Wolf Creek Pass — Yes or no?

Wednesday, June 29

P1120378-001The crew and I sit inside the Perfect Tow Vehicle parked at the Conoco station in Pagosa Springs.

No, this isn’t our new camp.  We ‘re here to pick up internet signal as there is none at our new camp (below).

P1120386Colorado has been displaying her weather!

Since we arrived at our new camp on Monday we’ve experienced hot, cold, rain, and hail!

P1120395I’m trying to make a decision regarding infamous Wolf Creek Pass.

Should we attempt it?  Over the past three days I spoke with three fellow travelers about the pass.

The first traveler is hesitant, too.

He questions the wisdom of taking his gas-driven Class C with toad through the pass.   In order to make a decision whether to try it or to avoid it, he drives his toad up to the pass —  I don’t know if he went all the way.  Driving his car up the long grade convinces him to change his plans.

The second traveler makes the same decision.

His decision not to attempt Wolf Creek Pass reflects his concern for his rig, a custom van.

In his words, “It has a few years on it and it has to last me a long time.”

The third traveler says, “Go for it!”

He’s already driven through Wolf Creek Pass with his wife and two children.  They’re from Texas and are exploring Colorado for a month.

I tell him about my and Bridget’s problem with high altitude.

He gives me advice on how to handle the elevation.

“Go to Wal-Mart and buy a container of oxygen.  That’s what we did.  Take three or four puffs and you’re fine.”


It never occurred to me to buy oxygen in a can!

Boost Oxygen Natural Energy in a Can, 22 Ounce

Well, dear reader, another cliffhanger . . . .

Will RVSue and crew attempt Wolf Creek Pass?  Or will caution rule the day?

Will the Perfect Tow Vehicle survive the challenge?

What about RVSue and Bridget?  Will they “get high” on oxygen?

What about Reggie?  Will he be cute all the way through the Pass?

Hmm . . . . .



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139 Responses to Wolf Creek Pass — Yes or no?

    • BadgerRickInWis says:

      We would be remiss if we did not congratulate Kat on being #1
      Well done Kat.

      • Kat says:

        Thank you Badger Rick, I never thought I would be first and it’s when RVSue is without internet….oh well.

  1. Janis Harrison says:

    What a great idea oxygen in a can !!! I can’t wait to see what you decide to do !!
    Love and Huggs Grandjan

    • cc and canine ( now in Clackamas, Oregon) says:

      Congratualations Janis…. Number 2….and you read the post too!!

  2. Kat says:

    I don’t think I would go, especially since it bothers Bridget. You can make the decision for yourself, but wonder if Brid would agree if you asked her?

  3. Nice to hear from you, Sue. We missed you, even if just for a day. 🙂

    Never thought about a can of oxygen. Could there be bad side-affects? I keep one of those LOUD canned-horns by my bed on my boat, just in case. Will do so when I decide on and purchase my travel trailer too.

  4. Lisa in San Diego says:

    it is impossible for Reggie not to be cute

  5. Robin B (Oregon) says:

    You know, maybe John Denver took a few hits of oxygen when he experienced “Rocky Mountain High”–oh wait, that was probably something else he was inhaling…

    Always good to hear of your experiences.

  6. Pauline in Mississippi says:

    Hey, I think I made the top 10!!!!

  7. John McDonald in Duluth MN says:

    You don’t have a schedule – right? Any good reason for going over and down the pass?

    Cheers John (Duluth)

  8. Sandy and Scott says:

    Go for it!!! You only live once.
    We need some excitement in our lives.

    • Geri says:

      Golly! We want Sue to live for a long time! many more episodes of this blog to be written and read! I know I would chicken out for sure!

  9. Jean in Southaven says:

    I did not know that you could buy oxygen in a can. I learn something new everyday. What department is it in at Walmart? So good to hear from you. You have such wonderful pictures to look at when I am inside and suppose to be working. I like you camp even if it does not have internet, it is very pretty and peaceful looking. I would not take the pass if it were me. If I had to take it to get somewhere that I had to be would be one thing, but to put my van at risk just for a lark, I don’t think so. Can’t wait to see what you decided.

  10. Pauline in Mississippi says:

    Went back and read the blog…wanted to be sure I posted in the top 10 first. LOL…
    So we have a cliff hanger..will she or won’t see attempt the Wolf Creek Pass. Hmmmm. My guess is Nope, she will take an alternate route. I think the canned oxygen is a good thing to have put I just can’t see her using it with Bridget. I may be wrong but the responses were 2 out of 3 said no.
    Love the pictures as always. Will wait for Susan to return when she has internet connection.
    Thanks to all the blogerinos who will keep the comment section lively in Susan’s absence. ( Habits are hard to break.. She will aways be Susan to me.)

