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driving route questions, please

Chicago, Illinois
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driving route questions, please

We (family of 4 with 2 older teens) have a trip booked for beginning of July. It is a 9 night, 9 full day trip. All hotels are booked and general itinerary is set. I do have some routing questions I’m hoping you can help me with. These are our 3 longer days of driving……..

#1-Estes Park to Glenwood Springs via Trail ridge Rd.

Is local rd. 1 or 11 from Kremmling to State bridge a short cut?

#2-Glenwood Springs to Mesa Verde NP (Far View Hotel) via Black Canyon NP

We have stayed in Ouray and driven from there to Durango before. We have also had a quick stop in Telluride on way to Moab.

#3-Durango to Colorado Springs via Great Sand Dunes NP

from GSD to Colorado Springs, what is the scenery/car sick ratio between 50 and 24? To save time on this day just take 160 to 25?

Looking for the best combination of route quickness, scenery and roads that will not be too hairy or car sickness prone. I have a good map here.

Thank you for your ideas and input!

Windsor, Colorado
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1. Re: driving route questions, please

Trough Road or Grand County Road 1 is a well maintained dirt/gravel road and is part of the Colorado River Headwaters Scenic Byway. See this link for a discussion of this road here on TA. tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g28927-i252-k44911…

Windsor, Colorado
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2. Re: driving route questions, please

I realize I did not answer your question about it being a short cut. I drove both Trough Road and highway 9 last year and there is very little difference in the time required based on my memory. Highway 9 is very scenic and so is the section of I-70 between Dillon and Edwards which you would miss by taking Trough Road.

Chicago, Illinois
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3. Re: driving route questions, please

Thank you VF- I am familiar with and love the I-70 route. Just beautiful. I guess I'm just trying to save some time in the car while not sacrificing the views.

Google maps says Highway 9 is 20 minutes longer than trough Rd. and federal Rd. 40 through winter park is 30 minutes longer than trough. So they are all pretty close time wise, but Trough Rd. is significantly less miles. So what is the preference based on scenery and straightness of road?

WestSlope,CO
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4. Re: driving route questions, please

Regarding #3: 160 to 25 would be the fastest/least winding and it is very scenic up to the point you start heading north on 25 because of views of the Sangre de Cristos/Spanish Peaks. LaVeta Pass is an easy pass. And you can watch for antelope in the plains along 25. Both 50 and 285/24 are great drives. 24 has more mountain views; 50 follows the river through a canyon part of the way, so is more winding through that stretch but you might get to see bighorn sheep. Tough choice, but you can't go too far wrong with any of the three routes.

Re #2: If you haven't driven from Telluride to Dolores/Cortez, I would go that route. From Ridgway to Telluride, then over Lizard Head Pass to Rico and Dolores is one of my favorite drives. And you get really nice views of Sleeping Ute Mountain to the Southwest as you head from Dolores to Cortez. (You can take a cutoff to Mancos, but it is more winding, and I really like Sleeping Ute Mountain.)

For the first part of that drive, from Glenwood to Montrose/Black Canyon, it is a little faster and much straighter to go west on 70, then take the exit at Clifton to bypass most of the city of Grand Junction and hook up with 550 near Whitewater. It's a nice drive, but IMO the route to Redstone & over McClure Pass to Hotchkiss and then Delta & south to Montrose is more scenic. With the time you have, (and if you want to avoid really winding roads) I wouldn't take the route through Crawford (92) south and then SE to intersect Hwy 50. Yes, it would take you right past the north rim of the Black Canyon and also the turnoff to the Black Canyon east of Montrose, but it is a very winding drive and last I knew, the north rim part of the park road is unpaved, so slower. Plus it backtracks quite a little ways east before intersecting with 50. I prefer the south rim views, anyway. Just my opinion. The route through Delta and Montrose is faster, and you can stop at fruit stands or wineries near Paonia & Hotchkiss if you need provisions for the rest of your trip.

Columbia, Maryland
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5. Re: driving route questions, please

We drove the 285/24 route on a road trip. It is smooth sailing and VERY scenic. Along the straight stretch of 285 there isn't much to see but lots of potato farms (who knew CO was a top potato producing state), but once you reach Saguache heading north, you start driving along 14k mountains. As you cross 24 toward CO Springs, you will drive toward the mountain range that contains Pikes Peak.

On road trips, we prefer to stay off the interstates unless forced to due to time constraints.

Windsor, Colorado
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6. Re: driving route questions, please

I would take highway 9. What time you might save (if any) on Trough Road, you will lose at the car wash. Our RAV was a mess and the road was dry. If the road is oiled shortly before your trip, that stuff is like putty on your car. There are very, very few amenities along this route. The really pretty part of the road is Gore Canyon which is a brief section, but my spouse and I agree we would not take this route again in the future. We took Trough in mid-August and highway 9 the end of September so our memories are pretty fresh.

Chicago, Illinois
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7. Re: driving route questions, please

Excellent, thank you for all your suggestions.

So, 9 to I-70 for #1 portion of trip.

#2-From Glenwood Springs to Mesa Verde through Redstone and Hotchkiss to Delta and Montrose then quick side trip to Blanck Canyon, and on to Cortez via 62 and 145.

#3-As pretty as the 285/50 and 285/24 routes look, they are all coming up as 1 hour extra driving time to Colorado Springs. Seeing that it will be toward the end of trip I am thinking the vote will be to go quickest route, unless it is highly ill advised from you folks. Let me know.

Funny thing, my daughter and husband are a few minutes from flying chicago to Denver right now. They will be doing a college visit at U of Colorado-Boulder. Quick 24 hour trip. Hope she likes it!

Columbia, Maryland
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8. Re: driving route questions, please

Spend the extra hour. It will be time well spent. It will be a more relaxing trip than being in mortal combat with the concrete on I25. End the trip relaxed. :)

9. Re: driving route questions, please

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