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View Full Version : Alternate routes to Moab?


nakman
02-08-2007, 12:07 PM
We all know how to take I-70 west, then turn left. btdt. Has anyone taken another route that didn't add much time, but was either a more enjoyable drive, or provided better scenery, etc?

In looking at a map, I'm intrigued by the 285, over Monarch Pass to Gunnison, through Montrose, then down to Ridgeway then up & over route.. anyone done that? How much longer did it take? Alternatively, you could turn left at Glenwood and catch up with the same route, or even go all the way to Grand Junction and still catch some part of it.

I know almost every turn on I-70, how fast I can go up each hill, where I bought gas last year, the year before, the year before that, etc.. can anyone recommend a nice change of scenery?

this is the biggest map I can upload within the constraints here, but if you go to Google then click Map then search for Moab then select "hybrid" you can get the same picture, click & drag to move and use the wheel to zoom in & out. thoughts?

MDH33
02-08-2007, 12:20 PM
A few years ago on a road trip through colorado to utah I went from Denver, down 285, over cottonwood pass, down through Gunnison on 50, passed the Black Canyon, then up towards Delta to Grand Junction, then 70 to Moab. I did it over the course of two days. Lots of great scenery along the way and mostly smaller highways. I don't think you could do it in a day like 70, but if you're not in a hurry, it's a nice drive. :beer:

wesintl
02-08-2007, 12:27 PM
It's like 5 1/2 to ridgway going through gunnison.

I would take 70 to GJ go south on hwy 50 then take 141 to gateway and down to Nucla and then across to 90 to la sal jnct.

There are a bunch of little roads from gateway to castleton or moab but I've never been on them. I'm guessing they are dirt roads...

It's been a long time since I drove that route but the Uncompahgre Plateau is really pretty.

subzali
02-08-2007, 12:52 PM
It's not much of a change...but just into Utah there's a turnoff at Cisco - you take that and it angles down through the canyon past Castleton Valley along the Colorado River - it's paved and pretty. As far as 285, it's almost 3 1/2 hours to Gunni from Denver...so...

nakman
02-08-2007, 01:00 PM
Yeah, I always turn at Cisco, never go all the way to 191. And the first Cisco exit too (not the way where you backtrack that 1 mi.)

Gunni looks about halfway on the map, I've also done that in 3.5 hrs, so 7-7.5 hrs. to Moab is probably acceptable, to be I-70 free the whole way would be a nice change. To leave Saturday 4/28, camp somewhere around Gunnison, then roll into Moab Sunday may be a nice journey.. would anyone else be up for that? You'd miss the hotrod show.. :rolleyes:

MDH33
02-08-2007, 01:05 PM
...To leave Saturday 4/28, camp somewhere around Gunnison, then roll into Moab Sunday may be a nice journey.. would anyone else be up for that? You'd miss the hotrod show.. :rolleyes:

Are you driving the 80 or the 40?

nakman
02-08-2007, 01:12 PM
80, pulling a popup.

corsair23
02-08-2007, 01:36 PM
80, pulling a popup.

Tim,

Almost every year we spend a week camping at the state campground just North of Ridgway (We stay at the Dutch Charlie campground, upper loop on the West side). Three rigs usually (one pulling a boat, one pulling the pop-up, and a third pulling a waverunner) and with fuel stops, traffic, lunch, etc. it almost always seems to take us 6-7 hours. We aren't hauling tail but we're not pokey about it either. Just with the passes, traffic, etc. that is what it takes.

From Ridgway to Moab looks like another 3-4 hours give or take.

Since we'll be pulling a pop-up I'd like to find a flat route to Moab :hill: but will probably just take I70 all the way and go for the shortest route possible.

For those that have BTDT in an 80 pulling a pop-up how long does it realistically take getting from Denver to Moab via I70? Yahoo tells me 365 miles or 5.5 hours...

It took me 4 hours to get home from Grand Junction with the LX back in Nov so I'm figuring pulling a pop-up with fuel and food breaks that it is going to take 7-8 hours to get to Moab.

Shark Bait
02-08-2007, 01:38 PM
Get yourself to Cortez, either through Telluride or the southern route from Walsenburg, over to Durango. From Cortez, Hwy 666 up to 191 and on to Moab. Pretty country, some of it. :D

Bobzooki
02-08-2007, 01:59 PM
From Cortez, Hwy 666

Hmm...

Surely, not the Highway to Hell!!! :eek:

OK, so get yourself to Steamboat Springs.

