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Old 04-14-2011, 05:58 AM   #1
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Driving US 40 In Colorado?

Versus staying on I-70? That is the question. Next week we will finish up a family visit in Denver and can take some extra time heading west back home. I know weather could knock that route out of consideration with a severe enough Spring storm. If the weather cooperates, is this highway something we can haul our 27' Classic over? I note this road crosses the Continental Divide 3 times. Thanks for any feedback.

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Old 04-14-2011, 06:20 AM   #2
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We drove it several years ago. I don't recall any particular problems. Make sure you stop and visit Dinosaur National Monument while you're there. CO 139 from Rangley to Fruita was a little more challenging.

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Old 04-14-2011, 07:11 AM   #3
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I wouldn't try today, but after this spring storm is over you can get to 40 a couple different ways. First, take 70 to 40 over Berthoud Pass to Winter Park and head west. Second, take 70 through the tunnel to Silverthorne to 9 toward Kermmling and pick up 40 west over Rabbit Ears pass to Steamboat. Another route is take 134 a few miles west of Kremmling over Gore Pass to Topanas and head north through Yampa , Oak Creek, to Steamboat. Stop in Yampa and go into Montgomery's store, it's a real treat and shouldn't be missed. Look into the window of the now closed and for sale Antler's bar. The back bar must be a 100 years plus old. Going into these two building is stepping back in time

People pull trailers over these routes all the time, just have to take it easy.
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Old 04-14-2011, 07:39 AM   #4
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You can also catch US 40 by going north on I-25 to Ft. Collins, take Hwy 14 thru La Porte to Steamboat Springs. Rabbit Ears Pass is the only place you will cross the Divide, as I recall and the elevation is some 2000 feet lower than Berthoud Pass. When you get to Vernal, Utah the trip north to Flaming Gorge Reservoir is worth the trip.
Keep the shiny side up and enjoy the trip.
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Old 04-14-2011, 07:56 AM   #5
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I would suggest avoiding the Berthoud Pass section of 40; significant elevation gain and several switchbacks. Rabbit Ears is easy, and there is a great State Park between Steamboat and Craig-Yampa River State Park that you could stay at.

Take I70 to Silverthorne, then Hwy 9 to Kremmling, then pick up 40 to Steamboat.
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Old 04-14-2011, 08:06 AM   #6
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We live in Grand Lake, U.S. 40 runs through nearby Granby. U.S. 40 crosses the Continental divide at Berthoud pass (about 11,000 feet) and again, briefly at a low elevation (Muddy Pass) east of Rabbit Ears pass.
If the weather is clear, this is an easy, very scenic drive. It is the main route to north western Colorado passing through ranch country called Middle Park so it is a good high traffic road with passing lanes up the major passes and generally light traffic.
There is a long sustained 8% downgrade going down Rabbit Ears pass into Steamboat. Use your engine to brake and you should have no trouble. I use the exhaust brake on my diesel Excursion and kick down out of overdrive. I use the vehicle brakes only around the few corners in the descent.
Steamboat Springs is a ranch town morphed into ski town. The main street in town is a good place to stop with lots of shops and good places to eat. There is a good commercial campground on the west end of town.
After Steamboat there is more scenic ranch country changing into open range near the Utah border. It rejoins I-70 east of Salt Lake.
You won't make quite as good a time on U.S. 40 but the sights are worth the extra time.
In regard to the weather, don't be out on the mountain roads in your Airstream in a spring blizzard. It makes little difference whether you are on I-70 or U.S. 40. Hole up until the roads are clear. In the spring, it doesn't take long for the snow to melt.
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Old 04-15-2011, 07:53 AM   #7
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Thanks all for the input and tips of a few extra things to see along the way. I-70 to Silverthorne then Hwy 9 to Kremmling sounds like a solution for us. Now to watch the weather forecast...
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Old 04-15-2011, 08:43 AM   #8
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Nothing Beats "Spring in the Rockies" and 40 is a up front and personal way to experience most of what Colorado has to offer. Along 40 you will have mountains, vitas, hot springs, ski towns, and the largest collection of Dinosaur bones in the west! There are both state and national forest camp grounds along the way! Take your time and don't be in a rush!


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