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  1. #1
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    Help me plan summer vacation out West

    I am trying to plan a summer vacation out west and need some suggestions on where to go and what to do. I am from the Midwest and have only been out west a couple of times, never to bike. It will be me and my girlfriend (who is not a biker) so unfortunately I will not be able to ride the whole time. Fortunately she is ok with me riding a couple days out of the trip as long as there is something for her to do near to where I am riding (i.e. shopping, etc). We will probably be there from July 21-30th give or take a few. The rest of the time we would like to drive around a see everything that we can easily see in our short stay. The only other activities we would like to do is to whitewater raft, go trout fishing, and maybe a hike or two, so any suggestions on where to do these would also be helpful. Also, what are some must see places/parks/etc. within driving distance? Right now we plan on flying in to Denver or possibly SLC, renting a car and making a big circle as we travel to different locations. I picked Denver because it seemed to be fairly close to a lot of stuff, fairly cheap flights for me, and also because I have a friend in Fort Collins that I would like to see. We plan on camping half the time as long as the weather is good and staying in hotels the rest. As far as biking, I would really like to ride Moab 1 day, maybe 2 unless everyone thinks it would be too hot. I would like to ride the whole enchilada and try to do slickrock with the girlfriend since I hear it is not extremely difficult. Iím open to suggestions as to where else to ride. I would really like some DH or AM type riding with great views. No XC type riding as we have plenty of that here. I also donít want to do any long epic rides that would take up a full day. Iíve heard a lot about Fruita so thatís a good possibility as well. I was also thinking about maybe Winter Park for some DH. Again, Iíve never been out here so Iím just looking for your opinions and suggestions. Keep in mind that Iím a fairly advanced rider but since I will be by myself I would like to ride somewhere where there will be other riders. I look forward to hearing your suggestions so I can start putting together a route for our trip.

  2. #2
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    Moab will be very hot and NEVER take any rider on Slickrock who's not a good rider. It's tough and she'll hate you for it.
    Just stick with Colorado as there's more to see than a lifetime of time. Rocky Mountain should be a focus. You can ride in Winter Park or Steamboat to get your AM fix.
    Any ski town will have the biking and shopping to keep you both busy. I rode on Grand Mesa. Nice trail but the mosquitoes were the worst.
    RockyGrass Bluegrass Festival is during your trip but it may be sold out already.
    If you want the drive, go to Yellowstone. Took my gal there in 02 and we saw 25 species of animals in 2 days, more than I'd seen in a lifetime of travels. Don't miss the NE corner of the park, Lamar Valley, most wildlife. Check out Divide Lake, Virginia Cascade, the many geysers, mud pots.
    agmtb

  3. #3
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    Ive actually got a lot of help in the Colorado forum. Right now it looks like we will spend most of our time in Crested Butte. From what I hear it is some of the best riding in the country and the scenery is spectacular. We might hit a few other areas for a day or two. Rocky Mt. National Park and Estes Park are fairly close to Fort Collins which is where we will be spending our first night. Anyone ever been to these places before? Are they worth stopping at?

  4. #4
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    Love Crested Butte, great little town. Biggest pancakes I've ever seen. Take your time getting used to the altitude, the climbing is a workout. Trails are fun and beautiful.
    You're later than the MTB fest so expect few on the trails.
    Taking highway 14 out of Ft Collins takes you thru Mishawaka for music and is 1/2 as sweet as Rocky Mountain Park. Estes Park is a outdoorsmans & shopaholics wet dream with a beautiful backdrop. Any camping item you desire. Quite commercial but plenty to do.
    Boulder's a great city too, good music scene.
    Do you fish?
    agmtb

  5. #5
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    Curt Gowdy isn't too far north of Fort Collins and is a very fun place to ride with spectacular scenery. Plenty to do AM-wise and lots of rocks and natural features to play on.

  6. #6
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    Crested Butte is a cool place to ride but, to me the distance and drive from Denver makes it less appealing. Some may disagree, but to me, going to CB via Colorado Springs and Salida brings you through some of the less interesting parts of Colorado.
    Besides, while the funk factor is high in CB, shopping is not extensive as other destinations.

    I would do a loop that included any combination of these locations. Boulder, Estes Park, Rocky Mountain N P, Winter Park, Frisco, Breckenridge, Vail, Leadville if you have time.

