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Route Planning to Mesa Verde NP via CO 160 west from I-25 junction


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Hello,

We are looking to add a trip leg out to Mesa Verde NP in Colorado on our travels southbound (Plan to stay at RV park just outside entrance). 

Looking for input from people who have traveled  CO 160 West from I-25 junction to Cortez, CO.  We will be leaving Colorado Springs prior to this leg in late September.  From my research it looks like 3 passes to go over to get to Cortez, with Wolf Creek being highest.  I have traveled over quite few 5K passes in the Diplomat but nothing in the 10K range before. 

For those that traveled this route:

(1) Were you towing (We have our 2016 Crosstrek TOAD)?  Or did you disconnect and travel separately over the passes?

(2) Is the scenery worth the drive on this route?

(3) Is there another recommended route in this area (Down thru NM?)

Thanks for your inputs

R/Mark

 

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Have done Woolf Creek several times always towing…. 400 HP Dynasty and now 525. Would say it’s one of the easiest passes… only a couple switchbacks.

Yes, it’s worth the drive!

Edited by Ivylog
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We have traveled CO 160 many times.  The only pass of any concern is Wolf Creek, we don't unhook but that's a personal choice. 

It's mostly 4 lanes of nice road   Just go down slow, and enjoy the scenery.

If you want scenery, and like old trains, ride the old narrow gauge steam train to Silverton from Durango.   It's a day trip with spectacular scenery.

 

Edited by Ray Davis
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Have done the 160 just going east to Durango then back down. Stayed at Mesa Verde RV park. Toad was and is 2014 Honda CRV.

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Hi Mark,

 

I have traveled this route on 3 trips from Flagstaff to Cortez to Pueblo on our way to Monument CO.  I drive a 2008 Dynasty 425 Cummins towing a 2019 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk.  The only semi-tough summit is Wolf Creek, but I take it slow and it has always been relatively easy.  I think that part of Colorado is well worth the time and effort, but that is MHO.   

What engine do you have in your Diplomat?

Safe Travels what ever you decide!

 

Gary

 

 

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Mark,

You shouldn't have any issue with Wolf Creek Pass. As with any of the high mountain passes keep an eye on your RPM's and don't lug your engine. Anticipate the climb and downshift when needed to keep the RPM's in about the 1,800 to 2,000 range to keep the torque up.

Depending on your schedule you can add some fantastic scenery as opposed to the boring drive down I-25. We used to live in CO Springs and moved to the Wet Mountain Valley (Westcliffe, CO) 6 years ago. It is a hidden gem 2 hours southwest of the Springs on the east slope of the Sangre de Cristo mountain range. It will add time and a bit of mileage to your trip but the Sangre's are a unique range that runs from Santa Fe, NM to Salida, CO. We have four 14K mountain peaks out our front door and the rest of the spine are 13K+ peaks. We have 2 nice campgrounds in town Grape Creek CG and the Wet Mountain RV Park. I'm guessing they are both full but keep in mind for future planning. There are only 2 roads into the valley from the north and one from the south. From the Springs the best route is through Cañon City and west on US 50 to Texas Creek which is right along the Arkansas River. This brings you past Royal Gorge which is beautiful, especially the train ride. At Texas Creek turn south on Hwy 69 which will bring you into Westcliffe, and continue south down to Walsenburg to pick up Hwy 160 west.

If you decide to stick with your I-25 route enjoy the ride, enjoy the mountains, take your time and don't sweat the trip over the passes.

Cheers, Glenn

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1 hour ago, Mary & Glenn said:

Canon City and west on US 50 to Texas Creek which is right along the Arkansas River. This brings you past Royal Gorge which is beautiful, especially the train ride.

We really like historic / scenic train rides and although the train through the Royal George is short it is well worth the time & effort. IMHO  Seeing the gorge from the train allows one to see parts of the gorge you couldn't see otherwise.   The engineering the old timers used to accomplished putting a track through there is amazing.      

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On 7/22/2021 at 4:36 AM, Mary & Glenn said:

Mark,

You shouldn't have any issue with Wolf Creek Pass. As with any of the high mountain passes keep an eye on your RPM's and don't lug your engine. Anticipate the climb and downshift when needed to keep the RPM's in about the 1,800 to 2,000 range to keep the torque up.

