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Thread: Planning on riding Colorado in July...

  1. #1
    lastsix
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    Planning on riding Colorado in July...

    I'm planning a ride to Colorado in July...a few friends have told me to just ride through Colorado as quickly as possible and head to Montana or Utah. They said Colorado roads are too crowded. Looking at a map of Colorado it looks like there should be some great roads to ride. Has anyone ridden Colorado and are the roads packed with tourists?
    Last edited by lastsix; 12-06-2010 at 06:14 PM.

  2. #2
    Registered User stkmkt1's Avatar
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    I rode thru Co. last year and enjoyed it. Some people are a bit anal. Tourists are everywhere. You want to meet people on your trip don't you? Some will be other tourists. It is part of the joy that is motorcycling. If you don't want to interact with the people, take a car.
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  3. #3
    lastsix
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    The last time I rode through the Smoky Mountains it was bumper to bumper traffic not much fun...hopefully the traffic in the Rocky Mountains isn't as bad.

  4. #4
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    What type of riding do you want to do? There is something for just about everyone in Colorado. One of my favorite rides is west from Ft Collins on State Highway 14. It is well maintained two lane which covers some spectacular mountain scenery.

  5. #5
    lastsix
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    Road riding...I used to ski Telluride and thought it would be a great ride on the RT. I've been mapping out a route that would take in 149, 550 and maybe ride into Telluride off of 145. Years ago I drove my MGB up Mt Evans but that might be too far northeast this trip.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by lastsix View Post
    I'm planning a ride to Colorado in July...a few friends have told me to just ride through Colorado as quickly as possible and head to Montana or Utah. They said Colorado roads are too crowded. Looking at a map of Colorado it looks like there should be some great roads to ride. Has anyone ridden Colorado and are the roads packed with tourists?
    I could point out road after road devoid of traffic and divine for motorcyclists... like the Silver Thread Scenic Byway (CO 149), CO 131 from Wolcott to Steamboat, CO 141 through the Dolores Canyon, CO 145 over Lizard Head Pass, CO 133 over McClure Pass, CO 125 over Willow Creek Pass, CO 134 over Gore Pass, CO 92 around the Black Canyon of the Gunnison, etc. and etc.

    Then, for those roads that are more popular, like the San Juan Skyway, the Cache La Poudre, Trail Ridge Road, Independence Pass, etc.... you ride them on a weekday, or early in the morning. Empty.

    So, your friends either rode the famous roads on a weekend and at a peak time of day, or they missed the roads the insiders know about .

    Certainly aim for Utah, for the rides one can experience via UT 95, 24, and 12 are inimitable, or aim for way up north and see Glacier in MT, but when it comes to ground zero for an unmatched breadth and depth of journeys, Colorado has few peers.

    BTW, re-reading your post, CO 145 coming up to Telluride from the south, over Lizard Head Pass, is spectacular and traffic quiet. On a weekday, I could stop like this in my lane with no one coming up from behind, and wait for a pic like this...



    And if you want a road/ride/traffic preview of the ride up to Telluride via 145, here's an onboard ride vid.
    Last edited by sfarson; 12-07-2010 at 07:12 AM. Reason: Update with image/vid

  7. #7
    lastsix
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    Thanks for all the info. I've read several of your ride reports and by the pics I would say my friends missed all the good roads and were probably riding the main roads on the weekend just passing through. What I remember of Colorado when I used to do a lot of skiing was there wasn't a lot of traffic...even when we went there in the summer, but that was 30 years ago. You have fantastic pics in your reports!

  8. #8
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    Crowded roads in Colorado

    I'd venture a guess that your friends were around some of the major tourist areas....like Rocky Mountain National Park? While beautiful, it draws a lot of folks and most come in through the east side off of I-25. It can be pretty jammed there most any time there's not snow on the ground.

    I live in southern Colorado. Seems that we're not so well-discovered. This area is home to the Scenic Highway of Legends, aka Hwy 12, between Walsenburg and Trinidad; or Hwy 69 between Walsenburg and Texas Creek. Both are nice, twisty 2-lanes that offer outstanding views and generally have very little traffic. These highways wind through the southernmost 14'ers (peaks in excess of 14,000 ft elevation) in the nation.

