Author Topic: Westcoast to Colorado: Western Express or Transamerica Trail?  (Read 4957 times)

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Offline PNWRider92

Re: Westcoast to Colorado: Western Express or Transamerica Trail?
« Reply #15 on: February 08, 2018, 09:42:20 pm »
Four Corners is, IMO, the biggest tourist trap in America. The markers aren’t even in the correct spots and it’s in the middle of BFE.

Nice photo jamawani

Pic: Tetons at Jackson Lake; July 2017
Instagram: tyjames0604

Wisconsin --> Washington ---> Colorado

Offline Philipp_

Re: Westcoast to Colorado: Western Express or Transamerica Trail?
« Reply #16 on: February 09, 2018, 09:29:39 am »
I would suggest Silverthorne - Leadville - Buena VIsta - Gunnison - via Cottonwood Pass

Is this the route you would suggest to avoid the outskirkts of Denver?

I updated the route. Any suggestions?

Leg NoRoutemilesACA-RoutePossible DetourComment
1Seattle, Sequim, Townsend, Joyce, Neah Bay223Washington Parks - -
2Neah Bay, Forks, Kalaloch, Amanda Park, Humptulips, Aberdeen (Kurt Cobain Landing), Westport, North Cove, Raymond, Astoria, Seaside279Washington Parks (mostly), Pacific Coast - -
3Seaside, Cannon Beach, Nehalem, Tillamook, Otis, Lincoln City, Newport, Florence176Pacific Coast 
4Florence, Reedsport, North Bend,  Brummit Creek (Giant Connifers), Roseburg, Eugene194Pacific Coast
5Eugene, McKenzie Bridge, Sisters, Smith Rick State Park, Prineville, Mitchell, Dayville, John Day, Austin, Baker City351 TransAmericaBend -
6Baker City, Richland, Cambridge, New Meadows, Riggins, White Bird222TransAmerica - -
7White Bird, Grangeville, Koosika, Lolo Hot Springs, Missoula189TransAmerica - -
8Missoula, Lolo, Florence, Victor, Hamilton, Darby, Sula, Wisdom, Jackson, Dillon, Twin Bridges, Sheridan, Ennis, West Yellowstone330TransAmerica- -
9West Yellowstone, Madison Junction, Norris Geysir, Canyon Village, Yellowstone Lake, West Thumb 122- Old FaithfullYellowstone NP
10West Thumb, Moran, Dubois, Crowheart, Fort Washakie, Lander, Sweetwater Station, Jeffrey City, Rawlins304TransAmerica Jackson (Grand Teton NP)-
11Rawlins, Saratoga, Riverside, Walden118 TransAmerica --
12Walden, Rand, Grandby, Kremmling, Silverthrone, Leadville, Buena Vista, Gunnison (Cottonwood Pass) 261Great Parks South, mostly Rocky Mountain NP, Fairplay
13Gunnison, Montrose, Ridgway, Rico, Dolores250 Great Parks South, mostly Black Canyon NP-
14Dolores, Mesa Verde NP, Aztec Ruins NM, Chaco Culture NP, Thoreau, Albuquerque316- Taos, Los Alamos hope this route avoids desets
Total3335
« Last Edit: February 11, 2018, 08:45:09 am by Philipp_ »

Offline jamawani

Re: Westcoast to Colorado: Western Express or Transamerica Trail?
« Reply #17 on: February 09, 2018, 05:57:21 pm »
Yes.

Even with that route, you will notice a clear upsurge in traffic halfway between Kremmling and Silverthorne.
Hwy 9 does not have shoulders in the middle section, but does as it nears Silverthorne.
Hwy 91 over Climax Pass has two lanes uphill - plus nasty molybdenum mine site.
US 24 from Leadville does not have consistent shoulders and requires care - esp. on weekends.
Cottonwood Pass Road is a mind-bender - all paved, now.
DEFINITELY check weather conditions before attempting Cottonwood.

Offline jamawani

Re: Westcoast to Colorado: Western Express or Transamerica Trail?
« Reply #18 on: February 09, 2018, 06:03:24 pm »
PS -

You may have to go down to Monarch Pass (US 50) anyway.
Reconstruction of Cottonwood Pass Rd. is behind schedule  - and they only have vert short season.

