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  1. #1
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    Searle Pass/CO Trail & Twin Lakes/Halfmoon Creek segment

    Has anyone rode either or both of these two segments of the CO trail in the last week or so? Headed down to Leadville, wondering if the trails I want to do are rideable.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    Copper -> Searle -> Kokomo still a NO GO.

    Breckenridge/Summit County trail condition updates
    Last edited by SkaredShtles; 07-08-2011 at 12:53 PM.

  3. #3
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    Have not been, but I am guessing that the Twin Lakes segment is good to go. But that's just a guess.

  4. #4
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    south of BV is totally dry

    Quote Originally Posted by Bagwhan View Post
    Have not been, but I am guessing that the Twin Lakes segment is good to go. But that's just a guess.
    If you want a sure thing, you'll be relatively close from Leadville: all of the CT from Highway 50 north to Cottonwood Creek west of Buena Vista is totally dry, has been for a while. It's all below 11,000 feet. Some really fun singletrack there.
    Tom Purvis - Salida, CO - http://teamvelveeta.tom-purvis.com

    "I like my wimmen like I like my beer--cold and bitter!"

  5. #5
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    I actually just called down to the bike shop...their trails have been good out there for quite some time now! Thanks for the updates! Not sure why I didn't just do that before...have a great weekend all!

  6. #6
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    Hey TomP,

    Do you know if Twin Lakes to Cottonwood Cr is dry? If I'm reading this right, you're saying its dry from Salida to Cottonwood Cr. Thinking about spending a long weekend in the Arkansas valley and riding some new trails (for me). Can you keep going south past cottonwood cr, or is just not enjoyable on a bike? Looking to extend the rides a bit.

    Thanks.



    Quote Originally Posted by TomP View Post
    If you want a sure thing, you'll be relatively close from Leadville: all of the CT from Highway 50 north to Cottonwood Creek west of Buena Vista is totally dry, has been for a while. It's all below 11,000 feet. Some really fun singletrack there.
    "Serves you right to suffer." -The Wife (after being 2 hours late)

  7. #7
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    no fun north of Cottonwood

    Quote Originally Posted by slcdawg View Post
    ... Can you keep going south past cottonwood cr, or is just not enjoyable on a bike? Looking to extend the rides a bit.
    I assume you mean north past Cottonwood Creek? Toward Twin Lakes? In which case the answers are

    No, it's not enjoyable on a bike, and no, you can't really go south past Cottonwood.

    The CT runs into the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness between Twin Lakes and Cottonwood. I don't think the wilderness boundary is very close to the Trailhead at Highway 306 (the road that parallels Cottonwood Cr) but the trail climbs way steeply and steadily up onto a flank of Mt Yale. Even if it is legal it wouldn't be much fun.

    One killer ride in that area that nobody ever rides is the Continental Divide Trail from the Alpine Tunnel to Tincup Pass. You can make a nice loop of it starting in St Elmo, or a lollypop starting at Mt Princeton hot springs. I have no idea whether it's open yet though. It's stupid high. Since the Crest is now down to just big-ass drifts, it might be rideable.

    Here's Absolute Bikes' page about it, doesn't look like they have updated conditions in a few months though:

    http://absolutebikes.com/rides.php?ID=19
    Last edited by TomP; 07-13-2011 at 10:57 AM.
    Tom Purvis - Salida, CO - http://teamvelveeta.tom-purvis.com

    "I like my wimmen like I like my beer--cold and bitter!"

  8. #8
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    Ah, whoops! I am getting two rides mixed up: Mt princeton(Frontier Ranch) to Cottonwood Creek, and Twin Lakes to Clear Creek. Sorry!

    What I meant to ask, is whether Twin Lakes to Clear Lake was dry and if there were any options for extending it. I suppose you could go around the lake towards Mt Massive.