- Up 14 through Poudre Canyon, then all the way through Walden, then continue on 14 until it hits US40, then over Rabbit Ears Pass
- Over Berthoud pass and just stay on US40 to Steamboat
- Over Berthoud Pass, but then turn off US40 just west of Kremmling, and take CO134 over Gore Pass, and take a left at Toponas, up CO131 to Steamboat.

Next take US40 through Hayden, Craig, through Vernal Utah, all the way to Duchesne Utah. Here, you take a left on US191 - take US191 all the way to I-70, and take a left, through Green River, all the way to US191 south to Moab.

nakman
02-08-2007, 02:10 PM
Jeff, it's 5.5 hours, 6 hours tops. That's with 33's, stock gears, no S/C, getting down to 25-30mph up by the tunnel, then 75ish when it flattens out. If the kids need more stops then you can add for that, but NFW it's 7-8 hours unless the kids are playing some sort of drinking game...

It's one tank of gas to get to Fruita, still at 3/4 by the time you hit Moab..

MDH33
02-08-2007, 02:14 PM
80, pulling a popup.

...

Since we'll be pulling a pop-up I'd like to find a flat route to Moab :hill: but will probably just take I70 all the way and go for the shortest route possible.

For those that have BTDT in an 80 pulling a pop-up how long does it realistically take getting from Denver to Moab via I70? ...


All you guys with 40's opting to drive the Pink Panty mobiles instead... :rolleyes: isn't this CM sacrilage of some kind? :lmao:


At any rate, it excludes me from tagging along on your scenic route, since my 40 can't keep up with an 80. Or an 80 pulling a pop-up. or an 80 pulling a pop-up up a steep hill into a headwind... :)

nakman
02-08-2007, 02:22 PM
How fast can you go up the hill by Loveland, right before the tunnel? Seriously, I hit 25. :snail: but dude if we take the road less traveled we can throw rate out the window.

Bobzooki
02-08-2007, 02:34 PM
If I was driving my trail rig, and not trailering it, AND if the trail was open (which it apparently is not), and there wasn't 10 feet of snow on the trail (which there would be, in May), I would go Up Jenny Creek trail, then over the Boulder Wagon Road, over Rollins Pass, into Winter Park, then take US40 to Kremmling, then over Gore Pass on CO 134, then up CO 131 to Yampa, and hang a left at Yampa, taking the scenic byway (pronounced gravel road) to Meeker, then drop down to I-70 at Rifle on CO 13. Then I would take the river road to Moab...

corsair23
02-08-2007, 06:15 PM
Jeff, it's 5.5 hours, 6 hours tops. That's with 33's, stock gears, no S/C, getting down to 25-30mph up by the tunnel, then 75ish when it flattens out. If the kids need more stops then you can add for that, but NFW it's 7-8 hours unless the kids are playing some sort of drinking game...

It's one tank of gas to get to Fruita, still at 3/4 by the time you hit Moab..

Good news Tim :D

I've been to Moab once following behind a RV pulling a Jeep and it took forever (so it seemed). But in the end with my :Princess: and two :Princess: it might take us the 7-8 hours :(. A 3 yr old and 7 yr old need lots of 'potty breaks' :hill:

corsair23
02-08-2007, 06:20 PM
At any rate, it excludes me from tagging along on your scenic route, since my 40 can't keep up with an 80. Or an 80 pulling a pop-up. or an 80 pulling a pop-up up a steep hill into a headwind... :)

Martin,

You can follow me or I'll follow you :). Seriously though, when I drove my '76 FJ40 to Glenwood Springs back when I had no trouble running 65+ most of the time and it pulled the hills in 3rd gear just fine. I might pass you going downhill :eek: but I just can't see being able to keep up with you going up a long hill. But, this is coming from zero experience towing a pop-up with the LX so far. We'll see. Maybe Ken will give me a strap pull up the hills :thumb:

subzali
02-08-2007, 06:27 PM
Martin, on the hills you could keep up with an 80 pulling a camper. It's the flats where they can open up to 75 that they'll lose you.

And Bobzooki, I thought Rollins Pass was closed to all motor traffic.:confused:
Otherwise that'd be a cool alternative route in the fall! :thumb:

MDH33
02-08-2007, 06:35 PM
Just a bit of sarcasm. :) My 40 is actually pretty speedy, trounces my 60 in the hills, no problem. Guess my dry sense of humor doesn't translate well over the 'net. :D

Rzeppa
02-08-2007, 07:55 PM
LOL! Nice thread!

I normally cruise 75 on the flat in my trail 40 to and from Moab every year. I always take the first Cisco turnoff (get me the HECK off this highway!!!). Plus that's a wonderful scenic route. When I'm limping home with patched-up trail-repaired parts I take 191, when I'm all good to go I take the scenic route back to I-70.

