Originally Posted by aecoocea
Thanks for the advice, but after much map staring, I couldn't find any friendly routes through the desert, most of them have those dreaded 70~mile stretches with nothing in between. I've decided to head north, which I'm actually really excited about, I've barely seen any of Norcal and I'm a nature fanatic. I'm in Riverside tonight, coming from Orange, and tomorrow I'll head into the hills directly North of me for some camping. Sweet riding!
Nice choice, that desert looks brutal. A route you could take from the north if you wanted to avoid Wyoming is coming into Colorado via highway 40. There's BLM land all over the place out there by the Utah border, in most cases you could just pull off the highway onto a dirt road and sleep. Here's a pic 3 miles into Utah along highway 40 of a campsite I had once...
If you were coming from Salt Lake City, you could get over to Park City or Heber fairly easily and get onto highway 40. There is a medium climb that tops out at around 8,000 ft called Daniel's Pass south of Heber. Then the road is flat and rolling all the way into Colorado. Just keep following highway 40, which will take you through Craig and Steamboat Springs. You'll encounter another medium climb that tops out at about 9600 ft called Rabbit Ears Pass just after Steamboat. There is national forest land all over the place up there on the pass where you can freely camp. Highway 40 will take you down into Granby, where you can either take a left on highway 34 (the famous Trail Ridge Road) for a spectacular ride, though it does go over 12,000 ft. Or you can keep following highway 40 and go into Winter Park and over Berthoud Pass, which tops at around 11,300 ft and has an amazing shoulder. I would recommend taking Berthoud, as Trail Ridge Road can be very crowded with no room to ride during the summer.
After Berthoud Pass, you can just follow frontage roads all along interstate 70, taking you into Golden. At Golden you can ride 20 or so miles north into Boulder. Hope you get this message in due course, and happy riding!