So which way is better through Colorado? I have 14 days to make a 4800 mile loop from Sacramento to Illinois to Lake Superior and back to Sacramento. I am debating whether to use Hwy 50 or I-70 when I cross Colorado heading East. Which is better for scenic viewpoints? I assume the interstate is faster--is it faster enough to merit taking it instead of 50?
I-70 is definitely faster
But both are spectacular drives. The two roads are different in major ways west of I-25 -- east of I-25, not much difference in scenery although there's more to do on the Plains closer to US50 than I-70.
(Sorry -- I wrote this as if you were driving westbound, just reverse everything order-wise!)
From what I remember about each, I-70 is greener and is perhaps more characteristic of what people think of when they think "Rocky Mountains," at least between Denver and Glenwood Springs (west of that, it dries out a lot and the trees get thinner). I especially like the town of Georgetown and it's famous railroad "loop."
On US50, you'd follow the Arkansas River for quite a distance, and cross the state's middle high desert country around Gunnison, all punctuated by a snow-covered mountain range or two (or three). If you make a side trip to Colorado Spgs, be sure to take the drive up Pike's Peak -- you end up above tree line with a great view!
Two-lane roads in Colorado are slow-going for a couple of reasons -- steeper grades and tighter curves limit your speed, as well as slowing for the frequent town or village. If you're really in a hurry, best stick to I-70, but if you can spare a little time -- you can't beat two-lane blacktop! Bob
I-70 and Route 50
Both indeed are speactacular drives, and route 50 is indeed slower. I-70 on the west side of the Rockies is perhaps the most beautiful interstate I've been on...you go down a long canyon and the freeway is built right on the inside of the canyon.
Looks like I'll take the interstate. I don't have a massive amount of time to waste, and if I-70 is that spectacular, it will do quite nicely. Although I do plan to take a detour to go over Loveland Pass.
It will be open, but not a speed run!
Loveland Pass is kept open as much as possible, because of the haz mat truck route -- but it is likely to be a slooooowwww drive (albeit gorgeous)!
Yeah, I figured as much
But it's not a very long detour, a mountain pass at 11,992 feet of altitude is surely too cool to be missed, and a road trip without any detours at all is a poor one indeed.
One of the most spectacular photos I've ever taken was on that road! I think it was from way above the tunnel on the east side, looking down toward the tunnel entrance. Neat road!
Is there a parking area at the top of that pass, similar to the ones at Berthoud Pass, Muddy Pass and Rabbit Ears Pass (all on US 40)?
Sometimes I remember
and sometimes I don't...
I KNOW there are pull-outs where you can stop to take photos (because I did), but I am not certain they are at the point of the pass, or before. I'd bet there is one at the top, though.
in case y'all are wondering
Other stops along my trip will include Springfield, IL (Lincoln's home and burial place), Lake Superior along the shore of Michigan's U.P., Mt. Rushmore, and Yellowstone Nat'l Park.