Author Topic: Can I ride from Cortez CO to Pueblo CO in early April?  (Read 3040 times)

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Offline PeanutButterShammyCream

Can I ride from Cortez CO to Pueblo CO in early April?
« on: November 24, 2015, 06:11:44 am »
I plan on biking from California to the East Coast next spring. I will leave in March, and I plan to be in Colorado in early April. Will it be possible to cycle the "Great Parks South" route from Cortez CO to Pueblo CO in early april? Will the roads be open???? Will it be safe?

Offline John Nettles

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Re: Can I ride from Cortez CO to Pueblo CO in early April?
« Reply #1 on: November 24, 2015, 07:53:54 am »
While the roads will be open, there will be snow along the sides of the road and no campgrounds will be open but I guess you could wild camp.  At the higher elevations and passes, the snow could very well be banked, i.e. cut through a 20' drift so you are in a roofless "tunnel" for a couple of miles.

Of course, if a snow storm comes (not unusual for that time of year), be prepared to wait it out in a hotel as most tents can not handle 12-24" of snow piled on them.

While it is doable, I personally would not do it, sort of along the same lines as it is doable to cross the country on a 2nd hand walmart $99 special bike but I would not want the hassles, headaches, and uncertainty.

Your best bet would be to head south and go along the southern tier (or further south along the border (or even dip into Mexico!), and once you get to Las Cruces/El Paso, you could angle up toward the BR66, then connect with the TransAm once in Marshfield, MO.

Whatever you choose, enjoy the ride!

Offline RussSeaton

Re: Can I ride from Cortez CO to Pueblo CO in early April?
« Reply #2 on: November 24, 2015, 04:48:54 pm »
Are your dates set in stone?  April can be a cool to cold and rainy month in the Midwest.  You will be in Colorado, Kansas, Missouri during those months.  Southern parts of those states.  Temps can and usually are in the 40s and 50s in April.  Maybe warmer.  But 40s and 50s are common.  And RAIN.  Rain and 50 degrees.  Riding a bike would not be very enjoyable.

Offline PeanutButterShammyCream

Re: Can I ride from Cortez CO to Pueblo CO in early April?
« Reply #3 on: November 25, 2015, 06:07:24 am »
Thanks for the replies. What about May??????

Offline John Nettles

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Re: Can I ride from Cortez CO to Pueblo CO in early April?
« Reply #4 on: November 25, 2015, 07:44:45 am »
I personally would not arrive in Dolores before June 1st the very earliest.  Remember, you have a 5,000+ foot elevation difference between the low and the high parts of the route in Colorado.  That difference can easily mean the difference between a pleasant day of cycling in the valleys and a truly miserable day if it is 35-40 degrees, snowing/raining, and/or blowing hard at the higher elevations with little chance of indoor services.

Speaking of services, I would get online and review when some of the campgrounds actually open for the season along your route.  Some very well may not open until early to mid-June.

I once was camping near South Fork, CO, in late June and had two nights of light snow (1").  That was doable but no fun (cold & wet) and it was the end of June not the beginning.  There is a reason ACA and others recommend riding the route "from mid-May through October, depending on weather."  If you ride earlier or later, just be prepared (time wise, mentally and financially) to hole up in a hotel until the weather improves.

Offline John Nelson

Re: Can I ride from Cortez CO to Pueblo CO in early April?
« Reply #5 on: November 25, 2015, 01:26:00 pm »
What about May?
There's no magic date when it shifts from bad to good. As you move from April to May to June, the odds get more in your favor, the odds of comfortable temperatures, clear roads and open facilities. It's very hard to say more because you've given us none of the details about your trip. Camping, solo, tight budget, tight schedule, risk tolerance, etc., etc., etc. If you have enough time and money, you can make January work.