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  1. #1
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    Colorado Trail Vacation

    Hey everyone
    Im planning an 'epic' mountain bike trip with an experianced group of riders to ride various parts of the colorado trail and the surrounding areas. The initial plan is to more or less start in the denver area and work our way down, camping at different spots and doing out and back rides as well as some shuttle runs. Because we want to do the 'epic' stuff my guess is that a lot of the rides will take place in the high country. We were intially planning on going for 2 weeks starting on july 5th. That was until i started reading a bunch of threads talking about the above average snow pack this year. Now im debating whether starting on the week of july 20th would be better. I know no one can guess how much more snow is to come and that its just speculation but any ideas or guesses about when the high country should be good to go? Already have other plans in early august so im really hoping that the end of july will work. Just thought id ask those that are familiar with the area. I dont think my group will take to kindly to being told they cant ride the 'high country epics'. BTW any hot spots that are must for experianced riders let me know. We love it all: huge descents, lots of climbing, technical , and of course beautiful scenery. Thanks for any input much appreciated

  2. #2
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    Reputation: sgltrak's Avatar
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    Later will be better this summer. Don't miss Kenosha pass through Summit County to Searle Pass.

  3. #3
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    End of July will definitely be better. Do Denver -> Buffalo Creek in a day then head straight out to Kenosha.

  4. #4
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    Agreed on the recommendations. I'd add a day just to ride all the stuff at Buffalo Creek, but that's a personal bias. Absolutely do not miss Kenosha to Breckenridge, it's everything you want and more. Searle Pass is pretty special, too, but more for scenary than for epic descents. If you can swing later, there's certainly no reason not to go later. The center of the state isn't getting as hammered as the southern parts. The area around Kenosha is only about 5-15% above normal, the area around Searle Pass is about 10-25% above normal according to February's Snowtel data. It's the southern mountains that are pushing 150-200% of normal right now.

    Also, if you want to do something really special for the group, consider reserving a 10th Mountain Hut like Janet's Cabin, right on the Colorado Trail, just below Searle Pass. In the summer, there's good odds you'd have the place to yourself on a weeknight.
    Train 'til you puke. Cheat to win. Party like a rockstar. We miss you, Jan!

  5. #5
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    Janet's Cabin is not open in the summer months. Too bad cuz that would have been a good plan. You could go to the Jackal hut as it's pretty close...
    WTF

  6. #6
    bacon! bacon! bacon!
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    Quote Originally Posted by rockymtnway
    Agreed on the recommendations. I'd add a day just to ride all the stuff at Buffalo Creek, but that's a personal bias. Absolutely do not miss Kenosha to Breckenridge, it's everything you want and more. Searle Pass is pretty special, too, but more for scenary than for epic descents.
    I dunno - the decent after climbing over to Kokomo down to Camp Hale is pretty epic IMO.

  7. #7
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    Very few rides would be a problem by July 4th, regardless of the snowpack. Okay, summer of 95 would have been too much snow: that was the year A-Basin got 8" on the 4th and it seemed like summer would never come in the high country, but there was still good riding a couple of thousand feet lower.
    The Firecracker 50 is held every year in Breckenridge on the 4th and the course goes well above tree line for most of the course.
    Rest assured that you should be fine in July, that marks the start of peak season in the high country.

  8. #8
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    For what it's worth . . .

    Good advice thus far. If you are after epic rides with incredible scenery, I'd skip the Buffalo Creek area. It's great fun (and one of my favorite areas), but does not give you that 'on top of the world' feeling. Kenosha Pass to Breckenridge is great, but requires a huge shuttle. You might prefer an out & back from Kenosha Pass to Georgia pass - great ride! The ride from Copper Mountain to Camp Hale over Kokomo & Searle Pass is certainly epic, but again presents the issue of arranging a shuttle vehicle. Further south, the Monarch Crest Trail, which uses sections of the Continental Divide, Colorado, Silver Creek and Rainbow trails, is another of my favorites. Another gnarly epic is the ride from Aspen to Crested Butte over either Taylor or Pearl Pass -- round trip it and you'll be able to skip the shuttle. If you do this ride, give yourself a couple extra days in C.B. to ride the 401, 409, Teocalli or other trails -- well worth your time and effort. Personally, the parts of the Colorado Trail I find most amazing are in the last 72 miles from Molas Pass to Durango. Now that's Epic with a capital "E". However, who know when the super deep snow around Durango is going to melt away this summer? Folks down there may still be shoveling out in August.
    Have a great time!

  9. #9
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    A good goal might be is to ride all the bicycle allowed sections of the Colorado Trail, which includes Denver to Buffalo Creek (Wellington Lake), This section will probably be doable long before the higher up stuff by at least three weeks I would think. The Colorado Trail has it all. It's all good.
    Peace out and stay cool!

  10. #10
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    I'd stay clear of the Denver/ Front Range area during July, it gets pretty stupid hot. Stick to the high country, high's in the mid 80's on the hottest days. You could easily spend a week in Winter Park, a week in Summit County, and a week in Crested Butte/ Gunnison area: doing epic rides everyday and not overlaping trails at all. A lot of good rides listed here; two more out and back Colorado trail from the Breck side to Georgia Pass, and Two Elks From Vail pass to Minturn (shuttle required). Order some Latitude 40 maps of the areas before you go.

  11. #11
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    I second the Buffalo Creek ride. Even if it is hot here in the Front Range in July, that ride is probably my #1 or #2 favorite. Definitely do Centennial Cone while here as well. Just go early before the sun starts beatin' on ya!

  12. #12
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    Wow thanks for the great responses...you guys rock! This gives me a good idea of what to plan for. Ill be sure to post a full ride report with pictures when i get back
    thnks again....im getting amped for the trip.

  13. #13
    zrm
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    Quote Originally Posted by eddyturn
    Janet's Cabin is not open in the summer months. Too bad cuz that would have been a good plan. You could go to the Jackal hut as it's pretty close...
    As of last year, Janets Cabin is open in the summer from Mid July till the first week of September.

    If you wanted to do an epic hut to hut trip you could ride to Francies Cabin to Janets to ether Jackal of all the way to Tenth Mountian hut all mostly along either the CT or Wheeler trail

  14. #14
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    I second the Kenosha and Monarch Crest recommendations. Those are two can't miss, epic rides. If you want to do the Kenosha to Breck route rather than out and back, it does require a huge shuttle. To avoid the shuttle, you can ride Kenosha to Georgia pass as an out-and-back, or make it a lollypop loop with Jefferson Creek.

    I agree with the poster that said Buffalo Creek is a ton of fun but doesn't provide the top of the world feeling.

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