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  1. #1
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    Smile Colorado Road Trip - How Does This Sound ?

    Hi Guys and Girls,

    My friend and I are heading over from the UK at the beginning of September and planning on a bit of a road trip through Colorado - please keep reading as I've already got a plan, but it would be great to get some feedback.

    We're flying into Denver, picking up a rental and going from there - we have a week to ride and make our way across the Rockies to Moab where we have another week booked.

    Currently, the plan is:

    Arrive Saturday, drive to Winter Park, eat, drink and be merry.
    Ride Winter Park Sunday
    Depart Sunday after riding and drive down to Copper Mountain.
    Ride Copper Mountain area Monday.
    Leave Copper Mountain early Tuesday and drive to Crested Butte.
    Ride Crested Butte Tues/Wed/Thurs.
    Leave CB early Friday and head up to Fruita.
    Ride Fruita Friday afternoon/Sat morning then leave and roll into Moab Sat afternoon.

    This will be my 4th trip to Moab and my friends second. That part of the trip won't change, but it's pretty tricky trying to pick the places to ride in Colorado.. I have browsed the trail reviews and Western Slope forums etc and know the above isn't exactly going to be bad, but you know how it is.. Don't want to miss something even more awesome!

    One slight concern we have is riding a bike park on the very first day.. We say "it's ok, we'll just take it easy" but you know that NEVER happens..

    Have read mixed reviews of Copper Mountain - just seems like a decent place to stop for a ride.

    CB is pretty much a definate, and I realise it's a bit out of the way and we are potentially staying there for 3 days, so that's a consideration.

    We're both experienced riders of similar fitness level - not XC racers but will climb, or try to climb most stuff and enjoy a mix of flat out fast singletrack to steep techy stuff. Favourite trails in Moab being Porc Rim and Amasa Back.

    Incase any regulars are getting Dejavu, we planned a similar thing in 2011 but only ended up with 8 days so went straight to Moab - if you ask nicely I may share the story of me picking up the wrong bag at the airport - the bag with ALL my riding kit and clothes in, and then driving halfway across the Rockies before realising..

  2. #2
    bacon! bacon! bacon!
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    Don't ride at the resort when you go to Copper - hit the Colorado Trail up to Searle Pass and back. Kokomo if you're feeling frisky when you get to Searle.

    Make sure you drive over Cottonwood Pass & Jack's Cabin Cutoff to get to Crested Butte.

    Check this site for rides in Gunnison/Crested Butte if you haven't already: Crested Butte Mountain Bike Guide: Alphabatized ? 14erskiers.com

    When in Fruita make sure to hit Holy Cross and Moore Fun if nothing else...

    Oh - and be sure to check out the new Captain Ahab trail up on Amasa Back.

  3. #3
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    Thanks SkaredShtles, your CB rides link will keep me busy for a while!
    Have seen the Ahab video on Pinkbike, looks sweet!

  4. #4
    bacon! bacon! bacon!
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    Quote Originally Posted by freeridejim View Post
    Thanks SkaredShtles, your CB rides link will keep me busy for a while!
    Have seen the Ahab video on Pinkbike, looks sweet!
    It is. Make sure if you're going to combine it with the other trails out on Amasa Back to do Ahab 1st - it only descends part way down the main jeep road. And there's a decent bit of climbing at the start. We made the mistake of riding it last after Amasa/Rockstacker and the climb kicked my a$$.

    Of course I'm old and slow...

  5. #5
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    Of course do 401 in Crested Butte just because it's an icon but check out Reno, flag, bear as well. it's one of my favorites.
    In Fruit do the Western Rim. It's not an easy trail to find so if you have a GPS then download a track.
    The new Capt. Ahab trail in Moab is incredible!
    Enjoy
    Randy

  6. #6
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    You should consider riding Monarch crest to rainbow trail for a day, perhaps skipping Copper for this. Doctor's park, Hartman Rocks too. Your trip sounds too short...

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by gunnirider View Post
    You should consider riding Monarch crest to rainbow trail for a day, perhaps skipping Copper for this. Doctor's park, Hartman Rocks too. Your trip sounds too short...

    if you do any ride in Colorado..Monarch Crest is the one to do. Aspen/Glenwood/carbondale has a lot to offer, any reason you are skipping the Roaring Fork Valley?

