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Denver to Steamboat Drive?

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
I know someone who is going to Steamboat this winter and he is thinking about flying into Denver and doing the drive from Denver to Streamboat (the local airport isn't an option)

How long of a drive is it (realistically) - do the roads close often due to weather? : What is the drive like (is it one lane winding roads or nice, wide freeways)?

Thanks!
J
post #2 of 17
The drive from the airport to Steamboat is probably close to 4 hrs... a little under if you're willing to push it. The roads really aren't that bad until you get right before Steamboat on the pass... but before then, you should be OK. I-70 is a major highway- he'd take that about half way, and then after that its one-lane each way, but its pretty wide open. Its not a bad drive at all.
post #3 of 17
Thread Starter 
How about road closings? Do they happen often?


thx
post #4 of 17
I did that drive a couple of years ago, but it was in August. Easy and scenic drive. About 4-hours sounds right except in my case. It was a Sunday afternoon and I wasn't prepared for all the traffic on I-70 draining weekenders down from Summit County into Denver. I missed my plane.
post #5 of 17
Road closures are infrequent, but more likely on the choke point of Rabbit Ears Pass where CDOT might be clearing US 40 of avalanches. Anyway, the drive is something that is doable -- you just have to take it seriously like any Colorado winter time driving in the mountains. For example, the four hour drive time is probably about right if the roads are relatively dry, but I would budget more time in snowpacked conditions or worse. You could probably get by with renting a front wheel drive car, but it sounds like you might want the peace of mind of a 4x4 -- that's what I would recommend. Check conditions before you start your trip with CDOT: 303-639-1111 http://www.cotrip.org/rWeather/All_Regions_092205_093201.html . And if all else fails, look into Steamboat's ground transportation options: http://www.steamboat.com/winter-int.aspx?CategoryId=178
post #6 of 17
Wingnutter- I don't think that US-40 thru Winter Park is the way to go- I'd take I-70 to Co-9 out of Dillon. That way will be much better than going over Berthoud Pass in the winter. No risks of closures there, until you get to Rabbit Ears Pass near Steamboat.
post #7 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Harry Dunn
Wingnutter- I don't think that US-40 thru Winter Park is the way to go- I'd take I-70 to Co-9 out of Dillon. That way will be much better than going over Berthoud Pass in the winter. No risks of closures there, until you get to Rabbit Ears Pass near Steamboat.
HD: You're correct. Going up CO 9 through Silverthorn and connecting to US 40 at Kremmling is the better way to go.
post #8 of 17
Can also detour over Gore Pass if Rabbit Ears is closed
post #9 of 17
Shortest time from DIA to steamboat 3:15, in the summer at night.

Longest time from DIA to Steamboat....5 days. I-70 was closed due to avalance, co 285 opened up a day later, got stranded in silverthorn as vail pass and co 9 were both closed. 2 days later took a 7 hour drive from silverthorn to steamboat in a driving storm.

This is colorado, roads close and no one knows when it will happen. As far as no risks of closures, there are times when the road are open, but you still shouldn't drive them.
post #10 of 17
I did the Steamboat to Denver trip in 2 hr 45 (taking rt 9), and my roomate made it in 2 hr 15 min late night (same route coming back). Its not a bad drive, but from what I hear, Rabbit Ears can be scetchy as with Berthoud (if you take 40 the whole way). But why bother, I'd just either fly into Hayden (20 miles outside Steamboat) or hook a ride with shuttle company (I think Alpine Taxi charges between $75-100 for the ride).
post #11 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by jalexander
How long of a drive is it (realistically) - do the roads close often due to weather? : What is the drive like (is it one lane winding roads or nice, wide freeways)?
It's about a six pack.

The roads really aren't that bad. You're on the Interstate till Dillon, then a 2-lane road from Silverthorne/Dillon to Steamboat for the last 1.5 hours. The Interstate is kind of winding, but the road out of Dillon is rather straight until Rabbit Ears Pass. You might be tempted to pass on Hwy 9, but I would be careful doing it. There's a fair number of people who've died in the past few years.

At it's worst, Rabbit Ears isn't too bad of a pass. I would get on CDOT's website and get the toll-free number for road conditions. If things are sketchy in Dillon, call the number and see if the pass is open. If not, I'd just crash there for the night.
post #12 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Manus
I did the Steamboat to Denver trip in 2 hr 45 (taking rt 9), and my roomate made it in 2 hr 15 min late night (same route coming back). Its not a bad drive, but from what I hear, Rabbit Ears can be scetchy as with Berthoud (if you take 40 the whole way). But why bother, I'd just either fly into Hayden (20 miles outside Steamboat) or hook a ride with shuttle company (I think Alpine Taxi charges between $75-100 for the ride).
2 hrs 15 min? I'm either going to have to call BS on that one, or say your roomie was doing about 120 mph the whole way, which is virtually impossible on I-70 and thru Denver.
post #13 of 17
Also, if you're trying to set a speed record, remember to watch out for large animals darting out in the road on the more remote stretches, especially if you hit it in the evening. A lot of car/elk encounters wind up bad for both parties....
post #14 of 17
Steamboat to Denver in 2:15 is totaly possible, if you count being in Denver when you hit Evergreen or Golden. All the way to DIA is a little sketchy, since DIA is like an hour from last mountians.
post #15 of 17
Maybe Evergreen on I-70... but that's still FLYING. You can haul A$$ from I-70 to Steamboat, but on I-70 with those curves, its tough to keep up a speed that high.
post #16 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by jalexander
How about road closings? Do they happen often?


thx
no.

But with any luck Rabbit Ears will be closed one of the days you're already there. That means you have struck it rich with a powder day at the 'Boat with locals and stranded guests.

Shadows and Closet all morning long.
post #17 of 17
We went to Winter Park last year and then on to Steamboat. If I recall, it was about 4 hours from Winter Park to Steamboat. Quite a bit of snow in the days prior to the drive. The weather on the day of travel was OK but the roads were covered with snow and ice and it was slow going. Even when we drove out of most of the snowy roads, there were still enough ice patches that you didn't want to hit at 60 mph.
The road however was wide and smooth.
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