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Old 02-09-2011, 01:16 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default need some advice on driving from Denver to Keystone

hi all,

My family is going to Keystone for a conference later this February. I was blown away by how expensive the ground transportation is ($80 one way per person from the Denver airport), so I tentatively decided to rent a car and drive. While doing some research on the road to Keystone, I saw that Loveland Pass on Rte. 6 in the winter can be treacherous (lots of steep switchbacks and not necessarily well plowed).

For those of you that have rented a car in the mountain states before, do they throw in tire chains or is that extra? Will rental cars have the appropriate snow tires?

For easier driving, do you recommend going through the Eisenhower tunnel and approaching Keystone on the west side via the Dillon Reservoir area instead? If I do that, how much longer is the drive?

Will a front wheel drive with chains be sufficient or should I rent a 4WD? Is the hassle of winter mountain driving worth the savings in $$$, or should I just pay the shuttle fee? I've some experience driving in snow, but that's all city driving.

Our flight home is Saturday evening, we plan to head back toward Denver very early afternoon. How bad is traffic, and if we do get back too early, is there anything fun to do with a 10 year old in Denver?

thanks,
Mike
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Old 02-09-2011, 02:43 AM   #2 (permalink)
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hi all,

My family is going to Keystone for a conference later this February. I was blown away by how expensive the ground transportation is ($80 one way per person from the Denver airport), so I tentatively decided to rent a car and drive. While doing some research on the road to Keystone, I saw that Loveland Pass on Rte. 6 in the winter can be treacherous (lots of steep switchbacks and not necessarily well plowed).

For those of you that have rented a car in the mountain states before, do they throw in tire chains or is that extra? Will rental cars have the appropriate snow tires?

For easier driving, do you recommend going through the Eisenhower tunnel and approaching Keystone on the west side via the Dillon Reservoir area instead? If I do that, how much longer is the drive?

Will a front wheel drive with chains be sufficient or should I rent a 4WD? Is the hassle of winter mountain driving worth the savings in $$$, or should I just pay the shuttle fee? I've some experience driving in snow, but that's all city driving.

Our flight home is Saturday evening, we plan to head back toward Denver very early afternoon. How bad is traffic, and if we do get back too early, is there anything fun to do with a 10 year old in Denver?

thanks,
Mike
If you're worried about it, just go through the tunnel and take 6 out of Dillon to get to Keystone. It'll take you a little longer, but not a huge difference. Just keep an eye on the weather. If there's been recent snow, take the tunnel, if not, take the pass. I recommend the pass if there hasn't been recent snow and the weather is nice simply because it's a beautiful drive.

If your flight is Saturday evening, you better get your ass on the road Saturday morning. I-70 is always a crap shoot. Don't fuck around with it.
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Old 02-09-2011, 10:16 AM   #3 (permalink)
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You do not have to drive over Loveland Pass. Take the tunnel instead, then highway 6 from the town of Dillon. The pass is more scenic but if you're white knuckled then who's appreciating the view?

An FWD with chains in the trunk should be fine unless there is a huge storm happening. It's a major route so they probably plow it and sand it frequently. When I was a kid we had to drive over the pass (no tunnel yet) in a RWD Ford Torino (no FWD or AWD yet)with bias belted tires. SUCKED!

The DIA is all the way across Denver and out in the plains a bit. I'd get there early and let the kid play inside the play area.
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Old 02-09-2011, 10:25 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Get a rear wheel drive with racing slicks. Drive fast, take chances.

Or you might want to listen to these other guys...
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Old 02-09-2011, 12:37 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Every time it snows, Loveland Pass closes. That should tell you something.

Take the tunnel.

Chains are not required for cars, just the big trucks.
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Old 02-09-2011, 02:14 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default thanks, what about chains?

hey guys, thanks for the info. For those of you that have done this before (that is, rented a car in a mountainous area in the winter), does the rental agency provide tire chains, window scrapers, etc? Or do I need to get them myself?

cheers,
Mike
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Old 02-09-2011, 02:14 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by rustydomino View Post
hey guys, thanks for the info. For those of you that have done this before (that is, rented a car in a mountainous area in the winter), does the rental agency provide tire chains, window scrapers, etc? Or do I need to get them myself?

cheers,
Mike
What did the rental car agency say?
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Old 02-09-2011, 02:15 PM   #8 (permalink)
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dunno, I booked online via their website.
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Old 02-09-2011, 02:16 PM   #9 (permalink)
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dunno, I booked online via their website.
Do you have their phone number? I will call them for you and ask.
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Old 02-09-2011, 02:20 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Do you have their phone number? I will call them for you and ask.
sure I could call but where's the fun in that?

Besides, if Hertz provided free chains and Enterprise didn't, that'd be kinda interesting to find out (if someone on this forum knew, that is).
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