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  1. #1
    Beer >> Sanity bikerjp's Avatar
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    Trail Ridge Road - Parking and Good Starting Point

    I'm planning to do TRR in the next week or two and I'm wondering what's the best parking/starting point. I was thinking of parking at the visitor's center near the Beaver Meadows entrance but based on the few routes I've looked at it seems most people start near Fall River Entrance. Not sure where you can park over there.

    Also thinking of going down the Grand Lake side then back. Estimating this would be around 80 miles depending on where you start and turn around. Anyone ride this and have a route profile they can share? Thanks.
    Climbs like a stone, descends like two...

  2. #2
    impressive member badhat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikerjp View Post
    I'm planning to do TRR in the next week or two and I'm wondering what's the best parking/starting point. I was thinking of parking at the visitor's center near the Beaver Meadows entrance but based on the few routes I've looked at it seems most people start near Fall River Entrance. Not sure where you can park over there.

    Also thinking of going down the Grand Lake side then back. Estimating this would be around 80 miles depending on where you start and turn around. Anyone ride this and have a route profile they can share? Thanks.
    start in fort collins like i do!


    seriously though if that doesnt work for you, just start at the trailhead restaurant and gift shop parking lot:

    http://goo.gl/maps/s95Wa
    Your Group Ride:Your guide to getting dropped in Northern Colorado

  3. #3
    impressive member badhat's Avatar
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    i've done TRR from both sides, Grandlake is definitely easier and mellower, though neither is what i'd call really strenuous. thyre high volume park roads so the grades are limited to 6% tops, and mostly mellower than that. your biggest threat is weather. i'd probably been turned back by flash thunderstorms or hail or 40mph winds more often than i've actually summitted. heres a profile from MMR

    http://www.mapmyride.com/routes/view/239809309
    Your Group Ride:Your guide to getting dropped in Northern Colorado

  4. #4
    Senior Member Shimagnolo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by badhat View Post
    your biggest threat is weather. i'd probably been turned back by flash thunderstorms or hail or 40mph winds more often than i've actually summitted.
    Last week I was talking to a girl who had done it. She said the winds were so bad that her arms were as tired from fighting the winds, as her legs were from pedaling.

  5. #5
    Beer >> Sanity bikerjp's Avatar
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    Thanks. Looks like Fall River is the place to start. So the restaurant is okay with people just parking there for a while or is it public parking? I'd consider doing it from FC but not the first time. That would put it well over 100 miles and I'm not ready for that yet. Of course I could just go to the top. Might try that after I do TRR once just to see what it's like.

    When you go from FC do you go through Masonville and along Rd29 by the reservoir and across the bridge over the Big Thompson? If so, have you taken the dirt road that is off to the right after you cross the bridge? Looks like it would take you to hwy 34. Would prefer to spend as little time as possible on 34.

    Apparently I cannot view the route because I'm not a friend.

    Quote Originally Posted by Shimagnolo View Post
    Last week I was talking to a girl who had done it. She said the winds were so bad that her arms were as tired from fighting the winds, as her legs were from pedaling.
    I can't recall the last time I rode without wind. Though usually not 40mph.
    Climbs like a stone, descends like two...

  6. #6
    impressive member badhat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikerjp View Post
    Thanks. Looks like Fall River is the place to start. So the restaurant is okay with people just parking there for a while or is it public parking? I'd consider doing it from FC but not the first time. That would put it well over 100 miles and I'm not ready for that yet. Of course I could just go to the top. Might try that after I do TRR once just to see what it's like.

    When you go from FC do you go through Masonville and along Rd29 by the reservoir and across the bridge over the Big Thompson? If so, have you taken the dirt road that is off to the right after you cross the bridge? Looks like it would take you to hwy 34. Would prefer to spend as little time as possible on 34.

    .
    changed it to public.

    so i ride up towards estes from FC really regularly and almost always go via masonville, .

    and yes, definetely take the dirt road past sylvan dale guest ranch versus getting on 34 earlier. really hate that stretch of 34.

    at drake, half way between the dam store and estes, you can get off 34 and take 43/Devils Gulch, which is much more scenic and remote than 34, and allows you to more or less circumvent downtown estes (though you'll have to climb Devils Gulch Swithbacks, which are pretty formidable and will be the final KOM of this year's USA Pro Cycling Challenge on Aug 24.
    Your Group Ride:Your guide to getting dropped in Northern Colorado

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    Pro tip: if you stop at the store in Glenhaven to get the Cinnamon Roll (which I think is gross but a lot of people like), do NOT consume the entire thing before riding up the switchbacks.

    JP, for your first time, probably start in Estes Park to give yourself a better shot at getting up & down before the weather comes in. The times I've started in E.P. I have parked at Safeway, you could also park at the visitor center in town. Pay attention to the weather and if it's iffy, consider not going down the west side - the weather up there can be serious, you are above tree line for a long long time.
    ...

  8. #8
    Beer >> Sanity bikerjp's Avatar
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    Thanks for the info. Hoping to find a day next week with a good weather outlook.
    Climbs like a stone, descends like two...

  9. #9
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    Park at the Fall River visitor center. Leave REAL early-avoid paying park entrance fee AND (hopefully) weather. Absolutely go up Fall River Road (dirt) to top - its amazingly quiet beautiful and dirt is fine for road bike. If weather good-definitely go to (at least) west entrance to park (there is water there for refill)
    On return, go down TRR-maybe the best descent in state!

  10. #10
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    I've heard stories both ways about FRR. Don't do it on a road bike and doable by road bike. If you take the road, check for construction if coming from EP side. My last attempt a couple of years ago I had to bail. They were grinding up the road in preparation for paving later. And go as early as possible. Traffic gets really bad during the day. You might think about just doing an up and back ride and leave later in the afternoon. I don't know how fast you are or how quickly you can make it to the top but, traffic was way way down and there was more wildlife along the sides of the road later on. I've left from the Park visitor's center from EP side and from Grand Lake on the West side. Just parked on the street.

  11. #11
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    Paving is complete on Trail Ridge Road, the new pavement is really good.

    Later start is likely a bad idea, because of the very high probability of thunderstorms, you want to be done and off the top by about 1:00 pm. We're in a monsoon pattern right now.

    I've driven Fall River Road, and talked to people who have ridden it on a road bike, and also heard both that it is OK on a road bike and that isn't ... which leads me to think that it is ok if you have good dirt-roadbiking skills, otherwise use fatter tires and lower gears.
    ...

  12. #12
    impressive member badhat's Avatar
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    of course my goofball friends do a full moon FRR ride every summer

    i've never ridden FRR though it seems like itd be fun.
    Your Group Ride:Your guide to getting dropped in Northern Colorado

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