Good Sam Club Open Roads Forum: Estes Park CO to Grand Lake CO
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 > Estes Park CO to Grand Lake CO

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siguccs

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Posted: 06/30/19 06:24pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I have a 36’ class A diesel motor home pulling a Honda CRV. I will be staying in Estes Park, CO in August, then moving to Grand Lake on the other side of RMNP. How would you recommend I get to Grand Lake?

It looks like Trail Ridge Rd through the park is the most straightforward way to go, but I’m not so sure it’s the best way with my motorhome/toad.

Thanks!

Ivylog

Blairsville, GA and WPB, FL.

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Posted: 06/30/19 06:37pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Yes it’s the shortest now that it’s back open BUT unless you have a fair amount of mountain driving with sharp switch backs I would not recommend it. If you decide to have someone drive the CRV...DO NOT tow it.

My advice is to skip Estes Park (biggest tourist trap around) and go straight to Grand Lake by another route. Take the CRV from Grand Lake into RMNP and even to Estes Park.


This post is my opinion (free advice). It is not intended to influence anyone's judgment nor do I advocate anyone do what I propose.

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BarryG20

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Posted: 06/30/19 07:50pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Personally I would take trail ridge. One hour drive vs at least Three hour drive. Trail ridge yes steep in places, switchbacks in places, speed limit Is low. If you don’t drive the steep twisty curveys you never get better on them


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Bionic Man

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Posted: 06/30/19 10:06pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I also would take Trail Ridge. Just take your time. It is a LONG way around otherwise.


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Busskipper

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Posted: 07/01/19 05:24am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

siguccs wrote:

I have a 36’ class A diesel motor home pulling a Honda CRV. I will be staying in Estes Park, CO in August, then moving to Grand Lake on the other side of RMNP. How would you recommend I get to Grand Lake?

It looks like Trail Ridge Rd through the park is the most straightforward way to go, but I’m not so sure it’s the best way with my motorhome/toad.

Thanks!


Having done this a number of times in the Signature Coach - Stay within your Driving Comfort Limits - if you do drive it do it early before traffic get heavy.Say 8:30.

Or follow Ivy's advice and just stay on the western Side and drive the Toad over.

RMNP is Beautiful - and Like Yogi would say - "Nobody goes there anymore - it's too crowded"[emoticon]

Best of Luck,


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4runnerguy

Glenwood Springs, CO

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Posted: 07/01/19 07:31am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Ivylog wrote:

My advice is to skip Estes Park (biggest tourist trap around) and go straight to Grand Lake by another route.
Yeah, Estes Park is a zoo no doubt. But for shorter access hiking to incredible mountain lakes, the east side of the park is better, although the hiking trails themselves are also packed.

The town of Grand Lake is much more quaint, kind of like EP 50 years ago. But the pine beetle has ravaged the trees in the Grand Lake area.

Plenty of RV's go over Trail Ridge every year. As noted, disconnect toad and drive it separately. Don't sightsee, as parking for large RV's is very limited. Start very early in the day to avoid the traffic.


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Thom02099

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Posted: 07/01/19 11:16am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

siguccs wrote:

I have a 36’ class A diesel motor home pulling a Honda CRV. I will be staying in Estes Park, CO in August, then moving to Grand Lake on the other side of RMNP. How would you recommend I get to Grand Lake?

It looks like Trail Ridge Rd through the park is the most straightforward way to go, but I’m not so sure it’s the best way with my motorhome/toad.

Thanks!


You don't mention your mountain driving experience. Let your comfort level be your guide. You will have had to go up a canyon (US 34 or US 36) or on the Peak to Peak highway to get to Estes Park.

From Estes Park and the Beaver Meadows Entrance, you'll be in the trees up to about the 2 mile altitude sign (about 12 miles up from the Beaver Meadows entrance), then you'll be in the tundra area for about 14 miles. This is a shelf road with no guardrails and sheer drop offs. The drop offs of concern are between Many Parks Curve and the Canyon Overlook parking lots.

The good news is that for a goodly portion of this drive heading east to west, the embankment is on YOUR right side, so you don't have to deal with the dropoffs that much, once you get past the Canyon Overlook parking lot.

On the west side there are 5 hairpin curves going down, but you're in the trees below the tundra. They are all blind curves. You'll know when you're down on the west side and it levels out. Colorado River headwaters are along this drive and it's worth it for the beauty of the valley there.

Don't expect to pull off and see the sights while crossing...there's no place to accommodate your rig and toad. Even the Alpine Visitor's Center will difficult to get in with that combo. And you really need to head out as early as possible. Lines start to form prior to 8am and can stretch for a mile or more for the Beaver Meadows entrance. There is an express lane, however, if you have a Senior or Annual Pass for National Parks. Just swipe and you're in.

* This post was edited 07/01/19 11:31am by Thom02099 *


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siguccs

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Posted: 07/01/19 04:26pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Excellent! Thanks for the advice. I’m going to Estes Park because I go to RMNP to hike, and the east side has more good trails, imo. Same advice for hiking as for driving - get up early (and go for long hikes) and crowds aren’t much of a problem!

Thom02099

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Posted: 07/02/19 10:52am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

siguccs wrote:

Excellent! Thanks for the advice. I’m going to Estes Park because I go to RMNP to hike, and the east side has more good trails, imo. Same advice for hiking as for driving - get up early (and go for long hikes) and crowds aren’t much of a problem!


If you haven't tried them already, there's some good hiking trails at the Wild Basin entrance to Rocky, near Allenspark along CO 7.

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