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driving from Taos to Aspen in February

New York City
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driving from Taos to Aspen in February

We're heading to Aspen the first week in February, but are entertaining the thought of spending a few days in Taos beforehand. Google maps estimates the drive from Taos to Aspen at 7.5 hours, not going via Independence Pass. Sound accurate or optimistic? And, is 4WD an absolute necessity on our rental?

Thanks!

Fruita, Colorado
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for Fruita, Grand Junction
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1. Re: driving from Taos to Aspen in February

You will want to take your time and go on the main roads since there can be lots of snow in Feb. and it is a long drive whichever way you go. I would recommend going north from Taos to Denver on 1-25 and then heading west on 1-70 to Glenwood before going south to Aspen. According to Google that takes closer to 10 hrs. but will get you there. Any other route is going to require mountain driving on narrower roads and if you are not experienced in driving Colorado highways in the winter that might be a problem. Independence Pass is closed during the winter months so that is out. 4WD is not necessary if you do the interstate but I would get a good solid front wheel drive vehicle with some weight - it has been my experience that people put too much faith in 4WD in the snow. They are good for getting you going but not better for stopping, which is what you need when it is slick. I would not get a pickup since they are known for poor traction. Why Taos? It is a very pretty town but is going to create some problems for you to get to Aspen from there. Colorado has a wide variety of ski areas - perhaps you could check out some of those.

New York City
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2. Re: driving from Taos to Aspen in February

Thanks, Susie. The idea was to take a side trip to acclimate to the altitude and Taos sounded good to my boyfriend. After taking in your advice, we're considering a pre-ski trip to Glenwood Springs instead.

Aspen, CO
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3. Re: driving from Taos to Aspen in February

Just as an FYI....99% of people do not have any significant issues with altitude. Going somewhere first to acclimate is rarely necessary. You will probably huff and puff climbing stairs, but going somewhere else first won't stop that from happening. Unless you are already of weak health you don't need to stop elsewhere first.

Fruita, Colorado
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for Fruita, Grand Junction
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4. Re: driving from Taos to Aspen in February

I just checked some stats and both Aspen and Taos have similar elevations for some of the ski runs. The key to acclimating to elevation is to hydrate and pace yourself. Glenwood is a great town, I love going there - it has the world's largest natural hot springs pool and the town is very laid back. I think you will find a relaxing start to your trip will be better than stressing over the drive. I hope you have a great time and will try Taos another time (it is a great town - the artist's colony there is thriving and the art galleries are fantastic). And the Mexican food is a whole nother story.

5. Re: driving from Taos to Aspen in February

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