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  1. Default Los Angeles to Denver in January

    Hi all,

    Thanks v. much to all those who have taken the time to post on RTA - it's a great resource! However, I was wondering if I could tap you for a little more help?

    My girlfriend and I are flying into LA from London on 12/29, starting a week of skiing in Vail on 01/05 and flying out of Denver on 01/12. Although we'll be back in summer for two weeks with more time to see the sights, we'd like to take the opportunity and do a road trip in our first week. We're mulling over two options and I'd be most grateful for your advice on the second, driving to Vail:

    1- 12/29: Day in LA
    2- 12/30: Day in LA
    3- 12/31: Drive to Vegas (287m)
    4- 01/01: Day in Vegas
    5- 01/02: Drive through Death Valley (278m)
    6- 01/03: Drive to Page via Zion (272m)
    7- 01/04: Drive to Durango via Monument Valley, Mesa Verde (260m)
    8- 01/05: Drive to Vail (308m)

    - Is this do-able?
    - Have I missed anything?
    - Will we encounter any specific weather-related problems getting to Vail?
    - SUV or saloon? (Both are available for LAX - EGE one-way)
    - Day 4: We were planning to see the Grand Canyon from the air - is this a good idea?
    - Day 5: Could you suggest an itinerary? Should we continue to on towards St. George/Zion that night?

    Option 1 is the same to Day 5, then perhaps heading elsewhere and then back to LA and catching a flight to Denver. Please do let me know if I am being over-optimistic and this would be a better bet!

    Thanks so much! Matt

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

    Default a thought or two

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    First, if you're going to Death Valley, it would make much more sense to do it as part of your LA to Vegas day. As it stands right now, you'd be going west from Vegas to see DV, when everything else you've got planned after vegas is to the east. I'll also say that I-15 could be quite busy on New Years Eve with many Los Anglians going to Vegas for the celebrations there.

    You should be prepared to deal with snow on this trip, especially since a large portion of it will be on 2 lane mountain roads. Since much of Mesa Verde is inaccessable during winter, you might be better off staying closer to I-15 and seeing Bryce and Arches on your way towards Vail.

  3. Default

    Sage words Michael - thanks a lot!

    Yes, I appreciate the Death Valley point though given its New Years Eve that day, would we still have time to drive out to death valley then into Las Vegas? That said, we're on no rush to be in Vegas before the evening...

    If we cut out Mesa Verde, would the rest of the route via HW160 be ok?

    Thanks again!

  4. #4

    Default Durango to Vail?

    Hello Mattp-

    I have little experience and nothing to offer regarding the Death Valley and Vegas segments.

    I can confirm the distance from US 160, elevation gained from there, and time of year can mean seeing little of Mesa Verde.

    US 160 should be a great drive from Monument Valley to Durango, but what is your thought for Durango to Vail? You must either run east, then north, or north, then east. Staying on US 160 east of Durango will take you through a pass before you get to US 285, then going north on US 285 to US 24 will take you over Tennessee Pass at just under 11,000 feet. The latter choice, north then east, takes you over Red Mountain Pass at nearly 11,000' (and, I think, at least one other major pass--it's been a while and I don't have good maps before me) before getting to Montrose. At Montrose, you'll fade northwest towards Grand Junction and I-70, or go east through Gunnison and over a high pass (9,000'?) before reaching US 24 at Buena Vista, thence north over Tennessee Pass. I mention this not to strike fear with weather conditions, but to say keep your eye on the weather, have good maps, and be ready to phone ahead for conditions in the passes. Colorado has webcams in many passes and you can see for yourself what's ahead if you can get access to the internet while en route.

    Of all the routes, the one that's the longest: Durango to Grand Junction, then I-70 to Vail, is the route most likely to be clear of snow and free from lengthy delays, as excepting Red Mountain (and the other?) pass just north of Durango, this route runs the valleys at much lower elevations, all the way to Vail. Plus, if you go this way, you can stop at Glenwood Hot Springs, right on I-70, and enjoy a soak, with only another 70-90 minutes or so to go to Vail.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default Yes, do it on the way

    Quote Originally Posted by mattp View Post
    Yes, I appreciate the Death Valley point though given its New Years Eve that day, would we still have time to drive out to death valley then into Las Vegas?
    Depending upon how you approach Death Valley, it is about 2-3 hours to DV from LA. What I suggest is that you get an early start on the day and then drive I-15 to US-395 to CA-190 (up by the Owens Dry Lake) and then east into the park. You can spend the rest of the day in Death Valley and then it is about a two hour drive to Las Vegas from the HQ at Furnace Creek Ranch.


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