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Traveling from Phoenix to Denver on I70

Canada
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Traveling from Phoenix to Denver on I70

I'll be driving in March of this year, and I'm wondering what the roads are like? I'm very nervous driving thru mountains, especially when there is risk of snowstorms. I'm Canadian, so not afraid of the snow but I do have a fear of driving off a mountain ;)

Also...any must-sees along the way? I've never driven this way before.

Thanks so much!

Ohio
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1. Re: Traveling from Phoenix to Denver on I70

I 70 goes up and over the Rockies. Could be snow, but if it's bad, they'll close the interstate. Been across a couple of times in Oct and both times, it snowed heavily the night before we crossed. Road was clear-- couple of iffy spots-- but not along a cliff or anything, so you won't be falling off the mountain :) If it has snowed and the sun comes out-- omg.... it's a gorgeous drive! Just pay attention to the weather before going over. There's a visitor center in Colorado (on I 70) before you get to the mountains. They will have current info on traveling across. Can't remember where, exactly, but perhaps someone else knows. Just remember stopping there and seeing the camera of the uppermost tunnel.

How are you getting from Phoenix to I 70? and how much time do you have?

Las Vegas, Nevada
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2. Re: Traveling from Phoenix to Denver on I70

The interstates are perfectly safe over the Rockies unless there is a major snowstorm. In March, it's possible, but the risk is reduced from January or February. Now, in Colorado, if you were to get off the interstate and take two-lane roads through the mountains, then you might be increasing your risk.

That said: I-70 is not the route to go from Denver to Phoenix. The most efficient route from Denver would be I-25 south, along the Front Range, to Albuquerque, where you would pick up I-40 to Flagstaff, then I-17 to Phoenix. The risk of inclement weather is reduced significantly. You would be traveling, for the most part, at the edge of the High Plains and not in the mountains. You would cross the mountains in New Mexico, which would be farther south, drier and at a lower elevation. You would have a little chance of a snowstorm in Flagstaff, but that risk is really limited to a 30-mile radius around that town.

Google maps says that the shortest route is taking I-70 all the way across Colorado and taking US-191 through Eastern Utah. Once you hit Glenwood Springs, Colorado, your risk of a weather emergency would have been reduced substantially. US-191 will take you through Moab, Utah, which is more definitely worth a visit if you have the time. After traveling through Utah, around Monument Valley you would then pick up US-160, which you would take to US-89. These are all well-maintained roads that, while not interstates, you could still make good time on. From US-89 would get to Flagstaff where, again, you would pick up I-17 to Phoenix.

In the summer, I would recommend the Colorado route. It's quicker by a very short amount. It's a little more scenic, although the I-25/I-40 route is beautiful, too. But you would reduce your risk of a weather emergency substantially by taking the I-25/I-40 route.

Edited: 22 January 2013, 01:06
Las Vegas, Nevada
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3. Re: Traveling from Phoenix to Denver on I70

Ooops. I gave my directions from Denver to Phoenix. You wanted the other way around. Just start reading my above post at the bottom and work your way to the top. It'll work in reverse.

Lewes, United...
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4. Re: Traveling from Phoenix to Denver on I70

Here's a link to CO DOT's road condition website. It's general kept up to date and you can see live feeds from webcams located at the top of most of the high passes on the Interstates and major highways that cross the Rockies for realtime views of road conditions.

http://www.cotrip.org/roadConditions.htm

Have a safe trip

SWT

Link didn't work first time, hope second attempt works better!

Edited: 22 January 2013, 10:08
Uden, The...
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5. Re: Traveling from Phoenix to Denver on I70

As Wings already asked. How much time do you have for this trip?

Canada
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6. Re: Traveling from Phoenix to Denver on I70

Thanks for all the info everyone!

Uden, The...
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7. Re: Traveling from Phoenix to Denver on I70

Still don''t know how much time you have ;)

Canada
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8. Re: Traveling from Phoenix to Denver on I70

I'm not on a super tight schedule, I'm heading to Winnipeg ultimately, but don't mind taking a bit extra time to see some things I haven't seen before. Wouldn't mind spending an extra night or two. Usually do the drive in 3 days (2 nights in hotel).

9. Re: Traveling from Phoenix to Denver on I70

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