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From Snowmass to Telluride

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 

Hi,

 

I`m starting to plan my 2016 ski trip and, as usual, I have a question for the epic ski community.

 

I will be skiing Aspen / Snowmass and Telluride (will be my first time in T-ride). I will travel by car (a SUV) from Snowmass to Telluride and back to Eagle Airport during January.

 

Using Google maps it appears to me that there are to possibilities. Either using I-70 or CO-133. While C-133 seems to be faster, I`m familiar with I-70 which I have used a couple of times before from Denver to Aspen.

 

Which road is better during winter? Is it safe to travel during the evening? Meaning, leaving Snowmass 4:30 pm after the ski day and reaching Telluride by night.

 

In addition, any tip to enjoy Telluride is welcome.

 

Thank you in advance

 

Hugo

post #2 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by TanoB View Post
 

Hi,

 

I`m starting to plan my 2016 ski trip and, as usual, I have a question for the epic ski community.

 

I will be skiing Aspen / Snowmass and Telluride (will be my first time in T-ride). I will travel by car (a SUV) from Snowmass to Telluride and back to Eagle Airport during January.

 

Using Google maps it appears to me that there are to possibilities. Either using I-70 or CO-133. While C-133 seems to be faster, I`m familiar with I-70 which I have used a couple of times before from Denver to Aspen.

 

Which road is better during winter? Is it safe to travel during the evening? Meaning, leaving Snowmass 4:30 pm after the ski day and reaching Telluride by night.

 

In addition, any tip to enjoy Telluride is welcome.

 

Thank you in advance

 

Hugo


Early or late January?  Do you realize the Aspen Gathering starts Feb. 3?

post #3 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by TanoB View Post

 

 

Which road is better during winter? Is it safe to travel during the evening? Meaning, leaving Snowmass 4:30 pm after the ski day and reaching Telluride by night.

 

 

 

 

133 thru Paonia is much shorter, but you do cross over McClure Pass.  It's normally pretty good and my normal route.   550 is much lower and would be the preferred route back to Eagle or during a winter storm warning.

 

Paonia is a nice little hippy town, that might make a nice dinner stop. They grow some of Colorado's finest produce* and the best peaches and nectarines I've ever eaten.

post #4 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post


Early or late January?  Do you realize the Aspen Gathering starts Feb. 3?
I'm leaving Aspen by the 22nd. Unfortunately I cannot stay until February
post #5 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SHREDHEAD View Post


133 thru Paonia is much shorter, but you do cross over McClure Pass.  It's normally pretty good and my normal route.   550 is much lower and would be the preferred route back to Eagle or during a winter storm warning.

Paonia is a nice little hippy town, that might make a nice dinner stop. They grow some of Colorado's finest produce* and the best peaches and nectarines I've ever eaten.
Thank you Shredhead
post #6 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by TanoB View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post


Early or late January?  Do you realize the Aspen Gathering starts Feb. 3?
I'm leaving Aspen by the 22nd. Unfortunately I cannot stay until February


Hope you'll take a few pics and do a trip report as some stoke for those going to the Gathering. :)

 

Have a good trip!

post #7 of 23
Mcclure Pass is pretty mild and the Crystal River valley is one of the prettiest spots in Colorado. Go that way unless things are truly nasty. On the West side of Mcclure, you transition to steppe and then desert, so even if the pass has some snow, the road should get clear in a few miles.
post #8 of 23
McLure pass may be a bit more direct, but it is slower, especially if the roads are icy.

Time wise it is a wash, if you have some daylight it is prettier but in the dark, deer and elk are serious hazards on the way to Paonia, the interstate and 550 would be less stressful.

:2cents
post #9 of 23


^^^^^^

 

As mountain passes go McLure Pass is not bad, but driving at night on unfamiliar roads in the winter, I'm with Buttinski.  Take the main vein and it'll be much less white knuckle and more enjoyable.

post #10 of 23

Thanks TanoB for the question.

I may do the same route after a day of skiing at Telluride and then drive that evening to a motel in Aspen to attend the Gathering.  For main vein do you guys mean Telluride to 550/50 to Grand Junction and then I70 to Glenwood Springs and 82 to Aspen?  