I would expect any of the several alternate southern routes would include an overnight to make it an enjoyable trip instead of a forced-march endurance run. Especially with family.

In my 1971 40 with stock F and stock carb, I normally average around 16-18 MPG and stop to refill and have lunch at around the halfway mark in Glenwood in each direction. On 5/1/04 I got 21.4 MPG into a headwind driving from Glenwood to Moab. This will be the first year driving up the passes with a 4 speed in that rig, it will be interesting to see what my terminal speed uphill will be in 3rd versus 2nd in the old 3-on-the-tree.

MDH33
02-08-2007, 08:10 PM
LOL! Nice thread!

I normally cruise 75 on the flat in my trail 40 to and from Moab every year. I always take the first Cisco turnoff (get me the HECK off this highway!!!). Plus that's a wonderful scenic route. When I'm limping home with patched-up trail-repaired parts I take 191, when I'm all good to go I take the scenic route back to I-70.

I would expect any of the several alternate southern routes would include an overnight to make it an enjoyable trip instead of a forced-march endurance run. Especially with family.

In my 1971 40 with stock F and stock carb, I normally average around 16-18 MPG and stop to refill and have lunch at around the halfway mark in Glenwood in each direction. On 5/1/04 I got 21.4 MPG into a headwind driving from Glenwood to Moab. This will be the first year driving up the passes with a 4 speed in that rig, it will be interesting to see what my terminal speed uphill will be in 3rd versus 2nd in the old 3-on-the-tree.

Jeff, did you see Marks write-up on MUD about the "four on the tree"? :D

Four on the tree. (http://forum.ih8mud.com/showthread.php?t=134392&highlight=tree) :bowdown:

Rzeppa
02-08-2007, 08:15 PM
Jeff, did you see Marks write-up on MUD about the "four on the tree"? :D

Four on the tree. (http://forum.ih8mud.com/showthread.php?t=134392&highlight=tree) :bowdown:No, I seldom go to any other board than here, but I assume you are referring to Mark Algazy. He's a great friend and we share many of the same philosophies, both about cruisers and about life. When he rode shotgun with me on our Rising Sun Bill Moore Lake run this past summer, we discussed his ideas for a four on the tree.

MDH33
02-08-2007, 08:22 PM
No, I seldom go to any other board than here, but I assume you are referring to Mark Algazy. He's a great friend and we share many of the same philosophies, both about cruisers and about life. When he rode shotgun with me on our Rising Sun Bill Moore Lake run this past summer, we discussed his ideas for a four on the tree.

Yeah, that Mark. :) His vision is reality. Pretty cool. Benefits of the four speed with the coool of the tree shift.

I, on the otherhand, will likely be cruising to Moab this year with my trusty 3 speed unless funds and time allow me to upgrade. :thumb:

Rzeppa
02-08-2007, 08:34 PM
Yeah, that Mark. :) His vision is reality. Pretty cool. Benefits of the four speed with the coool of the tree shift.

I, on the otherhand, will likely be cruising to Moab this year with my trusty 3 speed unless funds and time allow me to upgrade. :thumb:Cool. I have done Cruise Moab with the J30 and 3-on-the-tree every year I have wheeled that 40 there, and it has worked fine for me. I had the old H42 from my 76 lying on the garage floor for many years before I finally stuck it in there (http://risingsun4x4club.org/forum2/showthread.php?t=1629) this past summer. I really miss the way it kept the shifter from bonking the knees of the middle passenger on my stock bench front seat. I did at least retain the dash-mounted vacuum front axle engagement and hi-lo range shifter. Other than the crappy clutch pressure plate that came in the kit I got, I am very pleased with the H42/3-speed t-case combo. But a 4-on-the-tree would be a great upgrade.

Bobzooki
02-09-2007, 02:29 PM
And Bobzooki, I thought Rollins Pass was closed to all motor traffic.:confused:

Yes, absolutely - that's why I said "if the trail was open".

Interestingly, the forest service marked it "closed" from the Jenny Creek side long before they marked it "closed" from the Winter Park side. I went over it one time from the Winter Park side, and got to Yankee Doodle Lake, and a "Trail Closed" sign. The last time I was up there, there was a continuous stream of ATV's crossing back and forth. There are some absolutely SWEET campsites up on top. These are now "backpacking destinations" for me. There is one spot that is absolutely breathtaking for watching the Harvest Moon rising...

