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Driving from Vail to Jackon Hole - route suggestions?

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
Xposted on TGR - We have a group leaving for Denver on Friday from the snowless EC and are planning on spending 3-4 days in JH over the course of this 10 day trip. The title basically says it all - mapquest and google maps routes have already been printed out but they don't exactly agree and I know some roads are prone to being closed when it snows. Are there any particular roads to avoid? Has anyone made this trip before or frequently who could offer some advice? We are obviously willing to sacrifice drive time as long as we can make it to JH in the morning. This drive will be made overnight straight to JH so there needs to be 1 stop for gas along the way. Tentative route right now looks like CR179 - US40 - CO13- WY789 - I80 - US191. Any suggestions or help is appreciated!
post #2 of 18
One word of advice, if you pass through Craig, Colorado (about 45 min. outside of Steamboat) - don't stop. Lock the doors and keep on driving. It's the creepiest town I'd ever stayed at in my entire life.
post #3 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Beric in Whistler View Post
One word of advice, if you pass through Craig, Colorado (about 45 min. outside of Steamboat) - don't stop. Lock the doors and keep on driving. It's the creepiest town I'd ever stayed at in my entire life.
Craig,Col?
hahaha. I take it you have never drivin thru L.A., Dallas,Chicago, Detroit, in the middle of the night.


here ya go according to MS streets and trips.
Summary: 472.0 miles (1 day, 1 hour, 27 minutes)

Mind you, your in the mtns, keep alert on road condtions by calling CDOT, and WYODOT. Carry food and water, a shovel, just in case you get stranded.Cell phone service may or may not be limited, due to the terrain. Let others know your route, don't stray off of it.
Wyoming can get insanely wild weather at a monemts notice. You may have blue skys, but 2 min. later be in a blizzard.
Hvae fun, be safe.Enjoy Jackson
DAY 1

Time
Mile
Instruction
For
Toward
9:00 AM
0.0
Depart Vail on S Frontage Rd W (East)
0.3 mi

9:00 AM
0.3
At roundabout, take the FOURTH exit onto Vail Rd
0.1 mi

9:00 AM
0.4
At roundabout, take the THIRD exit onto Ramp
0.3 mi
I-70 / Glenwood Spgs
9:01 AM
0.7
Merge onto I-70 [US-6]
19.0 mi

9:19 AM
19.6
At exit 157, turn RIGHT onto Ramp
0.3 mi
CO-131 / Wolcott / Steamboat Spgs
9:19 AM
19.9
Turn RIGHT (North) onto SR-131
0.2 mi

9:19 AM
20.1
Turn LEFT (West) onto US-6 [SR-131]
0.4 mi

9:20 AM
20.5
Turn RIGHT (North) onto SR-131
52.0 mi

10:29 AM
72.5
Turn LEFT (West) onto CR-27 [Twentymile Rd]
4.2 mi

10:36 AM
76.7
Bear RIGHT (North) onto CR-27 [CR-29]
0.6 mi

10:37 AM
77.3
Keep STRAIGHT onto CR-27 [Twentymile Rd]
4.2 mi

10:44 AM
81.5
Keep STRAIGHT onto CR-27
3.9 mi

10:50 AM
85.4
Turn RIGHT to stay on CR-27
9.6 mi

11:13 AM
95.0
Keep STRAIGHT onto CR-27 [Twentymile Rd]
0.8 mi

11:15 AM
95.8
Turn LEFT (West) onto US-40
22.0 mi

11:42 AM
117.7
Turn RIGHT (North) onto SR-13 [SR-789]
38.2 mi

12:29 PM
156.0
Entering Wyoming


12:29 PM
156.0
Road name changes to WY-789
53.4 mi

1:33 PM
209.4
Take Ramp (LEFT) onto I-80 [US-30]
81.9 mi
I-80 / US-30
2:41 PM
291.3
At exit 104, turn RIGHT onto Ramp
0.3 mi
US-191 / Elk Street
2:42 PM
291.6
Turn RIGHT (North) onto US-191 [Elk St]
109.6 mi

4:55 PM
401.2
Bear RIGHT (North-West) onto US-189 [US-191]
4.0 mi

5:00 PM
405.2
End of day



DAY 2

Time
Mile
Instruction
For
Toward
9:00 AM
405.2
Stay on US-189 [US-191]
60.4 mi

10:13 AM
465.5
Turn LEFT (North) onto WY-22
0.4 mi

10:13 AM
466.0
Turn RIGHT (East) onto Spring Gulch Rd
5.5 mi

10:26 AM
471.5
Turn RIGHT (East) onto Local road(s)
0.5 mi

10:27 AM
472.0
Arrive Jackson Hole




SUMMARY
Driving distance: 472.0 miles
Trip duration: 1 day, 1 hour, 27 minutes
Driving time: 9 hours, 27 minutes
Cost: $40.21
post #4 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tahoetr View Post

