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  1. #1
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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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  2. #2
    The Rock Cycle eofelis's Avatar
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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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  3. #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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  4. #4
    Senior Member Shimagnolo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gbiker View Post
    ...
    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.

  5. #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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  6. #6
    Senior Member Shimagnolo's Avatar
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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.

  7. #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.
    ...

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by valygrl View Post
    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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  9. #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.
    ...

  10. #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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  11. #11
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    Independence pass from twin lakes isn't that difficult IMHO. Very very very pretty though.

  12. #12
    Senior Member joshpants's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gbiker View Post
    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.

  13. #13
    Gilpin County Wheelman SKYLAB's Avatar
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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.
    And you know that notion just crossed my mind.

  14. #14
    Gilpin County Wheelman SKYLAB's Avatar
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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.
    And you know that notion just crossed my mind.

  15. #15
    The Rock Cycle eofelis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by valygrl View Post
    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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  16. #16
    The Rock Cycle eofelis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DataJunkie View Post
    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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  17. #17
    Aluminum Convert jbman100's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eofelis View Post
    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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  18. #18
    Senior Member Sagebum's Avatar
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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.

  19. #19
    Senior Member Sagebum's Avatar
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    The paving of Pikes Peak is finsihed to the top now.

  20. #20
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    Ah. Wonder if they'll allow bicycles now...

    http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_19016252
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  21. #21
    Senior Member Sagebum's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gbiker View Post
    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.

  22. #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!!

  23. #23
    impressive member badhat's Avatar
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    yeah anyone who doesnt think evans is hard should just ride harder.

    its peerlessly relentless.
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  24. #24
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    Nothing quite like riding up Evans at max effort.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by valygrl View Post
    Steep
    James Canyon (past Jamestown)
    almost no traffic up there = win
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