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Old 05-15-13, 07:16 PM   #1
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Flatlanders - cry your eyes out - and 475 miles of single track to boot!

At the southwest corner of the Denver Metro Area the S Platte "River" enters the plains from the mountains through Waterton Canyon, a popular fishing, hiking and biking venue. Also, this is the official start of the Colorado Trail which, unlike the first 6.5 miles shown below, winds its way on mostly single track of 475 miles of isolated, rugged and high Colorado backcountry, which finds its way to Durango, CO.

Adjacent to the Waterton Canyon area is the 5,000 acre Chatfield State Park with a lake, the Audubon Society with trails and ponds and the rustic portion of the Denver Botanic Gardens (most of which is located in downtown Denver). Just down the road is the fantastic Roxborough State Park (closed to bicycles), with incredible red rock Morrison Formation slabs standing 100's of feet straight up into the sky. This all is about 20 miles from my home.

This is all reachable by bicycle trail from Downtown Denver - many miles away, and from my home, also.

Here are some pictures of today's ride, which is all uphill for 6.5 miles. At the top, the trail becomes single track and is a favorite spot for more technical mtn biking.


The start of the trail, which is a road at this point:



A wheelchair accessible fishing spot



The trail going up



Lots of wildlife - I did not get the Bear sign picture







The cliffs extend a couple of hundred feet up



The "River"



More trail



The top



More on the next post, please

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Old 05-15-13, 07:17 PM   #2
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More:

A small lake behind the diversion dam which sends water to Denver.



The Strontia Springs Dam which was recently dredged from fire debris and ash clogging the dam and reducing storage.



I hope you enjoyed the pictures. I enjoyed preparing them for you. If you like ride reports like this, let us all know!

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Old 05-15-13, 07:38 PM   #3
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Darn you Denver!

Suddenly the Saturday ride I had planned with Mrs. Grouch now seems - well - puny.
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Old 05-15-13, 07:58 PM   #4
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Darn you Denver!

Suddenly the Saturday ride I had planned with Mrs. Grouch now seems - well - puny.
Sorry about that
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Old 05-16-13, 04:14 AM   #5
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Looks like great riding. How many months of the year is the trail open?
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Old 05-16-13, 05:43 AM   #6
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I'm heading out to Erie in August to see the grandchildren. It's an hour bike ride from Erie to the single track, but the single track out there is pretty rocky and I thought I was going to die last time I was on it. Most of the MTBers were on dual suspension bikes. So I plan on sticking to the bike paths, which are very pleasant.

BTW, here is a brief clip on the trail that runs from Erie to the aforementioned single track:

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Old 05-16-13, 06:06 AM   #7
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Hey, Dudelsack, that looks like fun. I will have to put that on my "bucket list" - but I find that my bucket seems to have a hole!!! Where do you grab the trail?
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Old 05-16-13, 06:28 AM   #8
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and one, if one so wishes, can smoke a little herb too!
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Old 05-16-13, 07:11 AM   #9
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Nice.
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Old 05-16-13, 07:18 AM   #10
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Dnvr,
Reminds me of the wonderful camping days of my youth! We (the family) would always camp in 'primitive' National Forest campgrounds. $1/day with the Golden Eagle season pass. Six of us in a tent. In '71 we spent three weeks just in Colorado alone - and most of that above 8,000' elevation. Taylor Reservoir was nice, as was Grand Mesa. I remember our car having a hard time with the thin air at Cottonwood Pass - 12,126 foot elevation.
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Old 05-16-13, 07:34 AM   #11
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Hey, Dudelsack, that looks like fun. I will have to put that on my "bucket list" - but I find that my bucket seems to have a hole!!! Where do you grab the trail?
They have a very nice trailhead off of US 287, near where it branches off of Public Road. One way to get there from the south is US 36 to Northwest Parkway to US 287 to the trail head. There are better ways I'm sure, but that would be relatively simple.

The Coal Creek trail from there heads towards Marshall Lake. The trails to the northeast of the lake are pretty user friendly, although the climbing took a lot out of this flatliner, er I mean flatlander. If you start at Lafayette, it's actually a steady climb westward, which means the return trip is a breeze except for the Empire Street hill, and even that wasn't bad.

My only complaint is that although there are very nice trailheads and rest room facilities, there is no water to be found on the trail. Next time I intend to take my Camelbak Hawg.
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Old 05-16-13, 09:16 AM   #12
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If you like ride reports like this, let us all know![/B][/SIZE]
Yes, I like, I like!
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Old 05-16-13, 11:23 AM   #13
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There is just something about Colorado that makes me wish I were there.
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Old 05-16-13, 12:36 PM   #14
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There's not much in the way of shade anywhere in those pics. Unless you happen to be on the north side of a cliff. Pretty country, but barren.
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Old 05-16-13, 03:16 PM   #15
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There's not much in the way of shade anywhere in those pics. Unless you happen to be on the north side of a cliff. Pretty country, but barren.
I remember when I ground to a halt because exhaustion, we found a single tree out in the open and huddled under it for relief.

Then we got on our cellphones and were pleasantly surprised to see Les Peaux des Rouges had whooped up on the Saints.

Sunscreen and lots and lots of water are absolute necessities out there.
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Old 05-17-13, 12:45 AM   #16
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There is just something about Colorado that makes me wish I were there.
DnvrFox has done it again and made me yearn for a trip to the states. I know Dnvr termed the phrase "Smell the roses" and I can see why with so much fantastic scenery.
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Old 05-17-13, 05:55 AM   #17
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There's not much in the way of shade anywhere in those pics. Unless you happen to be on the north side of a cliff. Pretty country, but barren.
1. What deciduous trees we have are just beginning to leaf out from Winter's starkness. So, the lack of leaves makes it even worse.

2. There are likely just a few trees between the start of the plains at the Denver foothills all the way to near the Mississippi River that were not planted by someone. The lower front range is essentially a desert (average of about 15" of annual precip) in the rain shadow of the Rocky Mountains. Water here is more precious than oil, or almost so. If you were to go further up into the Colorado mountains you would find plenty of Evergreens and Aspen and the like to give one all the shade they might need. In fact, you might be screaming for some sun.

Colorado is truly a land of contrasts. But, for the lower foothills and plains, bring your own shade!

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Old 05-17-13, 09:27 PM   #18
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Nice post DnvrFox, enjoyed the pics thanks for sharing them!
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Old 05-17-13, 09:32 PM   #19
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Nice post DnvrFox, enjoyed the pics thanks for sharing them!
Thank you. That is most kind.
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Old 05-17-13, 09:37 PM   #20
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Looks like great riding. How many months of the year is the trail open?
To my kknowledge it is open all year around, although you may want to hike when it snows. Many years ago, I ran the entire route - 13 miles.
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Old 05-17-13, 09:40 PM   #21
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Here is a link to another Waterton Canyon post I made years ago - just scroll down 1/2 page.

http://ourwebs.info/fambicy.htm
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Old 05-17-13, 10:00 PM   #22
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Dnvr,
Reminds me of the wonderful camping days of my youth! We (the family) would always camp in 'primitive' National Forest campgrounds. $1/day with the Golden Eagle season pass. Six of us in a tent. In '71 we spent three weeks just in Colorado alone - and most of that above 8,000' elevation. Taylor Reservoir was nice, as was Grand Mesa. I remember our car having a hard time with the thin air at Cottonwood Pass - 12,126 foot elevation.
We love Cottonwood Pass.

My brother-in-law is the Sheriff of Chaffee County, which includes the east side of Cottonwood Pass.
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