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Travel logistics to Ouray
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Partner neuroshock


Sep 25, 2008, 3:30 PM
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Travel logistics to Ouray
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My girl and I are thinking of going to Ouray over the holidays. Say, Dec 27th to Jan 3rd.

If we're flying most of the way, what's the more/most reliable route (various mountain passes, etc) to get there? Via Denver, via Albuquerque, or via some other way I'm not thinking of?

Which way is cheaper/cheapest?

4WD an essential on the rental? Chains?


mattb1921


Sep 26, 2008, 7:23 AM
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Re: [neuroshock] Travel logistics to Ouray [In reply to]
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Well I am not sure form Denver since I never come from there but I do think it is about a 7hr drive. Someone can correct me if I am wrong. I live in Albuquerque and drive up there every weekend from early December to late April. My experience has been that I usually don't have problems until January. The passes between Durango and Ouray on HWY550 do close due to avalanche danger but they usually get them open pretty quickly. Also if those passes close you can always go around through Lizard head pass and on through Telluride which rarely closes for long periods of time. It adds about 2hrs to the drive.
The other nice thing about coming from Albuquerque is that in late December and early January we don't get tons of snow in New Mexico so a majority of the drive will be worry free. I would get 4wd so you would not have to worry too much.


reno


Sep 30, 2008, 10:28 AM
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Re: [neuroshock] Travel logistics to Ouray [In reply to]
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Neuro:

I've done the drive from both Denver and the southern route (not ABQ, but PHX.)

Denver: I've had the best luck using I-70 *if* I am not leaving on Friday afternoon. Friday traffic on I-70 can be a bitch, with ski traffic and so forth. Taking 285 to 50, over to Montrose, then south is the best option if traffic on I-70 is heavy.

From the south, as mattb mentions, can be tricky if the roads are closed. From Durango, taking 550 north is the most direct route, but can be closed from avalanches. For that road, I'd certainly want chains if nothing else. 4WD would be nice, too.

Last year, during a heavy snowfall, I went from Cortez to Telluride, over Lizard Head Pass, then over to Ouray. Did it in a front wheel drive sedan without chains. Kinda dicey for a bit, but made safely.

Your car rental will depend on road conditions, which can be found here: http://www.cotrip.org/. You should also plug in this number into your cell, so you can get conditions while driving: 303-639-1111

Make sure to stop in Buen Tempo while in Ouray and have an el Jefe margarita. They're the bomb. Cool


Partner neuroshock


Sep 30, 2008, 2:46 PM
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Re: [reno] Travel logistics to Ouray [In reply to]
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reno, thanks for the beta

we'll see how this plays out. i've been looking forward to this for a few months now but I may be postponing trips for a new job, instead.

if we're in town at the same time I'll be sure to buy you one of those margaritas :-D


reno


Oct 5, 2008, 7:55 PM
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Re: [neuroshock] Travel logistics to Ouray [In reply to]
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neuroshock wrote:
if we're in town at the same time I'll be sure to buy you one of those margaritas :-D

I have a rule, and that is that I never... NEVER, mind you... turn down free alcohol.

You buy the first, I'll buy the next three. After that, we'll need someone to scrape us from the pavement with a shovel.

Cool


Partner neuroshock


Jul 23, 2009, 1:22 PM
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Re: [reno] Travel logistics to Ouray [In reply to]
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Okay, we never made it last winter because by the time we tried to get our tickets, airfare was over $800 apiece.

This year, we're starting to look earlier (i.e. now. before Labor Day when families start thinking about the holidays) and airfares are looking okay so far (under $400 each, anyway).

This time around I was wondering about flying into Grand Junction versus flying into Denver. Going into GJT would cut off quite a bit of driving time. However, I'm thinking that 4wd rentals will cost more (being a smaller airport 'n all, less inventory/availability) and I'm not sure about the reliability of flying that time of year into that airport. How often/likely would a flight into GJT be cancelled? If weather is poor enough for flights into GJT to be cancelled, would I even want to be driving on I-70 anyway?

Thanks again, everyone!

-Mike


evanmfreeman


Jul 23, 2009, 8:26 PM
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Re: [neuroshock] Travel logistics to Ouray [In reply to]
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Fly into GJT or even Montrose. DO NOT rent a 4wd--you'll be wasting your money and emitting more CO2 than necessary. The road from Junction to Ouray is great, and doesn't go over any passes. I drive all over the SW corner of CO in 2wd vehicles all winter long, including to the top of Monarch pass (11,300) during "chains only" storms in my VW van with normal tires. Once i drove over Red Mountain pass during a chain control storm on my motorcycle. I70 does close a few times a year, but GJT is lower and much drier than the central mountains and it hardly even snows there. Overall your driving hassles will be MUCH reduced by flying into the Western Slope to start with.

Just drive slowly and carefully and you'll be fine. Ouray is nice in the winter, and though the Ice Park will be crowded, you'll probably still have a great time. The locals love ice climbers, and some of the hotels are really great.

Also check out Lake City while you're around. It's a bit of a drive from Ouray, but you'll not see the crowds.


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