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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've got a Colorado trip coming up soon. Going and staying in Ouray for a week with my wife. I live in Kansas City Mo..and have access to I 70, US 50 hwy.

Now don't laugh...I've been everywhere east, northeast, north, southeast of Missouri, but only gotten as far as Topeka, Kansas (capital) for the west.

I'd like to ask for those who've done the trip:

1. Maps show 14 hour drive (without gas and bathroom breaks). I'm the only driver. Would you leave 2-3 in the morning and do a straight shot? Leave after work (6pm) and drive half, then the rest the next day?

2. What route would you go? I 70 then ultimately US 50 then Ouray? Or 1 shot US 50 then Ouray??

Getting to 50 hwy and 70 is the same distance from my house.

Wife doesn't really mind which options..just as long as I can handle it. The LONGEST I've ever driven was 6 hours...seemed to take it fine. Going in my 4 door jku.

Thanks!!
 

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I would not want to drive the last bit into Ouray after being on the road for 12+ hours. Lots of twists and turns. I say do it in 2 days, that way when you get there, you won't be wiped out and will be able to enjoy Ouray right from the start. We travel from Texas to Colorado at least once a year and always do it in 2 days. A long day the first day, then finish with a short( 6 hour) day. Just my opinion, hope it helps.
 

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Ok I just did the trip to Denver from KC earlier this week, so I can speak to that part. It was a full days drive just to Denver - its kinda cool in its own right and worth the stay - at least overnight. I went straight I-70.

Remember though, once you get out past Topeka, there are not a lot of places to stop for the night - its kind of desolate. Hays is a nice place to stay, just not sure how much that would cut off the trip (maybe 6 hours if I remember correctly). I know there was one more semi major city past it but I forget the name.

Last thing I want to add. Dont forget the weather this time of year - Denver is about 7K feet and there was more snow and ice than in KC :)
 

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If 'soon' means this week, the San Juan Mountains (where Ouray) is at, is forecast to receive 4' of fresh snow. Further east we're expecting 2'.
 

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For you, I'd drive I-70 to CO-470 at Golden (the outer loop), and then take that south a tiny bit to US 285. Take US 285 down towards Poncha Springs and then get on US 50 to Montrose before heading south on US 550.

If you want more scenic, I'd take I-70 to Glenwood Springs and then take CO-82 and then CO-133 towards Delta.
 

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If you are coming after the snow melts, then I can give you a whole lot more options. There's some great roads on the way to Ouray that aren't open most of the year.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
dcgibbons: I'm actually coming down the day after labor day. Thinking of leaving KC Tuesday September 9th after work, drive to Burlington. Stay at a cheap hotel then rest of the way Wednesday the 10th. If you know any great roads to take..let me know. Staying in Ouray comfort inn. I'll probably leave Burlington early Wednesday morning so we can see the scenic sights.

Let me know.


If you are coming after the snow melts, then I can give you a whole lot more options. There's some great roads on the way to Ouray that aren't open most of the year.
 

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Enjoy Colorado! Once you wheel in Ouray you will be back every year. If not Ouray at least somewhere in Colorado.

:beerdrinking:
 

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Okay, so what I'd do then is a little different. The route of CO-82 and CO-133 is still great that time of year, but all paved.

Instead, take I-70 to the Dillion / Silverthorn / Frisco area. That's just past the big Eisenhower tunnel and is a neat place to stop / stay. From there, go past just a bit towards Copper Mountain and take CO-91 south to Leadville.

Leadville proper has some amazing places to explore. You could spend months there.

From there, if you want a easily drivable but still non-paved route, take Hagerman Pass over towards Aspen. That'll involve taking CO-4 which is the road that circles Turquoise Lake, and interconnects with CR 105 which is the pass road. That'll take you over to the Frying Pan valley and into Basalt / Aspen. From there, you could go over to CO-133 and continue the previous route.

If you want scenic, but no off-pavement, take CO-82 from the Leadville area over to Aspen - Independence Pass. It is worth it.

