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Old 04-01-2010, 06:51 AM
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Got directions from mapquest and AAA from Salt Lake City, Ut to Breckenridge. The basic differences if that one goes thru Provo then Rt 6 to I-70. The other goes from Heber City to US191,toUs 40 to CO-64 to CO-13S and then I-70E. I am traveling for the first time there with 3 kids and want to be on the safest route even if it takes a bit longer. Also, any recommendations for where to stop for lunch or some basic sightseeing.

then we go from Breckenridge to Estes park - is this the safest way: from CO9 to I-70 to CO-93 to US 36W.
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Old 04-01-2010, 08:34 AM
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I'd say take the Provo/Hwy 6/Price/Green River route. I've done that one from Ogden and checked the weather that morning to avoid any suprises. I don't remember where I ate, probably fast food, as I was by myself. Price is the probably the only place big enough to offer any choices. We've been to the Petroglyphs just east of where you hit I70 and it was worth the stop.

Up on US 40 Dinosaur National Park is pretty cool but I've heard that it's closed down for renovation of the building.

I'll have to check my CO map and see about the drive to EP. Depending on the time of day going through Boulder can be brutal, but if you leave Breck in the morning it shouldn't be a problem. There are some very pretty "canyon" drives coming off of I70, but you may be tired of that scenery by then.

Depending on what you and the kids are into I can recommend a side trip down mountain to Loveland. We have a beautiful sculpture park just north of US34 @ Taft and the drive down the Big Thompson Canyon is pretty cool. You can't go far into RMNP this time of year but stop in at Beaver Meadows visitor center and see what's going on anyway.
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Old 04-01-2010, 10:37 AM
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Thank you - I forgot to mention that the drive would be in the summer.
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Old 04-01-2010, 10:39 AM
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You'll do fine on the Provo to Green River route, then just take 70 to Frisco and turn toward Breckenridge. Green River is probably your best bet for lunch because you'll probably need to make a stop there before the hundred mile stretch to Grand Junction. There's an Arbys on the west end, and burger king on the east end with a few restaurants in-between if you don't want fast food.
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Old 04-01-2010, 11:21 AM
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Sterlinggirl is right. And regarding hwy. 6 from Provo to Green River there has been a sizable amount of road construction over the last few years, with several passing lanes added. Soldier's Summit is not a bad climb, but it can snow in April there, for sure. And keep your eyes open for deer and elk. The state patrol is watching that canyon more than ever these days, was through there not long ago. Don't speed! There has been stories that more towns (and states for that matter) are writing more tickets than before because of the economy. Certain states would give you 5 over the limit on the highway, no more. I've had plenty of people pass me on the road and I see them stopped several miles up the road.
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Old 04-01-2010, 11:45 AM
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Are you asking "personal security" safety or driving safety? Regarding the latter, the U6/50, I-70 route is the most direct. Traffic can be an issue, but it's about the best alternative to Breckenridge. If you are not intimidated by mountain driving and you are driving the route (as you indicate) in the summer, taking CO 9 out of Breck, north to US 40 at Kremmling, then east on US 40 to Granby, then US 34 over Trail Ridge Road is an extremely scenic route to Estes Park. You will have to pay the fee to go through Rocky Mountain National Park on US 34, but it's a gorgeous drive.

As for personal safety, as a single woman traveling with children, you certainly need to be aware of your surroundings when you stop anywhere on your route, especially the rest stops on I-70. I-70 is a well-known corridor for both drug traffickers and illegal aliens. Your chances of a bad encounter are not great, but one needs to be cautious. A lot of women I know who travel I-70 frequently by themselves do carry a firearm and know how to use it (several have concealed weapons permits).
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Old 04-01-2010, 12:13 PM
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Wink Practical & scenic

There is no way you want to go via Heber City and US 40. The only reasons I can think of are if one wants to avoid interstates, or likes lots of empty country. It would be the decidedly slower route. There is a divide to cross on US 6 between Spanish Fork and Price, but Heber City is on the far side of the same mountains. Snow that might be a factor in these places will not come summer. US 6 through Price to Green River, thence on I-70, is the easiest, safest, and overall best route to Breckenridge, CO from Salt Lake City, UT.