    Quote Originally Posted by TomP View Post
    I assume you mean north past Cottonwood Creek? Toward Twin Lakes? In which case the answers are

    No, it's not enjoyable on a bike, and no, you can't really go south past Cottonwood.

    The CT runs into the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness between Twin Lakes and Cottonwood. I don't think the wilderness boundary is very close to the Trailhead at Highway 306 (the road that parallels Cottonwood Cr) but the trail climbs way steeply and steadily up onto a flank of Mt Yale. Even if it is legal it wouldn't be much fun.

    One killer ride in that area that nobody ever rides is the Continental Divide Trail from the Alpine Tunnel to Tincup Pass. You can make a nice loop of it starting in St Elmo, or a lollypop starting at Mt Princeton hot springs. I have no idea whether it's open yet though. It's stupid high. Since the Crest is now down to just big-ass drifts, it might be rideable.

    Here's Absolute Bikes' page about it, doesn't look like they have updated conditions in a few months though:

    http://absolutebikes.com/rides.php?ID=19
    "Serves you right to suffer." -The Wife (after being 2 hours late)

  9. #9
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    dunno

    Quote Originally Posted by slcdawg View Post
    Ah, whoops! I am getting two rides mixed up: Mt princeton(Frontier Ranch) to Cottonwood Creek, and Twin Lakes to Clear Creek. Sorry!

    What I meant to ask, is whether Twin Lakes to Clear Lake was dry and if there were any options for extending it. I suppose you could go around the lake towards Mt Massive.
    I don't know about that bit south from Twin. Most of use Slideyans rarely go up there.

    Myself, I like the Country south of Mt Ouray. That's my happy place. Marshall Pass, Poncha Creek, Starvation, Silver Creek...

    And, I work in Buena Vista and live in Salida. I drive (or ride) north on 285 every danged weekday. Last thing I want to do when I have time to ride is drive up that confounded road.
    Tom Purvis - Salida, CO - http://teamvelveeta.tom-purvis.com

    "I like my wimmen like I like my beer--cold and bitter!"

  10. #10
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    Gotcha - I'm the same way with my commute. I've only biked a little of the rainbow in Salida - might have to hit Silver Cr on this trip. Wife is out of town and I'm exploring for a long weekend - so many options its mind blowing.


    Quote Originally Posted by TomP View Post
    I don't know about that bit south from Twin. Most of use Slideyans rarely go up there.
    "Serves you right to suffer." -The Wife (after being 2 hours late)

  11. #11
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    This is from last weekend. Includes CT from Hwy 50 to Chalk Creek, St. Elmo, Alpine Tunnel, CDT to Tincup Pass, as well as a big push on Mt Antero. CDT from Alpine Tunnel to Tincup Pass is slow going right now....lots of water and snow fields.

    2011 Colorado Trail Race training: Sawatch Range, Mt Antero, Alpine Tunnel, Tin Cup Pass, St. Elmo
    Starting the weekend on the Colorado Trail near Hwy 50.

    2011 Colorado Trail Race training: Sawatch Range, Mt Antero, Alpine Tunnel, Tin Cup Pass, St. Elmo
    The balancing act of trying to carry 50lbs of gear across a bowing beam of wood.

    2011 Colorado Trail Race training: Sawatch Range, Mt Antero, Alpine Tunnel, Tin Cup Pass, St. Elmo
    The beginning of what would be a nearly 5 hour hike-a-bike section up to almost 14,000 ft.

    2011 Colorado Trail Race training: Sawatch Range, Mt Antero, Alpine Tunnel, Tin Cup Pass, St. Elmo
    Still pushing, but with rain gear. Warm summer day and monsoonal flow equals rain showers.  Rain gear would only be needed for a few hours.

    2011 Colorado Trail Race training: Sawatch Range, Mt Antero, Alpine Tunnel, Tin Cup Pass, St. Elmo
    Above treeline....rain finally stopped.  It was good to be pedaling again!

