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Denver detour on the Transam

Old 07-02-13, 06:57 PM
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eappleton
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Denver detour on the Transam

Hi all,

My wife and I are riding west using pieces of the Transam. We're riding the Kary Trail in Missouri right now. This forum has been great in helping us piece together routes. We are taking the Transam across Kansas to Pueblo, CO. At that point, we plan to ride up to Denver/Boulder/Ft Collins and reconnect with the Transam afterwards.

So, I'm looking for a route from Pueblo to Denver (very busy corridor) and then from the Denver area to Walden, CO or somewhere farther along the route (also challenging because of the mountains).

Thanks in advance for your help,
Eric
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Old 07-03-13, 06:25 PM
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Originally Posted by eappleton View Post
Hi all,

My wife and I are riding west using pieces of the Transam. We're riding the Kary Trail in Missouri right now. This forum has been great in helping us piece together routes. We are taking the Transam across Kansas to Pueblo, CO. At that point, we plan to ride up to Denver/Boulder/Ft Collins and reconnect with the Transam afterwards.

So, I'm looking for a route from Pueblo to Denver (very busy corridor) and then from the Denver area to Walden, CO or somewhere farther along the route (also challenging because of the mountains).

Thanks in advance for your help,
Eric
It's a busy corridor but it has lots of alternative routes. Here's a map that would work. It does have a lot of dirt on the southern end (Pueblo to Palmer Lake) but it's hard pack and good trails. It's not too much different from riding the KATY in Missouri or any other rail trail. Once you get to Castle Rock, the route that I gave you goes east a bit but it's a better route than US85. I'll see what I can suggest for the Denver to Walden route later.
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Pokin' around the Poconos A cold ride around Lake Erie
Dinosaurs in Colorado A mountain bike guide to the Purgatory Canyon dinosaur trackway
Solo Without Pie. The search for pie in the Midwest.
Picking the Scablands. Washington and Oregon, 2005. Pie and spiders on the Columbia River!
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Old 07-03-13, 08:23 PM
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Stuart,

This looks great. I appreciate the help. I heard there was a greenway in the works, but I wasn't sure how developed it was. I'll look forward to the 2nd route.

Eric
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Old 07-04-13, 09:56 AM
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Originally Posted by eappleton View Post
Stuart,

This looks great. I appreciate the help. I heard there was a greenway in the works, but I wasn't sure how developed it was. I'll look forward to the 2nd route.

Eric
I'm actually going to give you 3 routes. Each one has its charms and problems. For convenience, I've started each route from Civic Center Park in Denver.

First is a route that will put you back on the TransAm as quickly as possible which is Denver to Walden via Loveland Pass. This route follows I-70 on secondary roads and bike paths to Dillion which puts you onto CO 9 which is the TransAm route. It's 180 miles and requires climbing up to Loveland Pass which is 11,900 feet. It's a pretty long slog up a fairly steep valley. You have to ride on I-70 for about 2 miles from the Genessee exit to the Evergreen exit but you are on side roads the rest of the way. Loveland Pass has some traffic but most of the traffic going to Summit County goes via the Eisenhower Tunnel so traffic is a bit lower than the next route.

Which is Denver toWalden via Berthoud Pass. This route is the shortest route at 145 miles and shares a fair amount of the same route as the Loveland Pass route. You don't have to climb out of Georgetown...a nasty little climb... but Berthoud Pass is the only route over to Winter Park and points north. It has a lot of traffic compared to Loveland. It's doable but it's going to be a more stressful ride.

Because of the mountains to the west, there are only a few places where you can cross on a road bike. The next one is over Trail Ridge Road. This is the highest route...12,183 feet...and that extra 300 or 400 feet take its toll. Trail Ridge itself is a nice road. Traffic can be high but the speed is low and the ride is fairly stress free. Getting to Trail Ridge isn't all that easy however. First you have to cross Denver and get to Boulder. That's not the easiest thing to do and you are cutting across the most populated part of Colorado. The ride out of Lyons is also narrow with a fair amount of traffic on a steep climb. Trail Ridge is very lovely but the hassle of getting there may not be worth the trouble. There are a couple of options to US36 like St Vrain Canyon (CO 7) but that is longer and steeper.