    • Linda-NC says:

      I agree with you. No pass, Reggie is the ultimate cute always and Bridget in her infinite wisdom would say “I don’t think so”. Sue will be sensible Sue. It is a cliffhanger-Oh My! We shall see…..

  11. weather says:

    Sounds like an urge to take on a challenge being weighed against some precious cargo . Either way you’ll see beauty along your trip and where you camp.I won’t say what I guess you’ll decide to do. Whatever choice you make and outcome you get I wish you joy throughout 🙂

  12. Another cliff hanger, you are getting good at these. Can’t wait to see the decision and how it went (if a yes).

  13. Ann from Texas says:

    Hi, Sue. If you have electric brakes on the BLT, I say go for it. I went over it when I was 17 in a 27′ motor home. And I’m dating myself but 42 years ago the motor homes weren’t nearly as well built as today. We didn’t have any trouble.. Your rig is light so you should be OK. Good luck!

  14. Barb from Hoquiam! says:

    There she goes again! Taking a toke on oxy(gen) 😛

    I would never have thought of that either! I dunno…. will be waiting for the cliff-hanger (REALLY bad choice of words!).

    Hugs from Hoquiam,

  15. Alice (So. Fla) says:

    Canned oxygen is a good little thing to have on hand I guess. If I were you I’d take a different route. Bridget might not do so well, way smaller than a human. Happy 4th

  16. Gail from Buckeye AZ says:

    Well I would say NO! There are plenty of Beautiful places to go and see without stressing Bridget or Reggie or You or the vehicle. Looking forward to reading your decision!

  17. Deena in Peoria says:

    Sue, I know you will do what you think best and enjoy it all the way. I agree with Lisa in San Diego “it is impossible for Reggie not to be cute”. Never thought of O2 in a can though I carried extra O2 cylinders in a backpack for Partner for many years. LOL.
    Your campsite is beautiful.
    Received an offer and have accepted it, now to wait for the inspection and loan approval. getting closer to a new chapter in life. Miss Mollie has to have an interview with the apt. manager as the final step in the process. She got her ESA (emotional support animal) certificate after attending a class and me talking with my PCP. Miss M has made things easier and I do appreciate Partner requesting her 14 years ago.
    Have a wonderful week. Love the Cliffhanger.

    Deena and Miss Mollie

  18. Ladybug in Mid-Tenn says:

    I’ve never been that way, but to be honest I probably wouldn’t. I can think of more cons vs. pros for it. We’re talking US 160, right? I was looking on Google maps and it appears you’ll have 2 lanes going away from Pagosa Springs, but after you get past the switchbacks, the dropoff over the side will be on your side of the highway. Yes, there’s a guardrail.

    I had already decided when I finally become a full-timer and I visit Colorado, I would stick to the best main roads for traveling (probably interstates) and if I wanted to explore into the mountains, to only take day trips driving the tow vehicle.

    • Oh, please don’t stick to interstates! That’s not only unnecessary, but a tragic loss of opportunity. There are great roads in Colorado and wonderful places to see that aren’t near Interstates. Avoid going in winter or in high tourist season to avoid the crowds.

      • Ladybug in Mid-Tenn says:

        That’s why I said ‘probably’. 😉 I was thinking more of a scenario of moving from one location to another in the mountains with the trailer. For example, stay in Golden and take a day trip to Winter Park. Then move from Golden to Breckenridge; day trip to Mt. Lincoln. That kind of thing. That way I’d see Colorado, just wouldn’t be dragging the trailer with me to every part. 😀

  19. Go for it. You only live one time!

  20. We’ve done the pass pulling a 36 foot 5th wheel behind our duelly. I don’t recall a problem other than my wash machine breaking down and I had to use the campground machine

  21. MollyLuvsRoadtrippin (WA) says:

    Beautiful new camp! I am going to guess NO on the cliffhanger. Two fellow travelers decided not to go over, and the one who said his rig has some miles on it and he needs it to last a good long time will apply to your PTV as well I’m assuming. The one traveler who said just huff some oxygen, you will be fine sounds like a KOOK, especially to HRH Bridget! : ) Happy camping to you and the crew – Colorado is gorgeous from what you have shown us so far….

    • Chey (WA coast) says:

      Yes Molly, re the oxygen thing. Anybody see Dennis Hopper in “Blue Velvet”ha ha ha ha!

  22. retiredcajunlady says:

    LOL Canned O2! This has tickled my funny bone for some reason. I have heard that frozen O2 is better than the canned stuff…
    I have no idea whether you should attempt the pass, but I am sure whatever you decide will be the right decision for you and the crew. The photos are so pretty. The hail looks small, so I am hoping you had no damage to the van or Casita. Take care and thank for searching out a WiFi spot to touch base with us all. Safe travels.

