Driving between Salt Lake City and Grand Junction
August 27, 2019 8:37 AM   Subscribe

For reasons, I may be driving between Salt Lake City and Grand Junction, Colorado in mid September/early October. It appears to be a drive of 4.5 to 5.5 hours. I am an okay driver but I don't love driving. Any tips for helping make this more manageable for me?

I tend to stop every couple of hours to stretch my legs. I have taken this route many times via train but only once, many years ago, via car. Freeways sometimes make me nervous. Tips? Recommendations for stops? Help me make this a viable choice. Thanks!
posted by Bella Donna to Travel & Transportation (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
A good chunk of the quickest route for that drive is on two-lane highway between Spanish Fork and Green River, rather than freeway. If you take the all-interstate route, it adds an hour. I've done that drive more times than I can count, and I tend to get out and stretch my legs, get gas, etc. in Spanish Fork and Price, and sometimes stop at smaller outposts after Price, depending.

That two-lane highway section can be perilous for impatient drivers, so my advice is to not be an impatient driver. The biggest hazards are if you decide to do a lot of passing of slower trucks and the like. So if you're patient enough to not do that, don't do that. Even if you're not passing much, be on the watch for reckless idiots who are doing it - particularly coming the other way.

Traffic shouldn't be heavy, but be careful.

Also, watch your speed and be sure to slow down for the speed traps around Price and the surrounding towns. I speak from sad experience.

Once you're on I-70 from Green River to Grand Junction, it's usually smooth sailing with very little traffic.
posted by The World Famous at 8:54 AM on August 27, 2019


Best answer: If you don't mind the extra time, the interstate may be the best bet - it's very straight and wide open. Also, once you get to I-70, there's lots of rest stops for scenery, which will break things up a lot.
posted by notsnot at 9:09 AM on August 27, 2019 [1 favorite]


Seconding notsnot. I find the interstate a lot less stressful than the two-lane highway. If you're the same way and don't mind the extra hour, I've gone that way a few times and it's a lot easier driving with plenty of opportunities to stop to rest.
posted by The World Famous at 9:30 AM on August 27, 2019


Best answer: I drive that route often. Notes on individual legs:

SLC to Spanish Fork: Typical busy city interstate. Lots of good options to stretch your legs and get a sandwich in Spanish Fork.

Spanish Fork up to Soldier Summit and down to Price. Beautiful drive, a bit winding and steep. Most likely place for inclement weather is near the summit (although I've also run into some impressive thunderstorms near Green River). Taking the curves at the recommended speed is comfortable, and always makes someone behind me a bit impatient. Passing lanes are frequently provided, so don't feel pressured to go faster than you're comfortable with. Lots of good places to stretch your legs if you're thinking "trail" instead of "gas station"; not a lot else. Lots of food options in Price/Wellington.

Price to Green River: Flat and easy drive. Watching the book cliffs go by and seeing how soon you can spot the La Sals in the distance keeps it from being boring. Green River is apparently a stopping point for a lot of outdoor adventure in Southern Utah, so the food options are better than you'd expect for a town of the size. Probably my favorite place to eat along the way.

Green River to Grand Junction. Smooth and fast rural interstate, with an 80 mph speed limit in Utah. The rest stop near Crescent Junction is the last restroom you'll encounter for a while. The speed limit drops a bit at the Colorado border, so watch out for that. It's not unusual to see speed traps a short distance over the border.
posted by rossmik at 10:15 AM on August 27, 2019 [1 favorite]


Best answer: Seconding notsnot. I find the interstate a lot less stressful than the two-lane highway. If you're the same way and don't mind the extra hour, I've gone that way a few times and it's a lot easier driving with plenty of opportunities to stop to rest.

There's turnouts and scenic overlooks, but there's no services (gas/food/lodging) for the 105 miles between Salina and Green River on I-70. It's gorgeous, though!
posted by LionIndex at 1:35 PM on August 27, 2019 [1 favorite]


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