Then again - if it is nearly finished, you may be able to cycle it without any cars.

http://crestedbuttenews.com/2017/03/cottonwood-pass-closure-could-last-into-summer-2018/

Offline bbarrettx

Re: Westcoast to Colorado: Western Express or Transamerica Trail?
« Reply #19 on: February 11, 2018, 06:14:30 pm »
All good ideas here. One other thought, considering the timing of your trip and length of time you have, would be to start in Vancouver. BC and ride up to Jasper, AB and then ride through the beautiful Canadian Rockies from North to South, that connects you to Glacier/Waterton National Park on the Canada/US border which is a few days ride from Missoula, MT and the TransAm trail which you would follow down to CO. You could also do this from Seattle though Vancouver would set you up better and it's perhaps the nicest city in North America. Oregon, while beautiful, is going to be hot and dried out east of the Cascades that far into the summer. Same with most of the TA sections through ID. It'll be cooler and more scenic up in Canada. I wouldn't try to avoid Breckenridge area in CO because of crowds. It's scenic and late summer traffic isn't crazy plus there's a great bike path system. From there you cross Hoosier Pass at 11,500 ft which is a simple climb from Breckenridge (9600ft) despite the altitude. That's the high point of the TA trail and shortly after that you'd probably want to head over to Buena Vista which would present you with different options to get to NM. I've ridden the TA as well as the suggested route through Canada and live in Colorado and I'm happy to provide more insights on this if you'd like. Cheers!

Offline PNWRider92

Re: Westcoast to Colorado: Western Express or Transamerica Trail?
« Reply #20 on: February 11, 2018, 06:21:04 pm »
PS -

You may have to go down to Monarch Pass (US 50) anyway.
Reconstruction of Cottonwood Pass Rd. is behind schedule  - and they only have vert short season.

Then again - if it is nearly finished, you may be able to cycle it without any cars.

http://crestedbuttenews.com/2017/03/cottonwood-pass-closure-could-last-into-summer-2018/

Last I heard was it’d be closed at least through this summer. The lack of snow though may have allowed them to catch up. Can’t find any updates on it.
Instagram: tyjames0604

Wisconsin --> Washington ---> Colorado

Offline Philipp_

Re: Westcoast to Colorado: Western Express or Transamerica Trail?
« Reply #21 on: February 13, 2018, 03:44:16 pm »
Hello Juan, bbarrettx and Ty,
I've noticed that Google maps gives me a different route from Walden to Montrose which is a lot shorter and has much less difference in elevation. It goes Walden, Toponas, Glenwood Springs, Hotchkiss, Delta, Montrose. On the map, it seems a lot easier. Do you know that route?

Canada really would be nice, but I want to see the Giant Connifers near Eugene, so I need to go down the pacific coast. Albuquerque is the destination because a 91 year old grand-uncle of mine lives there.

If the Oregon and Idaho section of the TA to Missoula is hot and dry, would the Lewis & Clark be any better?

Thank you, Philipp
« Last Edit: February 13, 2018, 03:57:53 pm by Philipp_ »

Offline jamawani

Re: Westcoast to Colorado: Western Express or Transamerica Trail?
« Reply #22 on: February 13, 2018, 08:42:47 pm »
Phil -

Thought you wanted to stay on TransAm as long as possible.
I've cycled the route from south of Glenwood to Walden.
Much of it is very nice - - HOWEVER - -
The stretch of US 40 between Hwy 14 to Hwy 134 is pretty dangerous.
It is an old roadbed - 1940s - narrow, no shoulders, with drop-offs.
It has fairly high traffic levels, lots of curves, and limited sight distances.
Drivers tend to be pushy and impatient. (Skiers heading to Steamboat, etc.)

Also, not sure if Google routed you along the Colorado River - dirt road -
or all the way down to Wolcott and Eagle.

From Walden to Glenwood
Hwy 14 - super nice, narrow, but little traffic.
US 40 - super nasty, why ACA no longer uses it as part of TransAm route.
Hwy 134 - super nice, light traffic
Hwy 131 - killer downhill into Colorado River valley.
County dirt road - fine for touring bicycle, little traffic
Colorado River Bike Trail - fine, but frequent freeway traffic noise

Back roads are available to bypass Delta.

Offline Philipp_

Re: Westcoast to Colorado: Western Express or Transamerica Trail?
« Reply #23 on: February 14, 2018, 11:41:08 am »
Thanks Juan, I wouldn't want to get run over on the US40.

Would you choose the TA or L&C from the Pacific to Missoula? The L&C is a bit further north so maybe a bit cooler?