  23. THAT’S A HILL IN A HAFE, Sue, Sorry for yelling, but, your PTV ain’t young and you and the Bridge ain’t nether, , 8-0 , I’d be happy going around or to another great camp that’s easier to get to, we ain’t getting younger you know 🙁 , but it’s your call, Sister Sue and Reggie will be the man and cute too, :-p ,,,, be safe what ever you do and have a Great Adventure, ,,,,, Rusty n Piper 🙂

  24. Sue,
    I used to take Wolf Creek Pass (10,810′) a lot with my Tacoma (6 cylinder manual) and Casita.
    No problems other than being passed (2 eastbound lanes) by others. The speed limit is 45, I was going about 35 .
    You can stop at the pass and take a breather (of your oxygen!), and let the dogs out.
    The other way, is down to Chama, NM then north on 17 over Cumbres Pass (only 10, 022′). Nice boondocking up the Chama River p. 124 H4. The Conejos River Valley is pretty.
    Good luck and let us know which way you go.

    • Just thought, there may not be any internet up the Chama River road. Most likely there is a signal in the Conejos area. Lots of homes and guest ranches.

  25. Barb L (Knoxville) says:

    Another cliffhanger! Whoa, Nellie…this is more fun than a week of season finales. We’re heading west in a few weeks in search of comfortably cool air and sure hope the crazy weather settles down by then.
    My DH uses the canned O2- very handy.
    Thanks for a great blog and today’s blogorino travel tips.

  26. I just can’t wait for the next episode 🙂 !!!
    If you go to the Pass ….you are braver than me….!!!!???????? Sending all good vibes!!!!
    And Happy 4th. 🙂

  27. Marysia says:

    We have done the Wolf Creek Pass in our Itasca Navion many MANY times with no issues, whatsover. However, we also followed many class C RVs towing a toad barely making it up the pass. It will be interesting to see what you decided to do.

  28. We went over Wolf Creek pass without any problems. Our little Yorkie was fine also. There is a huge area to pull off on near the top…so we did, to check every thing over. I went ahead and cooked breakfast and made coffee. We still talk about how much we enjoyed that. We have a ’28 Airstream and tow with a Chevy truck. I say go for it. You’re already in high altitude country.

  29. Ilse says:

    Hi Sue,
    What a great idea, the oxygen. I have a hard time breathing lately, just can’t take deep breaths and have to test after walking very short distances. I think I will go to Walmart and buy me a can.

    • DesertGinger says:

      You know that’s a symptom of pulmonary hypertension, right? You should probably get checked out.

      • Barbara (Nashville) says:

        I had that over a weekend and the following week ended up in the hospital getting a stent, 70% blockage in my artery. Please get it checked out vs. the canned CO2. Good to see you here Isle. How are you doing otherwise?

  30. Dawn in NC says:

    Thanks for the update and the cliff hanger. I’d say go around! It reminds me of the old Clash song.
    “Should I stay or should I go now?
    Should I stay or should I go now?
    If I go there will be trouble
    An’ if I stay it will be double”

  31. Susan in Dallas says:

    Colorado weather sounds a lot like Texas weather. Love all the pictures but especially the last one.

  32. Marysia says:

    Have you considered Diamox for you? It really helps me to deal with the high altitude sickness.

  33. Kathy (NC) says:

    I’ve really been enjoying your Colorado photos – so beautiful. Whichever way you go to your next camp, travel safely and enjoy the journey. Personally, I don’t like driving on those high roads but the views are awesome!!
    Wishing you a quiet and restful holiday weekend.

  34. Martha says:

    I will be on pins and needles to hear what you decide. Ben and I are sitting at lunch having a discussion about whether we’ll try it…and we’re three months out from even having our trailer. Love your posts.

  35. Betty says:

    Just checked the weather in that area and it predicts thunderstorms for the next 5 days.
    I would take another route. Nearly 12,000 feet is a bit high for me. Does not sound as
    if it would be a lot of fun for Bridget and Reggie or yourself but I know you like adventure.
    That is why we ride along with you. Would an alternate route be way out of your way?
    What ever you decide, be safe and take your time.

  36. Tom Moore says:

    The PTV has miles on it and and Bridget has some herself.

    We would not ask grandma to carry us piggyback up the hill would we? ;c{)>

    I would not want anything to happen to any part of the RVSue tribe even the horse or the wagon.

    I’m for taking the safe root.

  37. Kevin in CO says:

    I have been over Wolf Creek Pass many times. Sometimes just driving, sometimes towing a trailer (larger than the BLT), and sometimes in a motorhome. I never once felt like the pass was a risk.

    The steepest section is the west side, which you will be going “up” coming out of Pagosa. Take your time, don’t over heat the PTV, and you will be fine. The decent on the east side is not as steep. Maybe stop in the Wolf Creek Ski Area parking lot for a break, walk about the wild flowers.

