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Driving DEN to Steamboat in January...place to stop for night if needed

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

Hey guys.  We arrive in DEN at 9:00 on a Tuesday night and are renting a car....non SUV for now.  I have driven in the mountains but not sure I want to make the 3 hour drive after a long flight in from East Coast.  Does anyone have a recommendation if we want to drive halfway there, stay over somewhere and then drive the rest of the way in the morning?  Obviously everything will depend on the weather.  Thanks.

post #2 of 15
Dillon/Silverthorne

or even West Denver if you don't want to go that far and/or if you don't want to sleep so high on your first night.
post #3 of 15

^^^^^ Yep.  Assuming It's 9 PM your flight arrives, you don't really want to drive the highway north of Silverthorne at night anyway since it's not the safest road.  Silverthorne is where you get off the interstate and it turns into a two lane highway with lots of wildlife accidents.

 

If you stay in Denver definitely stay on the west side of town to avoid morning rush hour getting across town.  Search for "Denver west hotels" - it's an area right before you head up the hill that's in Lakewood / Golden, not actually Denver.

post #4 of 15
You get in at 9 (which is 11 EST), it takes time to get your luggage, and you still have to rent a car.
If you are as beat as I would be, then you should stay at a nice airport hotel and get a good night's sleep, and then get up early to beat the traffic and make the first chair at Loveland on Wednesday.
If you really feel alert, drive to Georgetown.
Don't discount the possibility of a powder day!
Ski until 2:30, and make the drive over Rabbit Ears in the daylight.
You will be there by happy hour to make the après ski scene in Steamboat.
Have a great time!
post #5 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blue Streak View Post

You get in at 9 (which is 11 EST), it takes time to get your luggage, and you still have to rent a car.
If you are as beat as I would be, then you should stay at a nice airport hotel and get a good night's sleep, and then get up early to beat the traffic ....

That's what I was thinking. You will still be on Eastern time, so a  4 am wakeup to head to Steamboat won't be a problem, and neither will traffic.

post #6 of 15

One word

 

VACATION!

 

I would be getting up at 6 and heading up to ski Loveland or some place in Summit County (planning to take Hwy 9) or to Winter Park and take Hwy 40.

It would all depend on who gets the snow, and what kind of skiers they are.

Actually, Hwy 40 is a more interesting drive, following the Fraser River down valley, then the Colorado River all the way to Kremmling.

 

There are so many great options!

post #7 of 15
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the great advice. I am going with my girlfriend who is new to skiing and we are already skiing four days in Steamboat...not sure if she will want to stop on the drive up to ski Loveland or Winter Park lol. I did ski Loveland a few years ago on the way to Breck and loved it.

I agree we'll probably stay in the Golden/West Denver area and drive up very early the next morning. So any differences mileages or safety wise taking highway 40 instead of 9? I have done the Eisenhower Tunnel thing quite a few times so I would be leaning towards taking 40 past Winter Park (who knows maybe I can convince her to stop!). Any thoughts on the two routes?

Thanks again!
post #8 of 15

do not deviate from the plan!  

 

 

In general, its faster and safer to go the 70/9/40 route. You can also stop in Kremmeling at the Big Shooters coffee shop or mexican restaurant at the 9/40 junction (from there is about 1 hour). Its a call I would make based on the weather and road conditions. CDOT has all your road info.

 

IF you do not want to stop for turns on the way up; I would still consider staying at the Airport, get a good dinner (lots of decent inexpensive places) and make an run up to Breckenridge or Frisco walk around a bit, have lunch and then head over to Steamboat early afternoon as suggested by Bluestreak. Otherwise, if the weather and roads are good, its a nice drive up and you can get into town early enough to get set up for skiing the next day, get in some rest and be ready for the next day. If the weather and roads are not good, travel in day light and make sure Rabbit Ears is open before you get pass the 70/9 junction or Kremmeling 

 

Let me know when you are coming up.  

post #9 of 15
Thread Starter 

Finndog that's a great idea (stopping in Breck to walk around).  I've been there a few times but my girlfriend has not and the town is great....we could hit Downstairs at Eric's for lunch and do some walking on Main Street.  I think the plan is to stay the first night on the west side of Denver (Golden area) and head to Breck in the AM.  Have lunch there and then head to Steamboat...Google says 103 miles.  Obviously a bit longer going to Breck but should be fun for half a day.

 

Obviously all of this is weather dependent but when isn't the weather a factor in Colorado in January! ;)

post #10 of 15

After late arrival from a flight from the east coast, I always stop for the night off the I-70 Wheatridge exit.  At least 6 motels within yards of the exit ramp.  You will wake up early as you will still be on eastern time and can be at Loveland by the time the lifts start turning.

post #11 of 15

Plus the altitude thing. Better to sleep at 5,000' the first night than at 8000' or whatever.

post #12 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by gores95 View Post
 

Finndog that's a great idea (stopping in Breck to walk around).  I've been there a few times but my girlfriend has not and the town is great....we could hit Downstairs at Eric's for lunch and do some walking on Main Street.  I think the plan is to stay the first night on the west side of Denver (Golden area) and head to Breck in the AM.  Have lunch there and then head to Steamboat...Google says 103 miles.  Obviously a bit longer going to Breck but should be fun for half a day.

 

Obviously all of this is weather dependent but when isn't the weather a factor in Colorado in January! ;)

Well ... it wasn't much the past couple of Januaries ... we hope and pray that you have an absolutely miserable drive up! ;) 

post #13 of 15

Breck is a great idea, but Downstairs at Eric's????   Take your girlfriend somewhere nicer for lunch, like anywhere!   Blue River Bistro is just down the street and would be a better way to start your trip.

post #14 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tball View Post
 

Breck is a great idea, but Downstairs at Eric's????   Take your girlfriend somewhere nicer for lunch, like anywhere!   Blue River Bistro is just down the street and would be a better way to start your trip.

LOL checked out the menu at Blue River Bistro and looks good.  I'm sold!

post #15 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by tball View Post
 

Breck is a great idea, but Downstairs at Eric's????   Take your girlfriend somewhere nicer for lunch, like anywhere!   Blue River Bistro is just down the street and would be a better way to start your trip.

If you do figure on taking her somewhere nicer, I'll second that Blue River recommendation.  Great food, good service, and while it's not unreasonably priced for dinner (they could easily charge another $10-15/plate if they were in Vail Village, Aspen, or Whistler), it's even more reasonable during the lunch hour, albeit with a slightly less fancy menu.

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