McClure Pass is only about elevation 8800' and I'd love to see the scenery, but not much point since I'll be driving in darkness and it's only 15 minutes faster (4:15 vs. 4:30 hrs) in good conditions over the route via 50 thru Grand Junction.

Google suggested a longer, third route from Telluride via 141 thru Grand Junction, any reason to consider that?

post #11 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamesj View Post

 For main vein do you guys mean Telluride to 550/50 to Grand Junction and then I70 to Glenwood Springs and 82 to Aspen?  

McClure Pass is only about elevation 8800' and I'd love to see the scenery, but not much point since I'll be driving in darkness and it's only 15 minutes faster (4:15 vs. 4:30 hrs) in good conditions over the route via 50 thru Grand Junction.

Google suggested a longer, third route from Telluride via 141 thru Grand Junction, any reason to consider that?

 

Yes, that's what I consider the main vein.  You do not have to go into GJ, just take the Hwy 141 cutoff, which is the obvious shorter route.  You'll  still see plenty of gas stations and restaurants before hitting I-70 if you need them.

post #12 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamesj View Post
 

Thanks TanoB for the question.

I may do the same route after a day of skiing at Telluride and then drive that evening to a motel in Aspen to attend the Gathering.  For main vein do you guys mean Telluride to 550/50 to Grand Junction and then I70 to Glenwood Springs and 82 to Aspen?  

McClure Pass is only about elevation 8800' and I'd love to see the scenery, but not much point since I'll be driving in darkness and it's only 15 minutes faster (4:15 vs. 4:30 hrs) in good conditions over the route via 50 thru Grand Junction.

Google suggested a longer, third route from Telluride via 141 thru Grand Junction, any reason to consider that?

141 is the shortcut, It may be called Grand Junction, but you do not need to pass through any of it get off I70 at Clifton and go south to 550.

 

If you want to stop for a bite to eat, Delta has a couple of great Mexican eateries across the main street from one another, one is called Leon's if I remember right.  Grand Junction or Montrose will be a time sink if you leave the main way through tho there are fast food joints in Montrose.

post #13 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Buttinski View Post
 

141 is the shortcut, It may be called Grand Junction, but you do not need to pass through any of it get off I70 at Clifton and go south to 550.

 

If you want to stop for a bite to eat, Delta has a couple of great Mexican eateries across the main street from one another, one is called Leon's if I remember right.  Grand Junction or Montrose will be a time sink if you leave the main way through tho there are fast food joints in Montrose.

 

There is plenty of gas, chain restaurants, etc. off of the CO 141 "Cutoff" between US 50 and I-70. Most of Grand Valley is pretty well developed.

 

As for McClure, I am surprised that Google thinks I-70/US50 is only 17 minutes longer. I've done both ways and US 50 certainly seems like a much more circuitous route.

 

BUT, the McClure pass route from Delta-Carbondale is VERY isolated and VERY unpopulated. Most of the towns between Delta and Carbondale lack services like gas stations. The Crystal River is awesome, but I can see the argument that driving an unfamiliar road in a rental car at night through a nice deer/elk strike area is problematic.

 

Also probably worth noting that the West side of McClure runs through a ton of mud and siltstone cliffs that love to disintegrate and leave giant rocks in the road. The CDOT presence up there is pretty minimal, so if a rock comes down after the sun goes down, it probably won't get addressed well into the next day. There is usually some softball-size rocks littering the road. During my last trip through there, on the upgrade, I found a Volkswagen sized rock in my lane that suddenly loomed out of the gloom, with no marker save for a single road cone that somebody, probably a fellow traveler, stuck on top of the rock. It required a panic brake. 

 

So yes, on further reflection, anyone not entirely comfortable should probably stick to I-70.

post #14 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamesj View Post
 

Thanks TanoB for the question.

I may do the same route after a day of skiing at Telluride and then drive that evening to a motel in Aspen to attend the Gathering.  For main vein do you guys mean Telluride to 550/50 to Grand Junction and then I70 to Glenwood Springs and 82 to Aspen?  

McClure Pass is only about elevation 8800' and I'd love to see the scenery, but not much point since I'll be driving in darkness and it's only 15 minutes faster (4:15 vs. 4:30 hrs) in good conditions over the route via 50 thru Grand Junction.