    From Pagosa, if you want to go north, the choices are Wolf Creek or Red Mtn. Both are “famous” passes. Otherwise, a longer route via northern NM can be taken, but it will be hot along that route.

    I will be watching for your recount of this adventure. Travel safe Sue & crew.

  38. Renee Galligher - Idaho says:

    If it’s anything like Teton Pass, I would vote a resounding, “NO!”. We go around Teton Pass and it’s worth it. I have the Mountain States Directory for the West but it’s at home, so I’m not able to confirm what the grade is and what warnings are issued other than in C.W. McCall’s song of the same name describing it as “37 miles o’ hell”.

  39. Karen LeMoine says:

    No . I wouldn’t take the chance. My prioritizes would be on my dogs and their health/comfort. There are so many more camps to be found. Good luck with your decision.

  40. I hope you go for it. You will only be at the highest altitude for a few minutes and then you will be headed down. It’s different if you decided to camp up there, as I did once at 10,000 feet and where my water pump would not work until I came down a couple of thousand feet.

    Also, you have been in fairly high altitudes for the last couple of months, so you ought to have developed a little resistance to altitude sickness by now.

  41. Gingerita in NE Indiana ( for now) says:

    I can’t wait, I have to know! Well, one thing I am sure of, Reggie will be cute no matter what happens!! I will definitely stay tuned for the next episode:)

  42. Rick & Brock in WA says:

    Hi Sue,
    Well, it’s up to you
    on what you do
    I’d watch Bridget
    so she doesn’t fidget
    and either way
    it will be ok
    cause in the end
    you’ll be around the bend
    and you can boast
    in your next post
    of daring-do
    for RV Sue!

    Brock and I had a lot of fun on our week long camping trip. Got in some backcountry camping, visited with family and friends and did some fishing. Hated to come back. But our Escape 17B will be ready in March 2017 so I’ve got an end in sight. Travel safe!!

  43. EmilyO in NM says:

    No. Chama is a cute little town and the drive around is beautiful. When I drove over Wolf Creek I didn’t get to enjoy the beauty.

  44. Years ago while I was young and made impulsive decisions, I drove up wolf creek in a six cylinder Ford Falcon fully loaded with my stuff. I had no problems and had a fabulous time….of course I don’t get altitude sickness like you and Bridget…heck I could be a mountain goat LOL. If you want you can drive up the pass and make a day trip then decide whether you want to tow the BLT up the pass. With your eight cylinder van, I believe you can make the trip just fine especially if you lighten your load and empty some of the water in the water tank. This reminds me of days when my mom and dad traveled in wagon…we lived on a mesa and occasionally had to travel down the mesa to visit or summer camp with sheep. Anyway, we made the trip up and down (every bit as steep as wolf creek) in segments. First the water barrels made the trip down with all of us hanging on to back of wagon to help horses slow the wagon down. Then the provisions were hauled down including sleeping gear. Last came the equipment i.e. wheel repair stuff and other equipment needed to fix things. It took sometimes two days since we had to rest the horses and ourselves tracking up and down the steep road. We had four horses who alternated between each haul so we wouldn’t over work them. I believe today even if we had a truck, it would still take a day or two.

  45. Cinandjules (NY) says:

    Darn…I lost my reply.

    Looks like us passenger seat blogorinos votes are equal! My guess is you decided to do it.

    I tend to be cautious in decisions I’m not really comfortable with. Use your gut feelings if it doesn’t feel right you can always turn around! You know better than us the capabilities of the PTV, Bridgee’s and your difficulties with the altitude. Reg man? He’s just flying them ears Photo bombing your pictures!

    It did make the list of 10 dangerous roads but more in the winter. They do mention overheating etc. Go at your own pace…who cares if someone gets impatient!

    In regards to the use of 02….that’s like taking a bunch of sudefed so you can drive for hours. Not sure I’m liking his “yee haw” advice. 2 out of 3 who’ve actually driven it say no!

    Remember you and ONLY you are responsible for the care custody and control of the crew and your chariot! Can’t wait to find out results to the “cliff hanger” (no pun intended)

    • Cinandjules (NY) says:

      ?So you think you’re a Romeo
      playing a part in a picture-show
      Take the long way home
      Take the long way home

      • Be Gees, man, that’s a long time ago! Cindy,,,,, now that ‘s in my head, take the long way home,,,, hey A O, Piper says hi, ,,,,, ;>)

        • Cinandjules (NY) says:

          I used to get in trouble for blasting that song over and over…..Everyone had Supertramp’s breakfast in America! Actually I think my sister broke it in half! ?

