Colorado Springs to Grand Canyon

Jan 9th, 2009, 09:20 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 519
Colorado Springs to Grand Canyon

DH and I are attending a wedding in Colorado Springs in February. We're going to take a week after that and drive to LA. Our first major stop will be the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. Mapquest says 10 hours. That's a long day for February, but not undoable if the weather holds.

Looking for suggestions on places to stop and possibly make this a 2 day trip.

Will probably be back to ask about other legs of the trip.

celticdreams is offline  
Jan 9th, 2009, 11:46 AM
Join Date: Sep 2005
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You'll be traveling all state roads (no interstates) so 10 hours would be pushing it as I recall. (Lived in Breckenridge in the 80s and did the trip to the Grand Canyon and beyond a couple of times.) Also you never know what the weather will be like and it can really dump out there! (Did a 180 in a snow storm at the top if Monarch Pass and that was in May!) Figure on taking all day to get to Durango -- great town for a stop-over -- then another good haul to the Grand Canyon. There's a lot a great scenery along the way (take a quick stop at the Black Canyon of the Gunnison)and you'll want to pull over to enjoy it. Spend the morning at Mesa Verde on your second day -- very interesting site not far from Durango. Have a great trip!
SoloNoMo is offline  
Jan 9th, 2009, 11:59 AM
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I agree with snm; you will be lucky to make it to Durango on day one. Weather here can be BAD in winter and passes close and stay closed. On good day, with roads clean and dry - 6 hours is about right.

Durango is a great town with lots of really good restaurants and places to stay. I can make recommendations, if you'd like.

Mesa Verde NP is a worth the stop. There will be only one ruin open in winter, but it will have a free ranger guided tour {Spruce Tree House} and it amazing. It is not like anything you will see at GC.

From Mesa Verde NP [the actual exit onto SR 160, it will take another 6 hours to South Rim, again if roads are good and dry.

DebitNM is offline  
Jan 9th, 2009, 12:03 PM
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The North Rim is closed so Iím not sure where state roads and Durango and Gunnison are supposed to come into this..

In Feb. you want to follow the main drag for the safest bet at getting there, and that is the I25 from CoSpgs to Albuquerque and the 40 heading west. Wish for clement conditions, especially at Raton Pass - stop and ask in Trinidad, if itís bad at the pass, stay the night in Trinidad.

Look up Desert View and how to get there, it is the eastern-most lookout point, with a three-story tower, a store, just a great place for viewing - just make sure it is open in winter - use google of course.

From there the road follows the south rim closely, every few hundred yards there is a turn-out, and from each and every turn-out the views are different, very different. The rock colors and shapes change endlessly. Finally you get to where everybody else heads first and where all the bus tours go, the main viewing area near the village. Nothing wrong with that, but what youíve seen on the way from Desert View is hard to beat!

As to a cool place to break that journey - Santa Fe of course!
DalaiLlama is offline  
Jan 9th, 2009, 12:09 PM
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 27,866
DL is correct! The safest bet would be south on I-25 and then west on
I-40. However, even with that, I-40 has been know to close or be quite icy. I don't think you would make it in 10 hours, even going this way.

I was thinking you wanted to go scenic route, hence down to Durango and then over to GC.

Stopping for the night in Santa Fe or Albuquerque would work. Can give ideas for that too.


DebitNM is offline  
Jan 10th, 2009, 12:36 PM
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 80
Your best bet is to check the weather and road conditions once you're in Colorado. They deal with the snow well out there and a sunny day after a snow storm will leave the roads pretty much dry. If you can flexible about your departure day, you'll be fine. And the route past Gunnison and thru Durango will take you to the south rim.
SoloNoMo is offline  
Jan 11th, 2009, 04:44 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 519

After looking at the map, I think we'll plan two routes, one to the South Rim via an overnight in Durango (would love recommendations for dinner. Simple and low key - we eat just about everything, but won't be bringing much in the way of dress-up clothes). The other route to be south to Albuquerque and then west to the South Rim. We'll check out road and weather conditions when we get there and decide then.

celticdreams is offline  
Jan 11th, 2009, 06:02 AM
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 143
Agree. Durango is a great town. Find a place downtown to eat, in the section of town where the old buildings are...
jumbonav is offline  
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