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  1. Default Driving through Colorado in November?

    Hi all

    We will be doing a road trip in november from Chicago to LA, but I'm worried about driving in Colorado. My planned route leaves Amarillo tx on the 7th and arrives at grand canyon village on the evening of the 9th. I'd like to go up through Colorado springs, maybe Denver but not set on it then across to Grand Junction then down to the canyon.

    I will be hiring the car from Chicago so I'm concerned about the traction laws/ if our car will be any good in colorado weather or if its just to risky. Is there a safe route across Colorado? I'd just like to see some of the scenery in colorado rather than drive through new mexico.

    I should add we are Australian and have zero snowy weather experience..

    The other route i can work out is the 50 straight across to Grand Junction.

    Being safe which way should I go? Is the weather as bad as everyone makes it out to be or am I paranoid?

    Thank you in advance

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    It's always hard to provide solid advice, when you're only looking at a small section of your overall trip. But having said that, I don't really follow the logic of your plan. I just don't understand while you'd go all the way down to Amarillo, and then way back north to Colorado - as part of a trip from Chicago to LA. That's just a whole lot of zig-zagging.

    It also doesn't appear as though you have much time. Amarillo to GC is a day and a half drive by itself. Going all the way up to Grand Junction nearly doubles your miles, and means that you'd have very little time to do anything other than just drive.

    With the time you've got available, I think if you want to do Colorado, you should really just focus on the very southern part - head up from Albuquerque or Santa Fe towards Durango, check out Mesa Verde National Park and Monument Valley, before heading onto GC.

    Of course, you might also take another look at all of the scenic spots that are right near I-40 in New Mexico and Northern Arizona.

    As far as the weather - yes, you're being a bit paranoid. First of all, it's entirely possible you won't see any snow, or will only have to deal with a little bit of it while crossing a mountain pass or two. There is no "safe route" across Colorado, because there really are no dangerous options. (People do drive across the state all year long - plus they have to get to the ski resorts!) You really just need to pay attention to the weather forecasts and the conditions. There is a chance that you'd see a storm that would block your path, and in that case, you're probably best off waiting for conditions to improve, which might delay your plans for a day.

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


    As Michael mentioned, just seeing a part of your plan and not knowing how much time you actually have for the Road trip between Chicago and LA makes it difficult to offer meaningful advice. Is there a reason for going down to Amarillo ? Why not just head towards Colorado Springs and across Colorado into Southern Utah where you could possibly visit Arches and Canyonlands and then drive down through Monument valley to Grand canyon. These are just a couple of other options to Michael's from thousands, so tell us a bit more about your plans and interests and we will be in a better position to help.

  4. Default

    The idea was to do route 66 however Albuquerque doesn't appeal to me all that much but Colorado does. We're in Chicago on the 31st for 3 days then St Louis, Springfield, Oklahoma city, Amarillo, 1 day each. The original itinerary I was going to do put us in Albuquerque for 3 nights so I booked Grand canyon for the 9th. So I have a few days to fill in between there, I'm open to suggestions. The southern colorado option sounds pretty good

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.


    From Amarillo you could overnight in Colorado Springs and then again in Durango or Cortez. US50 is a nice drive over the continental divide at Monarch pass and through Currecanti Nat Rec area and you could take a quick detour to Black canyon of the Gunnison. The drive south on US550 through the mountain towns of Ouray and Silverton to Durango is quite spectacular. On the way to GC you could stop at Four corners monument, a bit tacky but the only place where you can get a photo of each of your limbs in 4 different States at the same time. You could then take US163 through Monument valley to the GC. If you took a more direct route to Durango or Cortez you could visit Mesa Verde as Michael suggested, but to be honest I would be more tempted by the drive along US50 and 550 which includes the scenic section known as the 'Million dollar Highway'. Of course you will have to keep an eye on weather conditions and adjust accordingly, the good thing about travelling this time of year is you shouldn't need advanced bookings so you can have a plan 'B' as back up and even a plan 'C' and so on.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Be weary.

    Chris, you don't mention in which State you reside, but unless you have some mountain experience I would be weary of attempting US550, especially in wet, or even a slight snow fall. Yes, it is a spectacular drive, but definitely think twice if you do not have mountain experience..... which, unless you live in the Kosciusko area, is hard to get downunder.


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