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The hardest part about driving in the High Rockies is keeping your eyes on the road. A glacier-carved canyon off to your left, a soaring mountain ridge to your right, and there, standing on the shoulder, a bull elk. Some of the most scenic routes aren't necessarily the most direct. The Eisenhower Tunnel sweeps thousands of cars daily beneath the mantle of the Continental Divide, whereas only several hundred drivers choose the slower, but spectacular, Loveland Pass. Some of the most beautiful byways, like the Mount Evans Scenic and Historic Drive, are one-way roads.
Although it is severely overcrowded, I-70 is still the quickest and most direct route from Denver to Summit County. The interstate slices through the state, separating it into northern and southern halves. Breckenridge is south of I-70 on Route 9; Leadville and Ski Cooper are south of I-70 along U.S. 24 and Route 91.
The most convenient place for visitors to rent a car is at the Denver International Airport. Gasoline is readily available along I-70 and its arteries, but when venturing into more remote areas be sure you have enough fuel to get there and back. Blinding snowstorms can appear out of nowhere on the high passes at any time of the year. Chains aren't normally required for passenger vehicles on highways, but it's a good idea to carry them. A shovel isn't a bad idea, either. The highway shuts down during severe snowstorms and blizzards. Keep your eyes peeled for mule deer and for bighorn sheep, especially along the stretch of I-70 from Idaho Springs to the Eisenhower Tunnel.
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