Author Topic: Wyoming and Colorado routing?  (Read 3083 times)

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Offline MrBent

Wyoming and Colorado routing?
« on: December 05, 2010, 05:13:36 pm »
Ahoy, Cyclo-tourists:  This is WAY long range planning for a paved Continental Divide ride.  Our plan is to start in Jasper, Alberta, in August and work our way south with the goal of hitting Silver City, New Mexico in late October and crossing the Arizona desert starting sometime in Nov. to avoid the heat to finish in San Diego.  The options are clear for us in Wyoming, with the only question being to deal with the main part of Yellowstone and the Tetons or not, swinging out further east before heading south.  I hear the drop down Dead Indian Pass to Cody is quite fine.  Opinions on the options?

Re. Colorado: We seem to have two main choices there, too. 1) Take the ACA route which goes through Breckenridge, Fairplay, etc. or 2) Route to the west, taking in Carbondale, Hotchkiss, etc.  Both routes, roughly speaking, taking us to Gunnison for a drop down Hwy 149 through Lake City and points south.  I've read the run from Salida to Fairplay is pretty obnoxious, traffic, bad shoulders, etc.  Opinions on the options?

Thanks!

Scott

Offline John Nelson

Re: Wyoming and Colorado routing?
« Reply #1 on: December 05, 2010, 06:18:51 pm »
One good way to pick routes in Colorado is to look at the routes used by Ride The Rockies for the past 25 years. They've pretty much used every safe and scenic cycling road in the state.

http://www.ridetherockies.com/about-us/history/

They've stopped in Salida 12 times in those years, and they've never ridden between Salida and Fairplay. That does tend to tell you something. Buf you can ride from Fairplay to Buena Vista and over Cottonwood Pass (15 miles of dirt, but pretty-good dirt) and on to Gunnison.

You'll see quite a few routes using Carbondale to Hotchkill to Gunnison. RTR doesn't go through Lake City much.
« Last Edit: December 05, 2010, 06:20:37 pm by John Nelson »

Offline valygrl

Re: Wyoming and Colorado routing?
« Reply #2 on: December 06, 2010, 12:12:11 am »
Dead Indian Pass is spectacular, and very quiet in terms of traffic.  Services are somewhat limited.  I rode it the other direction, and enjoyed it tremendously.

If you've never been to Yellowstone & the Tetons, though, that's pretty great too.

I think a great way to do it would be to use Dead Indian Pass, then from Cody head back west into YS, south to Tetons, then over Togwotee pass through Lander.

In CO, I would recommend going in between the routes you mention - From Dillon, head to Copper Mountain (on a bike path no less!) and climb Fremont Pass to Leadville (nice hostel, also camping), go south to Buena Vista, over Cottonwood pass to Gunnison.  Your Gunnison & south route is fabulous, and make sure you do Wolf Creek Pass to Pagosa Springs.

If you end up using your more westerly route, make sure you take the back road on the north side of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison (from Hotchkiss, Hwy 92), rather than going all the way south to Montrose & taking 50 - 92 is spectacular and empty. 

There are a number of ways to route through CO, most of them OK, some of them awesome.  Your Breckenridge route would be my last choice, you spend too much time in South Park, which doesn't really feel like being in the mountains, and the traffic is a bit heavy, and very heavy on Hwy 285.

Gimme a shout if you want more details, I've ridden all the paved divides in CO.

Offline MrBent

Re: Wyoming and Colorado routing?
« Reply #3 on: December 06, 2010, 09:22:44 am »
Hey, John and Valygrl:  Thanks!  This is just the kind of info. we're looking for.  The run over Cottonwood pass sounds perfect.  As long as the dirt road is in decent shape, we don't mind doing some.  We'll be on recumbent trikes with our dog in a trailer.  Also, that would be an altitude record for the trip and all of our cycling careers--nice.  Also, doing Cottonwood to Gunnison means we skip almost all of Hwy 50, which sounds like a good thing.

Hey, Valygrl:  Are you still rock climbing?  My wife and I are getting back into it slowly, although shoulder injuries are giving me some grief.  We'd actually thought of making our big road trip a climbing/hiking trip, but ultimately, the epic bike tour won out, especially when we realized how much our dog Django loves touring.  He goes NUTS every time we sit down in the trikes.  Great fun.  So it's the Continental Divide in 2012 for us! 

Thanks--and throw any more suggestions my way.

Scott

Offline MrBent

Re: Wyoming and Colorado routing?
« Reply #4 on: December 06, 2010, 09:32:50 am »
More questions:  Looking at the northern section of Colorado, we're faced with some other options.  It looks like will be coming into the state through Walden.  There we are presented with a big decision: 

1) Take 14 to the 40 to 9 all the way to Dillon. 

2) Take 125 to Granby, Winter Park, etc. to the 70 then work our way west to Dillon. 

3)  Split the difference: Take 125 to 40, head west to Kremmling then south on 9.

Opinions?

Thanks!

Scott

Offline valygrl

Re: Wyoming and Colorado routing?
« Reply #5 on: December 06, 2010, 10:19:37 am »
Hey scott - not really climbing any more, but biking a ton and skiing a little!  I would climb, but it takes time away from cycling.  :)

I vote for #2. it's the more "in the mountains" way, you get Berthod Pass and Loveland Pass (about 11,400' & 11950').  The I-70 corridor now sports a bike path from Georgetown to Loveland Pass, so you don't have to ride the freeway at all.  I-70 obviously has tons of traffic, and there's lots of commercial stuff around, so you'll be in some more developed areas, but the passes themselves are amazing, and traffic reasonable.

