VFR routes SoCal to Denver
I am interested in learning what VFR routes people like to fly from Southern California to Denver in 182 or equivalent aircraft. My main area of interest is crossing the continental divide. Thanks for your sharing!
10 Replies
LAS PGA then follow the UT/AZ border Four Corners (look for the marker ) CO/NM border to Sublette, NM then N to LSA V83 GOSIP. That gets you through the mountains at 11,500 max. A good stop is Spanish Peaks for cheap fuel. Once east of the mountains head N to Denver.
James, you have a great mountain flying airplane.  However, unless or until you have significant mountain flying experience "in the west" (east coast is different), I recommend "the south route", keeping clear of the Restricted Areas and when you can, also clear of the MOAs (talk to the controlling authority, the MOA may not be active): basically southern California, V66, to Tuscon, V16 to SSO then T310 to TCS, then V611 to ABQ, then V190 to FTI (probably stop there at KLVS for fuel), V611 to KAPA (Centennial Airport, south of Denver).  Disclaimer:  I may have made a transcription error in the routing, your mileage/route may vary, this is just a suggestion to keep to a "south route".   I am sure others will make similar and probably simpler suggestions.  :-)

I highly recommend the Colorado Pilots Association's Mountain Flying Ground School and training flight for more information:  
I teach Colorado, Utah and Idaho mountain and backcountry flying out of Northern Colorado Regional Airport (KFNL), formerly Fort Collins/Loveland Airport, north of Denver.

You have probably seen this or one of several versions of this takeoff/crash.
This was at Stanley, ID, which is a very benign environment and airport... except for winds and density altitude and lack of training.  :-(
You have a Cessna 182, and we don't load it with 4 people to do this!!!

Best regards,
Jer/ Eberhard
Gary Justus
11 Posts
Passes to avoid: Monarch Pass 11312' (between Gunnison and Salida). Marshall Pass 10854' is better and just a bit south of Monarch Pass. La Veta Pass 9413' (between Alamosa and La Veta) can be real bad when winds are high (Venturi effect). Check the La Veta winds on-the-pass AWOS-3 on 119.925. Wolf Creek Pass 10857' (NE of Pagosa Springs CO) is high and narrow although I've flown it in my Grumman Tiger.

Passes I recommend: Mosca Pass 9740' on SE corner of Great Sand Dunes NP NE of Alamosa, CO. Kenosha Pass 9994' N of Fairplay, CO.  Cumbres Pass 10022' just NE of Chama, NM. Avoid flying directly over the Sangre de Cristo Mountains unless you are several thousand feet above them, except Mosca Pass.

Excellent 100LL fuel prices at Spanish Peaks Airfield 4V1 N of Walsenburg, CO. Also at Perry-Stokes TAD NE of Trinidad, CO, Erie EIK N of Denver and Platte Valley 18V N of DEN.

If coming up Interstate I-25 plan to fly east of Colorado Springs COS due to Fort Carson and Butts AAF FCS, R-2601 A and B, Air Force Academy, Pikes Peak, IR and VR military training routes, and many intensive AFA flight training areas on eastern plains. Contact Pueblo PUB Approach for flight following and handoffs to COS Class C and DEN Class B. You'll want a Denver TAC to study with its VFR flyways and DEN jet approach paths. Good uncontrolled airports are Erie EIK, Boulder BDU (parachutes and gliders), and Longmont (parachutes) LMO.

Enjoy the Wings Over the Rockies Museum in east Denver (wings museum.org) and its Centennial Airport Campus at APA in Englewood. Visit www.Coloradopilots.org for more flying resources info, such as: https://coloradopilots.org/content.aspx?page_id=22&club_id=612720&module_id=333183 Check density altitude!
I flew first to Page from Orange County in my Beech Deboniar. From there flew VFR to Farmington then Cumbress pass to La Vita pass. Then turned left up to Centennial. After Farmington, climbed to 14,000 on oxygen.  Flew early in the morning to avoid thunderstorms. This is the main reason for the stop in Page before crossing the Rockies, so we could leave early in the morning. Just barely beat the weather. But flight was smooth and clear. Reversed on the way home. 
Thanks so much!
Thanks so much!  We look forward to some awesome fling, weather perky!