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  1. #1
    Senior Member DoubleTap's Avatar
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    CO-3 Day Tour from Denver

    I'm thinking of starting my touring experience with a 3 day (Fri-Sun) self supported tour from the Denver area to somewhere in the mountains. I've done a bit of planning for this, but I'm wondering if anybody has done something like this and give me any ideas for a route and destination.

    Ideally, I'd send my wife ahead to the destination and she could enjoy herself there for a couple days while I ride to meet her, and then we'd drive home together.

  2. #2
    Senior Member boulder74's Avatar
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    I've been looking at doing one myself. I live near Morrison and was thinking: Morrison to Evergreen, Hwy 103 to Idaho Spgs, Hwy 40 to Winter Park-Granby-Grand Lake, then Trail Ridge Rd to Estes, back through Allenspark, Nederland and Golden Gate Canyon to Golden, then back to Morrison. I'm planning on going in July as there's 3 mountain passes and I'd like them to be free on snow and ice :-)

    Edited: try this link to see the route:

    http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&sour...6,4.221497&z=9
    Last edited by boulder74; 01-24-11 at 07:49 AM. Reason: embedding link did not work

  3. #3
    Senior Member DoubleTap's Avatar
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    I like that route, although it's more than I could do in 3 days. How long are you planning to ride, and where do you plan to camp? Also, is the whole route paved, or is some of Trail Ridge Road gravel?

    Thanks for responding and sharing the idea, it's definitely one I'll add to my list for consideration.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Shimagnolo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by boulder74 View Post
    Edited: try this link to see the route:

    http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&sour...6,4.221497&z=9
    I've done the Eastern half of the loop, (in multiple rides), but only driven the Western half, (Idaho Springs to Estes Park).
    Looks like a great ride, but I wouldn't claim to be able to do that in three days.

  5. #5
    Senior Member boulder74's Avatar
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    I'm not planning to do it in 3 days...likely 4-5. That said, I thought that you may be interested in joining me for part of it and having your wife meet you as you had planned maybe in Estes or Grand Lake. To my knowledge, Trail Ridge is paved the whole way, I read an older guide (late 1990's) and it said that it's paved. I haven't driven it in years but remember it being paved as well. I have not yet mapped out camping spots. I'm still in the formative stages of it. I haven't set the direction in stone; as it's a loop, I could go either way.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Shimagnolo's Avatar
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    Trail Ridge Rd is fully paved.
    I last drove it in 2009.
    Old Fall River Rd parallells part of it, and is unpaved, if you need more adventure.

  7. #7
    Senior Member DoubleTap's Avatar
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    boulder74, I'd love to go along if I can make the schedule work. I'll send a PM, and let's stay in touch for planning. Thanks for the invitation. That'd be great to not have to do it alone.

  8. #8
    Senior Member boulder74's Avatar
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    Double Tap, got your PM, tried to reply and have to have 50 posts to do so...at 23 now. I'll get back to you in a few days after I've posted up :-)

    All sounds good though...most of my biddies think I'm nuts for doing a long ride over passes etc, they'd rather hike a 14er or paddle Clear Creek...or drink beer and avoid all of the above

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    Great route you guys. 4 or 5 days is perfect. Trail Ridge was freshly re-paved last year. Fall River Road is not paved, and is one-way uphill on the east side. I drove up it last fall and I'm desperate to ride my bike up it!!! Probably not my fully-loaded tour bike, though.

    You can also easily cut out Juniper/Squaw pass by riding that segment between Denver and Idaho Springs up the I-70 corridor on Hwy 40 & assorted frontage roads.

    Just be aware (you probably are) that it's a LOT of climbing, so be really careful about keeping the gear weight down.

    Also, July is prime thunderstorm time, August would be even better if you can stand to wait for it.

    I think it breaks out best if you go clockwise
    1) Denver - Empire
    2) camp in RMNP just north of Granby
    3) Estes or Allenspark
    4) Somewhere on the Peak to Peak or Golden Gate park
    5) Denver

    I'm thinking if you go the other way, that last day is going to be really hard and you'll have to do Berthoud Pass late in the day (t-storms) and then there won't be a resupply, so you'll have to carry dinner over the pass (the camping in Empire is north of town). I think you could make it work counter clockwise, but you would have to work harder on the logistics, clockwise just sorts itself out naturally.

    One other thing, if you can work it out at all, it would be really nice to ride Trail Ridge on a weekday, weekends have a lot of traffic.

    (um, can I go too??)
    ...

  10. #10
    Senior Member boulder74's Avatar
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    Valygrl, You can be our guide :-)

    Thanks for the advice, I haven't ironed a date out yet but I do a fair amount of 14er in late June/Early July and haven't had too many t-storm issues. Of course, we're down by 12-2pm so.....

    The Fall River Road section is less than a mile if I remember correctly and didn't think it'd be a big deal unless you're on racing slicks.

    off to work....

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    not guide, but may consider tagging along if the stars align, your route is inspiring!

    Fall River Road is quite a bit more than a mile and fairly steep, but totally rideable.
    ...

  12. #12
    Senior Member Shimagnolo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by boulder74 View Post
    The Fall River Road section is less than a mile if I remember correctly and didn't think it'd be a big deal unless you're on racing slicks.
    Per Google Maps, Old Fall River Road is 10.6 miles.

  13. #13
    Senior Member boulder74's Avatar
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    I was looking at riding Trail Ridge Rd rather than Old Fall River Rd. I was thinking about the section that parallels Stanley Rd. between Idaho Spgs and Empire.

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    I recently heard that BTC is doing Trail Ridge this year. For those who want to do this with an organized ride.