  46. Rocky Mtn Bob says:

    You should be ok with altitude since you been in it for awhile now. I have been here most of my life, and have worked days at altitude (10,000 ft+), when I was younger. I’m in my late 70’s now with COPD, I go over these passes with no problems,BUT if I stay at elev. (7500+) I use oxygen. I use it at night at home although I can get by w/o it. (Home is 5800ft). If I do any exertion at7500+ then yes I need o2, although I will recover w/o it.
    I don’t need o2 constantly at altitude but as a backup. If you’ve camped at 8000 (Flaming Gorge area) over night you will do fine.
    Going up passes, gear down keep constant rpm to cool engine, downhill stayed geared down, “mtn driving rule with load, same speed going dwonhill as going uphill, sometimes even slower”. If you have to ride brakes very much, pull over and let them cool off, so watch out for turnouts. I haven’t been over Wolfcreek for years and I understand it is a lot better, so I would say you are ok, especially after the roads you’ve traveled, (I’ve been following you since day 1). Like I said before don’t try Hiwa550 N. of Durango with the trlr, otherwise your fine.


  47. DeAnne in TN says:

    I know you’ve already did or not, but I would so do it! As long as I had great brakes I could drive it slower, not even steal a peek of the glaring eyes to my left and enjoy the experience for all it’s worth! (Of course, I don’t own any type of rv vehicle!) Sometimes the small victories add up to so much.

  48. Larry in AR says:

    Pulled the T@B over Wolf Creek Pass last year headed west. Honestly, I don’t remember any particular hardship. About two days later, I pulled it over Red Mountain Pass on Hwy 550. Now, THAT I remember.

  49. Rhodium in RI says:

    I don’t know what to say about the PTV but it reminds me of when we got our 29ft travel trailer in the fall of 14. We were pulling with our new Ram 2500 diesel around Durango on 160 and in places we were pulling it uphill, accelerating, and keeping up with traffic at up to 65mph. A few weeks later I learned the tires had been changed before I bought the truck off the lot but not the odometer, so when it said 65, I was really going 72mph. So if you had a diesel I would say yeah, and fill up the tanks first. Only you know how the PTV feels going uphill, however. Presently you are close to another blog I follow, the supernaturally energetic couple at mudonthetires. It’s interesting to see so many different paths to traveling happiness.

  50. Penny in AR says:

    Go for it! Not too bad and you know our height issues! You will soon be going back down around 8,000′. Red Mountain Pass, oh he&& no! Not even similar!

  51. kgdan from Wapato, WA says:

    Several years ago we took the 550 route north of Durango with our S10 Blazer pulling our Casita. It was pretty slow going; sometimes could only do 35mph for lengthy stretches. But oh, the view! The scenery was like nothing we had seen. We were a bit nervous but to see the Rockies that close was spectacular. The beautiful Ouray was something to behold.

    • BadgerRickInWis says:

      LOVE that road kgdan. The million dollar highway! And you’re right. Ouray is magnificent. We spent a couple of days at the Wiesbaden Inn which has a hot springs and natural vapor cave underneath it. Unforgettable.

  52. We’ve already decided that we’ll go around with our diesel pusher and toad, mostly because we can – and that I don’t do well with steep drop-offs and high elevations. But I will be waiting with anticipation to see what you and the crew do 🙂

  53. BadgerRickInWis says:

    It would if you asked but you won’t so………
    They will be safe and loved.
    Oh, hell no.
    Safe and loved. (See above)
    Well, duh.

  54. Pat from Mich. says:

    I wonder if you could get some extra cans of O2 and just fill the van with it. Maybe put plastic across the back of the seat to seal the front so it wouldn’t be wasted. That should keep Bridget and you comfy while you drive. I don’t think it would be safe to drive and handle the O2 can too.

  55. Well if you like Wolf Creek Pass, then you must try the road from Red Lodge, Montana to Yellow Stone National Park, some of it has no guardrails, ,, whooo Nelly, hang on to your seat kinda road,,,,, :-0.

    • DesertGinger says:

      Well, if you haven’t drive route 1 in Northern California, you haven’t lived. Who needs guard Rails? Just give me those sheer dropoffs with amazing views of the Pacific.

    • Virginia620 (Mobile AL) says:

      Yes, îndeed, Rusty. Bear Tooth Pass is a real sphincter puckerer. 2007 we camped at KOA at Red Lodge & drove the pass several times headed to Yellowstone. Two evenings we left Yellowstone later than anticipated. The first evening it was DARK as we traversed the windy 2-lane road and I could see the headlights and taillights far, far below of à very strange looking vechile that I knew we would encounter comin toward us. It was a flatbed 18-wheeler. Scary!! The 2nd night we got a late start heading back to Red Lodge we encountered fog. Whew. Pucker City. Beautiful drive in daytime, tho.