Leg NoRoutemilesACA-RoutePossible Detour
1Seattle, Sequim, Townsend, Joyce, Neah Bay223Washington Parks -
2Neah Bay, Forks, Kalaloch, Amanda Park, Humptulips, Aberdeen (Kurt Cobain Landing), Westport, North Cove, Raymond, Astoria, Seaside279Washington Parks (mostly), Pacific Coast -
3Seaside, Cannon Beach, Nehalem, Tillamook, Otis, Lincoln City, Newport, Florence176Pacific Coast
4Florence, Reedsport, North Bend,  Brummit Creek (Giant Connifers), Roseburg, Eugene194Pacific Coast
5Eugene, McKenzie Bridge, Sisters, Smith Rick State Park, Prineville, Mitchell, Dayville, John Day, Austin, Baker City351 TransAmericaBend
6Baker City, Richland, Cambridge, New Meadows, Riggins, White Bird222TransAmerica -
7White Bird, Grangeville, Koosika, Lolo Hot Springs, Missoula189TransAmerica -
8Missoula, Lolo, Florence, Victor, Hamilton, Darby, Sula, Wisdom, Jackson, Dillon, Twin Bridges, Sheridan, Ennis, West Yellowstone330TransAmerica-
9Yellowstone NP: West Yellowstone, Madison Junction, Norris Geysir, Canyon Village, Yellowstone Lake, West Thumb 122- Old Faithfull
10West Thumb, Moran, Dubois, Crowheart, Fort Washakie, Lander, Sweetwater Station, Jeffrey City, Rawlins304TransAmerica Jackson (Grand Teton NP)
11Rawlins, Saratoga, Riverside, Walden118 TransAmerica -
12Walden, Rand, Grandby, Kremmling, Silverthrone, Leadville, Buena Vista, Poncha Springs, Monarch Pass, Gunnison 276Great Parks South, mostly Rocky Mountain NP, Hoosier Pass (13.200ft), Fairplay, Cottonwood Pass (if traversable)
13Gunnison, Montrose, Ridgway, Rico, Dolores250 Great Parks South, mostly Black Canyon NP
14Dolores, Mesa Verde NP, Aztec Ruins NM, Chaco Culture NP, Thoreau, Albuquerque316- Taos, Los Alamos
Total3350
« Last Edit: February 14, 2018, 12:27:18 pm by Philipp_ »

Offline jamawani

Re: Westcoast to Colorado: Western Express or Transamerica Trail?
« Reply #24 on: February 14, 2018, 12:40:49 pm »
Well - - - This is an Adventure Cycling website.
Their maps are excellent - a bit pricey - but you can do it without, too.

There are not many route choices in the interior West - so it's pretty obvious.
But getting through more developed areas - like Eugene, OR and Missoula, MT is a bit tricky.

<<<>>>

Looking at your route and the time you have available -
I would definitely take the Old Faithful out-and-back from Madison.
There's the Old Firehole Road going up -
The Old Fountain Flat Road is a bike trail with great views down upon Grand Prismatic Spring.
Coming back, there is the quiet Firehole Lake Loop.
All in all makes a nice geyser exploration day -
And you get way more than just the thousands of tourists at Old Faithful.

As I said before, you should plan to head into Grand Teton N.P.
Hiker/biker camping right on Jenny Lake.
Fabulous deck at Dornan's Bar & Restaurant at Moose.

By the time you are in Colorado, you are likely to encounter snow & cold.
Rocky Mountain N.P is a ways off route - plus Trail Ridge Rd. is likely to be closed.
Hoosier Pass and Monarch Pass are open all year - but they may close temporarily for snow.

Offline Philipp_

Re: Westcoast to Colorado: Western Express or Transamerica Trail?
« Reply #25 on: February 17, 2018, 08:19:29 am »
Did I understand it correctly?

Yellowstone NP:
West Yellowstone, West Entrance Road (HW191) to Madison Junction
then along Firehole River: Firehole Canyon Road, Grand Loop Road, Fountain Flat Drive, Fairy Falls Trail to Goose Lake
Grand Loop Road to Upper Geysir Basin
Back, skipping Old Faithfull: Grand Loop Road to Grand Prismatic Springs
Firehole Lake Drive & Grand Loop Road back to Madison Junction
Grand Loop Road to Norris Geysir
Norris Canyon Road to Canyon Village
Grand Loop Road to Yellowstone Lake
Grand Loop Road along the Lake to West Thumb
Total: 111m

The names of the roads are from Bing maps

Offline jamawani

Re: Westcoast to Colorado: Western Express or Transamerica Trail?
« Reply #26 on: February 17, 2018, 09:16:17 am »
Almost - -

1. Your main loop gives you an excellent overall tour of the park -
West Yellowstone - Madison - Norris - Canyon - Lake - West Thumb - South Entrance

2. The Old Faithful out-and-back is accurate, but there is no reason to skip Old Faithful itself.
Old Faithful Inn is a magnificent log structure - saved from the 1988 fires.
And, hey, watching O.F. go off is a tourist tradition.
(I enjoy the geysers and tour of Norris Basin far  more - esp. morning or evening.)

3. There are a number of short, but very pleasant side road alternates.
a. Between West Yellowstone and Madison along the Madison River - empty.
b. Virginia Cascades Rd. between Norris and Canyon - very quiet.
c. North Rim Drive - Canyon area - access to all spectacular viewpoints - one-way traffic.
d. South Rim Drive - access to Artist Point - hike along rim of canyon
e. Gull Point Drive - just west of Bridge Bay - super quiet lakeside spot

Remember to check for closing dates of facilities - roads, campgrounds, stores
Things start to close quickly by mid-September.

Routed on RideWithGPS -
https://ridewithgps.com/routes/26882923

Yellowstone in autumn is lovely - cold at night - but lovely.