SUMMARY
Driving distance: 472.0 miles
Trip duration: 1 day, 1 hour, 27 minutes
Driving time: 9 hours, 27 minutes
Cost: $40.21
Looks good - thanks - close to the same route that I have mapped out. We're definitely planning on making the trip overnight instead of a 1.5 daytime event - 5 guys on the way there, 6 on the way back so we can take turns driving/sitting shotgun awake. Add an extra hour for slow driving conditions (weather looks like snow right now) and if we leave at 10PM or so we should pull up to JH right in the morning.
post #5 of 18
Have you ever driven in the west before? Have you ever driven across Wyoming before? I made the drive from Steamboat to Jackson a couple of years ago. This isn't like the east You won't be going past a 7/11 or gas station ever 20 miles or so. Wyoming is one of the least populated states in the country. Total population is less then 500,000 people. You will be driving across vast areas open space without one sign of civilization! I'm talking about hours without seeing anything that even remotely looks like a town. Keep your gas tank topped off. You may not find a open 24 hour station at the next so called town. Watch out for antelope and deer on the road. they tend to graze near the Hwy at night in Winter. Hitting a Deer at 70mph isn't pretty. Take a cell phone but coverage is spotty in that part of the country. Craig CO is kind of known for it's speed traps. Take sleeping bags extra food and water just in case. The winds on those plains can make a 20 degree night feel like 10 below.

If you do brake down just remember The movies Deliverance and Broke Back Mountain
post #6 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Utah49 View Post
Have you ever driven in the west before? Have you ever driven across Wyoming before? I made the drive from Steamboat to Jackson a couple of years ago. This isn't like the east You won't be going past a 7/11 or gas station ever 20 miles or so. Wyoming is one of the least populated states in the country. Total population is less then 500,000 people. You will be driving across vast areas open space without one sign of civilization! I'm talking about hours without seeing anything that even remotely looks like a town. Keep your gas tank topped off. You may not find a open 24 hour station at the next so called town. Watch out for antelope and deer on the road. they tend to graze near the Hwy at night in Winter. Hitting a Deer at 70mph isn't pretty. Take a cell phone but coverage is spotty in that part of the country. Craig CO is kind of known for it's speed traps. Take sleeping bags extra food and water just in case. The winds on those plains can make a 20 degree night feel like 10 below.

If you do brake down just remember The movies Deliverance and Broke Back Mountain
Fantastic advice, thank you. We'll all have sleeping bags, food, water, probably a CB as well as hand radios between the two cars (if there are 2) and cell phones. I figured gas would be our biggest problem at night, we'll definitely need to stop once at some point into the trip to fill up after a 150 miles or so to make it the rest of the way. I'll have to look into what gas stations are along the way and if they are open all night or not. If anyone has driven the route before and knows of a "last stop" between CO and WY for gas/civilization that would be great. Thanks again!
post #7 of 18
are you suggesting that there won't be any drinking - after the lifts close at 4pm and your departure time of 10pm ????????
post #8 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marty View Post
are you suggesting that there won't be any drinking - after the lifts close at 4pm and your departure time of 10pm ????????
Haha, not Monday night - they'll be plenty of days for that. We were planning originally on leaving Sunday night to go to JH but since it's the end of the football season and all.....we pushed it to Monday. I think the plan is to ski hard sat and sunday, sleep in on monday and ski a 1/2 day, back to bed after skiing for a few hours and then get up and go. We'll overnight it straight to JH and ski there or GT tuesday - thursday then back to vail area after skiing on thursday to finish out friday and saturday before heading home that next sunday.
post #9 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Utah49 View Post
Watch out for antelope and deer on the road. they tend to graze near the Hwy at night in Winter. Hitting a Deer at 70mph isn't pretty.


You can add elk and Wyoming suicide rabbits to that list. The rabbits just dive in front of your car even at night. Fill your tank up at every open gas station you see.
post #10 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by daysailer1 View Post
Fill your tank up at every open gas station you see.
Funny I was thinking the same thing...
post #11 of 18
tahoetr's route is the right one. We've done the drive several times both ways and it averages about 8.5 to 9 hours if the roads are good and you dirve 6.5mph over the speed limit at all times.

The "Twenty-mile" road listed at mile 72.5 is often snowpacked but it's usually very passable and will save about 30 minutes over the alternative of driving on up to Steamboat on SR131 and then west on US40 to Craig.

Also, I'll just mention that if you have a snowy, windy day, think about waiting. Almost that entire route from Walcott to Jackson crosses bleak, high desert plains where the roads can be horrendous if there's a snowstorm going on. Ground blizzards are the norm if it's snowing. I've driven that route in a blizzard and it was probably the worst driving experience of my life (which includes a lot of pretty bad driving experiences).

Anyway, good luck and drive safely.