  8. #8
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    Just my $.02:

    - I'd personally skip the Copper area and head to Summit County to ride the Colorado Trail sections around Keystone and Breckenridge. Lots more to ride than Copper, where you only have the CO Trail up to Searle/Kokomo (which is good as well, just not a full-day's worth of riding).
    - In Crested Butte, Doctor Park is a must-ride. I also make a point of doing a ride with Strand Hill (combine it with the Upper trails and others around town), and then of course a combo of 403-401. You can easily fill up three days in CB.
    - If you've never ridden in Fruita, make sure you do the trails in Loma. Mary's, Horsethief, Steve's, Lion's, Troy Built, Mack Ridge, etc. They're super fun and the scenery is beautiful. You can easily loop together 30 miles if you wanted to.

  9. #9
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    You probably already know this since it looks like you've done your research, but early September could be blazing hot in Fruita and Moab. But be prepared for cold weather in the high country (though early September is the perfect time for high country rides, as the afternoon thunderstorms are usually less prevalent then).

  10. #10
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    Some great feedback - thanks very much. Looks like we should skip Copper Mountain and I'm now thinking maybe skip Winter Park and head straight to the Keystone / Breck area. Have been told that parts of the Colorado trail are awesome and didn't say in my initial post that we want to ride some of the higher altitude stuff before heading into the red rock.

    SkaredShtles - You mentioned driving through Cottonwood Valley. I Google mapped that and it looks like it will be an awesome drive, though easy to get lost? Looks like dirt roads?

    lloyd - Have not heard of Roaring Fork valley so need to check that out.

    Have been to Moab in November and October a couple of times. Last time was mid October and there was snow as low as Hazard County so we could not ride the Whole Enchilada, so this time we wanted to go earlier, though am told September very busy.

  11. #11
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    Freeride- Cottonwood Pass is really easy to navigate, just stay on the main road. Coming through Buena Vista, take a right at the first light (the only light?) which is Main Street, I believe. That road will climb up to the pass over 15 miles or so, and then it turns to dirt. You'll go down about 15 miles, and you will hit a "T" at Taylor Reservoir. Take a left, and you're good to go.

    Here's a shot from the top of Cottonwood Pass, it gives you an idea of what Skared is referring to:


  12. #12
    bacon! bacon! bacon!
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    Quote Originally Posted by smmokan View Post
    Freeride- Cottonwood Pass is really easy to navigate, just stay on the main road. Coming through Buena Vista, take a right at the first light (the only light?) which is Main Street, I believe. That road will climb up to the pass over 15 miles or so, and then it turns to dirt. You'll go down about 15 miles, and you will hit a "T" at Taylor Reservoir. Take a left, and you're good to go.
    Don't forget Jack's Cabin Cutoff after this - it cuts off quite a bit of mileage to the Butte. It's right here.

    Oh - and beware the washboard. If you find it tooth-loosening rough you're not going fast enough.

  13. #13
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    Even if you do decide to stay in Summit, I would still do Searle pass at Copper. One of my favorite rides around, and the Keystone CT area is in my back yard, literally. Searle is slightly more technical, and gets you above treeline for some great views. The descent out is one of the funnest downhill sections around.

    Moab/Fruita are great in Sept. Just plan on riding early or late, nights get cooler, but midday could still be kinda warm.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkaredShtles View Post
    Don't forget Jack's Cabin Cutoff after this - it cuts off quite a bit of mileage to the Butte. It's right here.

    Oh - and beware the washboard. If you find it tooth-loosening rough you're not going fast enough.
    Here's one more thing to not forget: The TH for Doctor Park is a stone's throw from the Jack's Cabin intersection on Bacon Boi's map. Would seem to be natural to knock out the good Dr. on your way in to the Butte via Cottonwood and not have to drive back down there later.

    And yes "planing" at high speed over washboard actually works, much to Ms FoldsInHalf's annoyance.
    "Rollin' on 20s and 27.5s" ride reports and more at WWW.DEBCAR.COM : Debbie and Carey's RV Travel Website

  15. #15
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    ^^^ That's a good point. Make sure you convince one of your riding partners that Doctor Park isn't any fun, and that they should shuttle you the 8+ miles up Spring Creek Road to the main turn off. You wouldn't want to subject them to the horror of having to ride one of the sweetest downhill stretches in Colorado.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkaredShtles View Post
    Oh - and beware the washboard. If you find it tooth-loosening rough you're not going fast enough.
    Since Taylor road is being finished and Jack's cabin is the detour, they have put mag down, and it's driving really well, not so washboardy.