      • Jolene/Iowa says:

        Sounds about like us further north in Colorado going over Trail Ridge Road near Estes Park at night. I absolutely love that area but we went from the Estes Park area over Trail Ridge Road to the Grandby/Grand Lake area for the day and got started back late and it was dark and we got into wind and snow as we were going back to our campsite on the the Estes Park side. Scary!

  56. Barbara (Nashville) says:

    With breathing problems in the higher elevation, as well as with Bridget, I would go around. It sounds like a beautiful drive, but at what cost? I noticed the last time I was in CO that my breathing seemed different at higher elevations. Good luck whatever you decided.

  57. Joe I am in Delaware says:

    So glad your adventure has lead you to Western Colorado! We used to make annual trips there before moving to Delaware.

  58. MelindaK (TX) says:

    Sue, you have probably made your decision by now. I have driven over Wolf Creek several times and if I was going to tow my travel trailer over it I would only consider going East bound. I am like you as I don’t like heights and drop offs plus I have issues with altitude. Last year I towed my 30′ Arctic Fox trailer over Monarch Pass (West bound), which is higher than Wolf Creek Pass with no problems. Just go slow. As someone else mentioned your tanks should be empty as you go over the pass no need to carry extra weight that will put stress on your engine and brakes.

    Whatever you do while in Colorado do not go over Red Mountain Pass that’s 550 North of Silverton.

    Loved your post today!

  59. Elizabeth in WA says:

    With your trouble with high altitude, Sue…be careful…I felt like I might croak when we went over 12,000 ft some years ago…I just tried to rest and not talk and sleep and I figured when we got lower it would pass (by 9000 ft it did). But I was NOT driving either!! I hope you will be ok…maybe you could drive just your van part of the way and see how you feel…or not…before tackling the trailer too!!

  60. BeckyIO says:

    Hmm, Wolf Creek Pass is at 10,857 ft elevation, and has a maximum grade of 6.8% but I can’t figure out how long the grade is, “long” from what I gather, but no numbers.

    Worst grade I ever did with my Casita was coming down out of the west end of Death Valley National Park into Paramenter Springs, CA. 9% for 7 miles. Never again.

    • I’ve done both Red Mountain Pass and the mountain pass from Death Valley into Parameter Springs, CA. We stopped at the top and watched the air force planes practice maneuvers far below in Death Valley. It was breath taking to see the jets zoom in and out, roll and exit the valley. We cheered like no ones business…jumping up and down. I think the only scary part was crazy people taking risk in passing cars even though the road indicated ‘no passing.’

  61. Looks like you have more than enough advice, pro and con, but let me add my two cents. We drove west over Wolf Creek Pass in 1998 when the east side was under re-construction, nothing but rough dirt for a few stretches. We were towing a lot smaller than you, with a GMC Safari and a 2100 pound pop-up, and had no problems. Your PTV is plenty powerful enough, and the BLT light enough to make it, slow and easy and headed east. Seems like mostly an issue of personal comfort for you and Bridget, but it is beautiful up there. Whichever choice you make, enjoy the journey!
    Pondering Pops

  62. Renee from Idaho says:

    I’m looking in the Mountain Directory West. The Wolf Creek Pass is reported as the following: The eastbound descent from the summit of Wolf Creek Pass begins with a warning sign – “6% grade next 8 miles.” Most of this is three lane road. Farther down the mountain the road alternates between two land and three lane. The descent begins with a 6% grade and 30 mph curves. About 2 miles down from the summit there is a short tunnel with a 30 mph curve. The grade continues as promised for about 8 miles at 6% from the summit but there are about 2 more miles of 5% before the grade eases enough to call it the end of the pass. There are 30 and 40 mph curves throughout the descent. Going westbound from the summit of Wolf Creek Pas we find signs warning — “7% grade, winding road next 9 miles” and “Trucks stay in lower gear” and “Vehicles over 55,000 lbs. must use right lane” and “Vehicles over 55,000 lbs. 25 mph.” Starting down the mountain westbound the speed limit is 25 mph and it;s a four lane road. There are two runaway truck ramps They are 4 1/2 and 6 miles down from the summit of the pass, at mileposts 162 1/2 and 161. After passing the second escape ramp the 7% grade and 30 mph curves continue for another 2 miles and the ease to a lesser grade for 2 miles before changing to rolling hills.

    A little lengthy, but complete information from a valuable source that every RVer should have on hand. You can purchase this from Amazon through Sue’s site.

    • cc and canine ( now in Clackamas, Oregon) says:

      Wow! A lot of useful info…We’ll have to get one of these now that we’re out west. Thanks for the useful comment….

      • Renee from Idaho says:

        You’re welcome. There is also an Eastern version, but since we travel only in the West, that’s what we have.