The last route is through Fort Collins over Cameron Pass. This route is the longest and, like the route to Boulder, takes you right across the Metro Denver area. It's nice enough riding but it can get hot out there on the plains and it's not all that pretty until you start up Poudre Canyon. It is the lowest crossing point, however.

Of the 4 routes, it would be hard to choose. Loveland Pass is actually a pretty ride once you get past Idaho Springs/Georgetown. It would probably be the lowest traffic choice once you start to cross the pass. Berthoud Pass is the shortest but would probably have the highest amount of traffic. It's pretty but not stunning. Trail Ridge is one of those things that a great bucket list item and is gorgeous but you have to deal with the ugly stepsister of getting there first. Cameron Pass is actually quite lovely but the stepsister is even uglier.

I've bicycled over Loveland Pass and Trail Ridge on a loaded touring bike and can't really say which one would be best. Loveland is steep but Trail Ridge will take your breath away...literally

Another alternative that I haven't mapped out would be to ride the TransAm to Breckenridge, then go over Loveland back to Denver (about 80 mostly downhill miles), the ride up and over Trail Ridge. That way you get to experience both.
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Pokin' around the Poconos A cold ride around Lake Erie
Dinosaurs in Colorado A mountain bike guide to the Purgatory Canyon dinosaur trackway
Solo Without Pie. The search for pie in the Midwest.
Picking the Scablands. Washington and Oregon, 2005. Pie and spiders on the Columbia River!
Days of Wineless Roads. Bed and Breakfasting along the KATY
Twisting Down the Alley. Misadventures in tornado alley.
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Old 07-04-13, 05:25 PM
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nice summary stuart
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Old 07-05-13, 08:15 AM
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Originally Posted by eappleton View Post
My wife and I are riding west using pieces of the Transam. We're riding the Kary Trail in Missouri right now. This forum has been great in helping us piece together routes. We are taking the Transam across Kansas to Pueblo, CO. At that point, we plan to ride up to Denver/Boulder/Ft Collins and reconnect with the Transam afterwards.

So, I'm looking for a route from Pueblo to Denver (very busy corridor) and then from the Denver area to Walden, CO or somewhere farther along the route (also challenging because of the mountains).
Rather than working your way south from Clinton to pick up the TransAm across Kansas, have you considered heading straight from there toward Denver? While the AC maps across Kansas are pretty detailed, there's not many high points across the state. (Sorry, Kansans, the people are the best part of Kansas!) I think you could pick some state roads that parallel I-70 (+/- 50 miles) and do just about as well as the official TransAm route.
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Old 07-06-13, 08:54 AM
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Originally Posted by pdlamb View Post
Rather than working your way south from Clinton to pick up the TransAm across Kansas, have you considered heading straight from there toward Denver? While the AC maps across Kansas are pretty detailed, there's not many high points across the state. (Sorry, Kansans, the people are the best part of Kansas!) I think you could pick some state roads that parallel I-70 (+/- 50 miles) and do just about as well as the official TransAm route.
I don't disagree. Here's a route that follows the I-70 corridor and has enough campgrounds and places to stay for the trip.