    2011 Colorado Trail Race training: Sawatch Range, Mt Antero, Alpine Tunnel, Tin Cup Pass, St. Elmo
    While it looked good on paper, this climb was a beast!  This one photo sums up the entire route.  If you look closely, you'll see Sonya pushing her bike up the road  in the lower left-hand corner of the photo.

    2011 Colorado Trail Race training: Sawatch Range, Mt Antero, Alpine Tunnel, Tin Cup Pass, St. Elmo
    It took nearly 5 hours to get up to 13,000 ft......near the base of the 14er known as Mt. Antero....because of the lengthy hike-a-bikes. It was windy and cold.  Sonya scrambles through her Ergon pack from some arm warmers.

    2011 Colorado Trail Race training: Sawatch Range, Mt Antero, Alpine Tunnel, Tin Cup Pass, St. Elmo
    This is the descent off the back side. Insane!  Also one of America's most dangerous roads.  Check it!

    2011 Colorado Trail Race training: Sawatch Range, Mt Antero, Alpine Tunnel, Tin Cup Pass, St. Elmo
    Back below treeline and getting some fresh cold water in the Ergon pack before getting to the high point for the night.

    2011 Colorado Trail Race training: Sawatch Range, Mt Antero, Alpine Tunnel, Tin Cup Pass, St. Elmo
    So much for dry feet!

    2011 Colorado Trail Race training: Sawatch Range, Mt Antero, Alpine Tunnel, Tin Cup Pass, St. Elmo
    Heading up to the Alpine Tunnel at 11,600 ft for the evening. Staying this high was the plan as to test the sleeping gear and get away from the thick mosquitoes.  I have ridden this road about 4 other times.  All 4 times at about 1 AM in the Vapor Trail 125.  Odd to see it in the day light.

    2011 Colorado Trail Race training: Sawatch Range, Mt Antero, Alpine Tunnel, Tin Cup Pass, St. Elmo
    The campsite for the evening looking east along the rail-road grade to the Alpine Tunnel.  This is part of the Vapor Trail 125 course.

    2011 Colorado Trail Race training: Sawatch Range, Mt Antero, Alpine Tunnel, Tin Cup Pass, St. Elmo
    Waking up Sunday AM. Mosquitoes were not an issue at all. Although we had to deal with off and on rain showers all night. I did not have a tarp and Sonya did. While we set up camp about 20 ft from each other, the rain quickly put us next to each other to share the tarp. Sleeping would be good for the evening....stayed 100% dry. Temps dropped to the low 40Fs and the rain wasn't that big of a deal once set up for it.

    2011 Colorado Trail Race training: Sawatch Range, Mt Antero, Alpine Tunnel, Tin Cup Pass, St. Elmo
    The morning started with a big push to the Continental Divide.  Didn't take long to get the blood and legs going.

    2011 Colorado Trail Race training: Sawatch Range, Mt Antero, Alpine Tunnel, Tin Cup Pass, St. Elmo
    Once on top, the trail was awesome! We spent a few hours riding and pushing at 12,000 ft towards Tin Cup Pass.

    2011 Colorado Trail Race training: Sawatch Range, Mt Antero, Alpine Tunnel, Tin Cup Pass, St. Elmo
    What a way to spend the morning!

    2011 Colorado Trail Race training: Sawatch Range, Mt Antero, Alpine Tunnel, Tin Cup Pass, St. Elmo
    Lots of water still flowing from the massive winter snow fall.

    2011 Colorado Trail Race training: Sawatch Range, Mt Antero, Alpine Tunnel, Tin Cup Pass, St. Elmo
    Below treeline....the first time in nearly 12+ hours.

    2011 Colorado Trail Race training: Sawatch Range, Mt Antero, Alpine Tunnel, Tin Cup Pass, St. Elmo
    The ghost town of St. Elmo, CO

    2011 Colorado Trail Race training: Sawatch Range, Mt Antero, Alpine Tunnel, Tin Cup Pass, St. Elmo
    Riding back to where we parked on the Colorado Trail.