    Hwy 50 and Hwy 160 are the 2 major east-west highways across southern Colorado. They can be busy at peak tourist times, but offer many side-road diversions. Checkout South Fork and Creede, Antonito to Chama (NM), Wolf Creek Pass, The Million Dollar Highway Loop (a "must see").

    Just avoid the interstates and stick to the state highways. You'll love it!

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  9. #9
    Frieden mit uns allen drummer's Avatar
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    I am envious - I so want to ride out west. Utah, Co, Wy are all calling me but so far I still am one of the few Americans to still have a job. So until I have the time off, I will not be doing that great of a ride. Still, enjoy and post lots of pictures. Meanwhile, I will stay close to home and ride the Smoky Mtns. which, ya never ride on the weekends. As lastsix says, it is bumper to bumper (mostly during the weekends only).
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  10. #10
    Got curvy roads?
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    Million Dollar Highway

    During my trip to the Rally last year I took the Million Dollar Highway (550) from Durango north and totally enjoyed it! Lots of twisties and elevation changes. Serious twisties south of Ouray So glad I did it. Reminded me of why I like CO so much!
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by lastsix View Post
    The last time I rode through the Smoky Mountains it was bumper to bumper traffic not much fun...hopefully the traffic in the Rocky Mountains isn't as bad.
    Many roads in the Smokies! Get around Gatlinburg/Seveirville/Pigeon Forge/BR pwy, etc., on a weekend & when the leaves are pretty= disaster to me! Do the back roads there and enjoy. As to CO, sure , why wouldn't there be a lot of people in one of the neatest places on earth? Many roads with next to no people there too!Not to be a smart alek, but roads are only there to use. Just left CO and not so busy now, but in summer the largere RV's will slow you down on the main routes/passes some, but as to that being a reason to avoid CO, not hardly!!!

  12. #12
    Sam...I am
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    Hey its CO in the summer. Are there going to be tourists? YEP. But it is still the Rockies. Some areas you should not miss, the views are amazing! You are already getting some good tips here. Sfarson-all good stuff.
    Enjoy it, you are going to love it.

  13. #13
    Beemerphan Radar41's Avatar
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    Cool Riding CO roads

    Quote Originally Posted by lastsix View Post
    I'm planning a ride to Colorado in July...a few friends have told me to just ride through Colorado as quickly as possible and head to Montana or Utah.
    Yes, by all means follow your friends advise!!

    Under NO circumstances ride the secondary roads here. Stay away from the two lane roads which are blue or gray lines on the Colorado maps and VERY boring. AND if you are riding a GS there are NO good roads here period.

    Yep, best to go on through at a high rate of speed!!

    Just kidding of course, your friends are WRONG!!
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  14. #14
    NJN EAR njnear's Avatar
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    Colorado Passes

    Went through southern Colorado (south of I-70) over the 4th of July week last summer. All the major tourist towns were packed, but the two lanes weren't terrible. If you stay away from the Aspens and Breckenridges of the area, you'll be happier.

    We made most of the 10,000'+ passes southwest of Denver and didn't have too many issues.

    Places that I consider must sees are:

    Independence Pass (pretty tootin' high!)

    Cottonwood Pass (it's a dead end if you're not on a GS)

    Black Canyon (northwest of Gunnison)

    Durango to Ouray (no guard rails!)

    I promise, you won't be disappointed!
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  15. #15
    Curmudgeon in training
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    You might want to stay away from the the Interstates right in Denver during the weekdays. Like any big city, the traffic can be messy pretty much all day. There's a toll loop (I-470) that bypasses Denver to the East. It's worth the 8 bucks.

    I-25 through Colorado Springs gets pretty congested during the morning and evening rush hour, but otherwise not bad.

    Steve Farson (sfarson above) has a book coming out this spring called "The Complete Guide to Motorcycling Colorado". If you've seen his photo and video work, no doubt it will be awesome. I'm pretty sure this is his website... http://rmrider.com/
    Last edited by alzyck; 02-13-2011 at 01:42 AM.

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