Driving from California to Denver

Jun 7th, 2007, 08:21 PM
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Driving from California to Denver

My son is relocating to Denver, and we were going to drive with him from the San Francisco Bay Area. We were thinking we would spend two nights on the road. I guess that I-80 is the fastest, but that part of Wyoming doesn't look that interesting. How much longer would it take to cut down to I-70 from Salt Lake City and drive through Colorado? Is it worth the extra time?
jag1jag1 is offline  
Jun 7th, 2007, 08:37 PM
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If you're willing to spend two nigths on the road, you can afford to take the slower, but more scenic roads.

In fact, you may want to take US50 across Nevada (after Reno), which joins I-70. No need to go through SLC.
rkkwan is offline  
Jun 7th, 2007, 08:48 PM
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How long would you imagine this alternate route would take? Is Highway 50 four lanes?
jag1jag1 is offline  
Jun 7th, 2007, 09:05 PM
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US 50 across NV is 2-lane. It's the "Loniest highway in America", so traffic won't be a problem, as you long as you're okay with the occassional passing.

San Franciso to Denver is about 1,270mi via I-80/I-25.

Same distance if you go down US6 from SLC to I-70.

It's about 50 miles shorter if you take US50.
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Jun 7th, 2007, 09:06 PM
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My DH took I-80 to I-15 South to I-70. You may want to check Mapquest. I think 50 is two lanes much of the way, though I haven't been on it that stretch of the road.
trippinkpj is offline  
Jun 7th, 2007, 09:17 PM
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http://www.byways.org/explore/byways/2033/

It's really a nice drive across the basin/range region of Nevada. If you break down however, it could be a while until somebody comes by.
Bisbee is offline  
Jun 7th, 2007, 09:20 PM
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My husband had a tire blow out traveling west from CO, and was glad he was on 80 (near Wells, NV) and not 50.
trippinkpj is offline  
Jun 7th, 2007, 09:56 PM
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It's not worth the extra time. Wyoming is more interesting than that large expanses of Nevada and Utah you will cross. Just take I-80 all the way to Cheyenne, then head south on I-25 into the Denver area. The last time I drove that route was helping a friend move, driving a huge U-Haul towing a van. Worked out fine, no problems finding services or lodging -- but at times there will be huge distances between exits.
bluestar is offline  
Jun 7th, 2007, 10:58 PM
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"Wyoming is more interesting than that large expanses of Nevada and Utah you will cross".

If you like Interstates and Truck Stops. And be sure not to miss the Giant Nail in Gold City.

You'll be driving across the entire state of Nevada and half of Utah on I-80.
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Jun 7th, 2007, 10:59 PM
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I beg to differ. Hwy 80 is SO boring though Wyoming! Hwy 50 though Nevada is very interesing and I-70 thought Utah and Colorado has to be the most beautiful stretch of Interstate I've ever been on...and I've been on a lot!

We do Hwy 50 often and I love going up and down the passes, they aren't that high and they aren't curvey...just interestint. There's a lot of history and areas of interest. Grimes Point Archaeological Site, Sand Mountain, Along the way are the ruins of several Pony Express and Overland Stage stations, old mining towns like Austin and Eureka, About 45 miles west of Eureka is Hickison Summit, the site of rare Indian petroglyphs and you will see Wheeler Peak as you near Utah.

In Utah on I-70 you will travel thought the San Rafael Swell Area.

Even if you decide to take I-80 to Salt Lake you will see the salt flats and Great Salt Lake, I'd drop down to I-70 to drive though Utah and Colorado!

Utahtea
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Jun 8th, 2007, 02:59 AM
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utahtea is 100% correct. Can't agree more or put it any better.
rkkwan is offline  
Jun 8th, 2007, 04:21 AM
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Another vote for 70.
Gretchen is offline  
Jun 8th, 2007, 04:32 AM
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Have made the trip many times and going again this month, I've taken all the routes. I prefer I-80 to SLC and then drop down to I-70 via highway 6, it will be a lot shorter and faster than I-15.You will love the scenery on 70.
Norden1 is offline  
Jun 8th, 2007, 08:32 AM
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I'm thinking 80 to SLC and then dropping down to 70 seems like a good plan. How much longer in terms of time would that be than going to Cheyenne and then heading south?
jag1jag1 is offline  
Jun 8th, 2007, 09:23 AM
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Jag, time should be about the same but much better view on I-70. Out of SLC take I- 15 south 30 mi or so than take hiway 6 east to I-70 thats about 50 mi closer than taking I-15 all the way to I-70 plus not much traffic, enjoy your trip
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Jun 8th, 2007, 11:11 AM
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Norden or others--Any thoughts about two places to stop along this 80/70 route?
jag1jag1 is offline  
Jun 8th, 2007, 11:54 AM
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I'd recommend staying the first night in Elko and the second one in Green River.

I too would recommend Hwy 50 over I80 but you do not have enough time to do it justice. Hwy 50 is one of the great drives in the West and there is a lot to see along the way.

Annie Wells of the LA Times wrote an article last summer for the Travel section called "400 miles of blissful nothingness" which described many of the places to see. You need 3 or 4 days to do this route properly.

Also, if you had more time I'd recommend staying in Moab instead of Green River but without having the time to see Arches National Park and the Canyonlands area, it's not worth the extra drive.

You dont say when you are going but bear in mind that summer can be very hot along this route.

Have fun.
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Jun 10th, 2007, 11:46 AM
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Jag - I don't know how this fits into your time schedule but we like to stay in Glenwood Springs & go to the hot springs pool. Might be a nice break in the drive.
Betsy
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Jun 10th, 2007, 02:26 PM
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Another alternate but very scenic route is to continue east out of SLC on I-80 to just past Park City (about 30 miles) then take US-40 all the way to Denver. It is shorter in miles than I-70 but almost all of it is country highway so I don't know which would be faster. It will take you through the Heber Valley, dinasouer country, across high valleys and passes of the Rockies and through Winter Park and Empire before connecting with I-70 about 45 miles west of Denver. I really like the I-70 route also but I prefer US-40.
dwooddon is offline  
Jun 13th, 2007, 05:15 PM
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Elko and Glenwood Springs sound like two potential stopping spots. However, maybe Elko and Glenwood Springs are a little far apart? What's Grand Junction like?
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