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best route, West to East?

freewayrandy
Explorer
Explorer
Headed to Illinois in July from NorCal and wondering which route would have the least grades to climb the Rockies, I-80 or I-70?
2022 Chevy Silverado 2500 HD Duramax/Allison, 2024 Cougar 27SGS
14 REPLIES 14

valhalla360
Explorer III
Explorer III
Horsedoc wrote:
80 : From Salt Lake City to Rock Springs will be the most mountains you deal with on 80. More trucks on 80 and pretty boring ride - long stretches of barren countryside. I get nervous when fuel starts getting below a half tank.

70: Don't know how you will get from NorCal to 70 because it starts at I-15. Much more mountains from there until you get through Denver. THat is another PIA for me.
Personally, I would run 80 even if it might be more boring and fewer potential fuel stops.


Another vote for I-80 over I-70 for an easier on the drivetrain route. I-70 is prettier but that's because it's got more mountains, which make for the tougher climbs. Doable but tougher but really not a huge difference.

Maybe save 150miles of relatively boring drive in eastern Wyoming (really just relative to coming out of the mountains down into hills) but once you get to either Nebraska state line or Denver (roughly same longitude) either route is a lot of ranch/farm land.

We did I-80 WB 2 yrs ago and never had any worry about fuel. Does your RV have a particularly short range?
Tammy & Mike
Ford F250 V10
2021 Gray Wolf
Gemini Catamaran 34'
Full Time spliting time between boat and RV

time2roll
Explorer II
Explorer II
freewayrandy wrote:
leaving from Placerville, would do US-50 thru Nevada then 70.
Same for me. Although I think OP wants I80.

rk911
Explorer
Explorer
and if you want to avoid the long EB pull on I-80 east of SLC up and thru Parley's Canyon you might consider an alternate that's not nearly as steep. Go north on I-15 from I-80 to I-84. follow that east back to I-80. a bit longer but much easier. our rig was a 40' gasser towing a jeep SUV. we made it but I found that climb far more difficult than Donner Peak in CA or any of the pulls in WY.
Rich
Ham Radio, Sport Pilot, Retired 9-1-1 Call Center Administrator
_________________________________
2016 Itasca Suncruiser 38Q
'46 Willys CJ2A
'23 Jeep Wrangler JL
'10 Jeep Liberty KK

& MaggieThe Wonder Beagle

Blazing_Zippers
Explorer
Explorer
Old OTR driver here. Also very familiar with Placerville and the sierras. Head East over 50, then up to I-80 would be my sugestion.
I-80 is a pretty good choice overall for East/West travel. Salt Lake City is a bear for traffic, but we time it for early or late in the day.
Now, for an ODD stop to streatch your legs-stop at Dix NB-Exit 29 on I-80 and walk to the active missle silo on the South side of the exit. Yep, I've stopped there twice to realize how small my problems are. Don't touch the fence or do anything stupid cause you're on camera, but what you see there is the reason the U.S. is a world power.
Don't forget the original Cabela's in Sidney NB. They have RV parking.
Safe travels-----------------

rk911
Explorer
Explorer
freewayrandy wrote:
rk911 wrote:
I-70 thru Denver has the Eisenhower Tunnel climb and descent. I-80 has the EB climb over Donner Pass and the EB climb over Parley Summit east of Salt Lake City. all are very doable and there is a much easier bypass around Parley Summit.

we headed back to Chicago from San Jose in August of '21 using I-80 in our 40' class A gasser towing our Jeep SUV. the EB climb up Donner Pass was a lot easier than the WB descent a few months earlier. the RV's cruise control actually held a steady speed going up. and the EB descent from the summit was a total non-event. but in hindsight I should've taken the I-15 bypass for Parley Summit. we made it to the top but at a crawl.

a lot will depend on the weather, road conditions (construction delays, etc).what you're driving and your experience driving that vehicle. you might want to get a copy of the Mountain Driving Directory https://mountaindirectory.com/.



I have that book and it seems that there are afew more grades to climb on 70 than 80. Thoughts are US50 to Fallon then 95 to 80.


there are. i forgot about Vail Pass (west of Eisenhower @10,600') and a 5-mi descent into Mt. Vernon canyon (7800') east of Eisenhower.

the first time we drove east on I-70 from CA was in the mid 80's in a 25' class A. wife was driving in those days. she took it thru the tunnel and down the mountain. it was September and bright sunshine on the west side of the mountain but as we exited the tunnel it waa snowing and, further down, raining. she did a great job getting us down safely but it was nerve racking for a pair of Illinois flatlanders. in those days we were young and stupid. our motto was...how hard could this possibly be? lolol
Rich
Ham Radio, Sport Pilot, Retired 9-1-1 Call Center Administrator
_________________________________
2016 Itasca Suncruiser 38Q
'46 Willys CJ2A
'23 Jeep Wrangler JL
'10 Jeep Liberty KK