Personally, I think the TransAmerica Trail, as well as most of the rest of the Adventure Cycle routes, seem to go out of their way to avoid points of interest. In Kansas, for example, it routes around Hutchinson where there's a very interesting salt mine you can tour. It avoids Dodge City. And once it passes into Colorado, it goes through the absolute least interesting part of the Colorado plains. Eads? Sheridan Lake, where there isn't even a lake? If you were to follow US50, which doesn't have that much traffic, you could pass through Lamar, past Fort Lyon, take a short detour over to Bent's Fort, etc. Touring should be about just riding all day.
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Gold Fever Three days of dirt in Colorado
Pokin' around the Poconos A cold ride around Lake Erie
Dinosaurs in Colorado A mountain bike guide to the Purgatory Canyon dinosaur trackway
Solo Without Pie. The search for pie in the Midwest.
Picking the Scablands. Washington and Oregon, 2005. Pie and spiders on the Columbia River!
Days of Wineless Roads. Bed and Breakfasting along the KATY
Twisting Down the Alley. Misadventures in tornado alley.
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Old 07-07-13, 06:09 PM
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Unless there is a specific reason that you need to go to Pueblo, at Florence pick up highway 115 go to Penrose then directly to Colorado Springs. Much nicer way to go. Once you are in Colorado Springs follow Stuart's route on north.
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Old 07-07-13, 10:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Shifty View Post
Unless there is a specific reason that you need to go to Pueblo, at Florence pick up highway 115 go to Penrose then directly to Colorado Springs. Much nicer way to go. Once you are in Colorado Springs follow Stuart's route on north.
eappleton is riding west. He'd have to pass through Pueblo to get to Florence. It would add about 20 miles for no real reason. You could head north out of Eads to Limon and then on to Colorado Springs but that's a long lonely road without services for the 80 mile trip from Eads to Limon.
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Gold Fever Three days of dirt in Colorado
Pokin' around the Poconos A cold ride around Lake Erie
Dinosaurs in Colorado A mountain bike guide to the Purgatory Canyon dinosaur trackway
Solo Without Pie. The search for pie in the Midwest.
Picking the Scablands. Washington and Oregon, 2005. Pie and spiders on the Columbia River!
Days of Wineless Roads. Bed and Breakfasting along the KATY
Twisting Down the Alley. Misadventures in tornado alley.
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Old 07-08-13, 02:37 PM
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Oops, my bad. Thanks
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Old 07-09-13, 08:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Shifty View Post
Oops, my bad. Thanks
No problem.
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Gold Fever Three days of dirt in Colorado
Pokin' around the Poconos A cold ride around Lake Erie
Dinosaurs in Colorado A mountain bike guide to the Purgatory Canyon dinosaur trackway
Solo Without Pie. The search for pie in the Midwest.
Picking the Scablands. Washington and Oregon, 2005. Pie and spiders on the Columbia River!
Days of Wineless Roads. Bed and Breakfasting along the KATY
Twisting Down the Alley. Misadventures in tornado alley.
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Old 07-10-13, 04:16 PM
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cycommute,

Thanks so much for the detailed options. This is the sort of detail I was looking for. Now, I just need to make up my mind. We are visiting friends in Pueblo, Denver, Boulder and Fort Collins, but may use some public transportation to get around once we're in the metro area. We're even considering (newly in the last few days) taking a bus or something back to Pueblo to get back on the Transam there when we're ready to leave the Denver area. I haven't seen much of the area between Canon City and Walden and would hate to miss it.

Thoughts about that? Thank again for the help.
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Old 07-10-13, 04:41 PM
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Originally Posted by eappleton View Post
cycommute,

Thanks so much for the detailed options. This is the sort of detail I was looking for. Now, I just need to make up my mind. We are visiting friends in Pueblo, Denver, Boulder and Fort Collins, but may use some public transportation to get around once we're in the metro area. We're even considering (newly in the last few days) taking a bus or something back to Pueblo to get back on the Transam there when we're ready to leave the Denver area. I haven't seen much of the area between Canon City and Walden and would hate to miss it.

Thoughts about that? Thank again for the help.
This being Colorado, we don't have too much in the way of public transportation along the Front Range. You could ride RTD from the Parker area to Longmont. Here's the RTD system map. You could connect to the RTD system using FLEX. But it might be easier just to ride your bike. Greyhound is an option but you have to pack your bike.

