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  1. #1
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    Trip suggestions for Summer 2013?

    We are planning a trip to CO for Summer 2013, but the destination(s) and details have yet to be decided: A few friends are planning on flying into & out of Denver and staying in one or two locations, focusing on riding. Planning on doing some hiking and/or other activities during non-riding time. Good beer a plus, too...

    The whole trip is pretty loose. We rode Moab/Fruita two years ago and really preferred the flowy Fruita trails to Moab. We haven't even decided on dates yet; it'll probably be in June or July. Can you folks suggest a location or two? We'd like to minimize drive time from Denver, so we were thinking maybe Boulder/Ft. Collins/Co Springs.... The idea being that we fly into Denver and drive to a location, spend a few days riding, then travel to another area and ride the remaining days there, renting a small house or hotel rooms in each. Thinking like 7-10 days riding. Considered Gunnison or similar, but it's obviously a longer drive...worth it?

    A far as skill level, two of the three are average/above riders, and the third rides less. So we probably want to have some intermediate trail options.

    Thanks to anyone who can give us some guidance! I'm happy to return the favor if you're ever visiting Hawaii!

  2. #2
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    For CO's finest, you'll want to head into the high country. If the snow continues to suck this year, you'll be fine in late June. Yes - its definitely worth the drive to Crested Butte! Highly recommended.

    To minimize the drive from Denver, you could stay and ride in Breckenridge. Lots of great riding there and its a fun mountain town. Plus some great day trips from Breck.
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  3. #3
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    What kind of riding? Shuttle/lift access DH or all mountain, ride up, ride down?

    Several of the resorts have beefed up their lift access trail riding, top of the list is Winter Park, Keystone, and Sol Vista. People say good things about crested butte but I have not been there. Vail has some trails worth note but not a destination. Breck has a good night life but not much for trails on the mountain. Steamboat is working on trails as well, pretty far out but a lot of other stuff to do there. Only other place I would recommend is Durango/ Purgatory but also quite the drive from the metro area.

    If you're coming in for outdoor multi-activity I would highly recommend Grand County, home of Winter Park and Sol Vista, also the west entrance to RMNP. There are lots of nature and outdoors sportsman activities here, though nightlife and "touristy" stuff like are limited pretty much to WP and Grand Lake during the summer months.


  4. #4
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    Another vote for Crested Butte. My wife and I have ridden there for the last 4 years and will go again this year (We also hit Fruita and Moab on the same trips). CB has INCREDIBLE scenery and wonderful flowy trails. Trail 401 alone is worth the drive. If you want to get into a bit of chunk as well, try the Dyke Trail or Doctor Park. To start acclimating to the altitude, it's also nice to ride Hartmann Rocks in Gunnison (It's also a lot cheaper to stay in Gunnison than CB). To have long climbs followed by fantastic winding descents down a mountain with incredible views and shoulder-high wildflowers on either side of you is nothing short of amazing.

  5. #5
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    For a summer trip that you are willing to split up into a couple days here and there, i would spend 2 days in cortez and ride the trails there then head up to fruita for a couple days then hit breckenridge for the rest. If you start down in cortez you can ride in moab on the way to fruita/grand junction area and definitely check out the palisade rim trail and then on your way to breck you could stop in eagle or vail and do some great riding, once in breck you have all kinds of options from checking out the trails in salida to riding buffalo creek, golden, boulder, winter park, keystone. You really can't go wrong no matter what you do just depends on what you really want and how hard you want to make it.

  6. #6
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    And another option you might want to consider is a 7 day point to point ride.

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    I did the Durango to Moab route a couple of years ago and it was an amazing adventure. Telluride to Moab is a little bit easier, they say.
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  7. #7
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    Here is my vote!

    Head out of denver super early and hit up salida for a few days.(3 hour drive) Go out and ride the Monarch Crest Trail and Agate Creek) Drink beer at Amica's and Elevation Brewery. Amica's is in Salida and Elevation is in Poncha Springs.

    Salida is on the way to crested butte and will break up the drive. From Salida heead over to CB via cottomwood pass and ride Doctor's Park over near Crested Butte South.

    In Crested Butte you should ride reno flag bear dead man loops and should hit 401. 401 is overrated in my eyes but a must do ride as well. Brick Oven Pizza has lots of incredible beers on tap and are super bike friendly.

    On the way out of town i would hit hartman's rocks in gunnison. This place is a hidden gem!!!
    Talk to the guys at Tomichi Cycles about ride plans. Walk next door to the bean for coffee and the firebrand for grub

    On the way back to denver i would also hit up Buffalo Creek in Pine. This is a super fun flowy place to ride. The climbs will be much easier than the stuff in the high country so your legs will thank you. Your legs are going to be mad at you so be nice to them for the last day.
    I would grab beers and food at Zoka's afterwards.

    There are lots of other rides that are worth hitting up in salida, crested butte and on the 285 corridor from denver down to crested butte.

    I am sure Tom P will chime in with some other great ride recommendations.