& MaggieThe Wonder Beagle

paulj
Explorer
Explorer
If you are ok with US50 over the Sierras (that's your backyard?), any of the freeway crossings of the Rockies should be a piece of cake. Roughly speaking US80 has a climb into Wy, and then stays relatively flat across the state (but the winds are notorious). I70 stays a long the Colorado River for quite a ways in Colorado, and then climbs over the Rockies. So that's a delayed, but higher climb. And a steeper drop to Denver. But it is heavily used by Denver residents for ski and other mountain rec.

freewayrandy
Explorer
Explorer
rk911 wrote:
I-70 thru Denver has the Eisenhower Tunnel climb and descent. I-80 has the EB climb over Donner Pass and the EB climb over Parley Summit east of Salt Lake City. all are very doable and there is a much easier bypass around Parley Summit.

we headed back to Chicago from San Jose in August of '21 using I-80 in our 40' class A gasser towing our Jeep SUV. the EB climb up Donner Pass was a lot easier than the WB descent a few months earlier. the RV's cruise control actually held a steady speed going up. and the EB descent from the summit was a total non-event. but in hindsight I should've taken the I-15 bypass for Parley Summit. we made it to the top but at a crawl.

a lot will depend on the weather, road conditions (construction delays, etc).what you're driving and your experience driving that vehicle. you might want to get a copy of the Mountain Driving Directory https://mountaindirectory.com/.



I have that book and it seems that there are afew more grades to climb on 70 than 80. Thoughts are US50 to Fallon then 95 to 80.
2022 Chevy Silverado 2500 HD Duramax/Allison, 2024 Cougar 27SGS

freewayrandy
Explorer
Explorer
Horsedoc wrote:
80 : From Salt Lake City to Rock Springs will be the most mountains you deal with on 80. More trucks on 80 and pretty boring ride - long stretches of barren countryside. I get nervous when fuel starts getting below a half tank.

70: Don't know how you will get from NorCal to 70 because it starts at I-15. Much more mountains from there until you get through Denver. THat is another PIA for me.
Personally, I would run 80 even if it might be more boring and fewer potential fuel stops.


leaving from Placerville, would do US-50 thru Nevada then 70.
2022 Chevy Silverado 2500 HD Duramax/Allison, 2024 Cougar 27SGS

freewayrandy
Explorer
Explorer
Tom/Barb wrote:
freewayrandy wrote:
Headed to Illinois in July from NorCal and wondering which route would have the least grades to climb the Rockies, I-80 or I-70?


where in Northern Ca.


Placerville
2022 Chevy Silverado 2500 HD Duramax/Allison, 2024 Cougar 27SGS

dedmiston
Moderator
Moderator
I-80 is going to be the most simple route, but I'm not a fan of that route through Wyoming. There's so much to see and do in WY, but you don't see any of it from the 80 unless you're really into meth. The rest of the trip is pretty nice.

Good luck.

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Tom_Barb
Explorer
Explorer
freewayrandy wrote:
Headed to Illinois in July from NorCal and wondering which route would have the least grades to climb the Rockies, I-80 or I-70?


where in Northern Ca.
2000 Newmar mountain aire 4081 DP, ISC/350 Allison 6 speed, Wrangler JL toad.

rk911
Explorer
Explorer
I-70 thru Denver has the Eisenhower Tunnel climb and descent. I-80 has the EB climb over Donner Pass and the EB climb over Parley Summit east of Salt Lake City. all are very doable and there is a much easier bypass around Parley Summit.

we headed back to Chicago from San Jose in August of '21 using I-80 in our 40' class A gasser towing our Jeep SUV. the EB climb up Donner Pass was a lot easier than the WB descent a few months earlier. the RV's cruise control actually held a steady speed going up. and the EB descent from the summit was a total non-event. but in hindsight I should've taken the I-15 bypass for Parley Summit. we made it to the top but at a crawl.

a lot will depend on the weather, road conditions (construction delays, etc).what you're driving and your experience driving that vehicle. you might want to get a copy of the Mountain Driving Directory https://mountaindirectory.com/.
Rich
Ham Radio, Sport Pilot, Retired 9-1-1 Call Center Administrator
_________________________________
2016 Itasca Suncruiser 38Q
'46 Willys CJ2A
'23 Jeep Wrangler JL
'10 Jeep Liberty KK

& MaggieThe Wonder Beagle

Second_Chance
Explorer II
Explorer II
In Utah on I-80, you'll encounter Parley's Summit east of Salt Lake City. There are long (6 mile) stretches of 6% grades. Vail Pass on I-70 in Colorado is a bit more severe with stretches of 7 miles of 7% grades.

Rob
U.S. Army retired
2020 Solitude 310GK-R
MORryde IS, disc brakes, solar, DP windows
(Previously in a Reflection 337RLS)
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Full-time since 8/2015

Horsedoc
Explorer
Explorer
80 : From Salt Lake City to Rock Springs will be the most mountains you deal with on 80. More trucks on 80 and pretty boring ride - long stretches of barren countryside. I get nervous when fuel starts getting below a half tank.

70: Don't know how you will get from NorCal to 70 because it starts at I-15. Much more mountains from there until you get through Denver. THat is another PIA for me.
Personally, I would run 80 even if it might be more boring and fewer potential fuel stops.
horsedoc
2008 Damon Essence
2013 Jeep Sahara Unlimited
Blue Ox tow