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Looking for GDMBR Section 3 Colorado advice/tips

Old 12-07-15, 01:37 PM
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Looking for GDMBR Section 3 Colorado advice/tips

I'm thinking about a 4-5 day venture on the GDMBR in Colorado and southern Wyoming next summer. I have the ACA map for that section which is very helpful and it also recommends getting BLM maps for the route - is that necessary?

Anyway the tentative plan is to start and end in Steamboat Springs. I was thinking of riding north to Steamboat Lake SP then west on the GDMBR route towards Slater and camping somewhere before Slater. Then ride the route to north of Aspen Alley in Wyoming and camping. The return would be taking the ACA alternate route back to Steamboat Lake SP. Once back to Steamboat Springs I was thinking riding south out and back to Stagecoach SP.

I'm familiar with road touring and have done some gravel riding on trails in Idaho but this will be my first attempt at full mountain bike touring in a more remote area. My son and I will be on older non-suspension mountain bikes with front and rear racks/panniers.

Questions beside the BLM map recommendation:

1. Best time of year to do this section? We are thinking of mid August and plan to bring rain and some cold weather gear.

2. I'm assuming there should be ample water supplies on the route provided we have a filter. Other than towns are there any notable sources for potable water on the route? I'm not sure if the ACA map indicators for water are for potable or just a source for filtering.

3. Are there any special sights we would be missing by doing this route rather than more south of Stagecoach SP?

4. Any highlights not to miss or recommended short side trips for our general route?

5. We will plan on hanging our food but are bear boxes ever found in any of the campsites in that area?

6. Like the state parks in my area do the Colorado state parks guarantee a camping spot if you arrive by bike?

Thanks in advance for any advice for this section.....
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Old 12-07-15, 02:22 PM
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I don't think that stagecoach is a very interesting destination. It's a big reservoir surrounded by sage brush. The main (only?) reason to go there is water sports.
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Old 12-07-15, 02:56 PM
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the only one I can weigh in on is #6 -- Colorado is pretty good about reservations in the State Parks: Campground Details - Steamboat Lake State Park, CO - ReserveAmerica

and agreed, mid-August is great time to do it.
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Old 12-07-15, 03:24 PM
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Originally Posted by mje
I don't think that stagecoach is a very interesting destination. It's a big reservoir surrounded by sage brush. The main (only?) reason to go there is water sports.
Thanks mje - Good to know. How about the route down there. It appears to parallel the Yampa river for a while. Scenic enough to warrant the ride?
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Old 12-07-15, 03:45 PM
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Stagecoach Lake is south of Steamboat Spgs and is a jet ski haven.
Steamboat Lake is north of town near the community of Hahns Peak.
Different places.

Whatever your plans - get a plastic laminate map of Routt National Forest.
It will be an invaluable resource. You can view it online here:

Routt National Forest - Paper Maps Online

But remember, electronic access will be limited. Very limited.
Have you considered a loop via Steamboat Lake - mostly paved the first day -
Then Hogs Park just across the border - continuing on to Walden in North Park -
Then back across the Park Range to Steamboat via Buffalo Pass?

None of those roads is that difficult on a mountain bike -
Perhaps a few steep sections - sometimes sandy or rocky - varies year to year.
Downhill can be trickier than up - just keep your speed under control.

You can random camp on national forest or BLM anywhere for free.
Maybe having the park the first night will be reassuring -
But campsites will really be no problem.
Bring a plastic trowel - hang your food.
(Raccoons are probably more of a problem than bears.)
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Old 12-07-15, 05:41 PM
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Originally Posted by badger_biker
Thanks mje - Good to know. How about the route down there. It appears to parallel the Yampa river for a while. Scenic enough to warrant the ride?
The trip back to Steamboat is scenic. There are some nice vistas of ranches in the valley with the mountains in the background. You don't have to go all the way to stagecoach to get those views. I think you are better off spending your time in the national forest instead.
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Old 12-07-15, 08:34 PM
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Thanks for the info @jamawani. I'll check into getting the map. The ACA map is pretty detailed but it would be nice to have a map of the areas off the route. Do you have a rough guess on the distance for the route you suggested?
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Old 12-07-15, 10:27 PM
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About 150 miles - 1/3 pavement.
Big Creek Lakes are just southeast of Hog Park and right on the Zirkel Wilderness.
If you could take two days to ride here then two to get back -
it would be an incredible place to day a day off for hiking.

The east side of the Park Range has great lakes and trails to the ridgeline.
There are flattops on the continental divide with sheer cliffs facing east.
If you want to work your way along the eastern boundary of Routt N.F.
You can skip heading into the little town of Walden.

I have biked and hiked both sides of the Park Range.
The east side is more rugged with expansive views.
The west side is more thickly forested and is also busier.

I can give you a more detailed route if you are interested.
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