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Open Roads Forum  >  Tow Vehicles

 > Pulling Travel Trailer in Colorado with Tahoe

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Grit dog

Black Diamond, WA

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Posted: 11/10/20 12:50am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Weights an measures people......lol Love it.
But he’s right. You’re not pulling a 4klb “dry” trailer however that gives an idea of what it actually weighs. And you’re fine. Tow it wherever you want with that Tahoe. It has ample capacity for a 5-6klb trailer of any shape.
Don’t worry about which routes to take.


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APT

SE Michigan

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Posted: 11/10/20 09:00am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

You'll be slow, maybe 30mph in first or second gear. But that 5.3L will do it without complaints. YOu may want a larger than stock transmission cooler. Flush all your fluids (oil, coolant, trans) and enjoy the views.


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Grit dog

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Posted: 11/10/20 09:13am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

APT wrote:

You'll be slow, maybe 30mph in first or second gear. But that 5.3L will do it without complaints. YOu may want a larger than stock transmission cooler. Flush all your fluids (oil, coolant, trans) and enjoy the views.


Last time you pulled trailers through the CO Rockies? And with what?
Not quite the doom n gloom you're layin down here.
There may be some super slow areas like you're saying, but it will be mostly due to speed limits and curves.
I'd wager the OP's setup could pull 45-50mph up the Ike and Vail Pass.
There are steeper grades, but in the years of towing stuff around the CO Rockies, I don't see it being that big of an issue for a low profile TT and that vehicle.

EnzoColorado

Colorado

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Posted: 11/10/20 11:12am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Perhaps switch up the schedule a bit? After Glenwood Springs, take I-70 east then Hwy 24 south to Leadville, then down hwy 24 to Salida and hwy 285 down to Sand Dunes. Then go back up to Salida, then hwy 50 east to Canon City/Royal Gorge and hwy 115 to Colorado Springs. This way you avoid the whole Denver and I-25 Gap Project mess.

My Suburban 1500 tows a 5000 lb travel trailers without issues, and with family of four and a dog. Just have to accept going slow up to the passes. I usually never have to touch brakes going down, downshift and engine braking is enough to keep the speed in check.


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dcrawdad29

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Posted: 11/10/20 02:16pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thanks for all the advice. How bad is the incline near Leadville? I need to ask the mechanic about the trans cooler. I was under impression that he was planning to install the trans cooler that would have come with vehicle had it come with the heavy duty trailering package. Not sure if that would be considered a supplemental cooler or not

busterja21

Elizabeth CO

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Posted: 11/10/20 06:07pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The main grade is a 6% grade and is approx 5-6 miles from one side to the other. So its shorter and slightly less steep than vail pass. its a 2 lane mountain highway, with a few switchbacks and the view of a mountain dropoff on the side. speeds limits are low, 35-45 on the pass as I recall, and you'll have to slow down to 20 or less on a couple of the switchbacks on the minturn side. Just take your time and keep to the speed limits.


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Bionic Man

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Posted: 11/12/20 02:01pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Not exactly the same as what you are asking, but I towed a 7000 pound boat with a Yukon Denali XL. The biggest problem I had was both transmission and engine temps. The final nail in its coffin was after I added a larger aux transmission cooler which had the effect of blocking too much of the radiator. The tranny would stay cool, but the engine got hot enough to shut off air conditioning and reduce power going up Mount Vernon Canyon, just outside of Denver.

So, my moral of the story is to be cautious how big of a trans cooler you get. Your engine will sufficiently pull your weight through Colorado, but temps will be your enemy.

* This post was edited 11/15/20 10:53am by Bionic Man *


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Thom02099

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Posted: 11/12/20 08:55pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

dcrawdad29 wrote:

Hi, I have an 08 (low miles) Tahoe, 3.73 rear axle, 5.3 L, V-8, 4-speed, tow capacity just over 7k, tow/haul mode, pulling a hybrid TT of dry weight 4,000 lbs with electric brakes, using weight distribution hitch and sway bar. Installing OEM trans cooler before the trip next June. Traveling from St. Louis, itinerary may be Rocky Mountain National Park (camping near Estes Park), then onto Glenwood Springs, then backtrack to Colorado Springs (probably through Denver), and finishing up at Sand Dunes Natl Park. I am asking for advice on roads to take/avoid and thoughts on how well my vehicle will do. I am most concerned about I70 West and then back again going through Vail Pass and Eisenhower Tunnel and should I stop short of that, drop the camper at a campsight, and go through Vail Pass onto Glenwood Springs without the camper? Any recs on campsights around that area if I camp before Vail Pass? Any other thoughts on other roads I may have difficulty on with my other locations?


