Good Sam Club Open Roads Forum: Route Advice Estes Park to Great Basin and then Utah
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 > Route Advice Estes Park to Great Basin and then Utah

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vroberts26

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Posted: 08/27/19 01:55pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We are planning an August - October trip from Estes Park to see RMNP - then to great Basin National Park in Nevada - and then the Utah national parks. We are kind of leary about driving through the Rocky Mountains on route 34 (Trail Ridge Road). We have a 41 foot 5th wheel. Any advice on this, or suggestions for alternate routes? Thanks!

agesilaus

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Posted: 08/27/19 02:53pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

There is no way to drive thru Colorado without going thru mountains and over mountains. You could drop down south to I-40 or even further south to I-10 and follow one of those thru New Mexico. But that is a bit out of your way.

You will have a hard time avoiding high altitude driving thru Colorado and Utah. Just get used to it. Sticking to Interstates will minimize the issue. No switchbacks anyway and they try to keep the grades at 7% or below. You could take I-70 across CO which will deliver you to the vicinity of Arches, Canyonlands and Capitol Reef with Bryce and Zion to the south.

Oh you will not be driving your Class A across Trail Ridge Road, big RV's are not allowed. You can drive your toad, assuming you have one. And I assure you that will provide a real eye opener in mountain driving. And there are many more mountains on the other side of RMNP so you won't be close to getting thru. Trail Ridge rd


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camperdave

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Posted: 08/27/19 03:31pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

agesilaus wrote:


Oh you will not be driving your Class A across Trail Ridge Road, big RV's are not allowed. You can drive your toad, assuming you have one. And I assure you that will provide a real eye opener in mountain driving. And there are many more mountains on the other side of RMNP so you won't be close to getting thru. Trail Ridge rd


I don't think that's true. At least I didn't see any signs saying that, and I definitely saw a lot of large RV's (and tour type busses too) on that road.

My wife was a little sketched out by the lack of guardrails, but I didn't find it a difficult drive (just our 30' MH, no toad). Speed limit is real low, and everyone is sightseeing and not in a hurry, it was a pleasant drive. Obviously more difficult in a 41 foot fiver, but I don't think it is prohibited.


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agesilaus

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Posted: 08/27/19 03:48pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I may be conflating it with Going to the Sun Road, where they are banned. But it's not a route I'd recommend to someone who is gun shy over mountain roads...heh. That video will open their eyes anyway.

Thom02099

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Posted: 08/27/19 04:10pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

vroberts26 wrote:

We are planning an August - October trip from Estes Park to see RMNP - then to great Basin National Park in Nevada - and then the Utah national parks. We are kind of leary about driving through the Rocky Mountains on route 34 (Trail Ridge Road). We have a 41 foot 5th wheel. Any advice on this, or suggestions for alternate routes? Thanks!


RV's are not prohibited on Trail Ridge Road. As stated, tour buses and modified Jeep Jitney type vehicles are up there frequently. So are the occasional Motor Home/Travel Trailer/5th wheel. But there's a reason why there are not a bunch of them up there.

On the east side you climb through forest to about the 2 mile up level, and once you get to Rainbow Curve, you'll be above tree line for about 11 miles. Part of that is a narrow shelf road with no shoulders, no guard rails, and steep drop offs. And on the west side descent there's 5 hairpin curves that are very tight. Yes, buses do it; they are also professional drivers who've done it before. It ain't their first rodeo. If it's your "first rodeo", there are alternatives.

Leave Estes Park on CO 7 and head to Allenspark. Just past Allenspark, CO 72 splits off from CO7. These 2 roads are part of the Peak to Peak Highway which is a great drive. CO 7 to Allenspark is a bit rough and narrow, but no drop offs; you're in the forest. Once on CO 72, the road is generally good with shoulders. Yes there are curves and hills but nothing overly challenging. You'll take CO 72 to Nederland where you'll pick up CO 119, still the Peak to Peak Highway. That will take you to Black Hawk/Central City. You can continue on CO 119 down to I-70 (follow the signs) and then just take I-70 westbound to your next destination.


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4runnerguy

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Posted: 08/27/19 06:40pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thom02099 wrote:

Leave Estes Park on CO 7 and head to Allenspark. Just past Allenspark, CO 72 splits off from CO7. These 2 roads are part of the Peak to Peak Highway which is a great drive. CO 7 to Allenspark is a bit rough and narrow, but no drop offs; you're in the forest. Once on CO 72, the road is generally good with shoulders. Yes there are curves and hills but nothing overly challenging. You'll take CO 72 to Nederland where you'll pick up CO 119, still the Peak to Peak Highway. That will take you to Black Hawk/Central City. You can continue on CO 119 down to I-70 (follow the signs) and then just take I-70 westbound to your next destination.
Do this continuing west on I-70. Lots of RV's on this all the time. Use your transmission to keep your speed in check on the downhill side of Eisenhower Tunnel and Vail Pass. Both are 7% for seven miles.

Join US 50 at Salina, UT and follow it to Great Basin NP.


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fanrgs

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Posted: 08/29/19 08:17pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We did the reverse of your trip several years ago--Great Basin NP to Denver, not Estes Park. We used US 50 to I-70, with an overnight stop at Colorado River State Park, Robb unit, in Fruita, CO.


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Busskipper

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Posted: 08/30/19 08:09am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thom02099 wrote:

vroberts26 wrote:

We are planning an August - October trip from Estes Park to see RMNP - then to great Basin National Park in Nevada - and then the Utah national parks. We are kind of leary about driving through the Rocky Mountains on route 34 (Trail Ridge Road). We have a 41 foot 5th wheel. Any advice on this, or suggestions for alternate routes? Thanks!


RV's are not prohibited on Trail Ridge Road. As stated, tour buses and modified Jeep Jitney type vehicles are up there frequently. So are the occasional Motor Home/Travel Trailer/5th wheel. But there's a reason why there are not a bunch of them up there.

On the east side you climb through forest to about the 2 mile up level, and once you get to Rainbow Curve, you'll be above tree line for about 11 miles. Part of that is a narrow shelf road with no shoulders, no guard rails, and steep drop offs. And on the west side descent there's 5 hairpin curves that are very tight. Yes, buses do it; they are also professional drivers who've done it before. It ain't their first rodeo. If it's your "first rodeo", there are alternatives.

Leave Estes Park on CO 7 and head to Allenspark. Just past Allenspark, CO 72 splits off from CO7. These 2 roads are part of the Peak to Peak Highway which is a great drive. CO 7 to Allenspark is a bit rough and narrow, but no drop offs; you're in the forest. Once on CO 72, the road is generally good with shoulders. Yes there are curves and hills but nothing overly challenging. You'll take CO 72 to Nederland where you'll pick up CO 119, still the Peak to Peak Highway. That will take you to Black Hawk/Central City. You can continue on CO 119 down to I-70 (follow the signs) and then just take I-70 westbound to your next destination.




^^^^^I Agree ^^^^^


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profdant139

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Posted: 08/30/19 09:20am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I have towed a small (12 foot) trailer on Trail Ridge -- no problem. But a long vehicle that does not bend in the middle? Not a good idea. The hairpin turns on the west side are too narrow, I think.

You will love Great Basin! Try to allocate several days there -- very cool weather, beautiful mountains, caves, etc.


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profdant139

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Posted: 08/30/19 09:24am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

For what it's worth, here is a link to one of our blog entries on Great Basin:

GBNP

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