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  1. #1

    Default Denver to Durango in a day.

    We pick up our rental car at 9am Denver airport and aim to drive to Durango for the Silverton steam train ride the next morning.Can this be done in a day and which route is the best? I'm a bit scared of mountain drives,is Red Mtn.Pass really scary?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Western/Central Massachusetts

    Default Doable

    Welcome to the RoadTrip America Forum!

    The trip is certainly doable in a day, I would wager it is roughly an 8 hour drive, possibly a bit more.

    I don't know that you would be taking the Red Mountain Pass for the most direct route. Looking at the map, US-185 to US-160 would be the shorter route. The route up US-550 to I-70 may be more to your liking, if only for the portion of the route that is on the Interstate and could be easier on you if are concerned about mountain driving.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default Mass Tim's Route is about 336 miles

    Quote Originally Posted by kr005usa View Post
    Can this be done in a day and which route is the best? I'm a bit scared of mountain drives,is Red Mtn.Pass really scary?
    Summertime travel along the route Mass Tim has identified will be about seven hours. Red Mountain Pass along the Million Dollar Highway is not really that tough to drive in the summer (it is MUCH more challenging in the winter months!). Here is a field report about the Million Dollar highway and one about the steam train.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Central California

    Default South and West


    I think Mass Tim meant Hwy 285 (not 185) to Hwy 160 which is a good route. Google says this route is 6 hours 40 minutes + stops. This route has 4 passes over 9,000 feet (not bad at all, I have a friend who drove this route for the first time two weeks ago and loved it) and one over Wolf Creek which is 10,500.

    Another approach that has less up and down and may seem easier because much of it is on nearly level Interstate is I-25 south to Walsenburg, then west to Durango. It is longer - Google says this route is 7 hours + stops.

    Either way there is only one high pass to cross (Wolf Creek, mentioned above), and I wouldn't call it scary. Just be sure to downshift on the downhill side.

    If you are concerned about scary mountain driving, Red Mountain pass isn't scary, but the first part of the Million Dollar highway from Ouray south 10 or 20 miles is. Lots of sheer dropoffs, sharp turns and such.

    Craig Sheumaker
    co-author of the travel guide: America's Living History-The Early Years

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