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Old 08-07-2016, 01:05 AM   #1
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Is US 160 in CO doable?

Has anyone had any experience with US 160 from Mesa Verde to Great Sand Dunes?

Wondering about the grades and conditions of the road, especially from Pagosa Springs to Del Norte.

Not seeing any feasible option around the mountains in SW Colorado so trying to gauge the lesser of what appears to be two evils. Thanks in advance!

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Old 08-07-2016, 09:58 PM   #2
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It's a good hard pull out of Pagosa Springs with a little gentler downgrade to Del Norte. All upon your equipment.

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Old 08-09-2016, 11:09 PM   #3
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You'll encounter some smaller (relatively) hills between Mesa Verde and Pagosa Springs. The big climb is over Wolf Creek Pass (10,856'). About eight miles up a good steady 6 - 7% grade to the summit but it's two lanes uphill so stay to the right and just take it slow. Stop at the summit for the view and to let things cool down.

Of course watch your speed on the east side downhill run. Downshift for engine braking, don't ride your brakes, and pull over if you find you're backing up traffic. After the second tunnel the downhill grade is less but the road is narrower, there's no shoulder to speak of, and your attention is going to be drawn to the beautiful view of the river next to the road.

Once in South Fork things pretty much level out across the San Luis valley to the Sand Dunes. If you need supplies (food/fuel) stock up in Alamosa because there ain't nothing closer.

If you're continuing east after Sand Dunes you'll have to cross La Veta Pass (9,400'). Also two lane uphill so again slow and steady.

BTW, you said "so trying to gauge the lesser of what appears to be two evils". What's the other choice? Short of detouring into New Mexico Hwy 160 is really the only option.
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Old 08-19-2016, 09:12 AM   #4
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Just to add two more cents about Route 160... from the perspective of a traveler from (very flat) Upstate NY who really hates driving through mountain passes. We went through Wolf Creek pass yesterday, and I felt very comfortable the entire time. It probably helped that there was road construction, so we went slow for more than half of the route. But definitely not bad, IMO.
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