        • BadgerRickInWis says:

          That’s great info. I’ve read about it before but I just put it on my Amazon wish list. Thanks

    • Cinandjules (NY) says:


      Not sure what the percent means as to the steepness of the grade. I prefer the KISS method…Like the yellow road signs at an exit…where the truck is tipping over! Means slow the heck down!
      Read the information you provided…when you got to the runaway truck ramps…that sealed the deal for mwahhhhhh! We are turning this babeeeeee around! Right blinker turn signal activated!

  63. In my time here in Colorado this summer I’ve driven over several passes. They’re just a fact of life if you want to get around central Colorado. Kebler Pass (10, 007) west of Crested Butte (unpaved most of the way), Monarch Pass (11,312) between Gunnison and Poncha Springs, Hoosier Pass (11,539) between Fairplay and Breckenridge, Loveland Pass (11,990) at Arapaho Basin, Independence Pass (12,095) between Leadville and Aspen (very narrow and twisty on the west side), Cottonwood Pass (12,126) between Crested Butte and Buena Vista (unpaved on the west side, with lots of washboard), and to the top of Mount Evans (14,130′). My Chevy Express with the smaller 4.8L engine, towing nothing, and with no pets, chugged it’s way over all of them, occasionally in first gear. I’m certain my engine was feeling the effects of thin air more than I was, and sometimes it felt like I couldn’t gulp enough air. But no elevation sickness. For me, anyway. Others might suffer.

    • I agree the passes in Colorado are amazing….I haven’t travel all of them but I have done Wolf Creek and the Loveland Pass I believe…I went east on a two lane winding road from Breckenridge. A lady warned me not to drive up but I did anyway thinking it doesn’t hurt to try…I can always turn around at a pull out. Turns out to be a beautiful drive and at the summit I could actually see the rocky tops of the treeless mountains for miles either direction. I took a picture while up there and it’s filed somewhere in one of my picture albums. I was on an extensive assignment for work and nothing to else to do on a Sunday afternoon so I drove the loop…..awesome!!

  64. Denise - Richmond VA says:

    Hi, Sue,

    I know you made the best decision for you and your Crew. Beautiful scenery on potential white knuckle stretches of road is only is great for passengers to enjoy. When I was a passenger on steep, switchback roads, I could not enjoy the scenery because I was concentrating on my breathing and trying not to lose my cookies! Yikes!

    The picture of our sweet Bridge in the tall grass is a gorgeous portrait of her. Happiness and love radiates from her smiling face! In the pictures where little Reggie is looking out the window, it is so obvious that he is enjoying being part of your special family! I love those little pups!

    You have been on my mind all week. I have been hoping and praying that you find a nice, quiet, private spot to camp over the holiday weekend. Far away from fireworks and gunshots. Thank you for sharing the beauty of CO with us!

    Sending you wishes for a happy, peaceful holiday weekend! I plan to cook chicken kabobs on the charcoal grill Sunday, enjoying an afternoon with family. Sending you and the Crew love and hugs from me and Gracie pup! 🙂

    RUSTY: I hope your leg continues to heal and that you are good as new soon! Hugs to you and Lady Piper. Take good care of yourself! 🙂

    • A gal in Maple Valley, WA says:

      Hi Denise!

      Glad to see you popping in here. Read your last note after a new post so I didn’t get to say that you were missed and am relieved that your surgery hasn’t kept you from sending comments. 🙂

  65. Suzette (TN) says:

    Well, once again your photos just make my heart ache. Especially that last one with the fence and wildflowers. I think I must have a fence “thing.” I KNOW I have a “thing” for wildflowers. This post spurred me to research some of the passes discussed in your post and the comments. How I’d love to be up there with you. If *I* was driving. I drive drop-offs just fine. As a passenger I don’t handle it nearly as well.

    I do remember that our truck wasn’t happy up there at the top of the mountains. We had to have something or other adjusted. And then it was adjusted later when we were back to our normal altitude to stay. I don’t recall any of us not feeling well at altitude, though. Granted…it’s been a long time since we were camping in the Colorado mountains. Time could have dimmed a few memories. 🙂

    Nonetheless, I know you’re having a grand adventure. Can’t wait to catch up!

  66. edlfrey says:

    All this will she won’t she drama and the admonitions to take the ‘safe’ route brings to my mind a writer that said it so much better than I can.

    To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
    Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
    To the last syllable of recorded time,
    And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
    The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
    Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
    That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
    And then is heard no more: it is a tale
    Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
    Signifying nothing.
    Macbeth, Act 5, Scene 5

    I think you went for it Sue – Good On Ya!

  67. We’ve done it before–not towing. But with your engine and small trailer you shouldn’t have a problem. But I don’t blame you if you decide not to. I do all sorts of things because the hubster says it’s safe, and I figure it must be. But if I were alone? Not so sure!

    Whatever you did, I’m sure you’ll have great pictures to post and stories to tell!