    2011 Colorado Trail Race training: Sawatch Range, Mt Antero, Alpine Tunnel, Tin Cup Pass, St. Elmo
    One of the few times were you can say "It's all downhill from here" and it's actually true!

    2011 CO Trail Race training: Sawatch Range, Mt Antero, Alpine Tunnel, St. Elmo
    Here is what we actually rode. My original route was nearly 120 miles round trip. Due to the slow going of the route I had drawn out, we altered it to only get in about 70+ miles over 2 days. We would climb nearly 13,000 ft. There was as much, if not more, hike-a-bike than riding!

    Nearly 100 photos from the weekend are located HERE.

  12. #12
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    Hey Jeff,
    Is that 5 hour hike a bike up to mt antero part of the vapor trail?

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by cbrock450 View Post
    Hey Jeff,
    Is that 5 hour hike a bike up to mt antero part of the vapor trail?
    Dont worry chad you'll be fine!

    Glad you got in! enjoy
    I'm a cowboy on a steel horse i ride!

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  14. #14
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    Getting in is the easiest part of this death march! Deciding to do it and being remotely ready is the part I am worried about.

    I rode half of the course last year and it's brutal!!!


    Quote Originally Posted by PBR me! View Post
    Dont worry chad you'll be fine!

    Glad you got in! enjoy

  15. #15
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    VT125 No Antero

    Quote Originally Posted by cbrock450 View Post
    Hey Jeff,
    Is that 5 hour hike a bike up to mt antero part of the vapor trail?
    Nope. I think Kerkove must have been doing that just for jollies.

    The Vapor Trail 125 course goes on past that left turn up to Antero. It just circles around Antero and heads on up to the Alpine Tunnel.

    Check the map for that section:

    http://vaportrail125.com/section3.html
    Tom Purvis - Salida, CO - http://teamvelveeta.tom-purvis.com

    "I like my wimmen like I like my beer--cold and bitter!"

  16. #16
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    Thanks Tom!
    That's what i thought. I was going section by section on the website but i had to ask.

    Quote Originally Posted by TomP View Post
    Nope. I think Kerkove must have been doing that just for jollies.

    The Vapor Trail 125 course goes on past that left turn up to Antero. It just circles around Antero and heads on up to the Alpine Tunnel.

    Check the map for that section:

    http://vaportrail125.com/section3.html

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by cbrock450 View Post
    Hey Jeff,
    Is that 5 hour hike a bike up to mt antero part of the vapor trail?
    Nope, not part of the VT125. Count your blessings it's not. It's a good kick in the nuts

  18. #18
    not actually bad :)
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    Quote Originally Posted by cbrock450 View Post
    Getting in is the easiest part of this death march! Deciding to do it and being remotely ready is the part I am worried about.

    I rode half of the course last year and it's brutal!!!
    Hope you don't need your crutches back afterwards - I sold 'em. (sorry, but I needed the cash)


    I did spend the night on the summit of Mt Antero once though.
    Old Codger

  19. #19
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    Great report/pics

  20. #20
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    Nice images and ride, Jeff!

  21. #21
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    The CT trail up towards Searle Pass was nice this weekend...I didn't make up to the pass but conditions were great for the five hours that I did ride up and then got chased away by thunder and lightening, few muddy spots and I imagine the top of the pass is still snow...but it was beautiful!
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Searle Pass/CO Trail & Twin Lakes/Halfmoon Creek segment-photo0197_.jpg  

    Searle Pass/CO Trail & Twin Lakes/Halfmoon Creek segment-photo0198.jpg  


  22. #22
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    Thanks for the pics Jeff, I've been wanting to explore that area - maybe in August.
    "Don't take life so serious, son . . . it ain't no how permanent." - Porky Pine

  23. #23
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    Resurrecting an old thread here.