Google suggested a longer, third route from Telluride via 141 thru Grand Junction, any reason to consider that?

 

Ok, I think there is some confusion here with the responses you have received, because multiple routes use CO 141. 

 

Google suggests three routes.

 

1. Via CO 133 over McClure Pass.

2. Via I-70 and Us 50, using CO 141 for about ten miles through Clifton to "cut off" between I-70 and Us 50.

3. Via I-70 to CO 141- continuing on 141 past US 50. This takes you almost to the Utah state line, through Gateway, Uravan, and connects with CO 145  to head East towards Placerville and finally Telluride. This route skips Montrose entirely.

 

Route 1 is fastest, but through a very isolated area.

Route 2 is slightly longer, but is the "civilized" route with services and multi-lane highways for most of the journey.

3. Route three is much longer, and takes you through some of the most isolated parts of Colorado that still have roads through them. The only things that can be said to favor this route is you get to experience a lot of Colorado Plateau type terrain of deserts and dry canyons and red rock. But you are REALLY isolated, it takes much longer, and there isn't really a compelling reason to make the detour.

post #15 of 23

Thanks for feedback and tips.  Third route seems way out of way esp since not any "safer".  Good info. Looking at more maps I see that late Joe Cocker's ranch was near Paonia.  :beercheer:

There is a chance I could do this drive during the day and if it's clear will probably try 133 since I'll be in a Subaru.

post #16 of 23

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jamesj View Post
 

Thanks for feedback and tips.  Third route seems way out of way esp since not any "safer".  Good info. Looking at more maps I see that late Joe Cocker's ranch was near Paonia.  :beercheer:

There is a chance I could do this drive during the day and if it's clear will probably try 133 since I'll be in a Subaru.

 

They just cut the price. You should pick it up for a Gathering.

http://www.zillow.com/homes/for_sale/Crawford-CO/pmf,pf_pt/2103304798_zpid/10984_rid/zest_sort/38.998908,-107.073441,38.164795,-108.858719_rect/9_zm/?3col=true

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WzHfMrPRFdw

post #17 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Buttinski View Post
 

141 is the shortcut, It may be called Grand Junction, but you do not need to pass through any of it get off I70 at Clifton and go south to 550.

 

If you want to stop for a bite to eat, Delta has a couple of great Mexican eateries across the main street from one another, one is called Leon's if I remember right.  Grand Junction or Montrose will be a time sink if you leave the main way through tho there are fast food joints in Montrose.

Starvin' Arvins! They're all over that route.

post #18 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by segbrown View Post
 

Starvin' Arvins! They're all over that route.

LOL, so are Denny's.  I prefer the local mom and pop shops to the national chains.  They own their joint, so food and service is better.

post #19 of 23

I've actually never eaten at Starvin' Arvins. It's on my bucket list, though. I'm always in a big hurry driving through there, stop only for gas and toilet, carry munchies in the car. One of these days.........

post #20 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by segbrown View Post
 

I've actually never eaten at Starvin' Arvins. It's on my bucket list, though. I'm always in a big hurry driving through there, stop only for gas and toilet, carry munchies in the car. One of these days.........

It is difficult to just let go and take an extra few minutes to relax and enjoy a meal on the road.  It helps to remember an entree at Starvin Arvin's or a mom and pop joint is going for about a third of one at a resort.

 

But Starvin Arvin's is incrementally better than Denny's, The Stone House, or Camp Robber in Montrose are great alternatives.

post #21 of 23

Going down I-70 may be a better option given you are leaving at 4:30. Granted 133 is a beautiful drive but may want to wait and see what conditions are at time of travel. It will be a slower drive given its narrow mountainous road vs I-70. Regardless, the drive through CO is magical regardless of which route you take. Enjoy!

post #22 of 23

It's sad seeing Joe Cocker's empty house for sale, but glad the guy got to live in such a beautiful place for a nice chunk of time before he left this world.  He was a tremendous and unorthodox singing talent.  I got to see him in concert about a half dozen years ago.

post #23 of 23
Thread Starter 
Thank you all for the information. I'm flying on the 13th and it seems it is going to be a good season
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