  8. #8
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    I would do almost exactly what cbrock450 said..(but would add Fooses on Monarch)

    I used to live in Gunnison and now Denver and in my opinion, his recommendation highlights some of the best riding in the state.. Just be careful not to come to0 early as you might miss out on the Monarch riding as the snow will need to melt..

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  9. #9
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    I third the Salida/CB suggestion. What cbrock is suggesting sounds like a little more riding than you are planning; that said, you can scale down his plan and have a blast.

    I would also suggest an alternative of heading out to Fruita then heading out to Telluride. Take advantage of their free gondola to access some great high country terrain and it all dumps you back in town. The Telluride brewery is probably the finest in the state, to boot.

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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by cbrock450 View Post
    ...I am sure Tom P will chime in with some other great ride recommendations.
    Wow, way to put pressure on a guy!

    Actually I think CBrock summed up a good recommendation or two for you. Here in Salida there are some good options, and I hear about lots of houses that rent for pretty cheap.

    I would push your plans to July if possible, or at least the very last week of June. So far it looks like another poor snow year, which would have high country rides opening up somewhat early, but you never know until you know. The winter (or Spring) could actually give us some dumpage, in which case June would be too early. Even with a poor snow year, June can be a bit limited.

    If you're here, I might suggest getting up to the Continental Divide Trail west of the ghost town of St Elmo. It's got a fair amount of hike-a-bike but the views are spectacular and you are likely to see nobody (unlike the Monarch Crest Trail, where you will see everybody).

    The Crest is a must-do. And if you get this far from Denver, it would be a waste not to go an hour further to Gunny. A day at Hartman Rocks is a good day. And CB is close enough to Gunny that you can easily make day trips and benefit from Gunny's cheaper lodgings. Being in Crested Butte would be better though so you could enjoy the Brick Oven's great food and beer and stagger home without worrying about a DUI...
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  11. #11
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    Wait until mid-July. Then it won't matter what happens with the snow this winter.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by cbrock450 View Post
    Here is my vote!

    Salida is on the way to crested butte and will break up the drive. From Salida heead over to CB via cottomwood pass and ride Doctor's Park over near Crested Butte South.

    In Crested Butte you should ride reno flag bear dead man loops and should hit 401. 401 is overrated in my eyes but a must do ride as well. Brick Oven Pizza has lots of incredible beers on tap and are super bike friendly.
    This.

    If you ride Doc Park, make sure you know where the turnoff from the fireroad to the trail is. You wouldn't want to do an extra 10 miles of riding, wondering where the hell the trail is. And no matter what, don't ride the "bonus" spur unless you have a really good map. Ask me how I know

    Also, where's the love for the 403 in CB? In my eyes this is a must do, even more so than the 401 and Doc Park. A lung-busting climb followed by amazing scenery, high speed singletrack, and lots of techy goodness.

    FYI there's free camping just outside of CB if you want to sleep cheap.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkaredShtles View Post
    Wait until mid-July. Then it won't matter what happens with the snow this winter.
    Word.
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by gbug View Post
    ... where's the love for the 403 in CB? In my eyes this is a must do, even more so than the 401 and Doc Park...
    Quote Originally Posted by mazafakka View Post
    ...A far as skill level, two of the three are average/above riders, and the third rides less. So we probably want to have some intermediate trail options...
    Leave that dude home the day you do 403.

    I have to say, there's a reason most people favor other CB rides over 403. And that reason is that it's a bastard.

    When I got to 403 at 50 miles into the Classic this fall, after climbing the Slate de Huez, I had some bad words to say to it.

    There is no convenient way to do 403 as it should be done without doing a really big ride. The OP doesn't say what elevation he calls home. Unless he lays his head on a pillow that's above 4,500 feet elevation every night, he better be one fit honcho to enjoy a ride that big. On vacation no less.

    Riding 403 the correct way, south to north, implies either climbing up the Washington Gulch Road (way up), or the Slate de Huez then back on the Gothic Road. To shuttle it is a true PITA, especially for people from out of town who are operating out of a (single) rented car.

    It's a great trail for wearing some tread off your shoes then making your brakes smoke. I actually one time made a little drop of melted rotor that I had to file off later on a descent of 403 down to the Gothic Road. That descent is relatively short and steep given the effort you have to put into getting to the top.

    When you're bothering to do 403, you ought to do 401 as well, which is a huge ride. But if you skip 401 on that journey, you're only riding about 7 miles of singletrack in 3-5 hours. And most any human reading this is going to be walking some of that climb.

    IMO, 403 deserves to be down on the list for most humans. But that's just me.
    Tom Purvis - Salida, CO - http://teamvelveeta.tom-purvis.com

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  15. #15
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    What Tom said - 403 is a short trail (albeit fun) that *should* be combined from town with 401... but that is a big ride.

  16. #16
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    I use to live in CB and never understood 403 either!

    Sure it's nice to loop snodgrass, 403 to 401 but that is a lot dusty roads to climb and minimal payoff.

    If I am going to deal with a dirt road for some payoff it's going to be tomichi pass!

    Tom P, I still owe you a few beers for sending us out on that death march! One of the best scenic rides I have ever been on followed by a permagrin descent!

