Saturday, January 23, 2010

Uraling to Eldorado Canyon State Park

Today's ride I elected to stay close to the Denver Metro area and revisit the Eldorado Canyon State Park. The park is next to the small settlement of ElDorado Springs and Eldorado Mountain. The closest big city is Boulder and you get to it via CO93 and taking CO170 west into the foothills south of Boulder.

The main "road" through the settlement is dirt with lots of small potholes and rocks, so it's easy to keep with the posted 10 mph speed limit signs. The main attraction of the place is the Eldorado Pool Center, I imagine its quite popular in the heat of summer.

Just past the end of the settlement is the entrance to the Eldorado Springs State Park, a popular rock-climbing and hiking location for the folks who live in Boulder and Golden.

The entrance fee is $6 and the park is one main dirt road, narrow with high rocky canyon walls on both sides and a small creek running alongside the main road. At the end of the main road lies the park's visitor center.

Visitor Center

 A view of the rock-climbing formation which makes this park a popular destination

The view from near the visitor center, just before the trail that leads to picnic areas to the right

Picnic areas are behind Natasha, they give one a view of the frozen creek above, the area was closed to everyone though today.  Guess they figured correctly no one would be doing a picnic today!

This is the view of the gap provided by the Eldorado Canyon through the foothills south of Boulder

Getting back on CO93 from CO170, now heading south towards Golden and CO119, one gets a nice view of the Flatirons, the name of the rock formations near Boulder

Eldorado Mountain

In the middle of the photo is the entrance to Eldorado Springs

As I rode south on CO93, I spied some large wind power structures to the East.  I made my way closer and found they belonged to the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL)'s Wind Technology Center.  It was pretty wind in this part of CO93 so I guess it was a good spot to test the various models of wind-powered turbines as any.

 One last shot of the Flatirons and Eldorado Mountain

NREL's Wind Technology Center

Continuing south on CO93, I turned onto Indianhead Road, which leads to someones ranch.  It's for sale folks!  This is the view you get as you drive out of your driveway to get to CO93:

Far as I can determine, this cool looking rocky ridge which lies just north of the intersection of Indianhead Rd and CO93 is unnamed.

Looking for more photo opportunities, I rode towards Golden and turned to go west on CO119.  The sun was too low in the sky though and there was no sunlight really hitting the rocky canyon walls along this curvy and twisting two lane road.  Lots of cagers though, I kept having them stack up behind me (even though I was riding at or slightly above the speed limit).  So I'd keep pulling over to let them pass so I could ride and still enjoy the scenery.

I gave up trying to find good photo ops and turned around at the "slow vehicle turnout" just west of Tunnel #3 on CO119.  Before I got going though, I made my way to a tourist information sign I'd not spotted before on my rides through this part of Colorado.  It turned out to have some information that peaked my interest as it pertained to the role of the Chinese in Colorado History:

My father tells me that my great-great grandfather came to America during the mid 1800s to work on the railroads, I wonder if he heard about Chin Lin Sou?

Heading back towards Golden on CO119, I found a good spot to stop between Tunnels #3 and #2 for this shot of frozen over Clear Creek:

Clear Creek

Resuming my ride towards Golden, there were no further photo ops and I just made my way south past Golden and got on Morrison Rd at the town of Morrison.  I filled up with gas at the Conoco station there and got UDF'ed a local police officer.  UDF over, I continued east on Morrison Rd till I got to Kipling Blvd which I took south to its junction with US285.

I was home by 3:00PM, having ridden a mere 204 Km's or about 120 miles in about five hours of saddle time.  I don't think the temperatures got above 40 degrees the whole time I was out, still it was a good day of riding.


Mike said...

Excellent photos! I especially like the one where Natasha is way up on the shoulder of the road on the last picture of the Flatirons and Eldorado Mountain. Thank you.

Richard Machida said...

"UDF'ed"? Unfamiliar term...

Charlie6 said...

Mike, you're most welcome, thanks for the kind words.

Richard, UDF: Ural Delay Factor. When people walk up to you and ask questions about the thing leads to another, pretty soon a ten minute errand turns into a 45 minute run.....It's actually quite enjoyable, when you're not in a hot women like the ones that plague Mr Riepe wherever he rides but it's something.

Arizona Harley Dude said...

The first picture intrigues me, with all that snow on the ground and none on the hills in the background. I also have to second Mike's remark of excellent photos.

Chris Luhman said...

There is the UDF that Charlie6 mentioned above, but the cold keeps them away right now. :) :)

The UDF that is getting old is where people in their cars are holding up traffic gawking at the Ural instead of driving.