Author Topic: Walden, CO to Boulder, CO  (Read 8339 times)

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Offline Nicoleleah

Walden, CO to Boulder, CO
« on: June 25, 2016, 10:00:50 pm »
I am doing the Trans Am but plan on going off route slightly in Colorado from Walden to Boulder.  The three options appear to be Highway 40 (154 miles), poudre canyon Road (136 miles), or highway 230 (182 miles). Does anyone have any suggestions as far as which route I should take? Which has the best shoulders and what does the elevation look like on these routes?

Offline John Nelson

Re: Walden, CO to Boulder, CO
« Reply #1 on: June 25, 2016, 10:53:36 pm »
I live in Boulder, and I've done that exact trip on tour. So you could go (almost) the same way I did. I took two days because it's about 140 miles. You can camp overnight at any of numerous places in Poudre Canyon.

There are a lot of turns in the following directions, but many of the turns are easy to find because they occur at places where the road you are on ends. All of these except for getting out of Boulder on the diagonal (very wide shoulder) and 1 mile on US 34 (reasonable shoulder) are sleepy county roads (little to no shoulder).

Head northeast on the diagonal (highway 119) towards Longmont. Turn north on 63rd Street (recently repaved and very smooth now) for five miles until 63rd Street ends at Nelson. Take Nelson 1.5 miles east to 75th Street. Go north 5.5 miles on 75th Street through Hygiene (water available at the market) until it ends at Woodland. Take Woodland 2.5 miles east to where it ends at 95th Street (you cannot take 83rd north now because the bridge is out). Take 95th Street six miles north to where it ends at CR 10 (jogging one block west on Yellowstone after one mile). Take CR 10 one mile west to where it ends at CR 23. Take CR 23 two miles north to CR 12. Take CR 12 west. After 2 miles, it curves north and becomes CR 29. Take CR 29 five miles north to US Highway 34 (you can't take it any farther because the bridge is out). Take US 34 one mile east to CR 27. Take CR 27 five miles north to the tiny town of Masonville (small general store). Turn left at the stop sign onto Buckhorn Road/CR 27. Take this 20 rolling miles north to where it ends at Poudre Canyon Road/CR 14. Turn left (west). Now it's simple, but you have 65 miles of (mostly gentle) uphill. Continue on CR 14 for 72 miles to Walden, going over Cameron Pass (10,276').

There are several campgrounds in Poudre Canyon where you can get water or camp. You can also wild camp in Poudre Canyon, which is what I did. Take reasonable bear precautions.

When you get to Walden, you can shower at the town pool (for a small fee) and camp in the city park (for free). See if you can find the park manager so he will turn off the sprinklers. If you can't, you can sleep in the gazebo in the middle of the park.
« Last Edit: June 25, 2016, 10:57:19 pm by John Nelson »

Offline tsteven4

Re: Walden, CO to Boulder, CO
« Reply #2 on: June 26, 2016, 08:55:46 am »
My favorite would be 125 through Rand, a short bit of highway 40, then highway 34 through Grand Lake to Estes Park.  This is Trail Ridge Road, which peaks at 12183 feet but is not very steep.  From Estes Park you could stay high on hwy 7/72 and drop down any of numerous canyons, or you could take 36.  Be aware that a favorite, Left Hand Canyon, has lots of road repair taking place this year.  Highway 7 dropping down south st vrain would be a good choice.  36 is significantly busier but would be the easiest.  Most of this is on adventure cycling routes.

Some photos from Trail Ridge are here
That day was the best day of our ride from Seattle to Boulder.

Offline jamawani

Re: Walden, CO to Boulder, CO
« Reply #3 on: June 26, 2016, 10:37:26 am »
Highway 14 through the Poudre River Canyon has the least traffic of the trans-mountain routes and is spectacular.
You do have to thread your way down the Front Range - but much of it can be trails or wide shouldered roads - as John says above.

If you take Highway 14, you can also access the Never Summer Mountains via the Michigan Ditch Service Road just west of Cameron Pass.
(Although dirt, since it follows an irrigation canal, it is nearly level.)
Stunning country and a fraction of the numbers at Rocky Mountain N.P.

Offline John Nelson

Re: Walden, CO to Boulder, CO
« Reply #4 on: June 26, 2016, 08:37:25 pm »
Trail Ridge Road, although spectacular (I just rode it last week), can be dangerously windy on top. Some days, it's hard to stay on the road for about eight miles. If you go that way, don't take US 36 to Estes Park. Colorado 7 is longer but safer. Start up Trail Ridge Road as early as you can to reduce the traffic.

If you want, you can still go through Ward (to Colorado 72 to Colorado 7), but you should take Lee Hill road to Left Hand Canyon to avoid the construction. But that route has some pretty steep sections that would be difficult on a fully-loaded touring bike.

Colorado 125 over Willow Creek Pass is a very nice cycling road.

I still, however, recommend Poudre Canyon instead.