  7. #7
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    Park City, Utah is an under-the-radar bike spot...

    and during heat of Summer, it has pretty reasonable temps. There will be things for your girlfriend to do while you're out on rides - downtown Park City and the Outlet Malls come to mind. They have an Alpine Slide which would be fun for both. Not sure how resistant your girlfriend is to biking, but they have lift assisted biking at Deer Valley. They have different levels of descent. You may want to look into that. And during the evening you can both enjoy the Park City nightlife. Yes, Utah does have nightlife.

  8. #8
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    from denver, Fruita is about 4 hours away, right on I-70, exit 19. GREAT riding, with other stuff to do for non-riders.

  9. #9
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    I wouldn't recommend taking an inexperienced rider on slick rock. Moab is beautiful but it is going to be darned hot there or in Fruita in July. If you fly into Denver and you haven't seen Colorado before you could see quite a bit by driving from the Front range via I-70 through Summit county (I'd go over Loveland Pass), through Vail and then south to Buena Vista. Then drive over Cotton Wood Pass to Crested Butte (2 wheel drive is fine). You can then explore from Crested Butte and possibly bike a bit.

    Then, perhaps return to Denver from Crested Butte by going over Kebler Pass (2 wheel drive is fine), go through Aspen, over Independence Pass and on to Denver.

    If you can work it into your schedule, a drive through Rocky Mountain National Park will be well worth it.

    Drink lots of water while you're here.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by daniel240 View Post
    Ive actually got a lot of help in the Colorado forum. Right now it looks like we will spend most of our time in Crested Butte. From what I hear it is some of the best riding in the country and the scenery is spectacular. We might hit a few other areas for a day or two. Rocky Mt. National Park and Estes Park are fairly close to Fort Collins which is where we will be spending our first night. Anyone ever been to these places before? Are they worth stopping at?
    You've got it covered with what you just wrote.
    Also, there's mild WW rafting and fishing on the Taylor River near CB. Tremendous hiking all around the area. Watch for private property when fishing. Colorado has very different water/land laws than the eastern U.S. Have a great time.

  11. #11
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    Funny, I'm hoping to do a trip to CB myself during that same time. Might be traveling solo, maybe we could hook up for some rides? Feel free to message me if that is an option on here and maybe we could meet up. I'm new on here so will have to check out the Colorado forum for some beta to plan my trip.

    As for the other places mentioned above for your upcoming or future trips you might plan: A) Whole Enchilada is a must-do for the experienced rider. Liking will be fully open by late July, but latest word around the camp fire is currently open from Hazzard County down. I usually reserve Moab trips for Spring and Fall like a lot of folks due to heat of summer. B) I concur with the sentiment above that Slick Rock Trail is Not for newbies. Though there is a short practice loop off the parking lot that could be suitable for the confident beginner-if nothing else it would be a short walk back to the car :-) C) Fruita/Grand Junction area has some epic riding, but being it is very hot in Summer you would likely be best served enjoying the higher elevation riding between Denver and Crested Butte areas. You are probably aware by now of the Hartman Rocks area in Gunnison which is supposed to be awesome, too. Happy Trails!

  12. #12
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    Thanks for the advise guys! We had a slight change in plans and now I may be going around labor day weekend, possibly the week before. Will Moab still be too hot at that time?

  13. #13
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    Moab is still likely to be very HOT late August/Labor Day time frame. The good news is, the Whole Enchilada will definitely be good to go then-the one time I did TWE it was mid-September and the weather was ideal. Two other rides to consider in Summer are Fisher Mesa and Schuman's Gulch. I have not done either, but both are at higher elevation (FM= 8000ft) and sound pretty cool in the guide book I have. Both ride summaries suggest speaking to a LBS before heading out. Other more beginner friendly rides to consider if the GF wants to get on a bike in Moab are: Intrepid Trail at Dead Horse Point State Park, Moab Brand Trails, and Monitor-Merrimac Trails.

    On a side note, if you have a chance to visit Rocky Mtn National Park, I Highly recommend a visit there. It is a gem.

  14. #14
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    Fun

    bump

  15. #15
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    Check out the ride reports from Zinger UK. He has been all over the west and has good intel.
    www.mtb-hol.com/
    There is a big difference between ripping and skidding.

  16. #16
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    If you don't believe what you read about newbs riding slick rock, search for my name on youtube. You'll see me crush 3 bones in my face and 2 in my neck. I'm lucky to be alive, and still have the use of my legs.

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