  68. Jules Mn says:

    I can’t wait to see what you decide. I know how sick I got when we made that trip! My three sons playing in the snow and me begging to go down. ?

  69. Mark Watson in Houston Tx says:

    I bet with her past experiences with testy roads, and surviving those roads, and with her reasoning the crew will fall asleep leaving Pagosa and will sleep through the ascent up to and over Wolf Creek Pass, she will do Wolf Creek Pass. Bets anyone?

    • Dawn in NC says:

      Hi Mark,

      I’ll wager you two smiley faces that she doesn’t do it. Anyone else want in on the action? 😉

      • Larry in AR says:

        Why would she openly challenge herself if she did not intend to take the challenge? Just sayin’. Wouldn’t it be like standing in front of your friends and betting them you could eat a whole bag of _______, when you had not intention of even trying? Maybe my psychology is a little lacking, but that’s my guess. Wait. On the other hand, it could just be a ruse to keep people coming back to the blog. Nah, Sue wouldn’t do that. 🙂

        • Cinandjules (NY) says:

          Open challenge? She was merely weighing the pros and cons to determine if it is feasible for all involved.

          Hate to break it to ya….speaking for myself of course..I enjoy every part of Sue and he crew’s journey…in for the long haul no ruse needed!

          • Larry in AR says:

            Please refer to the smiley face at the end of my post. And, just because I do not stand and testify after each one of Sue’s posts doesn’t mean I am not at every service as well. 🙂 🙂

            I still think Sue likes a challenge. Happy Trails.

  70. Cactipete says:


    Whether you go up or not it looks like we are all here for the ride!

    A few steps closer to my own road experiences. House is on the market and RV is getting a makover.

    • BadgerRickInWis says:

      “On the market” I know how sweet those words can sound if you put a lot of work into getting it ready. Good luck Pete.

  71. Of course Reggie will be cute all the way through!

    I’m going to need some of that oxygen–just got off the phone with Harald at casita–placed our order! WHOO HOOO!

  72. Jerryc says:

    It’s really a piece of cake. Towed the casita both directions with no problem. My money says she goes.

  73. DesertGinger says:

    Sue is pretty hardy and adventurous; I wouldn’t be surprised if she goes for it.

  74. Cactipete, did you say makeover?

    With before and after pics?

    I love makeovers!

  75. I say RVSue goes for the adventure!! At the beginning of her blog she was very cautious but as the months and years have passed, RVSue has been bolder and bolder as her skills developed. However, she and Bridget do have elevation sickness and I don’t think RVSue would try puffing oxygen……we’ll see what happens.

  76. A gal in Maple Valley, WA says:

    Yeah, I must be THAT old. The days before fuel injection. We always had the vehicles tuned for high altitude. Whenever company drove out and stayed for longer that a week – had theirs done, too. Everyone wanted to drive up Pike’s Peak. At a certain point on the drive up, you could find the cars (that hadn’t tuned) pulled over with hoods up and the ranger/shuttle drove them the rest of the way up.

    Was also just remembering the company vehicle I used for making house calls was dual-fuel. Gasoline and natural gas. (Always thought ‘natural’ gas was….. funny. The company’s name was Peoples’ Natural Gas 😀 yeah, I’m 12) Anyhoo, customers lived up the passes and on sides of mountains. Their driveways were usually quite steep and most times I had to switch tanks to make it up to the houses. Natural gas was cleaner but not enough power. Could have vehicle tuned for one type of gas; not both.

    Are we spoiled now or what?

  77. Thanks desertginger, it’s like waiting for Christmas!

  78. Nancy S. Indiana says:

    There is a video on YouTube on wolf creek pass. Someone had a camera focusing out the windshield as they drove. You can take a look at the road. It’s about 6 minutes long. The title is. Co 160 east side wolf creek pass.
    Hope this is helpful.

  79. Krystina ~ Sutton, Vermont says:

    That is great Steve. Congratulations! Did you remember to mention RVSue as she gets a commission? Have a great 4th.

  80. Pookie in Todd Mission, tx says:

    I love Wolf Creek Pass and yep it is a high pass to go thru
    but I dont think you will have any problem with the BLT
    making it…..the oxygen thing is good…..I have a tank I
    carry with me and also use it fishing to keep big catfish
    alive to be returned to the water………

  81. Linda - from Central Illinois says:

    I’m guessing RVSue and Crew have already made their decision by now…but our experience was great. We pulled a big 5th wheel with slideout with a duelly Ford in 1997. No problems and SO WORTH the trip.
    However, the couple we were with….the driver was an experienced semi-driver, so we felt very confident.
    If there is a ‘fix’ for the oxygen problem for both Bridget and you….my sense of adventure says GO FOR IT!!
    I really love Colorado, except for the more and more commercialized areas.
    Linda in Illinois <3

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