FJBen
02-09-2007, 03:45 PM
I'm hoping to get there this year...trip will be in a 40...with a tree-fiddy...so the hills shouldn't be so bad...the the pocketbook on the other hand...:eek:

Rock Dog
02-10-2007, 10:01 AM
Hello Bob,
Someone told me they changed the number on highway 666..
We used to come home from Monticello Via 666 and then past the turn off to telluride, through Ridgeway, Montrose, Gunnison, Salida, and 285...

There is a REALLY back way that takes some back roads, and you have to ford across the Dolores river near the Dewey state bridge.... Never done it, but always wanted to. probably not one for towing a trailer...

Shark Bait
02-10-2007, 10:06 AM
My favorite way to get to Telluride is through Gunnison, south to Lake City and over either Engineer Pass or Cinnamon pass to Silverton/Ouray area and then Imogene over to Telluride. Kinda tough with a trailer, though. :D

Red_Chili
02-12-2007, 11:11 AM
Hello Bob,
Someone told me they changed the number on highway 666..
We used to come home from Monticello Via 666 and then past the turn off to telluride, through Ridgeway, Montrose, Gunnison, Salida, and 285...

There is a REALLY back way that takes some back roads, and you have to ford across the Dolores river near the Dewey state bridge.... Never done it, but always wanted to. probably not one for towing a trailer...
Sounds like the Kokopelli Trail. Some of it is singletrack. SOME of it is closed to motor vehicles, but there are bypasses that are not.

Gonna ride it on St. Paddy's weekend, a bit early in the year but hey, I gotta get out in God's country! If anybody wants to ride a competent dirt scooter in some fun country going to Moab, PM me. Some of the route is, um, challenging. :lmao:

leiniesred
02-12-2007, 12:04 PM
I rode it last year during Cruise Moab on my hard-tail bicycle.

I don't remember crossing the Delores river. We crossed on dewey bridge. There was another bridge over some crick south of Fruita too.
There was SOME paved rode riding, but not very much at all. Maybe 25 miles.

Hants
02-13-2007, 09:25 AM
I would take 70 to GJ go south on hwy 50 then take 141 to gateway and down to Nucla and then across to 90 to la sal jnct.

There are a bunch of little roads from gateway to castleton or moab but I've never been on them. I'm guessing they are dirt roads...

I've only ever driven the 128 and 191 routes.

However, in checking MapSource (the routing software from Garmin), it appears that there's a route from just outside of Gateway, directly into downtown Moab.

Here are the major junctions (according to MapSource):

Gateway (on the 141, south of GJ)
Go south on 141 (about one mile)
At John Brown Rd, turn Right (West) on John Brown Road
At Road 5/10 (6 miles), make a hard left to stay on John Brown
At Road 1/10 (1.4 miles), make a hard left onto Gateway
At Castleton Rd (2.5 miles), turn/stay left onto Castleton
At Gateway (8.9 miles), turn/stay left onto Gateway
At Lasal Mountain Loop (3.2 miles), turn left onto Lasal Mountain Loop
At Sand Flats Rd (4.8 miles), turn Right onto Sand Flats Rd
At Mill Creek (9.6 miles), turn/stay right onto Mill Creek
At Road 400, turn right onto 400
At Center, turn left onto Center
in 4 blocks you're at Hwy 191 in downtown Moab

In checking the route in Google Earth, it appears to be mostly a "truck trail", and would probably be sketchy going through the La Sals if there's a late snow.

Red_Chili
02-13-2007, 10:12 AM
Now you got ME thinking about taking a roundabout route. That last route would make a great camping trip route I think, through the LaSals. I think my wiff would like it.

ScaldedDog
02-13-2007, 10:51 AM
A buddy of mine decided to take the route through Gunninson for our Memorial Day trip a couple of years ago. It took him forever and he just about froze to death.

In my book, there's wheelin', and then there's commutin'. I don't want to confuse the two. :D

That said, 128 may be the prettiest place on earth around sunrise or sunset.

Mark

Red_Chili
02-13-2007, 10:54 AM
Then there's 'Adventure Wheelin' ', kinda like adventure motorcycling but with a roof and more wheels.:lmao:

Ya know, it's not too late to take that big truck of yours and convert it to an expedition rig...

Hants
02-13-2007, 10:55 AM
We're tentatively planning to drive the 50 through Gunnison and Montrose, then up to Grand Junction to stay the night with friends.

The next morning, we'll head down the 141 and take the back road to Moab.

wesintl
02-13-2007, 11:04 AM
A buddy of mine decided to take the route through Gunninson for our Memorial Day trip a couple of years ago. It took him forever and he just about froze to death.

That's what would kill the deal at that time of year for me with a family...