And remember, Wyoming is one of the only states I know of that has drive-thru liquor stores. :
post #12 of 18
i don't know about 24 gas stations betwen vail and i-80 wyo
but once your headed west on 80, you have a 24hr Loves at mm 173 wammsutter,wyo, then 70 miles further you have Rock Springs, that also has a 24 gass and a couple of truck stops. Flying j, and the Outlaw.
Not sure about us 191 north, been many years since i have been on that road, so top off in RS.
The 80 can and does get closed by Wyo, if the storm is to wild. They would rather wait and let it die, than try and keep it plowed/ sanded in 60+ winds. So if the road is closed, STAY PUT! Wyo Highway patroll will ticket you if you go around the barricades.
You say u may have a cb. ch 19 you will find the truckers, Wyo Plows(some of them) will also monitor it, as does WYo Patrol. Remeber keep plenty of spce between you and the truckers, if one start to slide, there isnt no stopping him, till he's in the ditch.
post #13 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tahoetr View Post
i don't know about 24 gas stations betwen vail and i-80 wyo
but once your headed west on 80, you have a 24hr Loves at mm 173 wammsutter,wyo, then 70 miles further you have Rock Springs, that also has a 24 gass and a couple of truck stops. Flying j, and the Outlaw.
Not sure about us 191 north, been many years since i have been on that road, so top off in RS.
The 80 can and does get closed by Wyo, if the storm is to wild. They would rather wait and let it die, than try and keep it plowed/ sanded in 60+ winds. So if the road is closed, STAY PUT! Wyo Highway patroll will ticket you if you go around the barricades.
You say u may have a cb. ch 19 you will find the truckers, Wyo Plows(some of them) will also monitor it, as does WYo Patrol. Remeber keep plenty of spce between you and the truckers, if one start to slide, there isnt no stopping him, till he's in the ditch.
Wow - thanks Tahoetr and Bob - exactly the information I'm looking for. 10 day forecast calls for snow during that time but who knows how accurate that is. Thanks everyone for all the help.
post #14 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Peters View Post
...And remember, Wyoming is one of the only states I know of that has drive-thru liquor stores. :
Reminds me of "Liquor, Guns & Ammo" in mid-Missouri. bwahahh
post #15 of 18
Craig has a least one 24 hour gas station, as I recall (and it's been a few years since I made the drive) you won't see another open station until you get to I-80.
post #16 of 18
There is a station at I80 But I am not sure if it is 24 hours.
I once had to make a pick up in Lander Wyoming had to drive from Park City to Lander. The drive up was good. On the way back it started snowing it was a light snow but still with that Wyoming wind at times it was a near white out. By the way your spending way to much time in Vail
An alternative trip. Vail to Jackson Grand Targhee. Drive 4 hours south to Ski Alta/Bird. Take I80 east to Denver about an 8 hour drive from Salt Lake City to Denver. 3 states one trip and you get to sample some of the best mountains in the US.
post #17 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Utah49 View Post
There is a station at I80 But I am not sure if it is 24 hours.
I once had to make a pick up in Lander Wyoming had to drive from Park City to Lander. The drive up was good. On the way back it started snowing it was a light snow but still with that Wyoming wind at times it was a near white out. By the way your spending way to much time in Vail
An alternative trip. Vail to Jackson Grand Targhee. Drive 4 hours south to Ski Alta/Bird. Take I80 east to Denver about an 8 hour drive from Salt Lake City to Denver. 3 states one trip and you get to sample some of the best mountains in the US.
haha, I agree but we won't be skiing vail every day, we'll just be in the vail area (although I bet we get there 2/3 times). We definitely plan on hitting up Grand Targhee and I spent last week in SLC and skied Alta/Basin/Canyons. That, along with the fact that one person in the group to JH is going to be in SLC the weekend before we go to JH and we are staying with friends who live in vail area and 1 who lives in JH (= free rooms) play into the trip planning a bit. Great suggestion though, I would bet the group would be up for that trip as well....and there's always next year when the snow is better!
post #18 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Utah49 View Post
There is a station at I80 But I am not sure if it is 24 hours.
I once had to make a pick up in Lander Wyoming had to drive from Park City to Lander. The drive up was good. On the way back it started snowing it was a light snow but still with that Wyoming wind at times it was a near white out. By the way your spending way to much time in Vail
An alternative trip. Vail to Jackson Grand Targhee. Drive 4 hours south to Ski Alta/Bird. Take I80 east to Denver about an 8 hour drive from Salt Lake City to Denver. 3 states one trip and you get to sample some of the best mountains in the US.
haha, I agree but we won't be skiing vail every day, we'll just be in the vail area (although I bet we get there 2/3 times). We definitely plan on hitting up Grand Targhee and I spent last week in SLC and skied Alta/Basin/Canyons. That, along with the fact that one person in the group to JH is going to be in SLC the weekend before we go to JH and we are staying with friends who live in vail area and 1 who lives in JH (= free rooms) play into the trip planning a bit. Great suggestion though, I would bet the group would be up for that trip as well....and there's always next year when the snow is better!
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