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Driving to Telluride from Utah

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

I am planning to go skiing in SLC area in December and going to some of the National Parks in Utah during my stay. Just noted that Telluride is only about 3 hours drive from Moab on Hwy45.

 

Just wonder what the road condition will be like.(normal December weather), is it recommended?

 

Your opinion is most appreciated.

post #2 of 12

That road is extremely twisty, up and down, narrow and winds through some fairly tight canyons. It is a very beautiful drive, but I do not think I would recommend it if there is snow on the road.  I have driven it in winter (SLC to T-ride) without a problem, but the road was clear.  It is a considerably longer down through Monticello, Cortez and over Lizard Head Pass (which is not a bad one), but an easier drive if the roads are bad.  So check the CDOT road reports from Moab before making the decision. Hwy 45  does not get a lot of traffic, especially in the winter.

post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 

Many thanks.

post #4 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by mudfoot View Post
 

That road is extremely twisty, up and down, narrow and winds through some fairly tight canyons. It is a very beautiful drive, but I do not think I would recommend it if there is snow on the road.  I have driven it in winter (SLC to T-ride) without a problem, but the road was clear.  It is a considerably longer down through Monticello, Cortez and over Lizard Head Pass (which is not a bad one), but an easier drive if the roads are bad.  So check the CDOT road reports from Moab before making the decision. Hwy 45  does not get a lot of traffic, especially in the winter.

 

It is probably worth noting that most of that drive is through high desert where snowfall should be pretty minimal and melt-off should come quickly.

 

Lizard Head, on the other time, while not a terribly bad pass, gets quite a bit of snow and could be much worse in inclement weather. 

 

I agree that taking a windy, snowy road through some of the most desolate parts of UT and CO is something not to take lightly- but chances are the road will be just fine. 

post #5 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scavenger View Post
 

I am planning to go skiing in SLC area in December and going to some of the National Parks in Utah during my stay. Just noted that Telluride is only about 3 hours drive from Moab on Hwy45.

Google Maps is showing that as Hwy 46 (and then 90 on the Colorado side). 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mudfoot View Post
 

That road is extremely twisty, up and down, narrow and winds through some fairly tight canyons. It is a very beautiful drive, but I do not think I would recommend it if there is snow on the road.  I have driven it in winter (SLC to T-ride) without a problem, but the road was clear.  It is a considerably longer down through Monticello, Cortez and over Lizard Head Pass (which is not a bad one), but an easier drive if the roads are bad.  So check the CDOT road reports from Moab before making the decision. Hwy 45  does not get a lot of traffic, especially in the winter.

 

I agree with Mudfoot that the road through the LaSals is great in good driving conditions, but a bit iffy if there's snow or ice. The alternate route through Monticello and Dolores (you needn't go quite as far as Cortez) adds a half hour in clear conditions, but it's probably the better bet for typical winter conditions--Lizard Head is plowed/cindered aggressively, so you should be ok in any but the worst storms. And Lizard Head is routinely patrolled/more heavily driven, whereas the road through the La Sals can get pretty lonely.

post #6 of 12

But will Telluride be worth the ride in December?

post #7 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by crank View Post

But will Telluride be worth the ride in December?

Inasmuch as SLC will be? Good bet in this El Niño if you are betting.

Trips like this always come down to comfort traveling in remote areas. For starters, I think that there are significant swaths sans cell phone coverage, although I haven't been down that way since 2012. The more my vehicle was geared towards remote travel, the more comfortable I would be. A rental with highway tires less so. That's just in the Book of Odds of the Unexpected.

I'm not sure how familiar the OP is with southern Utah, or where you are coming from. I think it is an awesome idea.
post #8 of 12

Moab to Telluride is one of the great drives.  If there's snow in Telluride and not on the roads I'd do it.  If not I wouldn't.

post #9 of 12

Just having skied Telluride one week which was last Feb in a low snow year... but have heard it is best to ski there late season as it takes a while to fill in.  Have skied SLK areas several times early season and always lucked out snow and open terrain-wise.

 

I drove from Moab to Grand Junction one time and that was an easy desert drive.  Almost no cell phone signal out there...that was 10 years a go though.

 

Since OP is driving he can go or not depending on conditions and desire to ramble around the southwest.  Telluride is a cool town and great mountain - well worth visiting if in the neighborhood.

post #10 of 12

If it is snowing and you really want to get there and stay on maintained and not so desolate roads you can drive to Grand Junction and then head south on Hwy 50 and Hwy 550 to Ridgway.  Take 62 up and over Dallas Divide and then 145 up to Telluride.  I am only suggesting this route based on maintained and not as desolate. 

post #11 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by New2Utah View Post
 

Google Maps is showing that as Hwy 46 (and then 90 on the Colorado side). 

 

 

I agree with Mudfoot that the road through the LaSals is great in good driving conditions, but a bit iffy if there's snow or ice. The alternate route through Monticello and Dolores (you needn't go quite as far as Cortez) adds a half hour in clear conditions, but it's probably the better bet for typical winter conditions--Lizard Head is plowed/cindered aggressively, so you should be ok in any but the worst storms. And Lizard Head is routinely patrolled/more heavily driven, whereas the road through the La Sals can get pretty lonely.


Not to mention that you can visit Canyonlands, Mexican Hat (gooseneck bend), and the Monument Valley if the snow is lousy in T-Ride.  Or, for that matter, do both.

 

Mike

post #12 of 12
Thread Starter 

Thank you all for the comment.

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