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Old 05-12-2024, 02:32 PM   #1
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Alamosa CO to Bayfield CO over Wolf Creek Pass.

For those who've made the trek, what are your thoughts on 160 and specifically Wolf Creek pass from Alamosa to Bayfield? Sounds like it is doable, but a long steep climb followed by a long winding decent with a somewhat famous hairpin.
Conversely, for an extra 1/2 hour there is 285 to 17 to 64 to 84 to 160 again.
Thanks for your input and safe travels!

Alamosa in May...our 1st snow since Tombstone in February 2023. Was nice it melted by mid-afternoon.
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Old 05-12-2024, 09:40 PM   #2
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Hey Scott, we’ve done it three times. It’s always a concern. But if you go slow and stay off your brakes as much as possible you should be fine. Loaded semi trucks do it every day. However, every year some have had to use the emergency run off ramp. And 3 or 4 years ago an motorhome did wreck with burnt out brakes. So, it’s wise to be extra cautious.

The scariest part is the hairpin turn 3/4s of the way down. You’ll see lots of signs about this all over the pass.

They keep the road well cleaned it’s highly patrolled. On our first trip a state trooper even pulled us over at the top to give is a map and a warning about using a very low gear and staying off the brakes as much as possible.

Lots of info on the web:

https://iswolfcreekpassopen.com/

With the above cautions it is easily doable and done by many others… with due caution… everyday.
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Old 05-13-2024, 08:06 AM   #3
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Not been on 17 but for general ideas, we tend to trust the federal highways as being the more used, better built over state, county or local roads!
The 160 is kind of a big one among highways while 17 is state and likely less weel built??
There are hairpins on both, so I lean toward the better known?
Is this better as it takes longer?
I use Google maps to look for things like this when I have doubts!
Getting down to look at the "street view" I see lots of snow along the sides and cracks in the pavement!
Click for better view or go direct to have a look.
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Old 05-13-2024, 05:07 PM   #4
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Thanks Paul and Richard...appreciate you! 17 has two passes, but apparently less severe than Wolf Creek. I agree that I like US highways best, too!
We're going to run 160 tomorrow and take it real slow. I see where vehicles weighing over 26K lbs have a 25 MPH speed limit. We're pushing that with the Bronco in tow so we'll keep to that.
Weather should be good. Will have empty tanks except for 1/3 full fresh tank. Will gas up here so we burn some fuel before we start the climb.
The drive looks absolutely stunning. Heck, there's even a song about the pass.
Will let you know how we go.
Please say a prayer for us if you think about it!
Thanks...
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Old 05-14-2024, 05:41 PM   #5
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Survived the Wolf...was a long climb and descent...but made it through no worries other than taking another rock to the windshield after the descent. Just a chip this time so hopefully an easy repair.
I do wish these rigs provided better engine breaking...
Thanks guys and kudos to you Paul for making that run multiple times
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Old 05-14-2024, 06:09 PM   #6
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with the internet in pocket, one of the sneaky ways to get more info on a route is to go Google maps and drag the little yellow guy around to get the street view!
In your picture, I see a pretty broad well maintained four lane.
I like to have those extra lanes so nobody should feel the need to push me when I'm running low and slow!
Not so much when I look at 17 as a two lane with large banks of snow! Looking along the route further, I also see signs of obvious blacktop breaking up, so that leads me to wonder what it will be like when I get there!

When in doubt, I tend to avoid the question!
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Old 05-16-2024, 09:08 AM   #7
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Actually Richard with your love of trains I would have thought you would be more familiar with NM 17 as it's the route the buses use to take you back from the full length Cumbres & Toltec ride. They follow the same route for some of the trip. Unfortunately, the train is not yet open for the season...
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Old 05-16-2024, 10:27 AM   #8
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I liked the Durango to Silverton so much that I never got around to the others in the area as they seemed more flat and the timing was never right.

That's where what we each like changes what we do! The scenery is great but once I've seen one mountain they all begin to look the same.
What I got around to liking was the mechanics of steam but riding behind one is not a good way to see the engine.
That left me getting more interesting in going to the yards and stations where they passed over riding them!
Our last big swing in that direction got us into a campsite just North of Durango that was on the line running north but still close enough to drive into Durango!
Great spot to set and watch the train come and go without having to dedicate the whole day to a ride. We kind of lean away from the standard tourist things with the structure required as we may want to stay far longer or totally skip some things that are part of a plan!
So we got up, walked own to the tracks and took the pictures, then went into town to look at the facilities and drove out to chase the train along it's trip back!
But we also took a bit more time and chased the C& T as well!
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Can't let being on the train interfere with our eating!
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Old 05-19-2024, 06:00 PM   #9
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Richard, try riding the C&TS in late Sept.-early Oct. when the aspen are all changing to yellow and orange. The D&S has nothing the size of those groves, with entire mountainsides covered in "gold" under brilliant blue skies. You can even ride RGS Galloping Goose #5 up the 4% grade from Chama to Cumbres the last weekend in September!
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