I could get you lost for weeks, but generally speaking those are good, scenic routes in the general direction of Ouray.
 

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Lots of options. I prefer 50 over 70, they don't call it the loneliest highway for nothing and I have driving its entire length more than once. But there is something to be said for taking 70 and then hanging a left and driving the spine.

There is one thing would do before the trip though and that is to install the attenuator. I just complete a 3300 mile trip a few weeks ago. Prior to installing this after 10 hours I was pretty fatigued. On the first day of this trip I drove 17 hours and very little fatigue at all, just tired. IMO a must have mod for long trips, it makes it much more enjoyable.
 

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Looking at the map...maybe some extra fuel would be in order here.....
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Extra
fuel???

Dcgibbons..I'd like to get to ouray quickly BUT I wouldn mind going unpaved the last tail end of the trip there. Wife will probably be grumpy..so suggestions for unpaved the last of it, say like 20 miles??

Looking at the map...maybe some extra fuel would be in order here.....
 

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Extra
fuel???

Dcgibbons..I'd like to get to ouray quickly BUT I wouldn mind going unpaved the last tail end of the trip there. Wife will probably be grumpy..so suggestions for unpaved the last of it, say like 20 miles??
Was looking at the map and noticed some pretty long stretches before you get to Colorado. It may be fine. I've been on some road trips where there were few gas stations and they closed at night.......not a good feeling. We're looking at going to Colorado in the future. Maybe passing through Red River, NM and then Durango. Love the Rockies!
 

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Okay, so what I'd do then is a little different. The route of CO-82 and CO-133 is still great that time of year, but all paved.

Instead, take I-70 to the Dillion / Silverthorn / Frisco area. That's just past the big Eisenhower tunnel and is a neat place to stop / stay. From there, go past just a bit towards Copper Mountain and take CO-91 south to Leadville.

Leadville proper has some amazing places to explore. You could spend months there.

From there, if you want a easily drivable but still non-paved route, take Hagerman Pass over towards Aspen. That'll involve taking CO-4 which is the road that circles Turquoise Lake, and interconnects with CR 105 which is the pass road. That'll take you over to the Frying Pan valley and into Basalt / Aspen. From there, you could go over to CO-133 and continue the previous route.

If you want scenic, but no off-pavement, take CO-82 from the Leadville area over to Aspen - Independence Pass. It is worth it.

I could get you lost for weeks, but generally speaking those are good, scenic routes in the general direction of Ouray.

I agree with everything he said. Personally, Independence Pass would be my choice. It's spectacular!
 

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Extra
fuel???

Dcgibbons..I'd like to get to ouray quickly BUT I wouldn mind going unpaved the last tail end of the trip there. Wife will probably be grumpy..so suggestions for unpaved the last of it, say like 20 miles??
I think the only unpaved near the last 20 miles would be the Alpine Loop itself... which is one of the points of going there :)
 

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Here is some info I've compiled by driving from Louisville, KY to Denver over a 10 year period. I've done this drive 22 times during that span. First, even though western Kansas and eastern Colorado looks deserted, you'll have no problem finding 24/7 gas along I-70. Most of these are truck stops where you can take a nice break. Here is a little info:

KC to Salina, KS is about 2 hours and 40 minutes. Salina to Hays, KS 1 hr 10 min. Hays to Colby, KS 1 hr 15 min. Both Hays and Colby have lodging if you want to stop there overnight. (Hays tends to be quite windy.) Colby to Denver is approximately 3.5 hours. Once you hit eastern Colorado you'll find gas 24/7 in Burlington, Stratton, Siebert and Limon.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Dcgibbons- in that case I'll conv the wife we should take the directions that you indicated up above going on unpaved roads. So you suggest taking those roads??



I think the only unpaved near the last 20 miles would be the Alpine Loop itself... which is one of the points of going there :)
 

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You know, you won't miss anything by doing Independence Pass instead of Hagerman Pass. Maybe do Independence Pass on the way there, and if you find yourself with a little time on the way back, do Hagerman Pass. Independence Pass is not to be missed.
 
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