Stopping in gunnison or montrose is hit or miss that time of year. It could be a really nice warm day or it could be butt ass cold and snowing. Probably not ideal for the fam before moab and another reason I suggested going to GJ then out on the uncomphaghre. The last 2 years it's been snowing over eisenhower and vail. The 2 laner on hwy down to salida, 50 over monarch and cerro summit east of montrose could be a very long drive in poor conditions.

Hulk
02-13-2007, 11:24 AM
Here's the route I took in 2001:

Hwy 285 to Buena Vista.

Hwy 24 to Poncha Springs.

Hwy 50 west, over the Monarch Pass, thru Gunnison (ate at Sonic), thru the Curecanti Recreation Area (beautiful but very windy) to Montrose.

Hwy 550 south. Camped at Ridgway State Park. We were the only ones camping in the tent area!

Next morning: Took the top off the FJ40. South to Ridgway (the town). Got fuel (important). Took Hwy 62 to Hwy 145. In Naturita, got some ice cream in the town grocery store, then picked up Hwy 90. Drove thru Bedrock, the tiniest town you've ever seen -- but they have a post office! This part is very hot and dry. Beautiful and deserted. We'd see two other vehicles in an hour.

Colorado Hwy 90 turns into Utah Hwy 46. Headed west to La Sal Jct.
Turned north on 191 and headed up to Moab.

We still had the top off the FJ40 when we got to Moab, and were sunburnt, even though we'd been wearing sunscreen.

------------

It's a very pleasant, two-day journey. Since then, I've always motored over on I-70, wanting to hook up with my friends for Sunday evening beers and the famous Monday pre-run.

Red_Chili
02-13-2007, 12:14 PM
Sounds like your route and Sunday evening beers could be a great combo and quite do-able.

corsair23
02-13-2007, 12:53 PM
Hwy 50 west, over the Monarch Pass, thru Gunnison (ate at Sonic), thru the Curecanti Recreation Area (beautiful but very windy) to Montrose.

Slight hijack but for those going through Gunninson...Went through there last summer on our way Ouray and it had become sort of a tradition to stop and eat at the A&W on the edge of town...Not the best of food necessarily but it was a tradition 6+ years running

Well, it burnt down :(...Not sure if they are going to rebuild (maybe they have).

Hijack off

Red_Chili
02-13-2007, 01:57 PM
I think we need to set up a caravan for an alternate route, leaving Friday nite, whaddya think?

Inukshuk
02-13-2007, 05:35 PM
Rock Dog wrote about "There is a REALLY back way that takes some back roads, and you have to ford across the Dolores river near the Dewey state bridge.... Never done it, but always wanted to. probably not one for towing a trailer..."

I have heard of this too and love to explore (not so sure I can leave on a Friday night though but maybe...) so I think we should start studying the maps....

We can check riverflows at http://www.doloreswater.com/

Low flows through 4/28 (600CFS), but up to 1500CFS on 5/1 - 5/

farnhamstj
02-13-2007, 10:53 PM
I go the 170- 191. 3.5 hours at night. 170, 2nd Cicso 128 during the day. 3.75 hours. Last year on the home we took another 2 weeks of work and went I-70 west to hwy 24 S to Hanksville, through Capitol Reef. HWY 12 to Bryce. Cedar city I-15 to Zion. Then hwy 89 to S rim of Grand canyon. E up hwy 160. N on 163 through Monument Valley to Mexican Hat. S hwy191 to 4 corners. To Cortez, E hwy 160 to Pagosa Springs for a little soak in the tubs. Over wolf creek pass up hwy 24 Leadville, Redcliff, Minturn, Home.....

At Halloween 2006 We did the White Rim trail Canyon lands. Took S 191, E 46, becomes 90 to Bedrock, Naturita, Ridgeway, Ouray. S 550 to Druango, Pagosa Springs(again). A little skiing at Wolf Creek, Back to the house.

I like to drive.....a lot. Maybe thats why I like ifs and a sun roof.

My buddy does the Gateway thing on the way home in stock ford ranger. EZ, except for when wet.

Rock Dog
02-14-2007, 12:50 AM
Sounds like the Kokopelli Trail. Some of it is singletrack. SOME of it is closed to motor vehicles, but there are bypasses that are not.
:

Bill, It's not Kokopelli. I have done parts of that in the past. The trail i am referring to i believe is called "Triangle road" and crosses the dolores river just up from the Dewey state bridge (along the Dolores river, not the Colorado).

It looks like it runs into a honycomb of jeep trails just south of the Colorado national monument, and one route goes right to the monument itself.....

Red_Chili
02-14-2007, 07:48 AM
That sounds fun...