familiar with it, even when weather is not a concern. Whichever way you go, be sure and check road conditions before you leave – CDOT has a good site with web cams, etc. for that.
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Old 01-07-2010, 09:56 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Coloradoan View Post
Wolf Creek Pass really isn’t too bad anymore with all of the improvements that have been made. The new tunnel that was built five or so years ago as well as the road widening has certainly helped. It is a fairly well traveled road with all of the ski traffic coming from both sides of the pass. Our kids here in Pagosa travel frequently back and forth during the winter for sporting events in Alamosa, Salida, etc. CDOT does a very good job of maintaining the road. If weather/road conditions really get bad, or if there is avalanche danger, they will close the road until things improve.

That being said, I still do not like driving over Wolf Creek at night. Leaving Denver around 2pm would put you on the pass during the evening. I wouldn’t recommend driving this road at night to someone not familiar with it, even when weather is not a concern. Whichever way you go, be sure and check road conditions before you leave – CDOT has a good site with web cams, etc. for that.
As one who drives Colorado mountain roads (including Wolf Creek) pretty frequently--including in some pretty lousy winter conditions--I will agree with you up to a point. For people who drive these roads regularly, they are not that bad most of the time. For flatlanders who have seldom, if ever, done mountain driving, especially in any kind of winter condtions, both their perception of conditions and their ability to cope with them may be much different.

As an example, I used to tow large livestock trailers over US550, the Million Dollar Highway, frequently--including during the winter. Now, I have a real healthy respect for the hazards of that road, but I can pretty much guarantee that my perception of it is different than someone who has never driven it before.
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Old 01-07-2010, 10:56 AM
 
Location: SW Colorado
147 posts, read 549,413 times
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Jazzlover – I agree with you. Driving over Wolf Creek as often as I do, and being familiar with every twist and turn, I tend to take for granted others ability to drive over it. Yes, a new mountain driver or someone unfamiliar with this pass would probably have a very different perception it than I have. Regardless, no one should take for granted the hazards of this road, be it weather, animal (deer/elk), or other driver related.

I can’t imagine pulling a livestock trailer over the Million Dollar Highway in the wintertime. Definitely would be one of those “white-knuckle” drives for me.
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Old 01-07-2010, 11:15 AM
 
8,317 posts, read 25,120,672 times
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Originally Posted by Coloradoan View Post
Jazzlover – I agree with you. Driving over Wolf Creek as often as I do, and being familiar with every twist and turn, I tend to take for granted others ability to drive over it. Yes, a new mountain driver or someone unfamiliar with this pass would probably have a very different perception it than I have. Regardless, no one should take for granted the hazards of this road, be it weather, animal (deer/elk), or other driver related.

I can’t imagine pulling a livestock trailer over the Million Dollar Highway in the wintertime. Definitely would be one of those “white-knuckle” drives for me.
I know two people who drove the Million Dolllar Highway daily for over 20 years each as part of their work. Now is that is something that I would not want to do. Another guy I know spent about 10 years driving a loaded semi over that road 2-4 times a week. They all have some interesting stories to tell.
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Old 01-07-2010, 11:28 AM
 
Location: SW Colorado
147 posts, read 549,413 times
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The stress of that would knock a few years off one's life! These guys would make great mountain driving instructors.
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Old 07-31-2010, 01:51 PM
 
31 posts, read 63,818 times
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Originally Posted by moonpeep View Post
With its further south location... would I be more or less likely to experience driving difficulties there versus I 70? Seems I-70 would be more well cared for... but perhaps face more rugged mountain conditions.

Or maybe not?
The problem with 160 is Wolf Creek Pass, which gets over 400 inches of snow every winter. It is fequently closed during and after snow storms for maintenance and avalanche control. I 70 would be a better option during the winter months.
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