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Route From Denver to Leadville CO


K9  Nose

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We are Traveling in our class C from Denver CO to Leadville CO in July with our 3 dogs. Can you give us advice on the roads. I am not a fan of white knuckle RV driving. We will be there for a few days would appreciate advice on what to do that is dog friendly and where to stay.  Thanks for any advice you can provide. 

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I can't give you any advice on the white knuckle part of your drive but once you get out the city it a easy drive on route 285 to and then north on 24. Less canyons, corners and what use to be less aggressive drivers.

Just remember on the big hills save your brakes and use your transmission & engine to keep your under control. Something that makes Freeway driving also white knuckle to me.

Enjoy, Clay with a fifth wheel

Clay & Marcie Too old to play in the snow

Diesel pusher and previously 2 FW and small Class C

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IH-70 west out of Denver to SH 91 south into Leadville is the most direct route and the roads are very good. As you can imagine there will be a lot of climbing as you are going to gain about 5000 feet of elevation.  We spent a summer in Leadville and took that drive several times. 

The 285/24 route suggested above will get you there but is longer, and in my opinion the roads aren't as good. 

The National Fish Hatchery in Leadville is a wonderful place with many miles of trails. Completely dog friendly. 

Can't help you on campground advice as we were volunteering at the Hatchery and had a site there.  There are a lot of USFS campgrounds in the area, but relatively few commercial campgrounds with hook-ups if that is what you are looking for. 

Mark & Teri

2021 Grand Designs Imagine 2500RL, 2019 Ford F-350

Mark & Teri's Travels

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52 minutes ago, ms60ocb said:

I can't give you any advice on the white knuckle part of your drive but once you get out the city it a easy drive on route 285 to and then north on 24. Less canyons, corners and what use to be less aggressive drivers.

Just remember on the big hills save your brakes and use your transmission & engine to keep your under control. Something that makes Freeway driving also white knuckle to me.

Enjoy, Clay with a fifth wheel

thank you 

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47 minutes ago, mptjelgin said:

IH-70 west out of Denver to SH 91 south into Leadville is the most direct route and the roads are very good. As you can imagine there will be a lot of climbing as you are going to gain about 5000 feet of elevation.  We spent a summer in Leadville and took that drive several times. 

The 285/24 route suggested above will get you there but is longer, and in my opinion the roads aren't as good. 

The National Fish Hatchery in Leadville is a wonderful place with many miles of trails. Completely dog friendly. 

Can't help you on campground advice as we were volunteering at the Hatchery and had a site there.  There are a lot of USFS campgrounds in the area, but relatively few commercial campgrounds with hook-ups if that is what you are looking for. 

thank you

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Note that even though you'll drive the interstate it could be a white knuckle drive for you if mountain driving is new to you.  You will have 5-7% grades for many miles.  It's very doable, however, and you'll see many RVers driving it.  If you're having issues with the 'ups' just get in the semi truck land and plug onward.  Try not to pull over and stop as you'll have a difficult time getting going again. You'll get there although it may be slow.  Don't hold up traffic in the other lanes.  Going down get into a lower gear before the downhill; not in the midst of it.  Stay off the brakes as much as possible. If you're in the correct gear you won't have to use the brakes much.

It's a beautiful drive.... if you can enjoy it! :)  

Full-timed for 16 Years
Traveled 8 yr in a 2004 Newmar Dutch Star 40' Motorhome
and 8 yr in a 33' Travel Supreme 5th Wheel

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5 hours ago, mptjelgin said:

IH-70 west out of Denver to SH 91 south into Leadville is the most direct route and the roads are very good. As you can imagine there will be a lot of climbing as you are going to gain about 5000 feet of elevation.  We spent a summer in Leadville and took that drive several times. 

The 285/24 route suggested above will get you there but is longer, and in my opinion the roads aren't as good. 

I absolutely agree with this view.I am very familiar with that route as I have family in the area. As to white knuckle driving, you can't get to Leadville without mountain driving but none of it is what I'd consider white knuckle, but I have driven in the mountains a great deal. Even the interstates are crooked and climb as there is no other way to get over the mountains, although in this case you will pass through a tunnel that avoids the highest pass that you would need to cross if it weren't there. 

Good travelin !...............Kirk

Full-time 11+ years...... Now seasonal travelers.
Kirk & Pam's Great RV Adventure

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11 hours ago, K9 Nose said:

We will be there for a few days would appreciate advice on what to do that is dog friendly and where to stay.

Leadville has lots of options for things to do and campgrounds to stay. It just depends what interests you. Lots of hiking trails, jeep trails, mountain biking trails and nearby lakes. Leadville has a strong mining background with old mines to tour, a mining museum and still active mines. July-Aug is their high season, so some campgrounds will be full. 

You will be at 10,000 ft and above elevations and with the record snowfall we had last winter in the southern Co mountains, there is still snow cover in much of the high country. Many of the ATV & Jeep trails I usually ride in May are just now opening in July. Also, because much of their high country habitat is still snow covered, we have lots of bear activity in and around town. Be careful with your dogs in the back country. We even had a bear run right through the middle of the Leadville Trail Marathon race a few weeks back, within 25 ft of a hundred people.

Jim

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A route not mentioned above, albeit a longer one, is to take I-25 to Colorado Springs and US-24 west to Leadville. None of the passes on this route are above 9500 feet, where the I-70/CO-91 route takes you across Eisenhower Tunnel and Fremont pass which are both over 11000 feet. 

Edited by Chalkie

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On 7/6/2019 at 5:25 PM, 2gypsies said:

Note that even though you'll drive the interstate it could be a white knuckle drive for you if mountain driving is new to you.  You will have 5-7% grades for many miles.  It's very doable, however, and you'll see many RVers driving it.  If you're having issues with the 'ups' just get in the semi truck land and plug onward.  Try not to pull over and stop as you'll have a difficult time getting going again. You'll get there although it may be slow.  Don't hold up traffic in the other lanes.  Going down get into a lower gear before the downhill; not in the midst of it.  Stay off the brakes as much as possible. If you're in the correct gear you won't have to use the brakes much.

It's a beautiful drive.... if you can enjoy it! :)  

Thank you 

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On 7/6/2019 at 5:25 PM, 2gypsies said:

Note that even though you'll drive the interstate it could be a white knuckle drive for you if mountain driving is new to you.  You will have 5-7% grades for many miles.  It's very doable, however, and you'll see many RVers driving it.  If you're having issues with the 'ups' just get in the semi truck land and plug onward.  Try not to pull over and stop as you'll have a difficult time getting going again. You'll get there although it may be slow.  Don't hold up traffic in the other lanes.  Going down get into a lower gear before the downhill; not in the midst of it.  Stay off the brakes as much as possible. If you're in the correct gear you won't have to use the brakes much.

It's a beautiful drive.... if you can enjoy it! :)  

thank you 

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On 7/7/2019 at 2:05 AM, JRP said:

Leadville has lots of options for things to do and campgrounds to stay. It just depends what interests you. Lots of hiking trails, jeep trails, mountain biking trails and nearby lakes. Leadville has a strong mining background with old mines to tour, a mining museum and still active mines. July-Aug is their high season, so some campgrounds will be full. 

You will be at 10,000 ft and above elevations and with the record snowfall we had last winter in the southern Co mountains, there is still snow cover in much of the high country. Many of the ATV & Jeep trails I usually ride in May are just now opening in July. Also, because much of their high country habitat is still snow covered, we have lots of bear activity in and around town. Be careful with your dogs in the back country. We even had a bear run right through the middle of the Leadville Trail Marathon race a few weeks back, within 25 ft of a hundred people.

thank you 

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