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Old 09-13-11, 10:45 AM   #1
gbiker
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Toughest Road Climbs in Colorado?

Toughest I've done so far:

Golden Gate Canyon
Cottonwood Pass from BV
Evans from Echo Lake

I'm hoping to do Grand Mesa's north side and maybe Trail Ridge Road soon. Slumgullion Pass out of Lake City looks pretty steep. I may also try Magnolia Road. Any others?
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Old 09-13-11, 10:53 AM   #2
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I've done Grand Mesa (north) and Slumgullion from Lake City. I think GM is a bit tougher than Slumgullion.

I've done Red Mtn Pass on a loaded touring bike.

Not a pass, but Little Park Road in Grand Junction is a nice little 12 mile stairstep climb.

I'd like to ride Douglas Pass sometime.
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Old 09-13-11, 11:04 AM   #3
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Looks like East Portal Road in Black Canyon climbs about 2000' with 16% grades, in about 5 miles.
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Old 09-13-11, 11:08 AM   #4
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...
Evans from Echo Lake
...
I may also try Magnolia Road. Any others?
Evan from Echo Lake? You skipped the pleasant part of the climb. Idaho Springs to Echo Lake actually has decent pavement, and is my favorite descent!

Magnolia Rd and Evans are just the opposite; Magnolia kills you with steepness, while Evans kills you with thin air. Sugarloaf runs parallel to Magnolia and I hear it is quite similar, but I haven't done it yet.

For short/steep climbs, Flagstaff Mt is good. The climb really starts at Baseline & Broadway.

Lookout Mt is similar to Flagstaff in that it is scenic and overlooks a city, but it doesn't have the steep sections that Flagstaff has. But the descent is nicer in that you don't have the *blind* hairpin turns of Flagstaff.
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Old 09-13-11, 11:41 AM   #5
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Yeah, maybe Evans from Idaho Springs or Bergen Park next year. I didn't feel up to that much more climbing, and wasn't keen on the traffic. I didn't find Evans from Echo Lake that hard, and didn't notice the thinner air at all. All the cracks, potholes, and cars were annoying though, and dangerous next to shoulder-less and guardrail-less steep dropoffs. But definitely one of my favorite rides -- nice views and camaraderie amongst bicyclists and even incredulous tourists.
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Old 09-13-11, 11:52 AM   #6
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I haven't done Bergen Park <-> Echo Lake for a few years. Last I knew the pavement was REALLY bad, but some wonderful person had spray-painted an orange perimeter on every pothole, so you could avoid them even at 45mph.
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Old 09-13-11, 03:22 PM   #7
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I heard they fixed the worst bits of pavement on 103. Haven't been on it since June-ish, though.

Steep
Magnolia - uh yeah. that is steep.
Sugarloaf is probably steep, but I've only descended it so it's hard to say
Flagstaff (all the way, don't stop at the amphiteather, you're just getting started)
Rist Canyon
James Canyon (past Jamestown)
Brook Forest Rd.
There are lots of steep little roads on either side of Hwy 285 and in the Evergreen area. Good fun.

Long
Grand Mesa
Vail Pass from Vail
Cottonwood from BV

High
Mt Evans
Trail Ridge Road
Independence Pass
Cottonwood Pass

Slumgullion is pretty steep for a highway, but it's only about 9% and if you do it from Lake City it's not that long. It's very nice. I also really like Wolf Creek Pass, though it gets little airplay - it's only sort of long and sort of high, and it's not steep. Really good scenery, though.
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Old 09-13-11, 04:52 PM   #8
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There are lots of steep little roads on either side of Hwy 285 and in the Evergreen area. Good fun.
Yeah. I've heard High Dr. is steep -- a good short ride seems like that on up Bear Mtn. I've also done Mt. Lindo and Kerr Gulch -- nice short climbs as well. I've seen many bicyclists on 285 up past Hwy 8 as well.
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Old 09-13-11, 05:01 PM   #9
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Parmalee Gulch, High Drive, Turkey Creek, Brook Forest, City View, Oehlemann (sp?)... None of these all by themselves are "toughest ride in CO" but if you string them together right you can get in a workout.