Route #3 is probably a little quieter in terms of total amount of cars around, (although 40 is never really quiet) but less mountainous. 

Highway 125 is really nice, carries very little traffic, and there are several BLM campgrounds on it.  It was also resurfaced 2 years ago.  I thought it was a hidden gem.

Route #1 is a bit more Wyoming-like, rather than Colorado-like - lots of open grassland.

Offline John Nelson

Re: Wyoming and Colorado routing?
« Reply #6 on: December 06, 2010, 10:43:32 am »
Do not take 14 to 40 between Walden and Kremmling (your #1). That was previously on the TransAm, but they changed the route (and the ACA does not change the TA lightly) to use 125 instead. The new route using 125, over Willow Creek Pass, is 20 miles longer (to Kremmling on your #3), but well worth it. ACA abandoned the old route using 40 north of Kremmling because increasing traffic had made it dangerous (even though highway 14 is nice, but open grassland as previously mentioned). The new route to Kremmling goes through Hot Sulphur Springs which has a free campground next to the (not-free) hot springs (which are really nice).

So I'd vote for #3, with #2 my second choice, and I'd avoid #1.

Offline John Nelson

Re: Wyoming and Colorado routing?
« Reply #7 on: December 06, 2010, 11:04:15 am »
Oh, and I agree with Valygrl that, once you get to Frisco, take the bike path to Copper Mountain, and then over Fremont Pass to Leadville, then down to Buena Vista, over Cottonwood Pass and on to Gunnison. If you want some more mountains and a longer route, and maybe you want to visit Vail, then, from Copper Mountain, take Vail Pass to Vail and then Tennessee Pass to Leadville. That's the other two legs of the "Copper Triangle" instead of the third leg over Fremont Pass. You can go almost all the way from Frisco to Vail without ever getting on a road that permits cars.

This route misses Hoosier Pass, but it also avoids the okay-but-not-great route from Fairplay to Buena Vista.

The dirt part of Cottonwood Pass, in the direction you're going, will be on the downhill side (right after you summit the pass). It's usually in pretty good shape, but you're going to want to take it easy going down (I prefer dirt to be on my uphills). I don't know when you're going, but check to see that it's open. It often doesn't open until late June.
« Last Edit: December 06, 2010, 11:06:34 am by John Nelson »

Offline MrBent

Re: Wyoming and Colorado routing?
« Reply #8 on: December 06, 2010, 02:52:33 pm »
Sounds great!  Thanks for the info.  We'll be headed south, as I said, and probably crossing Cottonwood mid/late Sept.  The goal is to hit Silver City, NM, in late, late Oct. so we can head out into the Arizona desert in Nov. when things are finally cooling off, especially important since we'll be traveling with Django the Wonder Dog.

Cheerios,

Scott

Offline danacf

Re: Wyoming and Colorado routing?
« Reply #9 on: December 06, 2010, 04:08:35 pm »
You might find some useful information in a Chasing the Great Divide journal on Crazyguy.  All paved roads.  http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?o=RrzKj&doc_id=2415&v=1C1

Offline valygrl

Re: Wyoming and Colorado routing?
« Reply #10 on: December 06, 2010, 06:50:10 pm »
If it works into your route, the 191 through Apache National Forest, Alpine to Clifton, is Freaking Awesome!!!! (and insanely hilly, and there are no services, but hey, it's sooooo great!!!!)

Offline staehpj1

Re: Wyoming and Colorado routing?
« Reply #11 on: December 08, 2010, 05:01:38 am »
Do not take 14 to 40 between Walden and Kremmling (your #1). That was previously on the TransAm, but they changed the route (and the ACA does not change the TA lightly) to use 125 instead.
We did that route in 2007 and didn't find it bad.  I can't compare with the alternates, but I wouldn't rule it out.

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Wyoming and Colorado routing?
« Reply #12 on: December 08, 2010, 06:47:33 am »
Do not take 14 to 40 between Walden and Kremmling (your #1). That was previously on the TransAm, but they changed the route (and the ACA does not change the TA lightly) to use 125 instead.
We did that route in 2007 and didn't find it bad.  I can't compare with the alternates, but I wouldn't rule it out.

The guy we talked to in Kremmling in 2009 said they changed the route because of the lack of services on the Steamboat Springs route.  If the Hot Sulphur and Rand route have bounteous services, it was surely desolate on 14/40!

Offline litespeed

Re: Wyoming and Colorado routing?
« Reply #13 on: December 08, 2010, 07:18:28 am »
valygrl writes:
"If it works into your route, the 191 through Apache National Forest, Alpine to Clifton, is Freaking Awesome!!!! (and insanely hilly, and there are no services, but hey, it's sooooo great!!!!)"

I tried to look this up to no avail. I found an Alpine and 191 in Wyoming and a Clifton in Colorado but couldn't find an Apache National Forest. 191 south of Hobart Junction and down into Utah would certainly provide long stretches of "no services" but plenty of fine desert scenery. Looks a like a route worth taking.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Wyoming and Colorado routing?
« Reply #14 on: December 08, 2010, 08:23:27 am »
The guy we talked to in Kremmling in 2009 said they changed the route because of the lack of services on the Steamboat Springs route.  If the Hot Sulphur and Rand route have bounteous services, it was surely desolate on 14/40!
There wasn't much in the way of services, but we found the route pretty and the road decent.  I actually remember that day (Walden CO to Kremmling CO) pretty fondly.  If you go that route take plenty of water right from Walden