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  1. Default Advice on driving from San Fransisco to Denver During Dec 27th - DEc 29th


    I am moving to Denver, CO for a new job from bay area. I Need advice on choosing whether to drive or not during December as car shipping and flights are expensive. My probable days for the travel would be Dec 27th - Dec 29th. I read a few blogs which said, I-80 is not the best route in December. So, my alternate route will be I-5 to Vegas, I-15 to Zion and then I-70 to Denver. I also head that I-15 is scenic. I have a 6 cylinder rear wheel drive car.

    Is it advisable to drive during that time of the year? I am also planning to drive only during the day. So, please advise on the stops and laces I can find accommodation.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Welcome to RTA!

    You won't know till the day you leave which routes will be in better shape. In general, you should plan on taking the most direct route and have extra time to get off the road and wait for things to clear if necessary.

    I-70 is no picnic in the winter either - it goes through even higher mountains than I-80. If you had to, you could take I-40 to ABQ, then I-25 - but that adds about 250 miles which is half a day or more.

    In good weather in daylight only allowing for gas, food, and rest stops, you have a full 3 day drive going via I-80/I-25. Where you stop all depends on how far you get each day. You will never be more than an hour or two from a hotel.

    Do you have a smartphone? Get the app and have a good paper map with you.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Unpredictable.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    The problem is is that it's just not possible to predict what the weather will be doing at the exact time you travel until 2 or 3 days before you set out. With 3 days for the journey you do have a bit of a cushion to sit out a bad storm if need be as it could be done in 2.5 days but I wouldn't decide on a route until you have the up to date weather forecast and road conditions info. If the conditions are favourable then I80 looks to be the quickest route although you do have the option of I80 to SLC and then south on I15 to US6 to I70 as well as heading south and through Vegas which is the longest of those 3 choices.

    Interstates are a priority toi keep clear and traffic on the move but in the event of a major storm you might have to take time out from the road while it passes and the road crews go about getting it in a safe state again, so having an extra day as a cushion would be advisable. Where you stop will depend on route choice and conditions, for example if you had fair weather and an early start and were on I80 you could get as far as Elko or even Wendover if you felt OK. It would be about 12 hours on the road with rest breaks to Wendover, but you would have covered almost half the distance giving you a couple of easier days with a little time to spare.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Daylight hours only?

    Quote Originally Posted by Southwest Dave View Post
    It would be about 12 hours on the road with rest breaks to Wendover, but you would have covered almost half the distance giving you a couple of easier days with a little time to spare.
    With the shorter daylight hours at that time of year, you could be looking at starting or ending (or both), in the dark. With your (sensible) desire to drive only in daylight hours, you may need to set your destinations at less ambitious distances.


  5. #5


    In December, winter weather is possible on about any route you choose. By December 22, you should be able to get a pretty good handle on what the weather will be by utilizing the Weather Channel's five day forecasts and basing your route on what the weather forecasts are. If feasible, I would recommend the most direct route of 1-80 to US 50 to I-70. I-80 through the Sierras via Donner Pass is a beautiful drive. US 50 is a lonely but interesting road and I-70 in western Utah is very scenic. In Colorado, I-70 through Glenwood Canyon is perhaps the most scenic stretch of Interstate in the country.

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