Originally Posted by gorshkov
Thanks for all the feedback. It looks like I will be riding on 64 (mostly). Jamawami, the route through NM sounds fun, but it looks like getting down to Raton from US-160 (the current plan is to take the Western Express, but to drop down to Wolf Creek Pass instead of Monarch Pass) would require riding on I-25 from Trinidad to Raton. Are bicycles allowed on that stretch of interstate?
Are you riding the Western Express from Delores, Colorado?
If so you have a number of options which avoid I-25.
1) You can ride the Western Express to Gunnison -
Then take CO 114 to Saguache
Then take county paved roads over to Great Sand Dunes -
Then take CO 150 to US 160 -
At La Veta take the CO 12 loop to Trinidad
Then take US 160 about 30 miles to CO 389/NM 551.
(The stretch east of Trinidad is VERY remote.)
2) Or you can take the Western Express to Cotopaxi -
Then take the paved county road to Hillside
Then take CO 69 to Walsenburg
Then backtrack west on US 160 a few miles to La Veta
Follow above from La Veta
(There's a wonderful old railroad grade trail from Sargents to Poncha Creek.)
3) Of if you are really daring you can cross Cinnamon Pass
From Ridgway head south on US 550 to Silverton
Take dirt road over Cinnamon Pass to Lake City
Then take CO 149 over Slumgullion Pass to US 160 at South Fork
From Del North, I would tkae county roads over to Great Sand Dunes
Follow #1 from GSD.
4) A fourth option is to head down to Taos, NM.
From Pagosa Springs on US 160 you can take US 84 and US 64.
From Monte Vista you can take CO 15* to La Jara and US 285 to US 64.
Both have you cross the High Bridge over the Rio Grande Gorge.
Then US 64 is a pleasant crossing over the Sangre de Cristo Mtns.
(Moderate to light traffic, but no shoulders)
You have to ride on I-25 for 5 miles into Raton.
BTW - It is legal to ride on interstates in most of the West.
I've ridden US 160 in Colorado many times.
It has two parts - Mountains=Busy; Plains=Empty.
The mountain part keeps getting busier -
with great shoulders in some parts and none in others.
Still, Mesa Verde, Durango, and Pagosa Springs are all quite nice.
Wolf Creek Summit has been rebuilt.
I use it only when I have to.
If you decide to do Cinnamon Pass
Remember that is stays snowed in late and the snow comes early.
If you have the capability to do this dirt section - it is awesome.
You will huff and puff in the high altitude - probably stop often.
(But that's OK - remember to check your brakes coming down.)
The road west of Lake City has some of the finest mountain scenery and camping in Colorado.
If I wanted to do all pavement -
I would choose #1.