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Best route from Aspen to Telluride [Christmas holidays]

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Hi, we are from the UK and booked to ski in  Aspen for 4 days then driving on Christmas Eve to Telluride could someone suggest the best route to drive. Thanks.
post #2 of 14

This is the fastest way to Tride but if the roads are bad I would take I-70 to Juction and then down.

 

http://www.mapquest.com/maps?2y=GB#c570ea026fcec04d5759fd57

post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 


Hi, thanks for that.

 

We will be travelling in daylight, what would class as bad weather ??, would that road be well ploughed??  or if there is snow I guess it would just be better to go the I-70 which would be just cruising

 

 We are hiring  from Aspen airport so I guess the car/mpv will have snow tyres ??

 

Thanks

post #4 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by thunderer View Post



 We are hiring  from Aspen airport so I guess the car/mpv will have snow tyres ??

I wouldn't count on that. Very few rentals in the USA have snow tires.

That being said, most times, you don't need them. I always take Hwy133 thru Carbondale and Paonia. There is only one pass and it's not a bad one.
post #5 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by SHREDHEAD View Post


I wouldn't count on that. Very few rentals in the USA have snow tires.

That being said, most times, you don't need them. I always take Hwy133 thru Carbondale and Paonia. There is only one pass and it's not a bad one.

 

Technically two passes- Dallas Divide from Ridgway.

 

But both are pretty mild (and tend to only hold snow after a storm on the very upper reaches).

post #6 of 14
Check cotrip.org for current road conditions and live cam shots of the roads.

Absolute worst case you can avoid all passes via Grand Junction, Whitewater, Gateway, Naturita, Norwood to Telluride, but Dallas Divide would have to be really awful to take that long route, though 141 south of Gateway is beautiful.
post #7 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by SHREDHEAD View Post


I wouldn't count on that. Very few rentals in the USA have snow tires.

 

That's right, the rental will almost certainly have "all season" tires.  Snow tires are better but very rare.  All season are way better than summer/performance tires. 

 

In general, all season tires will work just fine in all but rapid 6"+ snow storms.

post #8 of 14
Thread Starter 

Thanks for all your help,   I think best plan if  it is snowing when we leave Aspen we will go the long way round, if a nice day we will go for the quick route. !!! 

post #9 of 14

I would call the rental agency in Aspen directly and see if they have any cars with snow tires. Some do, but only on certain vehicles and there may be a surcharge. Can't hurt to ask, and if the surcharge is reasonable it is more than worth the piece of mind.

post #10 of 14

This really isn't something I would worry about.  I have done this drive a few times, with the difference being Durango- Aspen instead of Aspen-Telluride.  Durango-Aspen means Million Dollar Highway, one of the sketchiest highways in the US bar-none.

 

 

Imagine this in Winter, and just so happens this gets a lot more snow than almost all the passes off I-70.  Got caught in a freak white-out blizzard in this last year, and I mean white out. Could see absolutely nothing but white at 2:00 in the afternoon. Creeping along praying to find a reflector to tell me where the road is. When I finally found one, I discovered that I was nearly sideways on the road, in the wrong lane, 3 feet from the precipice, looking at the reflector on the wrong side of the road.

 

This is the kind of pass people write songs about, and it happens that this pass does have a song- an appropriate one...

 

 

Anyways, thread drift off.

 

McClure will be clear immediately after a storm.  Only the first few miles out of Marble can be expected to be snowpack.  On the West side, you quickly transition to desert. Most of this drive is through desert. Dallas Divide is even milder. Even the day after anything other than a massive storm (which you would want to just stay put and ski- screw the reservation!) worst case is you have a few miles of snowpack road that you take cautiously on the all-seasons your rental has before getting back to clear roads and smooth sailing.

 

If for some reason you get that giant storm, and for some reason you decide not to ski it out, head downvalley to Glenwood.  Once you get to Rifle on I-70 (20 miles West of Glenwood) you transition to desert and no snow. This route is about an hour longer.

 

In fact, CO 82 in a snowstorm might be scarier than McClure Pass- Aspen drivers mixed with tourist drivers on that road have a reputation...

post #11 of 14

At that time of year in that part of Colorado, given the specific places you plan to go, you need to explicitly rent a vehicle with four-wheel drive and all-season tires (normally, snow tires are not available on rental vehicles). Personally, I would specify an SUV. That may be difficult at that high-demand time of year, so you should make inquiries now to ensure one is reserved for you. This is not something to skimp on.

post #12 of 14
Thread Starter 

I will give the rental company a ring.

post #13 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by raspritz View Post
 

At that time of year in that part of Colorado, given the specific places you plan to go, you need to explicitly rent a vehicle with four-wheel drive and all-season tires

 

I don't want to start a big debate but wanted to add a 2nd perspective... 

 

A lot of people agree with raspitz, but there are also a lot of people who disagree.  I'm in the latter group.  I do several trips to CO every year for the last 30.  I've never rented a 4X4 and never had a problem.  Sometimes big storms do close/restrict the roads but that's very rare and closures are usually pretty short. 

 

So I wouldn't worry if you can't get a 4X4 (or don't want to spend the cash).  Worst case, you'd have to delay the drive a day.

post #14 of 14

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by nathanvg View Post
 

 

I don't want to start a big debate but wanted to add a 2nd perspective...

 

A lot of people agree with raspitz, but there are also a lot of people who disagree.  I'm in the latter group.  I do several trips to CO every year for the last 30.  I've never rented a 4X4 and never had a problem.  Sometimes big storms do close/restrict the roads but that's very rare and closures are usually pretty short.

 

So I wouldn't worry if you can't get a 4X4 (or don't want to spend the cash).  Worst case, you'd have to delay the drive a day.

 

I agree.

 

The OP didn't say whether they were flying into Aspen or DIA. If Aspen, I would say save the money. Absolute worst case is you take the I-70 route.

 

If driving from DIA, Eisenhower and Vail passes tend to see nastier conditions (and traffic) than McClure- Marble to Delta is DESERTED and most is dry in winter.

 

Even if driving the I-70 corridor, FWD+all season tires will be good 98% of the time the road is open. Your chances of getting one of the bad days is really remote.

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