  15. #15
    Senior Member boulder74's Avatar
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    Btc?

  16. #16
    Senior Member Shimagnolo's Avatar
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  17. #17
    Senior Member boulder74's Avatar
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    ahhh....thanks!

  18. #18
    Senior Member DoubleTap's Avatar
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    Got my touring tent yesterday, a MSR Hubba Hubba, 2 person backpacking tent. It's under 6 pounds with the footprint and very easy to set up. Sleeping pad and bag are next, but I'm watching for sales. The tent was on sale at REI for about half price. I'm trying to stay sane during all this snow, so I'm buying gear and planning.

  19. #19
    Senior Member boulder74's Avatar
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    I hit the Coleman outlet at Castle Rock and grabbed a tent (2lbs) They had some sleeping bags but I had hit my limit on dropping $$$ that day. I've been on the trainer...rode one day when it was supposed to be 45 out but was really about 35...a little too cold for what I was wearing. Stay sane :-)

  20. #20
    Senior Member mikeybikes's Avatar
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    Neat route. I'm looking more for a three day route for this coming summer. Since I just started working at this place, getting days off is a little tough as I have to work with everyone else's schedules.
    My Bikes: 2009 Breezer Uptown EX | 1980 Miyata Six Ten | 1970 Hercules Three-Two-Speed
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  21. #21
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DoubleTap View Post
    I like that route, although it's more than I could do in 3 days. How long are you planning to ride, and where do you plan to camp? Also, is the whole route paved, or is some of Trail Ridge Road gravel?

    Thanks for responding and sharing the idea, it's definitely one I'll add to my list for consideration.
    Try looking at the route counter clockwise. Or you could start in Denver, ride to Lyons and Estes Park, then over Trail Ridge and end in Winter Park. Alternatively, you could start in Lyons...it's not really cheating if you want to avoid the urban riding...and follow this route to Dillon. It's only 128 miles but those are not easy miles...doable but not easy.
    Stuart Black
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  22. #22
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikeybikes View Post
    Neat route. I'm looking more for a three day route for this coming summer. Since I just started working at this place, getting days off is a little tough as I have to work with everyone else's schedules.
    How far do you want to go? Here's a route that could be done in 3 days...hard ones but it could be done in 3 days.

    Here's a stunning route for part mountain bike/part road. Here's some highlights

    Apishapa Arch, a WPA project that tunnels through a lava dike.



    West Spanish Peak from Cordoba Pass



    La Veta Valley from Cordoba Pass. Those fins you see in the valley are lava intrusions



    Spanish Peaks Wilderness area. No bikes!



    The La Veta Valley



    The Great Wall



    The route would be about 40% unpaved. A mountain bike would be best.
    Last edited by cyccommute; 02-15-11 at 09:51 AM.
    Stuart Black
    Solo Without Pie. The search for pie in the Midwest.
    Picking the Scablands. Washington and Oregon, 2005. Pie and spiders on the Columbia River!
    Days of Wineless Roads. Bed and Breakfasting along the KATY
    Twisting Down the Alley. Misadventures in tornado alley.
    An Good Ol' Fashion Appalachian Butt Whoopin'.

  23. #23
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    If you don't mind a lot of dirt (probably best with a mountain bike), this route would cover the Front Range nicely without too much traffic.

    If you don't mind driving a little way...it takes care of a lot of traffic...this route from Frisco to Aspen to Glenwood to Fisco would be a great ride. If you don't want to do 220 miles, DoubleTap, you could meet your wife in Glenwood Springs. Or you could go this route and avoid Independence Pass by stopping in Aspen.

    Or start in Glenwood and ride to Alamosa. You can stop at the Alligator farm in Mosca and/or ride the train out of Alamosa over to La Veta. It's a beautiful trip on the train.
    Last edited by cyccommute; 02-14-11 at 05:05 PM.
    Stuart Black
    Solo Without Pie. The search for pie in the Midwest.
    Picking the Scablands. Washington and Oregon, 2005. Pie and spiders on the Columbia River!
    Days of Wineless Roads. Bed and Breakfasting along the KATY
    Twisting Down the Alley. Misadventures in tornado alley.
    An Good Ol' Fashion Appalachian Butt Whoopin'.

  24. #24
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    cyccommute, your ideas are fantastic. at the top of your post #22, both links point to the lyons route, would you fix it so we can see the dirt route?
    ...

  25. #25
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by valygrl View Post
    cyccommute, your ideas are fantastic. at the top of your post #22, both links point to the lyons route, would you fix it so we can see the dirt route?
    D'oh! I fixed it. You could also do a mostly paved route if you ride out of Trinidad on CO12. It would be as spectacular but a bit busier.

    Here's a couple of extensions to the La Veta route. 120 miles to Westcliffe and, if you are feeling ambitious, a route over to the San Luis Valley and back.. The San Luis Valley route would have a lot of stuff to see along the way. There's Colorado Gators in Hooper, you can stay the night in Villa Grove at the Merchantile or visit Crestone (a bit to the east of the highway), stop a the Sand Dunes and visit Fort Garland. Perhaps you could convince the Colorado Rio Grande Scenic Railroad to carry your bike over to La Veta to see part of the Sangre de Cristos that you don't normally see from the road.
    Last edited by cyccommute; 02-15-11 at 10:16 AM.
    Stuart Black
    Solo Without Pie. The search for pie in the Midwest.
    Picking the Scablands. Washington and Oregon, 2005. Pie and spiders on the Columbia River!
    Days of Wineless Roads. Bed and Breakfasting along the KATY
    Twisting Down the Alley. Misadventures in tornado alley.
    An Good Ol' Fashion Appalachian Butt Whoopin'.

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