Saturday, March 01, 2008

Riding the Peak to Peak Highway and nearby Canyon Roads

Beautiful riding day! Temperatures ranged from low-50s to mid-70s! Sunny for most of the day.

I started my ride today a little before 0800hrs and got back home around 1530hrs. Got in around 274 miles of riding and discovered a couple of neatly twisting canyon roads to add to the repertoire of such roads within easy distance of home.

I slabbed it on I-70 to US270 to US36 to get to Boulder. The skies were kind of overcast during the first hour or so of riding but it was not too bad. I cleared Boulder by taking CO199 West towards the town of Nederland. This is the home of "The Frozen Dead Guy" festival which is coming up: 7-9 March. More info here.

I headed North on CO72 from Nederland and soon arrived where it junctions with CO7, a beautifully twising/winding road that ends up at Estes Park and is known as the Peak to Peak Scenic Highway.

The first view of Mt. Meeker on CO 7

I made my way past Allenspark and stopped near St. Malo's Church for this side view of Mount Meeker.

Mount Meeker and St. Malo's Church

Next up as one makes his way on the Peak to Peak Highway are great views of Long's Peak, this series was taken from the spot where Enos Mills, the father of Rocky Mountain National Park, had once homesteaded and now there's a marker.

Views of Long's Peak - From Far Away

A little closer...

Closest I could get with my little camera

Historical Marker near where I shot the Long's Peak pictures

Twin Sisters Mountains, you can see the stone wall where the Enos Mills Plaque is mounted

A short ride from the Enos Mill location, you come upon Lilly Lake where there's a frozen lake this time of year and a trailhead for the Twin Sisters Mountains. Here's some views from near the entrance to Lilly Lake Park:

Frozen Lilly Lake

Lilly Lake, looking back towards Long's Peak

From Lilly Lake, you arrive at the southern end of Estes Park pretty quickly. I tanked up there and headed back down South on CO 7, thinking to take Lefthand Canyon Road East from the town of Ward.

I made my way, thoroughly enjoying the twisty/windy roads that were pretty much gravel free. Mind you, there were some spots I had to slow down a lot in but not too bad, not like Deer Creek Canyon Road!

I elected to stay on CO7 towards Lyons instead of turning at the junction with CO72 and boy I am glad I did. The twists and turns on CO7 as one heads towards Lyons are great! You're surrounded by rocky canyon walls for most of the way and the curves as the road follows the path of the river left a big stupid grin on my face!

From Lyons I headed South on US36 towards Boulder, hoping to find the eastern end of Lefthand Canyon Road. On the way there, I spotted a sign marking "Hygiene Road". Needless to say, I took a slight detour to get a picture of Maria next to a sign announcing the unusually named town of Hygiene!

Before I found the sign though, I stumbled on CO66 on the North end of Hygiene and wandered westward on it a bit till I got this shot of what I believe is Long's Peak.

On Colorado 66, looking to the west

An unusually named town

I then made my way back through the town of Hygiene and back on the road I'd taken from US36. Once back heading south on US36, I spied what looked like massive satellite dishes off in the distance. I kept looking for a road that led in their direction and found Nelson Road. I took this road and ended up within perhaps a quarter mile of the satellite dishes. They apparently belong to the US Dept of Commerce and are also apparently used by the USGS, NOAA and the National Telecom and Information Administration.

All I know is, they were kind of cool looking, in an X-Files sort of way. : )

So, pictures taken, I headed back on Nelson to US36 which I continued south until I zipped by the sign for Lefthand Canyon Road! I got turned around and got on this road, which was quite nice and twisty as well. Traffic was kind of heavy by this time of day so the pace was sedate for the most part. I made it to the town of Ward which is a really small and rustic town on the side of a mountain.

I headed south where Lefthand Canyon road junctioned with CO72 and soon I was in the town of Nederland once again. I found a parking spot at a supermarket parking lot and ate my lunch. Life was good.

After a short lunch break, I headed back South on CO119 back towards Boulder. The traffic in Boulder was quite heavy and it stayed heavy as I turned from CO119 back to US36 which I took back to US270. I stopped at a Bass Pro Super Store (it was huge!) and looked around a bit but finding nothing I headed onto I-70 and was home soon afterwards.

The weather had turned quite warm by the time I was done at Bass Pro World. I was down to a T-shirt under my riding jacket and had removed the vent panels from my riding pants. Still, I was warm but not overly so, and it was just fine once I got moving on the motorcycle.

So, again I must say it was a beautiful day to ride. Bikers, squids, donorcycle riders and other motorcyclists were out in force after say 10AM. Snow is expected tonight but that's ok. We had a good day to ride today here in Colorado.


Conchscooter said...

And not one picture of Hygiene nor a word of explanation? Mountains abound and beautiful they are too, but what is the city's chosen symbol? World's largest bar of soap?

redlegsrides said...,_Colorado