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Author Topic: Best route from Durango to Gunnison, CO  (Read 442 times)

librarylady

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  • Posts: 9
Best route from Durango to Gunnison, CO
« on: March 31, 2017, 12:36:04 PM »
I'm trying to figure out the best route to take from Durango to Gunnison.  I know that the Million Dollar Highway section of SH550 is not for campers.  So, what is the best route?  Any suggestions will be appreciated!
Lydia & Robbie
2010 GMC Sierra
2016 Keystone Premier Bullet RIPR
Just another wine drinker with a camping problem

AStravelers

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  • Posts: 693
  • Part time travelers, 4-8 months each year.
Re: Best route from Durango to Gunnison, CO
« Reply #1 on: April 01, 2017, 02:17:08 PM »
You don't mention the length/weight of your trailer in your signature line, which would be helpful in giving advice.

As long as your truck and trailer are not over the GCVR (gross combined vehicle weight) the most direct route would be US-550 straight north.  Motorhomes of 40' pulling a toad, 5th wheels at 35-40' with the proper tow vehicle, take this route all the time.  Large propane delivery trucks take this route, as well as other large delivery trucks. 

The road is a normal highway width.  There is no narrow sections and there are no hard to maneuver sharp curves.  Granted there are some curves marked at 10mph but the pavement is extra, extra wide.   Yes, there are no guard rails.  However there are no guard rails on level two lane roads we normally drive on and you don't wander off the pavement on those roads.  So why would you drive off the pavement just because you are in the mountains.  Beside you will be concentrating more on the mountain road, so you are even less likely go wander off of the pavement.

If you have experience with mountain driving US-550 is the route I would take.  Going up hill is no problem, assuming your truck is in good condition and you are not over weight. Gear down and keep your RPMs up.  Going down hill is where the most caution is needed.  At the start of the down hill section, slow down to about 30mph in 2nd or 3rd gear and just go slow.  If you have to put the brakes on more often than once every 60 seconds or so you are going too fast and in to high a gear. 

An alternate route, which is not quiet as steep, is to go west to near Cortez and then north to Delores and over the mountains to Teluride (sp?) and on to Ridgeway.  There is some uncomfortable road coming down to Teluride through. 

Other than that, your option to stay totally out of the mountains, is to go to Cortez, Moab, I-70 and Grand Junction. A long, long way to go.
Al & Sharon
2006 Winnebago Sightseer 29R
2009 Chevy Colorado 4X4

http://downtheroadaroundthebend.blogspot.com/

Trivet

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Re: Best route from Durango to Gunnison, CO
« Reply #2 on: April 07, 2017, 11:47:19 AM »
Do yourself a favor and go around through Mancos and Dolores.  It's a pretty drive and vastly less stressful than 550.

The problem with 550 isn't just the ascending and descending--it's also a road with no shoulder, sharp curves, and scary dropoffs.  There aren't many wrecks on it probably because people are being extra careful, but that alone tells you that it's not just a road like any other. 

My major concern is the other vehicles, and if you encounter an oncoming vehicle that's taking up part of your lane, you don't have anywhere to go. 


librarylady

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  • Posts: 9
Re: Best route from Durango to Gunnison, CO
« Reply #3 on: April 07, 2017, 12:16:58 PM »
Thank you, Trivet!  That sounds like a good plan. 
Lydia & Robbie
2010 GMC Sierra
2016 Keystone Premier Bullet RIPR
Just another wine drinker with a camping problem

 

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