The best route between Breckenridge and Estes Park depends on what your definition of safe is. The most conventional, and arguably safest, would be to continue east on I-70, then north on I-25 (having used the I-76 shortcut), thence west/northwest on CO 66 through Lyons to Estes Park.

About as fast, and of more interest, would be to drive through Boulder north to intersect CO 66 at Lyons. There are two possible exits from I-70. One would be near the edge of the plains, in taking US 6 north to Golden, thence north on CO 93 to Boulder. The far more scenic option is to exit on US 6 shortly after Idaho Springs, to take its winding path through Clear Creek Canyon to Golden, then of course north on CO 93.

If you like mountain driving with no real passes to speak of then the more or less direct route north through Central City would be the one. This will prove a slower drive due lower speed limits, and not always a place to pass slower traffic, but qualifies as scenic and interesting. It parallels to the east the front range divide of mountains, on their flank and within them. To take such a route exit on the Central City Parkway shortly east of Idaho Springs (before the US 6 exit through Clear Creek. If making that mistake, one can continue on to the junction with CO 119 and reach Central City that way as well). The Central City Parkway will take one directly through Central City to the junction with CO 119 in nearby Black Hawk. Continue north on CO 119. After Rollinsville, at a junction in the middle of nowhere, one will officially be on CO 72. Stay on that north through Nederland, on up through Peaceful Valley, at last to its 'T' intersection with CO 7. Turn left and continue north on CO 7 past Allenspark, through Meeker Park, directly into Estes Park. From Allenspark north the road parallels the east side of Rocky Mountain National Park, with of course lovely views.

If your definition of safe includes perfectly fine mountain passes (but certain places you don't want to end off the road, as in waaaaay down below, and of course no guardrails), then the most scenic and recommended route is in driving across Rocky Mountain National Park on Trail Ridge Road. From Breckenridge there are two possible routes. One is via Winter Park, exiting I-70 shortly east of Georgetown on US 40 north. This is a perfectly fine and scenic route, although entailing crossing Loveland Pass via Eisenhower Tunnel, and also Berthoud Pass on US 40.

In some respects the more interesting, certainly more tranquil, route would be in taking CO 9 north from Silverthorne at I-70 to Kremmling. From Kremmling US 40 east to just before Granby, then US 34 north to Grand Lake, continuing on from there through Rocky Mountain National Park to Estes Park on the far side of some very tall mountains. Trail Ridge Road is the highest paved continuous road in the United States, at its top cresting at 12,183 feet. A good definition of scenic. It is a lovely way to approach Estes Park, although every approach into Estes Park is more or less. Since this is a national park one must either have or purchase a day pass for $20 (good for seven days), or annual pass ($80, good at any national park). This route is roughly as fast as the others, in being more direct, but Trail Ridge Road is popular with summer tourists, and one often lucky even to maintain the posted 35mph speed limit. But if the first time, you will not care: there are frequent turn offs to use the digital camera.
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Old 04-01-2010, 02:16 PM
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Thank you all!

Jazzlover - mentions I-70 as a route to be careful - is there a certain stretch that is the issue? If we don't plan to stop on this stretch I will feel better!
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Old 04-01-2010, 02:23 PM
Location: Na'alehu Hawaii/Buena Vista Colorado
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I've stopped numerous times in just about every rest stop on I-70 throughout Colorado and never ever noticed any sleazy charcters hanging around. I'm a single woman and never felt unsafe.

Just don't send your children into the restrooms alone (but you wouldn't do that anywhere, right?)
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Old 04-01-2010, 08:06 PM
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I-70 is probably one of the more benign stretches of interstate around in the USA.

Yes there is drug smugglers and illegal aliens being transported but they try to stay low profile for obvious reasons. The local police in Eagle county I remember usually used to bag one of these characters seemed like every day on I-70.

The same safety issues apply anywhere whether it's Utah or South LA. Be aware of your surroundings and just avoid any place that doesn't feel right. Be prepared with a SPOT tracker and a cell phone. Make sure your car is in good mechanical condition and you know how to change a tire in 10 minutes or make minor repairs. Stop in major towns along the way. Prepare and plan your route and know when and where you are stopping.

If your driving skills are dodgy or you scare yourself or others with your driving, then it's a good idea to go to a high performance driving school like Bondurant in Phoenix or the winter school in Steamboat Springs next winter. Most people are ill prepared to handle emergency maneuvers.
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