Another suggestion would be to rent a car in Pueblo (Enterprise works very well for bicycle touring because they really do come to pick you up), do your visiting and maybe a little sightseeing by car along the Front Range, then drive back to Pueblo and resume your tour. It's not cheating and you do get to see the central Colorado mountains.
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Gold Fever Three days of dirt in Colorado
Pokin' around the Poconos A cold ride around Lake Erie
Dinosaurs in Colorado A mountain bike guide to the Purgatory Canyon dinosaur trackway
Solo Without Pie. The search for pie in the Midwest.
Picking the Scablands. Washington and Oregon, 2005. Pie and spiders on the Columbia River!
Days of Wineless Roads. Bed and Breakfasting along the KATY
Twisting Down the Alley. Misadventures in tornado alley.
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Old 07-11-13, 03:55 PM
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Originally Posted by eappleton View Post
cycommute,

Thanks so much for the detailed options. This is the sort of detail I was looking for. Now, I just need to make up my mind. We are visiting friends in Pueblo, Denver, Boulder and Fort Collins, but may use some public transportation to get around once we're in the metro area. We're even considering (newly in the last few days) taking a bus or something back to Pueblo to get back on the Transam there when we're ready to leave the Denver area. I haven't seen much of the area between Canon City and Walden and would hate to miss it.

Thoughts about that? Thank again for the help.
Cycommute has given you great advice. Thought I would toss in my two cents worth. I like the ride up St. Vrain canyon, CO 7. Not too much traffic, especially if it's not a weekend day. It does get a bit steep when you get to the junction with Peak to Peak highway and up to Allenspark. You could also ride up Left Hand Canyon which gets you to Ward and more of Peak to Peak to Allenspark. But then nice rollers and a big downhill plunge into Estes Park. Trail Ridge after that! It is a one of a kind ride but never ending. Takes me about six hours to ride from EP up to the visitor center at the top. I'm pretty slow. Huge payoff on views and sense of accomplishment! Also avoid a weekend day up there, although, everybody is driving slow so it is good by bike. Big downhill to Grand Lake and over to Hot Sulpher Springs gets you back on the Trans-Am. I find the trip up Poudre Canyon a bit of a slog. It is long and really not much to look at until the very top. It does drop you right into Walden, but you would miss all the mountains of Colorado. Good Luck and Have Fun!!
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Old 07-11-13, 04:17 PM
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Originally Posted by eappleton View Post
cycommute,

Thanks so much for the detailed options. This is the sort of detail I was looking for. Now, I just need to make up my mind. We are visiting friends in Pueblo, Denver, Boulder and Fort Collins, but may use some public transportation to get around once we're in the metro area. We're even considering (newly in the last few days) taking a bus or something back to Pueblo to get back on the Transam there when we're ready to leave the Denver area. I haven't seen much of the area between Canon City and Walden and would hate to miss it.

Thoughts about that? Thank again for the help.
Cycommute has given you great advice. Thought I would toss in my two cents worth. I like the ride up St. Vrain canyon, CO 7. Not too much traffic, especially if it's not a weekend day. It does get a bit steep when you get to the junction with Peak to Peak highway and up to Allenspark. You could also ride up Left Hand Canyon which gets you to Ward and more of Peak to Peak to Allenspark. But then nice rollers and a big downhill plunge into Estes Park. Trail Ridge after that! It is a one of a kind ride but never ending. Takes me about six hours to ride from EP up to the visitor center at the top. I'm pretty slow. Huge payoff on views and sense of accomplishment! Also avoid a weekend day up there, although, everybody is driving slow so it is good by bike. Big downhill to Grand Lake and over to Hot Sulpher Springs gets you back on the Trans-Am. I find the trip up Poudre Canyon a bit of a slog. It is long and really not much to look at until the very top. It does drop you right into Walden, but you would miss all the mountains of Colorado. Good Luck and Have Fun!!
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Old 07-11-13, 04:27 PM
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^^ agree, though the last mile up to Ward is steeper by far than anything on Hwy 7.
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