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  1. Default Driving from Grand Canyon Village to Durango Colorado..

    Hi everyone

    I am beginning to plan our trip next December and need some advice. What are the roads like between Grand Canyon Village and Durango Colorado. Also will there be any problems trying to do this trip around the middle of December with regards to snow?? I will be back to ask more advice soon! We do plan on renting an SUV type vehicle.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Trying to Be Prepared

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Well, you're asking the right questions. First off, the road(s) from the Grand Canyon to Durango (AZ-64/US-89/US-160) are, with very short exceptions, two lane highways through beautiful, rugged, and largely empty land. They run along the Colorado Plateau at elevations in the 5,000 to 7,000 foot range, so snow is a distinct possibility. They also run almost entirely through the Navajo Nation where money is tight and snow removal equipment is not a high priority. So, in the event of a serious storm, this drive will become highly problematical. I will also say that my personal experience is that SUVs are NOT the best choice of vehicles for such conditions. Their boxy shape, high center of gravity, and high tire load make them more than a bit squirrelly in high winds and slick roads. I would instead recommend a good front wheel drive compact to intermediate sedan or small wagon. My strong preference is for Subarus, having driven them through many Maine winters. But they simply don't show up in rental fleets so, as I say, look for a good FWD small sedan and be prepared to sit out any storms until either the sun or (eventually) the road crews clear the roads.


  3. Default

    Thanks AZBuck!!

    Google maps say it's just over 6 hours. Does this sound corrrect. Do you think an overnight stop in monument valley is worth is after being at the grand canyon. We will have 2 kids - 3years old and 6years old in tow with us and don't want to loverload them! We will be in Durango 3 or 4 nights for a 'break' where we can cook our own food etc in a private rental rather than a hotel.

    We have road tripped once before from Nashville to Denver colorado but that was before kids! And long drives don't bother us as we live in rural Qld (Oz) anyway and are used it. The only thing we are unsure of is travelling there in winter. But I guess people do it all the time right??

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default A stop may be wise.

    It would be a little more than 6 hours and much will depend on conditions. However as you leave the village in GC there are quite a few viewpoints along Desert View Drive you could explore if you haven't already and that will take time. Monument Valley is worth stopping at, but even for an hour or two you would then be getting into quite a long day, and thats not allowing for a weather related situation. You have lodgings at Monument Valley [Gouldings lodge] or you could maximise your time at the GC [we don't know how long you have there ?] and stop at the Cameron Trading Post, just outside the east entry station. They serve good food and wandering around the Trading post is an attraction in itself !

    The trouble the world over is that the weather has a mind of it's own and is totally unpredictable until a few days before. Yes, people do it all the time and Locals need to get about there daily business, but there are no garuantees that you won't see some disruption.

  5. Default

    Thanks for the advice! I do want to visit Cameron Trading Post so we might have to take an overnight stop and monument Valley looks like a good place to find a bed.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Between the GC and MV, there's the Cameron Trading Post, a couple hotels in Tuba City, and a couple hotels in Kayenta.

  7. Default Anaheim - Vegas - Park City - Steamboat Springs

    I am still trying to plan a winter/Christmas holiday for our family next year. My main question is what would the drive from Las Vegas to Park City Utah and then onto Steamboat Springs Colorado be like in mid December?

    And I am also wondering what the drive would be like from Salt Lake City through to Jackson Wyoming at the same time.

    Sorry for the questions but we are still trying to find the perfect destination for Christmas and it all depends on comparing costs of driving vs flying etc.

    We don't have any experience with driving in snowy conditions. But we did visit colorado several years ago when there was snow in the mountains and the roads were ploughed.

    Mod Note] Please keep all questions regarding this trip in one thread. Thank-you
    Last edited by Southwest Dave; 09-07-2012 at 03:05 AM. Reason: Merged threads.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default No Simple Answer

    There just isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer as to whether it is cheaper and/or more time efficient to drive or fly. In general, short distances, small town destination, and many travelers favor driving while long distances, large cities, and fewer travelers tip the balance towards flying. You’ll simply have to work out the details based on your own trip, your own budget, and your own preferences. Personally, I would drive for either of your proposed itineraries.

    You can almost guarantee that you will see snow at some time during those drives, but as I pointed out before, and as your own experience suggests, if you can afford to sit out the storm and let the road crews do their work, the highways will be open and eminently drivable in short order.


  9. Default Denver to Steamboat Springs, then Steamboat Springs to Salt Lake City in December

    I am wondering if you can give me some advice about driving in winter in these destinations. We are Australian and the only winter driving experience we have is last time we were over there in Estes Park. There was snow up in the mountains but roads were cleared and it was october. So we have not experienced real snowy weather.

    I have been pricing alot of options. Flying in and out of Steamboat or taking the shuttle from Denver. Flying is way too expensive for a family of 4. The shuttle is about $440 return but it means 4 hours stuck on a bus with young kids in tow. The other option is just hiring our own vehicle which is very reasonably priced.

    So what is the drive like if we were to go from Denver to Steamboat Springs before Christmas (around the 19th of December). (I also like the idea of being able to stop at outlet shops in Silverthorne on our way which cannot be done if taking a shuttle).

    And then driving from Steamboat Springs to Salt Lake City after Christmas (around the 26th December). What are the roads like?

    First of all, we live in the bush in Australia so driving a long distance is nothing for us, so we are used to driving alot.

    I guess the question is, what is the worst case scenario - a winter storm? That will mean delays right? Which is also why the idea of having our own car and not a flight schedule to stick to is appealing for me.

    Any advice appreciated.

    Mod note] Please do not continue to start New threads for this trip and keep to the 'One trip, One thread' policy. Thankyou.
    Last edited by Southwest Dave; 10-18-2012 at 01:08 AM. Reason: Merged threads again.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Sensible precautions and preparation.

    As has been mentioned previously, having the time to sit out any major storm is a major factor as there is just no way of predicting weather. You have a risk of weather disruption but Steamboat Springs is a major winter destination and I'm sure they will do everything possible to keep visitors visiting. The Interstates are the priority to keep clear and the country on the move, so yes you may see some disruption, but if you are able and willing to sit out a storm, you should be able to travel under your own steam.

    It's a lot different driving on an icy mountain road with poor visibility than it is to drive a long distance, it can be far more dangerous and exhausting. Once you are at a stage where you are unsure and thinkingwhether it is safe and a good idea to carry on or not, it usually isn't, that's the time to fond somewhere safe to pull over. Don't ever wander from the car if you are stuck in a storm and make sure you have plenty of gas so that you would not run out if you had to run the engine for short periods to warm the cabin.

    Here is an RTA page with some winter driving tips. You shouldn't have any major problems if you keep an eye on weather and travel conditions as you go, but you can never tell for sure so it's best to be prepared.

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