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Old 01-03-2010, 02:46 PM
 
16 posts, read 63,708 times
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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?
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Old 01-03-2010, 07:32 PM
 
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US 160 can be a winter terror over Wolf Creek Pass--it is one of the highest snowfall areas of Colorado. February is the start of the normal heavy snow period (through mid-April) for southwest Colorado. For flatlanders, the road itself can be pretty scary. La Veta Pass is not so bad, but is just at the right altitude to get some nasty ice at times. That said, I would prefer driving US 160 with less traffic than deal with the multitude of fools on I-70. Just know that any mountain road in Colorado can have rigorous winter driving conditions in, well, winter--and most of the spring.
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Old 01-03-2010, 08:46 PM
 
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Jazzlover is absolutely right. Two passes that demand your undivided attention is Red Mountain first, and Wolf Creek is a close second. At this time of year, provided the weather is not storming, 160 is not a bad way to go. I can't emphacize enough the C-dot drivers and the job they do under miserable conditions. Give them a lot of room, and a "thumbs up"! They deserve it.

Watch out for that that black ice. Be careful.
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Old 01-04-2010, 12:23 AM
 
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Thanks for the info. Suppose I'm most worried about being caught off guard by conditions with terrain I'm not used to. I mean, I deal with snow and ice on interstates here in Iowa -- we get a lot of it in the winter. (I've even dumbly driven through a blizzard)

I'm tuned into the weather pretty well, so I can stay up on things... if you guys do a good job keeping up on conditions, I guess I shouldn't worry. I am a defensive driver.

I'd like to take i70... I want to hit 191 off of 70 in Utah and go on through a few national parks.

The region seems to be pretty arid, not a lot of precip, so it seems I stand a fair chance of not encountering a blizzard.
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Old 01-04-2010, 09:23 AM
 
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Peep: As your trip gets near, check the weather sites and check the COLO DOT webpage for traffic conditions and camera shots.
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Old 01-04-2010, 02:53 PM
 
Location: Wherabouts Unknown!
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moonpeep wrote:
The region seems to be pretty arid, not a lot of precip, so it seems I stand a fair chance of not encountering a blizzard.
Don't count on it!

Be prepared for severe winter driving conditions at that time of the year on I-70 or US 160. Both roads traverse thru mountainous terrain that routinely receive enormous amounts of snowfall. On the other hand you may luck out and both roads will be perfectly dry! Expect the best and prepare for the worst. Make sure to have a winter emergency kit in your vehichle.
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Old 01-04-2010, 07:27 PM
 
Location: Nebraska
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Since most of my driving experiences were behind the wheel of a big rig I judge a highway by memories of things that happened while driving the 18 wheelers. I have had two near death experiences on Wolf Creek Pass. One from freezing fog and the other was a race to get under the snow shed in a race to beat an avalanche. I still have nightmares about Wolf Creek. Eisenhower Tunnel can be treacherous also but there is a higher presence of State Patrol monitoring the idiots in the area on I-70 so a lot of nasty accidents are avoided. The traffic on I-70 is heavier but I prefer that over Wolf Creek any day. Other places to really be careful about in Colorado: Douglas Pass, Rabbit Ears, Loveland Pass and Red Mountain. There are several even worse but 18 wheelers aren't allowed on them so my experiences on them in nasty weather were in four wheelers, apiece of cake if you are properly equipped.

GL2
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Old 01-04-2010, 08:30 PM
 
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Wink Weather or no

I just drove through eastern Utah on I-70 and there was more snow on the ground than anywhere in Colorado, save from Vail through Summit County. However the road was dry in Utah, versus wet in places over Vail Pass and Loveland Pass via the Eisenhower tunnel. This was during the day, at night some of those areas are probably icy.

Right now I-70 is no problem, but it evidently has snowed a fair amount recently. During the time it did, perhaps not much fun. The moral of that lesson is that winter driving can be variable, as you are surely aware coming from Iowa.

Wolf Creek Pass used to be rather, uhm, interesting. They've since widened it and ruined much of that novelty. Still, it remains a place someone accustomed to summer roads in Kansas wouldn't want to venture on in winter. US 160 isn't enough south to make much difference weather wise. As previously noted, Wolf Creek Pass actually receives some of the highest snowfall amounts in the state. But it depends, weather being variable one area of the state can receive snow while another not in any particular storm.

If I-70 proves more convenient then use it, unless you have reason to believe somewhere else may be dry. In weather, I'd generally rather be on a two-lane highway than an interstate, as so many idiots believe interstates mean speed no matter the conditions.

All of Utah can receive snow. While Moab and SE Utah can and will, chances are US 191 will prove fairly clear, unless you hit a storm.
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Old 01-06-2010, 09:41 AM
 
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Idunn is right. I just got in last night from Mesquite, Nevada and the snow from December 9th has not melted much, if at all, from Cedar City all the way in to Fruita. And this stuff will be on the ground for another month, trust me! We won't see temperatures in the 40's for a couple more weeks yet.

Idunn is right on Wolf Creek Pass. It has improved a lot since the widening of it years ago. I remember the early times I went over there in the late 60's there was a huge sign at the end of one of the switchbacks. It told a story of a busload of people that went over the embankment. In huge red letters on the top of the sign stated "Many lives have been lost on this road". The improvements to that road are numerous, but it STILL remains a road that you give your undivided attention to.
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Old 01-06-2010, 01:58 PM
 
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Thanks for all the responses.

Probably going to go 70. At least there the roads will have guard rails and be a little better protected.

Driving a rental, which makes me nervous... Looking like a Sunday afternoon drive. Take off around 2pm or so from Denver. Just need to get close to Moab. Grand Junction would be fine. (but I suppose if conditions get too bad we'd have to pull off and stay in whatever mountain town is closet along the way)
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