  17. #17
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    Thanks so much guys, really helpful. Now thinking we should:

    Go straight to the Copper area and do the Searle Pass ride on the Sunday. Then maybe try and get to Breck and do a ride there Monday and then take the Cottonwood Pass route as suggested (thanks a ton for that!) and stop at Doctor Park before heading to CB.

    I came across Snowmass too which looks pretty awesome with Gravity Logic and Valhalla? Was thinking we could head out of CB and up there, then back up to I70 and over to Fruita.

    You're right, we don't have long enough!

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by gunnirider View Post
    Since Taylor road is being finished and Jack's cabin is the detour, they have put mag down, and it's driving really well, not so washboardy.
    What's the status of the construction along the Taylor River? Are there still major delays? I'm heading down in a couple of weeks and don't want to get stuck for 45 minutes like we did last year. If there are still delays, I'll just take 50 through Gunnison.

  19. #19
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    No delays yet this year, the construction work is below Jack's cabin right now.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by gunnirider View Post
    You should consider riding Monarch crest to rainbow trail for a day, perhaps skipping Copper for this. Doctor's park, Hartman Rocks too. Your trip sounds too short...
    +1 ...I would definitely skip copper and ride the crest. Personally I think taking cottonwood to jack's cabin is way faster than taking monarch pass if coming from 285

    when you're in CB, 3 days definitely isn't enough time, but you'll get some good rides in. ride 401 for sure. If I was short on time I would shuttle 403, dyke and doctor's park. Reno/Flag/Bear/Deadman's is a classic, but you could skip the reno road uphill and the underwhelming flag downhill by starting up spring creek road if you had another person to shuttle with. If you're short on energy/time drive out to brush creek and ride strand and/or farris/402

    like high desert riding? Hartman's is your ticket, there are quite a few gems out there.

    There's just too many options here in the valley, Enjoy

  21. #21
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    This is fun, planning someone's perfect CO MTB trip.

    Here's my take.

    Skip Winter Park and Copper Mtn entirely. You want to experience things that are unique and special, besides riding chairlifts is for winter.

    Drive directly to Salida from DIA.

    Sunday: Monarch Crest/Starvation Creek/Rainbow. Drive to CB.

    Monday: Doctor Park am. Shuttle 401 pm.

    Tuesday: Reno/Flag/Bear/Rosebud/Deadman. Drive to Durango.

    Wed.: Molas Pass

    Thurs.: Phil's World am. Sand Canyon pm. Drive to Fruita.

    Friday: Loma. Mary's/Horsethief/Steve's/Lion's/Mack Ridge/Moore Fun

    Saturday: Zion Curtain/Western Rim. Drive to Moab.

    This is an ambitious itinerary, which will require driving at night and sleeping when dead.

    All of these are "Must Do" rides in CO. Unfortunately, it's also a short list. There are many more, but so little time.

    We expect a full report, of course, with pictures.

    Happy planning.

    jummo

  22. #22
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    Jummo has many great points, but he forgets the day at Hartman Rocks. No trip to the Gunnison is complete without a day at Hartmans.

  23. #23
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    Incredible response Jummo! I live in the front range and you just put together my epic Colorado trip. I have done most of these in bits and pieces save for Durango. I now have the perfect itinerary lined up. Sleep when you are dead!

  24. #24
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    Ha, this thread cracks me up.. so much epic riding now-a-days around Colorado.

    All these replies and no mentions of GJ. The RFV has some excellent riding as well (as stated earlier). Snowmass has a few great lift served trails, which may not be lift served by the time you get here.. not sure the schedule this year. but there is also 40+ miles of singletrack in Snowmass, plus some awesome rides around Basalt, Carbondale, Aspen, etc.

    You're not going to go wrong with any of the suggestions so far, and you'll get as many opinions as there are people in the thread. My trip would be:
    DIA-> Summit to ride CT between Keystone and Breck
    Travel morning to RFV and hit government from Snowmass to Aspen. Treat yourself to a good meal in the RFV
    Head down to Monarch Crest, do that then
    Head over to CB and hit Dr Park
    then to gunni for hartman
    Then to...

    You need more time.

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