Skip to Content

Driving Wolf Creek Pass in an RV

| Updated Nov 6, 2021

I have a whole new appreciation for my Roadtrek eTrek. It not only allows us to boondock, or dry camp, for days on end, it can haul us up some of the steepest mountains in Southwest Colorado… while hauling a travel trailer.

Wolf Creek Pass in fog and rain
Our caravan stops to cool the trailer brakes after descending Wolf Creek Pass

Our little family caravan made our way south from Colorado Springs in some pretty dicey driving conditions. Heavy downpours, fog, slippery roads and high altitude. But it wasn't until we hit US 160 near Wolf Creek Pass when I put the eTrek to the hauling test.

Some 37 Miles of steep incline and a 8% winding decline made the ascent of Pikes Peak the day before seem like a Sunday drive. It was pouring rain the whole way. The eTrek drove firm and steady, though its' a good thing the speed limit was 45 mph because that is about all I could get out of the Mercedes 3500 engine hauling our 21-foot AmerLite travel trailer.

Jeff and Aimee at the bottom of Wolf Creek Pass

That's when I remembered why Wolf Creek Pass was so familiar. It was a song made famous by Country music artist C. W. McCall's humorous spoken word song of the same name, in which the pass is fondly described as “37 miles o' hell — which is up on the Great Divide.” In the song, two truckers drive an out-of-control Peterbilt down U.S. Highway 160 over the pass.

I looked at Earl and his eyes was wide
His lip was curled, and his leg was fried.
And his hand was froze to the wheel like a tongue to a sled in the middle of a blizzard.
I says, “Earl, I'm not the type to complain
But the time has come for me to explain
That if you don't apply some brake real soon, they're gonna have to pick us up with a stick and a spoon…”
(“Wolf Creek Pass” written by Bill Fries and Chip Davis, sung by C.W. McCall)

Here is is if you want to sing along:

It was a real test. The highway climbs to 10,857 feet, smack dab on the Continental Divide.

I used the Mercedes engine to downshift on the decline. The trailer brakes stunk mightily as they heated up and we had to take a 45 minute break to let them cool down once we reached the bottom.

My son, Jeff, following in a borrowed Roadtrek SS, had no problems. My daughter Wendy, following in our Honda Pilot SUV, suffered from altitude sickness.

The rain continued all the way to Mesa Verde National Park. We didn't get in until very late and got very wet setting up. It was my first test of backing up the trailer. After Wolf Creek Pass, it was a piece of cake.

Mike Wendland

Published on 2013-08-08

Mike Wendland is a multiple Emmy-award-winning Journalist, Podcaster, YouTuber, and Blogger, who has traveled with his wife, Jennifer, all over North America in an RV, sharing adventures and reviewing RV, Camping, Outdoor, Travel and Tech Gear for the past 12 years. They are leading industry experts in RV living and have written 18 travel books.

9 Responses to “Driving Wolf Creek Pass in an RV”

August 17, 2013at2:31 pm, Nick said:

Hi Mike,
just a note of thanks for getting the lyrics to Wolf Creek Pass right!

Love C.W. McCall, aka Bill Fries! is a place for fans of C.W. on the web.

If you see a road on your map that looks like a Malaria germ, I might suggest to avoid it in your Roadtrek!


August 12, 2013at8:54 pm, Michele Cantor said:

What type of mileage are you getting?

August 09, 2013at2:26 pm, Sherry F said:

enjoyed reading of this trek up wolf creek pass very much

August 08, 2013at10:55 pm, Jeff said:

I was driving the SS and it handled like a champ. The breaks held up great and it had good acceleration on the incline.

August 08, 2013at6:36 pm, yan seiner said:

Yeah, but was the trailer full of chickens?

August 08, 2013at6:03 pm, Roger Fethkenher said:

Sir,,You said the roadtrek SS did a good job,,,did you have any problems with the breaks or any thing else,,

August 08, 2013at4:12 pm, Campskunk said:

we followed the San Juan River up to its source from Navajo Lake State Park in New Mexico, and ended up at the top of Wolf Creek Pass. this is where i tested my new front brake rotors, too. they did a lot better than the old ones. if you can get down that hill in good shape, your brakes are going to be good anywhere else you care to drive.

August 08, 2013at4:10 pm, Bill Sprague said:


I’m glad it traverse of Wolf Creek Pass went better than Earl and C.W. McCall’s did. You didn’t note hitting the feed store in Pagosa! 😉

It stile for a soak in the Springs, for sure!


August 08, 2013at3:57 pm, Joseph and Virginia Farrug said:

What an adventure Jennifer and mike we did,that same trip a few years ago but with a car only, that was enough for us , Joseph and Virginia

Comments are closed.

Back to top