The Deer Creek Challenge and Healing Wheels centuries this year used those roads, maybe the routes are still up on their web sites. I don't really know my way around there, I did those events though, and I'm psyched to go ride more there.
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Old 09-13-11, 05:07 PM   #10
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Yeah, Deer Creek Canyon then up City View is a nice climb -- 33 miles and 4200'. I did that. The 66-70 mile course adds Shadow Mountain.
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Old 09-13-11, 06:39 PM   #11
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Independence pass from twin lakes isn't that difficult IMHO. Very very very pretty though.
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Old 09-14-11, 10:58 AM   #12
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Yeah, maybe Evans from Idaho Springs or Bergen Park next year. I didn't feel up to that much more climbing, and wasn't keen on the traffic. I didn't find Evans from Echo Lake that hard, and didn't notice the thinner air at all. All the cracks, potholes, and cars were annoying though, and dangerous next to shoulder-less and guardrail-less steep dropoffs. But definitely one of my favorite rides -- nice views and camaraderie amongst bicyclists and even incredulous tourists.
They make it difficult to enjoy, IMHO.
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Old 09-15-11, 12:02 PM   #13
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Lots of great tough climbs here in Colorado. The steepest I've done is Dory Hill out of Blackhawk - and YES it is legal and I've never been hassled. That's a solid three miles of 10% average. Then when you get back to Hwy 46 (GGCanyon) turn right and descend 3+ miles to Mountain Base. Left and you get 3 miles of climbing, of which over a mile averages 12% +. Parts of it show up as 18-19% on my garmin.
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Old 09-15-11, 12:03 PM   #14
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Trail Ridge is not difficult at all, unless you hump it from fort Collins like some of the posters here have done. But TRR itself is a very gradual climb. The views and the flaming descent into Grand Lake are what make it worth doing IMO.
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Old 09-15-11, 12:39 PM   #15
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Slumgullion is pretty steep for a highway, but it's only about 9% and if you do it from Lake City it's not that long.
Slum' was a tough little ascent out of Lake City. I really remember the descent off the other side though: miles and miles of road with transverse cracks. Kachunk kachunk kachunk for a long time.
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Old 09-15-11, 12:43 PM   #16
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Independence pass from twin lakes isn't that difficult IMHO. Very very very pretty though.
Last month for the UPCC we camped 2 miles below the summit on the south side of the pass. We rode our bikes downhill to the river valley and then turned around and climbed the 3-4 miles up to the Pass. Not a bad climb at all. Yes, very pretty.
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Old 09-24-11, 11:51 AM   #17
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Last month for the UPCC we camped 2 miles below the summit on the south side of the pass. We rode our bikes downhill to the river valley and then turned around and climbed the 3-4 miles up to the Pass. Not a bad climb at all. Yes, very pretty.
We camped about 3/4 of a mile from the valley floor after the first hairpin and beginning of the climb. You probably rode right past us.
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Old 09-27-11, 06:18 PM   #18
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Threads like this are fun as are books like "Climb by Bike etc.

Having lived full time and part time in CO for a long time, I have ridden most of the passes but not all the climbs. I've missed a bunch on the east side of the Front Range.

Not being a skinny type, steep trumps long or altitude for me So I suppose some combo of long and steep would be my hardest. East Portal is pretty hard but.....

Pikes Peak Hill Climb.... #1.

Yep, I know, there are a couple miles of dirt left but it is a road climb once a year anyway.

Except for small climbs.....Easiest..... Mt. Evans from Bergan or Idy Spgs.
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Old 10-05-11, 01:50 PM   #19
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The paving of Pikes Peak is finsihed to the top now.
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Old 10-05-11, 02:02 PM   #20
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Ah. Wonder if they'll allow bicycles now...

http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_19016252
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Old 10-07-11, 11:02 PM   #21
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Ah. Wonder if they'll allow bicycles now...

http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_19016252
This year was the 2nd Annual Assault on Pikes Peak.

http://www.ridepikespeak.com/Assault_2011.1/Home.html

Outside of that, it has been poached.
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Old 10-27-11, 09:56 PM   #22
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Great thread with lots of lesser known names on here, esp. for someone like me from Florida----

IMO

Of the climbs of intermediate length--defined as 8-12 miles I offer up Wolf Creek Pass on the west side out of Pagosa Springs. A long time since I did it but I believe it registered slightly north of 7% average gradient---which for CO on climbs of that length is pretty steep.

Don't know if it still partially paved or if they have paved it all the way up yet or not but Guanella Pass coming up from Georgetown had heft to it.


Scenery wise---Red Mountain was right up there-----easier to blast downhill from the top towards Ouray as you are on the inside and away from the sheer dropoffs into the canyon far below---makes for awesome pictures though---I especially like the tombstone about 3/4's of the way up for the snowplow drivers that have lost their lives for CDOT---adds a definite eeriness to the whole thing!!!


Mt. Evans-----where else in the States can you get 7000ft of uninterrupted climbing and peak out at the highest paved elevation on a bike in the lower 48 states---nowhere!!
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Old 11-07-11, 03:05 PM   #23
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yeah anyone who doesnt think evans is hard should just ride harder.

its peerlessly relentless.
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Old 11-08-11, 03:37 PM   #24
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Nothing quite like riding up Evans at max effort.
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Old 11-09-11, 10:07 PM   #25
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Steep
James Canyon (past Jamestown)
almost no traffic up there = win
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