Author Topic: N. Colorado Rt. 9/Hwy 9?  (Read 2539 times)

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Offline MrBent

N. Colorado Rt. 9/Hwy 9?
« on: April 12, 2012, 10:36:30 pm »
Hey, Riders:  Well, the big planning is on for our major Rocky Mtn. tour this summer/fall.  We'll be starting in Jasper, AB, in early August.  I've read some less-than-flattering comments about Rt. 9.  We'll be hitting in Sept.  Thoughts?  Alternatives?  In general, we're following the divide, heading to Salida.

Thanks!

Scott

Offline John Nelson

Re: N. Colorado Rt. 9/Hwy 9?
« Reply #1 on: April 12, 2012, 11:04:11 pm »
Colorado highway 9 isn't the worst road you've ever ridden, but it isn't the best either. CO9 runs from Kremmling to Silverthorne to Breckenridge, over Hoosier Pass to Fairplay, down to Hartzel, over Current Creek Pass to near the Royal Gorge. I've ridden all of these roads multiple times.

From Kremmling to Silverthorne is the worst part, a fairly narrow road with few shoulders. The CDOT still lists this road as "low" traffic (1500 to 5000 vehicles a day), although I think the traffic may have picked up since the map was published in 2009. From Silverthorne over Hoosier Pass to Fairplay is nicer, with less traffic on most days, mostly with shoulders and a lot more scenery to entertain you. You'll want to take the bike path from Frisco to Breckenridge to avoid the heavy traffic through this populated area. This is one of the best bike paths you'll ever ride. From Fairplay to Royal Gorge is very low traffic and some of it has a shoulder, so it shouldn't be a problem. CDOT lists this section as "very low" traffic (less than 1500 vehicles a day). You can go quite a while in this stretch without seeing a car.

There aren't any alternative routes if you're going that way. That's an issue with the mountains. It's so difficult to build roads that there aren't that many of them.

Offline Ewert

Re: N. Colorado Rt. 9/Hwy 9?
« Reply #2 on: April 20, 2012, 09:07:07 pm »
I live in Kremmling and I would never consider riding a bike on Highway 9 for any reason. It's a pretty dangerous highway. This is common knowledge locally and it is very rarely ridden by cyclists. The urbanites en route to Steamboat become increasingly uncomfortable the farther away from an interstate they get, thus no one observes the posted speed limit. There is zero shoulder for much of the way, and along Green Mountain Reservoir the road is a constant succession of blind curves. If you're not opposed to a long cut on a well-maintained dirt road, I would suggest turning left immediately south of Kremmling on the "river road" (county road 33), which will take you on a scenic route around Williams Fork Reservoir, up the Williams Fork valley and up over Ute Pass. This pass gives you the best views available of the Gore Range to the west, one of the prettiest ranges in the state. You'll hit pavement again at the top of Ute Pass, which is a fast, steep descent down to highway 9. At the point the Ute Pass road meets highway 9, it does have a shoulder, and a good shoulder continues all the way into Silverthorne. This route will allow you to circumvent the dangerous portion of Highway 9.

Offline MrBent

Re: N. Colorado Rt. 9/Hwy 9?
« Reply #3 on: April 20, 2012, 09:37:28 pm »
Thanks, Ewert.  This is congruent with  a recent book I read about the route.

How about this option:  Rt. 11 (Trough Rd.--dirt, looks pretty good) to 131, south to 6, parallel interstate, then take 24 all the way to Leadville and 285/Salida?

Looks okay on Google street view, but local intel trumps!

Thanks,

Scott

Offline jamawani

Re: N. Colorado Rt. 9/Hwy 9?
« Reply #4 on: April 20, 2012, 10:18:59 pm »
If you are heading south from Walden on Colo 125
You can simply turn south from US 40 at Parshall -
And skip Kremmling altogether.

Don't know how much dirt you are willing to do - if any.
Unfortunately. for mountain Coloradoans -
The closer you are to Denver - the more you are treated as a backyard.

Since you have a big jog in the Rockies in south central Wyoming -
Which corresponds to the Great Divide basin - you have a number of choices.
I tend to ride further west in the Colorado Rockies.

There is an excellent ride from Glenwood Springs to Gunnison via Crested Butte.
(You can opt either for McClure Pass - longer - or Schofield Pass - more remote.)
(Or from Carbondale over Independence Pass to Buena Vista.)
Instead of heading east from Jackson to Rawlins -
You head south thru Pinedale to Rock Springs and Meeker.

Another possibility from Maybell is -
Steamboat, Toponas, Eagle, Leadville

If you are willing to do a couple of 20-mile dirt sections -
Your route options increase geometrically.
I haven't riden Colo 9 in years for the good reasons above.
US 24 south of Leadville has great views, but heavy traffic.
(Some sections still have no shoulders.)

Here's one of my trips - -
http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/page/?o=1&page_id=26411&v=Of

And the Colorado DOT traffic volume website - -
http://apps.coloradodot.info/dataaccess/Traffic/index.cfm?fuseaction=TrafficMain&MenuType=Traffic

But Colo 9  - - - nah.

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: N. Colorado Rt. 9/Hwy 9?
« Reply #5 on: April 20, 2012, 10:38:00 pm »
Different strokes for different folks, I guess.  We left fairly early from Silverthorne on July 4 a few years ago and lunched at Kremmling, and didn't have any real problems.

It may be a process of acclimatization.  If you're just coming off separated bike trails, and aren't really comfortable riding with traffic, I could see it might be a big deal.  If you've got experience sharing streets and roads with cars and trucks, it's just another road.

Offline MrBent

Re: N. Colorado Rt. 9/Hwy 9?
« Reply #6 on: April 20, 2012, 11:19:01 pm »
I checked out some Google views of the Ct. Rd. 3/Ute pass route.  It looks fantastic.  And as noted, Rt. 9 from that point south has a fine shoulder for the quick run into town.

Thanks!

Scott

Offline Ewert

Re: N. Colorado Rt. 9/Hwy 9?
« Reply #7 on: April 24, 2012, 11:51:40 pm »
Thanks, Ewert.  This is congruent with  a recent book I read about the route.

How about this option:  Rt. 11 (Trough Rd.--dirt, looks pretty good) to 131, south to 6, parallel interstate, then take 24 all the way to Leadville and 285/Salida?

Looks okay on Google street view, but local intel trumps!

Thanks,

Scott
The Trough Road is a great ride, one of my favorite roads around here. 131 has no shoulder but not a huge amount of traffic either.

And as stated above, jamawani is right in saying that if you're coming from the east, you can just turn south at CR 3 in Parshall and cut off Kremmling entirely, saving some miles. If Leadville is the goal, I would recommend the Ute Pass-Hwy 9 into Silverthorne - bike path to Copper Mountain - Climax route as opposed to highway 131 to Wolcott and 24 from Minturn. Overall safer route I'd say.

Offline MrBent

Re: N. Colorado Rt. 9/Hwy 9?
« Reply #8 on: April 25, 2012, 08:37:33 am »
After looking at the options, I think we're going to CR 3 Ute Pass/Rt. 9 etc. to Copper Mtn. and Leadville.  Then at Buena Vista we'll do Cottonwood Pass over to Gunnison and work our way south.  Hoo man, this is going to be awesome.

Thanks again.

Scott

Online staehpj1

Re: N. Colorado Rt. 9/Hwy 9?
« Reply #9 on: April 25, 2012, 11:42:41 am »
I live in Kremmling and I would never consider riding a bike on Highway 9 for any reason. It's a pretty dangerous highway.
I won't comment on if it is the best route through the area or not but, I will say that we found it pleasant enough when we rode it.