  17. #17
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    Great suggestions folks. Crested Butte sounds excellent - I'm going to look into it.

    If we were going to stay closer to the metro area, though, and you had to pick two places as "home base", where would those be? Boulder, Ft. Collins? Co Springs? Somewhere else?

    Thanks again!

    ***Although I just posted this, it seems to have appeared much higher in the thread - I must have hit reply on an earlier message, argh****

  18. #18
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    if you stay closer to Denver, make sure you ride South St Vrain/Buchanan Pass area, its my favorite close to home.

  19. #19
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    Alright - a bunch of great suggestions! Salida seems possible since it appears to be less than 3 hours from Denver. That's a great recommendation, Cbrock450 (and Tom P and everyone else). Maybe we could stay in Salida for the first few days and then head to Crested Butte after that.

    So we should wait until July, I guess. That's no problem. Would it be even better to wait til August? As far as fitness goes, I'm in decent riding shape and I do a lot of climbing, but I live at sea level (Hawaii - Honolulu) so the altitude adjustment could take a little time. The other guys live at sea level too.

    Keep the suggestions coming, folks! This is great.

  20. #20
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    Home base close to town: Summit County (Frisco, Silverthorne, Breckenridge).

    Riding around Summit County is arguably as good as Crested Butte. 'Specially if you throw in Vail/Eagle to the mix.

    That said - the Butte wins overall 'cause there aren't any crowds to speak of and the scenery is incredible.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkaredShtles View Post
    Home base close to town: Summit County (Frisco, Silverthorne, Breckenridge).

    Riding around Summit County is arguably as good as Crested Butte. 'Specially if you throw in Vail/Eagle to the mix.

    That said - the Butte wins overall 'cause there aren't any crowds to speak of and the scenery is incredible.
    Interesting you throw Eagle/Vail in the mix. I've seen it a couple times in Mountain Flyer, but I never hear about it on here. I've been meaning to go exploring.

  22. #22
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    I think that a Salida, Summit county loop, either direction is your best bet. If you are coming late enough in the summer, hit up Monarch Crest in Salida, as well as some other local areas that TomP will fill you in on. When you get to Summit, either head to Breck or Keystone as either will provide access to miles of trail right out your door.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by TomP View Post
    Leave that dude home the day you do 403.

    I have to say, there's a reason most people favor other CB rides over 403. And that reason is that it's a bastard.

    When I got to 403 at 50 miles into the Classic this fall, after climbing the Slate de Huez, I had some bad words to say to it.

    There is no convenient way to do 403 as it should be done without doing a really big ride. The OP doesn't say what elevation he calls home. Unless he lays his head on a pillow that's above 4,500 feet elevation every night, he better be one fit honcho to enjoy a ride that big. On vacation no less.

    Riding 403 the correct way, south to north, implies either climbing up the Washington Gulch Road (way up), or the Slate de Huez then back on the Gothic Road. To shuttle it is a true PITA, especially for people from out of town who are operating out of a (single) rented car.

    It's a great trail for wearing some tread off your shoes then making your brakes smoke. I actually one time made a little drop of melted rotor that I had to file off later on a descent of 403 down to the Gothic Road. That descent is relatively short and steep given the effort you have to put into getting to the top.

    When you're bothering to do 403, you ought to do 401 as well, which is a huge ride. But if you skip 401 on that journey, you're only riding about 7 miles of singletrack in 3-5 hours. And most any human reading this is going to be walking some of that climb.

    IMO, 403 deserves to be down on the list for most humans. But that's just me.
    On second thought, you're probably right. I suppose the length of time since this past summer has lessened the memory of the excruciating pain that was the climb to the top of 403. I guess you just have to be a glutton for punishment to enjoy the ride.

    As an aside to anyone considering the 403, if you start from Gothic Road and take Snodgrass Trail to Washington Gulch Rd, you effectively double the amount of singletrack ridden.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by mazafakka View Post
    Great suggestions folks. Crested Butte sounds excellent - I'm going to look into it.

    If we were going to stay closer to the metro area, though, and you had to pick two places as "home base", where would those be? Boulder, Ft. Collins? Co Springs? Somewhere else?

    Thanks again!

    ***Although I just posted this, it seems to have appeared much higher in the thread - I must have hit reply on an earlier message, argh****
    If you want to stay close to metro area, you'll sacrifice on epic riding. Your best bet would be to stay in Golden area and check out Buffalo Creek, Centennial Cone (during the day, mid-week), Coors Brewery and the small brew pubs which are slated to be opened by then.

    If you stay in Boulder, you'll gain more night life options but the riding is either technical and strenuous or overcrowded.

    Summit County is within an hour's drive from Denver and has superb riding options.

    Winter Park has lifts and tons of great singletrack sans lifts, also ~1h from Denver.

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  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by gbug View Post
    This.

    If you ride Doc Park, make sure you know where the turnoff from the fireroad to the trail is. You wouldn't want to do an extra 10 miles of riding, wondering where the hell the trail is. And no matter what, don't ride the "bonus" spur unless you have a really good map. Ask me how I know

    Bonus spur kicks ass, and is now signed

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