Author Topic: Best way from SW Colorado on TransAm to Denver  (Read 5293 times)

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Offline Lindsay_PEE

Best way from SW Colorado on TransAm to Denver
« on: January 26, 2012, 11:11:51 am »
I'll be using the ACA TransAmerica route from East to West this summer and want to visit people in Castle Rock and Denver before crossing the Rockies and joining up with the ACA on the other side to go north into Wyoming. 
Any suggestions for roads to follow in Colorado from, say, Pueblo to Denver? And then Denver to Fort Collins?
Many thanks!
Lindsay

Offline VeloVeg

Re: Best way from SW Colorado on TransAm to Denver
« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2012, 04:50:58 pm »
Hi Lindsay. I have family in Sedalia (next to Castle Rock), so I've faced this problem several times trying to map my way in order to visit.

First, making your way to Castle Rock from the TA (which routes through Pueblo): There are other possible solutions, but this is what I've done in the past: from Pueblo, hop on I-25 north (lots of traffic, but wide shoulder), ride about 25 miles and get off at Hwy. 83 (South Academy Drive). (Here you have two choices: turn right (east) and follow Hwy. 83 through CO Springs all the way up to Franktown and turn west to Castle Rock.) Or, turn left (east) and ride a mile or so and turn right (north) on Hwy 115. (This is what I've done in the past). This will lead you to the CO Springs bike trail system that will lead you all the way to the town of Palmer Lake and Hwy 105. (Here is a link to the bike trail maps that I stored online that will lead you step by step to Palmer Lake and Hwy 105: ( http://www.daystarbotanicals.com/biketour08/maps/ ). From Palmer Lake you will take scenic and rolling Hwy 105 north (S. Perry Park Rd.) for 10-miles or so and turn right on CR 46 (Wolfsenberger Rd.). This will take you right into Castle Rock--just a couple miles. This whole process seems more complicated than it is.

Castle Rock to Denver: From downtown Castle Rock, head west on SR 86 (Fifth St.). Take SR 86 about 6-miles to Franktown. Turn left (north) onto Hwy. 83. Take this all the way into Denver.

Denver to Ft. Collins: That's a tough call. I'd probably just grit my teeth and take Hwy. 287 to Ft. Collins. Sometimes that's what we have to do. Not scenic. Not peaceful back roads. But there should be shoulder most of the way.

This is how I exited the area in '09 in order to get on the northbound TA. It was very scenic. It was peaceful back roads. A couple hard-packed dirt roads (Colorado is famous for them). And, it was hilly (this is western Colorado we're talking about, so it's expected). It was a great option. ( http://www.bikewithamission.org/maps/overview.html ) Click on "Section two" and zoom in for detail.

Sorry for the long answer.

Have an awesome journey,

Ted
www.bikewithamission.org

Offline John Nelson

Re: Best way from SW Colorado on TransAm to Denver
« Reply #2 on: January 26, 2012, 06:06:10 pm »
I think you can find better ways from Denver to Fort Collins than 287. I'd try to stay east of I-25 for most of the trip.

From downtown Denver, take the South Platte River bike trail for about 15 miles to 104th (or even farther if you're starting in south Denver). This gets you out of the Denver area entirely on bike paths. Then jog a mile west and pick up Riverdale, a sleepy and beautiful country road. Take that north 9 miles to 160th (state highway 7). Jog west five miles on a busy but shouldered highway to Colorado Blvd (AKA country road 13) (a busy street in Denver, but getting rather sleepy this far north). You're about two miles east of I-25 here. Take that north 25 miles to Johnstown, and continue north another 10 miles to Windsor on country road 17. By now, you're only 15 miles from Fort Collins. You can wing it from there.

Actually, you can kind of make it up as you go. Once you get to the north end of the South Platte River trail, just head north on any county road that looks good to you. Stay east of I-25 and west of US85 and you'll be fine on almost any country road.