I can give you some insight into pretty much the same tow vehicle (I have a 2003 Tahoe LT,same engine, rear, etc now retired from towing) and had a 2007 Outback 25RSS, ~4900lbs fully loaded for camping, with WD hitch. The Tahoe can handle that weight but as others pointed out, it will at times be slow going. 45MPH up the approaches to the Eisenhower/Johnson Tunnels? Not a chance. Best I could do on either approach was 25MPH in 2nd gear, in line with the semis with my flashers on.

You mentioned going to RMNP and Estes Park. Three different ways from the east to get up there -- US 34 through the Big Thompson Canyon, US 36 through Lyons and Pinewood Springs, and CO 7 through the South St. Vrain Canyon. I've been up the Big Thompson many times with the Tahoe/Outback combo and it's certainly doable. Some very slow going in the Narrows, and a steep,twisty section (10-12% grade) outside of Drake, where you'll be doing about 20MPH with that combo. Fortunately, there are a lot of slow vehicle pull offs for you to let traffic go around.

CO7 up the South St Vrain, to me, seems to be much steeper for longer periods of time, with fewer slow vehicle pull offs. Also a goodly climb up from the CO7/CO72 junction to Allenspark and Meeker Park. Pretty steep descent in to Estes Park, but gearing down to 2nd makes it manageable.

US 36 is a good way to get up to Estes Park. Not quite as "canyony" as the other 2, some fairly steep climbs up outside of Lyons up to Pinewood Springs, but with some climb lanes.

If you're planning to stay inside Rocky, at either Moraine Park or Glacier Basin, be aware that, for the 2020 season, due to Covid there were restrictions on which loops were open and available. Glacier Basin has 4 loops, 2 of which were closed (just my luck, all of my reservations were in the closed ones). I would fully expect that, if the coronavirus is still as virulent in spring 2021 as it was this season, you'll likely see the same thing. Make sure to get reservations at the earliest possible date within the 180-day window.

If you're staying in a commercial park in Estes, be aware that the rates were up a bit at some of the RV Parks. Again, get reservations early if you can. The least expensive park is the Estes Park Campground at Mary's Lake, which is up in the $47-$51/night range now.

ETA: Just recently checked Mary's Lake website, they are now up in the $50-60 range, depending on W/E or FHU sites.

* This post was edited 11/16/20 06:46am by Thom02099 *


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dcrawdad29

St. Louis, Missouri

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Posted: 11/13/20 09:46pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I am considering not going to Glenwood Springs, it is a long drive to get out there for just that, although am sure we would love it. If I did RMNP for a couple days, whitewater rafting near Idaho Springs, Winter Park, and then down to Colorado Springs for Pikes Peak, Garden of the Gods, day trip to Royal Gorge, and ending at Sand Dunes, I think I could probably limit the number of times I would have to move my camper from site to site and the haul itself would be easier. Am I right? Thoughts? Really appreciate all the other advice.

rmnpcolorado

Madison, WI

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Posted: 11/15/20 10:41am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I agree with Thom above. All these people saying it won’t be a problem, yeah, here’s some real world experience. We did this similar trek this past summer with our 2011 Avalanche (7,900lb tow rating) and 25’ Jayco - gross 5,500lbs. The Av was working pretty good. Pulling over Monarch Pass we were doing 35-40 max and transmission temps hit 245 near the top. Engine temps were up as well which is unusual for the Av. Vail Pass was similar coming from the west. The problem is timing to pass semis that are crawling. If you don’t time it right you risk having to slow until you can pull out and then you have no momentum. Thus ensues the chugging at 25.

You’ll make it, but it will be slow. Right lane, hazards on.


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