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Thread: What's the quickest way to drive from Salt Lake to Denver?

  1. #1
    Outdoor Guru Wasatch Rebel's Avatar
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    What's the quickest way to drive from Salt Lake to Denver?

    I'm thinking down I-15 to I-70 and then over would be faster than either through Spanish Fork Canyon and down, or up to Evanston and I-80 then down. The other route is U.S. 40 through Vernal.

    Anyway, for those of you who have made a lot of trips in that direction, which way will take me the least amount of time?

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    Bottom Tier Superhero Iceaxe's Avatar
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    Re: What's the quickest way to drive from Salt Lake to Denve

    Quote Originally Posted by jimflint1
    I'm thinking down I-15 to I-70 and then over would be faster than either through Spanish Fork Canyon and down, or up to Evanston and I-80 then down.
    I can't speck for the entire trip.... but Provo to Green River you want to use Spanish Fork Canyon.... that is much faster (about 1 hour) than down 15 to 70 and across....


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    Re: What's the quickest way to drive from Salt Lake to Denve

    Quote Originally Posted by Iceaxe
    Quote Originally Posted by jimflint1
    I'm thinking down I-15 to I-70 and then over would be faster than either through Spanish Fork Canyon and down, or up to Evanston and I-80 then down.
    I can't speck for the entire trip.... but Provo to Green River you want to use Spanish Fork Canyon.... that is much faster (about 1 hour) than down 15 to 70 and across....

    Thanks, Ice. I always wondered about that, but have always gone the "Provo to Green River" route. Then I started thinking that some of those canyons are winding and speeds of 50-65, instead of 75 might make that way (Spanish Fork to Price) slower despite the extra distance of travel going down I-15 to 70.

  5. #4
    Through Evanston and across Wyoming via I-80 is the quickest. You don't have the mountain passes to go over. It's counter-intuitive, but it is what it is.

    Distances=

    534 miles on 80
    527 miles on 70

  6. #5
    Evanston is the fastest and most boring, but you get to see lots of windmills on the way. I've driven there from SLC in 10 hours.

  7. #6
    Although it would take longer, I'd choose to go through Vernal just because of the scenery. The difference between 10 hours and 10.5 hours is almost nothing on a drive like that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alex
    Evanston is the fastest and most boring, but you get to see lots of windmills on the way. I've driven there from SLC in 10 hours.
    That stretch from Evanston to Rawlins has got to be one of the most boring stretches I've ever driven--and that's the furthest east I've been on I-80.

    Although it would take longer, I'd choose to go through Vernal just because of the scenery. The difference between 10 hours and 10.5 hours is almost nothing on a drive like that.
    So then presuming I took 40, where would you suggest I drop down to 70? I've taken the I-70 to Steamboat Springs and then west on 40. That seemed to add a lot onto the trip, because of the windiness of the road. The scenery is great, but I'll be driving over 500 miles per day for two days, and then another day over 400, and I tend to get sleepy, unfortunately. If there was less than an hour difference to go via 40, that's probably the route I'd take though as the scenery would help me stay awake.

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    Moderator jman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by uintahiker
    Through Evanston and across Wyoming via I-80 is the quickest. You don't have the mountain passes to go over. It's counter-intuitive, but it is what it is.

    Distances=

    534 miles on 80
    527 miles on 70
    x2. I've done three routes, and Evanston to Rawlins, down to Fort Collins to Denver, shaves off an 1hr or more, compared to the other routes.

    The Grand Junction way is the longest - but going through the Eisenhower tunnels and going through the Rockies is really cool - but the extra hr or more, is not worth it.

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    I-80 is quickest (but only slightly). It is also the least scenic route.

    2nd quickest is as follows and is the recommended route:

    Vernal-Steamboat Springs-Kremmling on Highway 40 and then take Highway 9 to I-70. Taking Highway 40 all the way to I-70 is slower than taking Highway 9 and then I-70.

    Right now Glemwood Canyon is under heavy construction. I would not take the route that goes Grand Junction to Denver along I-70. They are still fixing the huge rockfall problem:

    http://www.postindependent.com/artic...80/0/FRONTPAGE

    So then presuming I took 40, where would you suggest I drop down to 70?
    Highway 9 would be quickest.

  11. #10
    From my house in Draper - Wyoming is the fastest.... but the most boring - a little over 7 1/2 hours of actual drive time.

    Spanish fork -Green River - grand Junction, nicest route for driving but will add about an hour. My preferred route - when working in Vail I could be there in about 6:15, add 2 hours to go over the pass and you have Denver in a little over 8 hours - I typically drive 5-8 over. I drove this twice a month for over a year.

    Vernal - steamboat - boring until after Craig, slow roads and crawl through every piss ant town along the way -distance is shorter but the route is the longest at roughly 9 1/2 hours drive time. I had 2 projects going in Vernal while going to Vail a lot. Really sucks doing hwy 40 from Heber to Craig.

  12. #11
    I-80 to Laramie, down to Ft Collins to I-25.
    Done it many many times.
    Please buy my book - "Paiute ATV Trail Guide" at www.atvutah.com - I need gas money!!!!

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  14. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by UTJetdog
    I-70 is closed indefinitely through Glenwood Canyon. http://www.postindependent.com/artic...82/-1/RSS]LINK

    Better go with I-80.
    LOL, it was closed for three days. Its open through Glenwood Canyon now.

    But the snow today has things pretty jacked up so check road conditions anywhere you want to go in CO.
    Please buy my book - "Paiute ATV Trail Guide" at www.atvutah.com - I need gas money!!!!

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    Vernal - steamboat - boring until after Craig, slow roads and crawl through every piss ant town along the way -distance is shorter but the route is the longest at roughly 9 1/2 hours drive time. I had 2 projects going in Vernal while going to Vail a lot. Really sucks doing hwy 40 from Heber to Craig.
    Some sections, yes, but the sections between Heber and Fruitland and then Vernal to Elk Springs is fairly scenic, especailly when compared to I-80.

    I took these photos from the highway or at least very close to it:







    Much of the drive isn't as interesting through.

    Anyway, if using Highway 9 in combination, without speeding the actual drive time is about 8 hours in good weather. PS, for future information (in case you have to drive it again) if you went through Steamboat to get to Vernal to Vail, you went the wrong way and added 45 minutes to your trip. If going to Vail, you can drive directly Hayden to Oak Creek on the paved county road and Steamboat is well out of the way (not applicable if you are driving to Denver rather than Vail). Sites like Mapquest don't take in account county roads in rural areas.

    LOL, it was closed for three days. Its open in teh Glenwood Canyon now.
    True, but one should still expect delays. It's going to take at least a few months to fix. It is a pretty drive though and a good way to go (especially once they get the road fixed).

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    Sorry. I took me a while to get back here. We're actually planning a trip around July 19th. I appreciate all the insight.

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