Friday, May 15, 2009

Some of my favorite Colorado Rides, part I

Today, I was asked by a fellow rounder about what I would pick as some favorite rides in Colorado since he's planning on riding up in late July/early August.

His request was not the first I've received, so I figured that I'd put together a list of roads in this great state that I've ridden along with some commentary and a link perhaps for when I blogged about it.

I'll also, at the end of this posting, list some information sources I've used to help plan rides.

The Red Rocks Park and Amphitheater

Located to the west of the Denver Metro Area, next to the town of Morrison. It's the home of a public amphitheater which hosts musical/cultural events while nestled amongst awesome rock formations. It's best to hit this park early morning during the weekends as it gets quite crowded with cagers later on. Beware the gravel parking lots, it's the loose stuff.

Here's my first ride to Red Rocks, over two years ago in fact: LINK

Another trip to Red Rocks, with a bit of snow on the ground though the roads were clear: LINK

Riding to Red Rocks in the Spring: LINK

Red Rocks, then and now: LINK

Bear Creek Canyon Road

This is a nice and twisty road leading out of Morrison. It leads you to such mountain towns as Idledale and Kittredge. It's a great way to get to Evergreen and Bergen Park which is the eastern gateway to Mount Evans, the highest paved road in the USA. Bear Creek Canyon is also known as CO74.

Deer Creek Canyon Road.

South of Morrison, off the Wadsworth Blvd exit on the C-470 Slab which functions as a beltway of sorts to Metro Denver, is Deer Creek Canyon Road . It was my first introduction to twisty roads by John, aka Sanoke, my riding mentor and the guy who got me hooked on riding the mountains and their dirt roads. Nicely twisting as well, you can use it to get to Fenders where it's claim to fame is a fire station. From here you can go north or south on Turkey Creek road both of which will get you to US285. US 285 is actually a nice highway for motorcycling as well, it's one of the quicker ways to head west out of Denver and get to some good riding roads.

Coal Creek Canyon Road

This road is also known as CO72. It is another wonderful road into the mountains to the northwest of the Denver Metro area. It's a much nicer way to get to CO119 which is known as the Peak to Peak Highway.

My ride on Coal Creek Canyon Road. To think of all the times I went on the Peak to Peak highway via the I-70 slab, oh well. LINK

US6 from Golden to Blackhawk

Do you like high rock-filled canyon walls, paved two lane road full of twists, bordering a sometimes raging but mostly smoothly flowing river? Throw in three tunnels cut into the hillsides and you've got the portion of US6 between the towns of Golden and Blackhawk. If you like gambling, Blackhawk and nearby Central City are for you. Me? I use them as gateway towns to the Peak to Peak highway and the Rocky Mountain National Park near Estes Park.

Heading East on US6

Rocky Mountain National Park

Ah yes, the Rocky Mountain National Park, one of the better known national parks located here in Colorado. I've been several times and while the scenery in the parts of the park that are accessible in winter is beautiful, it's even better when Trail Ridge Road to the western side of the park is open.

Rocky Mountain National Park

Here's a link to my trip to Rocky Mountain National Park where I finally succeeded in riding the length of Trail Ridge Road: LINK

Be sure to check road conditions before heading out to Trail Ridge road, its definitely closed in the winter and sometimes snow will block things at Milner Pass even in late Spring.

End of May on Trail Ridge Road

If you can ride through to the western entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park, you're in a good position to then head South towards Grand Lake and Granby. From Granby you continue south on US40 through the ski resort town of Winter Park and soon you'll cross the Continental Divide again along Berthoud Pass. Not too far from this pass, you'll come upon I-70 again between Idaho Springs and Georgetown.

NPS information site for the Rocky Mountain National Park: LINK

The Peak to Peak Highway

A very popular ride that is very near the Denver Metro area. It's one of the designated scenic byways of Colorado and definitely a must ride road when you're in our fair state.

Courtesy LINK

I've ridden this road many times, one time twice in one day it was so great. Don't miss the picture op at Saint Malo's Church:

St Malo's Church

Plenty of mountain views along the way to Estes Park on the northern end of the Peak to Peak Highway:

Mount Meeker

My rides on the Peak to Peak Highway: LINK1 LINK2 LINK3

There's more rides to come. Here's some of the online sites I use to plan for, choose and plan my rides:

CDOT's Road Conditions and Cameras: LINK
This is a great site to see if a pass is open or not and what kind of road conditions exists at said passes.'s great listing of great riding roads: LINK


Martha said...

And by the time we finish our family vacation this summer, I suspect you'll have some new suggestions to make!

(we're exploring SW CO this summer)

Steve Williams said...

You have a fine collection of rides in this post. The scale and intensity of your riding landscape is so different than mine that I have a hard time picturing my little Vespa in it.

But I do like the adventure and unknown that comes up in your writing. Thanks for sharing it!

Steve Williams
Scooter in the Sticks