Offline jamawani

Re: Best way from SW Colorado on TransAm to Denver
« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2012, 08:22:11 pm »
Just stay on the TransAm and take a shuttle bus from Frisco/Silverthorne.
Why add days of brutal traffic?  Into and out of Denver is no picnic.
If you don't need your bike, ask to store it at a bike shop.

Or from Granby you can take the train thru Moffat Tunnel.
Takes a little longer but is very scenic.

Offline bbarrettx

Re: Best way from SW Colorado on TransAm to Denver
« Reply #4 on: January 26, 2012, 08:25:10 pm »
Hi Lindsey,

I'm a Transam old-timer (crossed in '87) who lives in Boulder. I think you can do much better than 287 or east of 25. Those would be either high traffic or tedious. Perhaps you take 287 north out of Denver (avoid 93) but in Broomfield you want to take Dillon Rd to the west to Marshall Rd in the town of Superior. Marshall will drop you into south Boulder where you can follow the bike path network to the intersection of Broadway and 36 in N Boulder (goboulder.com for city bike maps). Boulder might be a good place to spend the night as there's a hostel or perhaps Lyons to the north.

From Broadway and 36 follow this map of the 100 mile route for the Buffalo Bicycle Classic http://www.buffalobicycleclassic.com/images/assets/route_bbc_2010_100m.jpg. It's well thought out, scenic, and lightly traveled by cars. Once in the Masonville area you can head towards Horsetooth Reservoir and then hook into 287 just west of Fort Collins to start heading towards the Transam.

The roads north (and west) of Boulder are used as training grounds for many cyclists who compete on the international stage. It's great riding and it would be a mistake to bypass it and follow 287 (a 4 lane highway).

Good luck and enjoy. Brian.

Offline valygrl

Re: Best way from SW Colorado on TransAm to Denver
« Reply #5 on: January 26, 2012, 11:49:46 pm »
^^^ what Brian said!  (Hi Brian - I'm in the republic too!)

Also, I hope your intention in "getting back on the transam" is to cross the Rockies at RMNP or Poudre Canyon to Walden, don't head up 287 and skip some of the best riding in the country!

Offline Lindsay_PEE

Re: Best way from SW Colorado on TransAm to Denver
« Reply #6 on: February 02, 2012, 12:20:01 pm »
Wow, thank you everyone for all of the suggestions.  I'm going to dig out my road atlas tonight and see if I can plot out all of your comments.  Valygrl, can you tell me more about the best riding spots? Are you saying the best riding is on the western side of the Rockies?

Offline John Nelson

Re: Best way from SW Colorado on TransAm to Denver
« Reply #7 on: February 02, 2012, 02:38:14 pm »
If you have the schedule flexibility, then plan your ride from Fort Collins back to the TransAm for a weekday. Both Trail Ridge Road and Poudre Canyon are more crowded on weekends. The Poudre Canyon route over Cameron Pass is a more direct way to rejoin the TransAm from Fort Collins, and it is quite beautiful. Although Trail Ridge Road through Rocky Mountain National Park is more out of the way, it is uniquely spectacular. Tell the park ranger at the entrance that you are just passing through and they won't charge you the park admissions fee.

Offline valygrl

Re: Best way from SW Colorado on TransAm to Denver
« Reply #8 on: February 02, 2012, 02:44:22 pm »
Wow, thank you everyone for all of the suggestions.  I'm going to dig out my road atlas tonight and see if I can plot out all of your comments.  Valygrl, can you tell me more about the best riding spots? Are you saying the best riding is on the western side of the Rockies?

I just meant - the mountains in colorado.  The riding in the front range (east of the mountains, the area defined by Springs -Denver - Boulder - Ft Collins - and north to the WY border - is pretty much the terminus of the plains.  Immediately west, you get into the mountains.  So from Denver, don't go straight up the front range all the way to Wyoming, make sure you cross into the mountains - Poudre Canyon or Rocky Mtn National Park from the Ft. COllins area, or up the I-70 corridor (back roads) to either Berthoud Pass (40) or all the way to Summit County (around Dillon-Frisco) before heading north.