I'm considering taking Colorado highway 50 from near Colorado Springs to Olathe (near Montrose) in late June. How is the road (windy, narrow, etc) and is it relatively easy to travel in a 39' class A with TOAD? I understand that it must be mountainous.
50 is a nice scenic highway for MOST of the trip. The only thing that COULD be considered an obstacle by some would be Monarch Pass, just West of Salida. Monarch is one of the easier passes however, with 3 lanes most of the way (two going up and one coming down). Grades are moderate and curves are mostly 40 MPH and up. There are a number of attractions along the route if you have time to stop and look.
Good luck / Skip
2011 F-150 HD Ecoboost 3.5 V6. 2550 payload, 17,100 GCVWR - 2004 F-150 HD (Traded after 80,000 towing miles) 2007 Rockwood 8314SS 34' travel trailer
US Govt survey shows three out of four people make up 75% of the total population
highway 50 from near Colorado Springs to Olathe (near Montrose)
I assume you mean from Pueblo, or maybe the junction of Hwy 50 and Hwy 115 at Penrose, so let's start there.
It is a 4 lane divided highway to Canon City, where it drops back to 4 lanes undivided through town. Leaving Canon City it climbs some to the top of the Royal Gorge and then drops back down to meet the Arkansas River at Parkdale. Onward towards Salida it follows the river as a 2-3 lane highway, twisting and turning as it goes through the canyon. Some minor hills and "semi-blind" curves that can give you false sense of security. Watch your speed as on those curves you may encounter oncoming traffic that has drifted into your lane a bit. Once you get near Cotopaxi you exit the narrow part of the canyon and from there to Salida it is a nice drive.
Continuing on westward through Poncha Springs you start climbing Monarch Pass. As has been said it will be a 2-3 lane highway with the upbound side having the extra lane BUT that lane is "shared" with down bound traffic using it as a passing lane. Stay in the right lane as you climb. Once ontop the pass, stop at the gift shop for a "7th inning stretch" and to see the view. As you head down the pass again the road is 3 lanes with some curves, watch your speed and don't ride the brakes.
Finally, you'll arrive at Sargents which is the bottom of the pass. From there to Gunnison the road is fairly flat and 2 lane. Heading out from Gunnison the road continues on as a 2 lane road, running along the Gunnison River and Blue Mesa Reservoir. At some point you will drive across a bridge from the north side to the south side of the reservoir, this will be close to Sapinero. From Sapinero the road will duck in and out of the side canyons following the terrain as it loses altitude as you head to Cimarron. Stop at Cimarron and see the NFS display of the old railroad equipment and read the history of the area.
Leaving Cimarron the road will climb towards Cerro Summit. Basically at this point you are following the old railroad grade so it will be a steady 4% climb to the top. Again the road is 2-3 lanes as you go through this area. On the west side of Cerro Summit the road drops back down and remains relatively flat into Montrose.
Hope this gives you a good idea of the highway conditions from start to finish.
Rich,and Tobi (the rescued dog)
Prowler 5ver, 84 Ford F250 KCOCOLOR78 Weather
Colo. Spgs. CO
I agree with Skip, it is a pretty route and easy to drive. We travel to western Colorado a lot pulling double-5'er and boat- and I'd rather travel that route than I70. Lots of places to stop and view the scenery.
Stop at Cimarron and see the NFS display of the old railroad equipment and read the history of the area.
Cimarron is also has a FREE dump station if you happen to need it. Just over the bridge and to the right by the CDOT station. And if you have the time and inclination, continue past the NPS visitors center and the CG to the end of the road. There's a large parking lot here where you'll be at the base of Morrow Point Reservoir Dam, looking up at it. And downstream is the beginning of Crystal Reservoir. It's like being in the bottom of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison and worth the 1/2 hour to go there and back.