Author Topic: route for Grand Junction to Glenwood Springs CO by road or trail?  (Read 1329 times)

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Offline annqueue

Hi all,
I've done some camping by MTB near Boulder and a road metric century (sans camping).  I'm looking to get started on touring more.

My sweetie will be coming back from the west coast by train in early April, and we thought it might be fun to take a trip between Grand Junction and Glenwood Springs.  Anyone have route advice?  I see the American Discovery trail goes from Grand Junction to Redstone but I have no idea if it would be a reasonable bike at all, let alone loaded with gear.  We're looking at self-supported touring.  We are comfortable camping down to about 20 degrees at night, and the average weather for the two towns at that time of year seems to fit the bill.  I'd be happy to go by road too (probably easier for this newbie), if someone can recommend good routes.  Help?  Thanks. 

Offline jamawani

Re: route for Grand Junction to Glenwood Springs CO by road or trail?
« Reply #1 on: January 23, 2011, 08:20:59 pm »
The American Discovery Trail is more a hiking than biking trail - especially in Colorado - as it goes through numerous wilderness areas where bicycles are prohibited.  Remember also - it includes a lot of high country that doesn't melt out until June or July.  I went through Schofield Pass in late June and had to use a rock pick to get through avalanche routes.

Early April ain't exactly the best time to be riding in Colorado - Moab country would be ideal.  But if you do ride in Colorado, I would suggest you stay as low as possible.  And be aware that all public lands facilities - like campgrounds - will still be closed.  The direct route along the Colorado River has many stretches where you are forced to ride on the interstate - others parts have you on service roads with scenic views of the interstate and the railroad.  

Or you can ride on US 50 to Delta and then over McClure Pass and down the Crystal River to Carbondale and Glenwood.
Or you can take Hwy 65 over Grand Mesa - but that is likely to be iffy in April.  Could be stunning and nice.  Could be a blizzard.
« Last Edit: January 23, 2011, 08:52:10 pm by jamawani »

Online John Nelson

Re: route for Grand Junction to Glenwood Springs CO by road or trail?
« Reply #2 on: January 23, 2011, 09:13:42 pm »
One advantage of the McClure Pass route is that this pass is only 8755 feet, fairly low for Colorado passes, so at least you stand a fighting chance of being able to get through in April. The pass is generally open year round, but you'll need to be flexible because there's a reasonable chance you won't be able to get through.

See Google Maps biking directions. It shows the Delta/McClure Pass route (at 143 miles) as the primary suggestion of three options, and the only one of those options I'd consider. If you make it that far, there's a nice bike path between Carbondale and Glenwood Springs.

It's not the weather at the two endpoints you need to be worried about--it's the weather in between.

Offline annqueue

Re: route for Grand Junction to Glenwood Springs CO by road or trail?
« Reply #3 on: January 24, 2011, 08:38:02 am »
Moab would be warmer, but it's hard to get to without a car.  For someone with my capability, with the time I have available, I'd maybe just get there and have to turn around again.  Is the google bike route for Grand Junction to Moab any good?  It goes by 6 to 191.  Would a piece of Kokopelli be simply ridiculous with a loaded bike?

The other problem is I'm slow and not good on roads with poor sightlines and no shoulders.  They're just not enjoyable to me (hey, I'm a newbie).  That's why I didn't even bring up CO National Monument.  Nothing wrong with my stamina though.  Anyway, I remember 191 coming into Moab and I think I'd wet my pants every time I heard a car come up behind me around a curve.

Yes, the weather on the pass is what had me wondering.  I wasn't even thinking about trying anything higher.  We have flexibility on route and whether I join at all, so we can see how the weather develops by then... How is the biking on the suggested route?  I've heard 92 from Delta to Hotchkiss is high traffic/no shoulders - not good for a newbie.  Google shows back roads by which you can avoid that (how are those?).  But how's the rest from Hotchkiss up to Carbondale, where we could pick up the Rio Grande trail? 

Thanks again.

Online John Nelson

Re: route for Grand Junction to Glenwood Springs CO by road or trail?
« Reply #4 on: January 24, 2011, 09:08:01 am »
There's no such thing as a complete route with shoulders and/or straight roads between any two points in Colorado. On any route, some parts will be good and some will be bad no matter which route you choose. But that shouldn't stop you--it isn't anywhere near as dangerous as you fear.

Offline annqueue

Re: route for Grand Junction to Glenwood Springs CO by road or trail?
« Reply #5 on: January 24, 2011, 10:15:13 am »
Yeah, I'm not expecting nirvana.  I can handle some stuff - Flagstaff in Boulder is okay.  But I came down Fourmile on my mountain bike and that wasn't terribly fun.  Granted I'd just wiped out on the trails so I was exceptionally slow that day. 

I have NO feedback on the Hotchkiss-Carbondale section, though, and it'd be nice to have feedback from someone who's done it.  What am I getting into?