Depending on your schedule you can add some fantastic scenery as opposed to the boring drive down I-25. We used to live in CO Springs and moved to the Wet Mountain Valley (Westcliffe, CO) 6 years ago. It is a hidden gem 2 hours southwest of the Springs on the east slope of the Sangre de Cristo mountain range. It will add time and a bit of mileage to your trip but the Sangre's are a unique range that runs from Santa Fe, NM to Salida, CO. We have four 14K mountain peaks out our front door and the rest of the spine are 13K+ peaks. We have 2 nice campgrounds in town Grape Creek CG and the Wet Mountain RV Park. I'm guessing they are both full but keep in mind for future planning. There are only 2 roads into the valley from the north and one from the south. From the Springs the best route is through Cañon City and west on US 50 to Texas Creek which is right along the Arkansas River. This brings you past Royal Gorge which is beautiful, especially the train ride. At Texas Creek turn south on Hwy 69 which will bring you into Westcliffe, and continue south down to Walsenburg to pick up Hwy 160 west.

If you decide to stick with your I-25 route enjoy the ride, enjoy the mountains, take your time and don't sweat the trip over the passes.

Cheers, Glenn

Glenn,  we are on a timeline due to reservation availability in CO & NM in Sept.  we are staying at USAFA Family camp for 14 days and will be taking a few day trips to include Garden of the Gods/ Royal Gorge railway trip  ( Was happy to see Ray Davis endorse the ride above) and a few other biking excursions while there.  

We will keep your trip routing highlights/suggestions handy for our next stop through as we have friends in Denver area we visit (Lived in Arvada for 2 yrs before I retired from construction management and we started FT in Mar 2020).

 

R/ Mark

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On 7/24/2021 at 5:03 PM, mandms59 said:

Glenn,  we are on a timeline due to reservation availability in CO & NM in Sept.  we are staying at USAFA Family camp for 14 days and will be taking a few day trips to include Garden of the Gods/ Royal Gorge railway trip  ( Was happy to see Ray Davis endorse the ride above) and a few other biking excursions while there.  

We will keep your trip routing highlights/suggestions handy for our next stop through as we have friends in Denver area we visit (Lived in Arvada for 2 yrs before I retired from construction management and we started FT in Mar 2020).

 

R/ Mark

Mark, Glad to hear you were able to get a spot to camp at USAFA and thank you for your service to our great nation! Our son is a graduate of the Academy and after flying C130's he ended up returning to the Academy in an administrative role. It is a great place to visit and if you like to hike the mountains there are some great hikes from the Academy grounds, the Stanley Canyon trail up to Stanley Lake is a favorite.

Enjoy your travels around CO! Glenn

Edited by Mary & Glenn
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The San Juan's are just beautiful, and the train ride on the narrow gauge is worth every second.  I have over 400 pictures from that trip!

IMG_20170910_111401570_HDR.jpg

IMG_20170911_172018930.jpg

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17 minutes ago, 6Wheels said:

The San Juan's are just beautiful, and the train ride on the narrow gauge is worth every second.  I have over 400 pictures from that trip!

George,  couldn't agree more.  We have road the train several times over the years and enjoyed it immensely every time.  Tickets are not cheap, probably because the cost to maintain and operate has got to be tremendous.   https://www.durangotrain.com/   

There is a tour through the train maintenance shops the guys might enjoy.  

There is also a great train at Chama New Mex and one from Alamosa to LaVeta or vise verse.   Durango being the best IMHO.

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Ray,

When we got off the train to check into Historic Hotel | Silverton Colorado | Grand Imperial Hotel I could barely make it up 3 steps as we had not yet acclimated.  The building was built as needed and almost resembles the Remington mansion in that respect, just weird.  There is no elevator, but the rooms are nice. The restaurant in the hotel is fabulous, and around the corner is the  Handlebars Food & Saloon.  You won't believe what goes on in there, the proprietors told me that all the stories are about the crowds from a long time ago (because they were getting too old for that nonsense). Note the chandeliers are all still hanging intact (they were well constructed to support the weight of patrons).

IMG_20170910_153953730_BURST000_COVER_TOP.thumb.jpg.4f71ad53e8a08469c2c5fe8c74e10b07.jpg

If camping is on the menu, try Silverton, Colorado RV Park & Jeep Rentals ~ Silver Summit RV Park conveniently located in Silverton.

There are several breweries in Silverton if needed.

http://silvertonlakes.com/ offers cabins, RV sites and caters to the ATV crowd.

IMG_20170911_171626490.thumb.jpg.d831bfda4cc715bd4b41f194c6223a44.jpg

Edited by 6Wheels
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It's been a few yrs since we have gone Silverton,  but your pictures have me itching to go back.   We used to travel with another couple but they both began to have problems at higher altitudes ( smokers ) so those places were off limits.   They can't travel anymore and now I'm the one that is not sure how I'll handle higher altitudes.    I know I won't be hiking while up there,  I'll just watch.  😉

Thanks for the pictures

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