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Old 08-07-2017, 12:04 AM   #1
denandannie
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Best Route from Rocky Mtn NP to Northern California

After staying in RMNP, our trip home is being debated. Do we want to take the boring I-80 back to northern California, or take a more interesting and scenic route. Can anyone offer some insight on these questions?

1. Has anyone towed their 5th wheel over RMNP's trail ridge road to intersect with Hwy 40 and then gone west on Hwy 40? Is it doable? Any suggestions or insight?

2. Assuming question #1 is out, what about leaving RMNP and going north to hwy 14, then west to Steamboat Springs and intersecting with Hwy 40. Any suggestions or insight?

Thanks for any suggestions.
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Old 08-07-2017, 07:00 AM   #2
jpkelpe
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We would not do #1. We have done Highway 14 from Fort Collins to Walden then down to Granby. It is a good road for towing no real steep mountains and sharp curves. Don't know about 14 from Walden to Steam Boat springs. Maybe Ron Ames will come along and give you info on that.
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Old 08-07-2017, 09:19 AM   #3
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There are two areas of concern from Colorado Springs to Steamboat springs. The info below is from the Mountain Directory:

2. CAMERON PASS elev. 10276'

(on Colorado Highway 14 east of Gould, CO)

The summit of Cameron Pass is about 10 miles east of Gould. The eastbound descent is rolling hills for about 3 miles. At this point there is a truck warning sign-"steep grade next 10 miles" but the sign gives no details. It is a rolling descent with some steep sections but they are not very long.

The westbound descent is about 4 miles of 6% grade with 30 and 35 mph curves.

29. RABBIT EARS PASS elev. 9426'

(on U.S. 40 east of Steamboat Springs, CO)

MUDDY PASS elev. 8772'

(on U.S. 40 east of Rabbit Ears Pass)

Rabbit Ears Pass has an east summit and a west summit. Between the two summits are rolling hills and the road changes back and forth from two lane to three lane.

The eastbound descent from Rabbit Ears east summit is about 3 miles of 6% grade with 30 and 40 mph curves. The grade eases near the junction of U.S. 40 and State 14 highways, which is also the summit of Muddy Pass. If you continue east on U.S. 40 the descent down Muddy Pass is only about 2 miles of 5-6% grade. If you turn east on 14 the descent is short.

The westbound descent from Rabbit Ears west summit begins with a brake check area and warning signs-"Runaway truck ramp 5 miles ahead" and "Trucks use lower gear-7% grade next 7 miles." The escape ramp is actually 4 miles down, near milepost 142.

The grade is very steady at 7% with 45 mph curves. The escape ramp exits to the right and goes uphill. There are 3 miles of 7% grade after the escape ramp. This is a dangerous hill for large or heavy vehicles.


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Old 08-07-2017, 12:25 PM   #4
carl n susan
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I just spent some time in the RMNP. I am pretty adventurous but would prefer to not tow over the tail ridge road. I drove it in the truck and saw people with RVs going west bound but it is a tough road with the curves.

We stayed in Loveland west of the RNMP. We came there (east bound) from Steamboat Springs with 5 other Montana owners. The basic route was Hwy-40 to Hwy-14 and south on Hwy-27 to a park just west of Loveland.

Yes there are hills, but CO has a lot of hills. Assuming you have a fairly current truck, take your time, watch your speed, and use your gears/exhaust brake and you will be fine.
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Old 08-12-2017, 10:59 AM   #5
ColoradoPriorMarines
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RMNP to Northern CA

Quote:
Originally Posted by denandannie View Post
After staying in RMNP, our trip home is being debated. Do we want to take the boring I-80 back to northern California, or take a more interesting and scenic route. Can anyone offer some insight on these questions?

1. Has anyone towed their 5th wheel over RMNP's trail ridge road to intersect with Hwy 40 and then gone west on Hwy 40? Is it doable? Any suggestions or insight?

2. Assuming question #1 is out, what about leaving RMNP and going north to hwy 14, then west to Steamboat Springs and intersecting with Hwy 40. Any suggestions or insight?

Thanks for any suggestions.

We have pulled up Hwy 14 to Steamboat and beyond many times in our 26' TT - and not a hint of a problem - we now have a 3400RL Montana and would not hesitate to go that route - however for most parts 'slow and easy" would be the phrase of the day - once you get on US 40 - piece of cake - you could take to SLC and on from there.
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Old 08-12-2017, 03:17 PM   #6
mlh
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The trail ridge road is over 12,000 feet. If you have a turbo diesel you shouldn't have any problem but it's steep so watch your transmission temps. If you start getting hot go to 4WD low and will bring the temperature down. I've never pulled a camper over that road but I've been over it several times. Just take your time and you might check it out first.
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