    I'm camping with the fam off FS162 near Chalk Creek and looking for some options. Was thinking of riding the CT from Chalk Creek as an OAB towards HWY-50, but the initial climb sounds like 2 miles of HaB. Guessing its way too early for CDT from Alpine Tunnel?

    Any suggestions? Thinking of riding Rasberry Gulch or the Cascade rail trail as a family ride.





    Quote Originally Posted by TomP View Post

    One killer ride in that area that nobody ever rides is the Continental Divide Trail from the Alpine Tunnel to Tincup Pass. You can make a nice loop of it starting in St Elmo, or a lollypop starting at Mt Princeton hot springs. I have no idea whether it's open yet though. It's stupid high. Since the Crest is now down to just big-ass drifts, it might be rideable.

    Here's Absolute Bikes' page about it, doesn't look like they have updated conditions in a few months though:

    Absolute Bikes Area Rides
    "Serves you right to suffer." -The Wife (after being 2 hours late)

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by slcdawg View Post
    Resurrecting an old thread here.

    I'm camping with the fam off FS162 near Chalk Creek and looking for some options. Was thinking of riding the CT from Chalk Creek as an OAB towards HWY-50, but the initial climb sounds like 2 miles of HaB. Guessing its way too early for CDT from Alpine Tunnel?

    Any suggestions? Thinking of riding Rasberry Gulch or the Cascade rail trail as a family ride.
    Going south from Raspberry is pretty burly on and off. It's more fun to ride from Mt Shavano north towards Raspberry/Chalk on that section, but there's still HaB and burliness even in that direction. Depends on what you're into. It's a beautiful section of trail and some of it does flow quite nicely, but there's also rideable technical, and climbing on bowling balls, and some stuff that's just ridiculously steep.

    How far up into the hills are you planning to be on FS162? Past (west of) Cascade? Have you ever ridden the CT Section from Mt Princeton north? That's a really sweet section, I'd much rather out and back on that than the bit south from Raspberry. If you haven't seen it I'd recommend it.

    I'd be pretty certain it's too early for Alpine Tunnel goodness, but I honestly have not heard. What I've been hearing about the high up stuff is that Tree-Mageddon is the big barrier. A friend bashed his way through the Crest last weekend and said there was still a bit too much snow, but maybe a week of shining sun and it would be close to July 4th levels. But he was off his bike like 40 times to get over/around down trees.

    The Alpine Tunnel section of CDT is largely open alpine tundra, so trees wouldn't be as big a barrier. But it's really high. And the trail travels in the same direction as the drift cornice. Not sure what you'd find.
    Tom Purvis - Salida, CO - http://teamvelveeta.tom-purvis.com

    "I like my wimmen like I like my beer--cold and bitter!"

  25. #25
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    Oh yeah, I've been meaning to do that section North from Mt Princeton...somehow forgot about it. We are headed up early Fri morning, hoping to find a spot at one of the CGs off 162 or dispersed near Rasberry Gulch if necessary.

    Thanks for the reminder! Might check out CDT if time permits, but that will def be plan B.



    Quote Originally Posted by TomP View Post
    How far up into the hills are you planning to be on FS162? Past (west of) Cascade? Have you ever ridden the CT Section from Mt Princeton north? That's a really sweet section, I'd much rather out and back on that than the bit south from Raspberry. If you haven't seen it I'd recommend it.

    I'd be pretty certain it's too early for Alpine Tunnel goodness, but I honestly have not heard. What I've been hearing about the high up stuff is that Tree-Mageddon is the big barrier. A friend bashed his way through the Crest last weekend and said there was still a bit too much snow, but maybe a week of shining sun and it would be close to July 4th levels. But he was off his bike like 40 times to get over/around down trees.

    The Alpine Tunnel section of CDT is largely open alpine tundra, so trees wouldn't be as big a barrier. But it's really high. And the trail travels in the same direction as the drift cornice. Not sure what you'd find.
    "Serves you right to suffer." -The Wife (after being 2 hours late)

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