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Flatlander in Colorado

Old Jan 9th, 2011, 10:21 AM
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Flatlander in Colorado

Hello,

Anyone familiar with the road going across Rocky Mountain National Park? My wife and I are planning a trip to Colorado and I have been told not to miss the park. We are from Ohio and don't have any mountains here so mountain diving is not something I do on a regular basis. My brother drove the road years ago going from east to west and said parts of it were quite frightening for a flatlander. I am determined to do it, but I am wondering if one direction is less concerning than the other. I would come in from the west if that were less frightening.

Any input would be helpful. Thanks.
jim
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Old Jan 9th, 2011, 11:09 AM
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Jim,

They have recently done some work on the road, so it might not be as scary as when your brother did the drive. I'm tempted to just say "don't worry about it" but I understand my perception of what's a scary road may not be the same as yours!

I think traveling from east to west may be better. When you are above treeline most of the big drops are to the south into Forest Canyon, which is on the left side of the road if you are heading west.

Have fun, it's a great drive. Make sure you stop at the overlooks and also do the tundra walks they have up there, being careful to stay on the trail.
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Old Jan 9th, 2011, 12:59 PM
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The road isn't bad at all and I'm a sr citizen flatlander, although not quite as flat as Ohio. It's gorgeous scenery and you should go for it. You didn't say what time of year you're planning to do this so be aware that the road can close early in the fall and open late in the spring. The last time we did it 2 yrs ago was mid June and it had just opened. As Nelson said, driving from the east puts you on the "inside" of the road. Take the time to stop in Grand Lake just outside of the west end. It's a cute town.
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Old Jan 9th, 2011, 01:26 PM
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Truthfully I don't rank it very high on the scary scale. It is extremely well traveled and maintain. The target for opening is always Memorial Day weekend. Most the time they make, sometimes they do not. This year could be a do not since the snow pack in that area is about 50% above average. Now if you want an scary road, try "O'My God" highway out the back side of Central City to Idaho Spring. Now that road will make you wish for a Smart car. A little less challenging is Independence Pass between Aspen and Leadville. I think the views off the top of Independence is much better than RMNP. Do both of them. You only die once.
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Old Jan 9th, 2011, 08:24 PM
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I think you mean Trail Ridge Road. It is well worth the drive, and really not scary on dry roads.
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Old Jan 10th, 2011, 06:19 AM
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It's a paved road, recently (2010)improved, easy to drive, and spectacular. Lots of pull outs for taking in the scenery (really, if giant motor homes can do it...). East to west, or west to east, equally good drive.
The "Oh My God" road has been tamed, by the way; paved, widened, and holding nothing but nice scenery, between Central City and Idaho Springs. Just drove it this fall; nothing scary at all.
Beg to differ about the views from Independence Pass; having driven both Trail Ridge and IP one more times than I can count, can't imagine someone thinking that the high alpine sights of RMNP aren't FAR more spectacular than IP.
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Old Jan 10th, 2011, 07:00 AM
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The Central City Parkway is an entirely new road that has nothing to do with O'My God. It is still there.
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Old Jan 10th, 2011, 11:44 AM
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My Dad drove RMNP and he's from Ohio and scared of everything.LOL, but he wouldn't drive over Independence Pass, he turned around and went back to Denver on I-70. Of course we all used to driving in the mountains from living out here and driving in them alot.
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Old Jan 11th, 2011, 09:00 AM
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Thanks to everyone that replied. I feel better about the drive now. My preferred drive was east to west, and that is the way I will go. We won't make the drive until sometime in August. Looking forward to seeing Colorado again.
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