Interstate 70 - Clear Creek County

Interstate 70 East
The proverbial light at the end of the tunnel is visible along eastbound Interstate 70 as it reaches the eastern end of the mile-long Eisenhower Tunnel. Photo taken 02/02/02.
Eastbound Interstate 70 exits the Eisenhower Tunnel into Clear Creek County, with a brake check area and widened shoulder to the right for emergencies. The view ahead shows the Front Range in all its snow-capped glory on a crisp February day. Photo taken 02/02/02.
Eastbound Interstate 70 approaching Junction U.S. 6 Westbound, Exit 216. This is the other end of the loop that avoids the tunnel, but heads to a much higher elevation than the Eisenhower Tunnel via Loveland Pass. U.S. 6 silently merges onto eastbound Interstate 70 here, but there are no signs of it until Exit 244, where it left exits to serve Golden. The only exception to this silence may be that U.S. 6 has a shared motel with U.S. 40, the 6-40 Motel, in Idaho Springs along Business Loop I-70. Photo taken 02/02/02.
The first exit after the tunnel is U.S. 6. All hazardous material vehicles that took U.S. 6 over Loveland Pass rejoin the Interstate here. Photo taken 02/02/02.
Eastbound Interstate 70 immediately after the U.S. 6 West exit. Interstate 70 begins its long eastbound descent into Denver from here. U.S. 6 joins Interstate 70 at the onramp ahead. Photo taken 02/02/02.
Traffic from eastbound U.S. 6/Loveland Pass Road merges onto eastbound Interstate 70. Photo taken 02/02/02.
As Interstate 70/U.S. 6 descend from Loveland Pass/the Eisenhower Tunnel, it follows a significant downgrade. The elevation of the road drops from over 11,000 feet at the tunnel down to 5,280 feet in Denver. Photo taken 02/02/02.

Several brown signs on this stretch of Interstate 70/U.S. 6 in both directions showcase some local attractions, including this signage on eastbound for the bighorn sheep at Exit 228 (Georgetown exit). In the distance, the line on the side of the mountain is actually created by overhead power lines. This elevation is too low for chairlifts for ski resorts. Photo taken 02/02/02.
This scenic view along eastbound features a line through the trees on a distant hillside. This line was cut for transmission power lines that carry power between the urban areas and the mountain communities. Photo taken 02/02/02.
The next exit along eastbound Interstate 70/U.S. 6 is Exit 228, Georgetown. Photo taken 02/02/02.
Here is the gore point signage for eastbound Interstate 70/U.S. 6 at Exit 228, Georgetown. Photo taken 02/02/02.
Don't delude yourself with the sunny photos; it was actually quite cold at the time the February 2002 photos were taken. The high elevation and dry air cause most heat generated during the day to escape back the atmosphere, ensuring cold nights. However, the low sun angle and cold winds prevent midday warmth from reaching many areas in the Colorado mountains. In addition, weather can change at a moment's notice, so what is clear and sunny now may change to a blizzard in virtually no time at all. Photo taken 02/02/02.
The next exit along eastbound Interstate 70/U.S. 6 is Exit 232, Junction U.S. 40 west. U.S. 40 silently merges onto eastbound Interstate 70, and it reemerges as a frontage road (without signage from Interstate 70) at the Genesee Park interchange (Exit 254). U.S. 40 follows the frontage road from Genesee Park east until it meets Colorado 26, and then it enters Golden cosigned with Business Loop I-70. Exit 232 is a major interchange, as this is part of the primary route from Denver to Salt Lake City via Interstate 70 and U.S. 40. U.S. 40 is an all-weather highway, but care should be taken when traversing the highest points in winter, such as Rabbit Ears Pass near Steamboat Springs. Photo taken 02/02/02.
U.S. 40 is the best route from Interstate 70 into Rocky Mountain National Park during the summer months, as the trip requires only a brief journey east on U.S. 34. However, Estes Park (at the eastern entrance to the park) is not accessible via this route during the winter. During winter months, it is advisable to use Interstate 270 west to U.S. 36 (the Denver-Boulder Turnpike) west from Interstate 70. Photo taken 02/02/02.
Eastbound Interstate 70 approaches U.S. 40, Exit 232, next right. The tiny, almost illegible blue sign beneath the guide sign indicates that an emergency call box is available at this exit. It is unclear where, exactly, such a phone would be located. U.S. 40 continues east from here silently merged with U.S. 6 and Interstate 70. Photo taken 02/02/02.
Continuing east, Interstate 70/U.S. 6-40 approaches Exit 240, Junction Colorado 103 in Idaho Springs. The light blue shield next to the Colorado 103 shield designates this as a scenic byway, and it connects with Colorado 5, which is the highest state highway in the country. Colorado 5 leads to the top of Mount Evans, which exceeds a 14,000-foot elevation. The town of Idaho Springs is located to the left (north) of Interstate 70 at this point. Photo taken 02/02/02.
Eastbound Interstate 70/U.S. 6-40 reaches Exit 241A, Idaho Springs (Eastern Entrance). This is the eastern end of Business Loop I-70, and the signage does not have the business loop shield. Photo taken 02/02/02.
Here, eastbound Interstate 70/U.S. 6-40 enters the Idaho Springs Twin Tunnels. These are not as impressive as the Eisenhower Tunnel or the tunnels found in Glenwood Canyon, but they are neat in their own right. Photo taken 02/02/02.
Now entering the Idaho Springs Twin Tunnels, Interstate 70/U.S. 6-40 retains only two lanes in each direction. Even with plans to expand Interstate 70 to six lanes all the way to the Eisenhower Tunnel, widening these tunnels through here will be quite costly. Photo taken 02/02/02.
The next exit along eastbound Interstate 70/U.S. 6-40 is Exit 243, Hidden Valley. The freeway is very narrowly threaded through these canyons. Photo taken 02/02/02.
Eastbound Interstate 70/U.S. 6-40 approaches Junction U.S. 6 and Colorado 119, Exit 244. This exit leads primarily to Golden, home of the Coors Brewing Company. So if you've ever wondered where all that Rocky Mountain water is, this is the place. Photo taken 02/02/02.
U.S. 6 also connects to Black Hawk and Central City, two small Colorado towns that were transformed in the 1990s by the introduction of gambling. (Cripple Creek, which is located along Colorado 67, also experienced a boom as a result of legalized gambling.) Similar to California Indian Reservations that have legalized gambling, Black Hawk and Central City saw a mass influx of people from all over the region coming to play cards and slots. However, since these towns are on secondary roads, traffic issues became an issue. Over time, that has been mitigated with improvements. U.S. 6 itself does not lead to either town, but Colorado 119 does. Colorado 119 northbound, in fact, leads to Boulder and Longmont before terminating at a fast food interchange with Interstate 25 and U.S. 87. Photo taken 02/02/02.
Interstate 70/U.S. 40 continues east along the freeway, while U.S. 6 splits to the northeast to connect to the Gilpin County communities of Black Hawk and Central City. Gilpin County is situated just north of Interstate 70, but it shares no direct connection with the freeway. However, plans call for a new road to be constructed that would directly link Colorado 119 in Gilpin County with Interstate 70. Photo taken 02/02/02.
The exit from eastbound Interstate 70/U.S. 6-40 to eastbound U.S. 6 is a left exit, and the interchange configuration is unlike most others in this area. It is likely that this interchange was set up this way to accommodate the narrow geography of the canyon. Photo taken 02/02/02.

Page Updated July 9, 2005.

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