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Planning a trip this summer to Colorado. We spent sometime last summer visiting the Southern part of the state (Durango, Silverton, etc) This summer we would like to visit the Northern half, Rocky Mtn National Park, Pikes Peak, Royal Gorge etc etc... We will have 10 days to spend in Colorado.

Anybody have any suggestions? Routes? Must see??

Just to break up the trip, we are planning on going there via I80 (dropping down into Colorado from Wyoming) and then returning home to S.C. via I70. We will be arriving there around July 4th, if you know of someplace fun snd special to spend the 4th that would be great, maybe a parade or something with a local theme.

Thanks for your time! L.
 

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This Weekend

I'll piece together some info for you this weekend. Lots of good riding in the north and you should have a great time. Grand Lake is a great spot for fireworks (they do them from a barge on the lake), but I'll review all this weekend.
 

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Lloyd,
We always try to make it to the Rockie's home game on or around the 4th. They have a great fireworks display after the game!!

You won't see much of the really tall pines in the still southern route you described, except around Pikes Peak. Most of the forests down there are Pinon Pine. If you want to, take a ride up to Dillon on I70 west out of Denver. You'll go over Loveland Pass (actually through it) and on the other side are some of the most beautiful forests. Oh, and mountains too. Be careful at this altitude in the summer. Even some of us natives have to stop and catch our breaths!

Enjoy.
 
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Loveland has an awesome fireworks display over the lake

Loveland (about 20 miles east of Estes Park on Hwy 34) has one of the best fireworks displays along the front range of the mtns. They shoot them over Lake Loveland and the reflection in the water and the echoing off the foothills is a tremendous experience. Then a early morning ride thru the Big Thompson Canyon with the sun shinning on the canyon walls can't be beat for a "natural high" (without drugs :lol: ). It's so awesome that some people have been known to make "life changing" decisions while dragging your knees around the corners. If you can fit in the "Snowy Range" in the Medicine Bow Mountains on Hwy 130 in Wyoming over from Walcott to Larimie, then Hwy 287 down to Fort Collins and Loveland, you'll see some of the prettiest scenery that locals consider our own secret! You'll have a hard time making a mistake tho in Colorado. It's all beautiful motorcycle country. Canyon Dancer in Colorado :arrow: :arrow:
 

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Hi LLoyd,
I took my family to CO for an 11 day trip back in '95. What a wonderful vacation it was. Driving through RMNP in July and seeing all the snow was awesome. I'd have to say the most spectacular thing that I did was taking my rental car up Mt. Evans in Georgetown ( or Idaho Springs ). It is supposed to be the highest paved road in the U.S. I think the summit was 14256' if I remember correctly. I had to go alone cause my wife was too scared.
We stayed in Estes Park, which is the park entrance town on the east side. We also stayed in Winter Park, Georgetown, and the last nite in Denver so we could go to the Denver Zoo.
I'll never forget the scenery, and the wildlife. I'll also never forget my first glance at the front range of the Rockies when the plane cirlced as we approached the new airport. Mountains from north to south as far as I could see.
I would go back in a heartbeat, but We can only afford one nice trip a year, so we usually pick different places to go.
Take care, Eric
 

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FastFreddie, we will also be at the MTA rally in Estes Park. Maybe we will see ya there. We will be at the host hotel - Holiday INN.

JB
 

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We're at the Host hotel too JB. We plan on being there Monday afternoon. Our Wives are flying into Denver, then taking a Shuttle to the Host Hotel. My guess is that they will be there around 2pm.

Hope to see you there!!!

Fred Jewell
 

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A. Avoid Denver completely
B. Stay away from the casino towns.
C. Go to Buena Vista and the headwaters of the arkansas river
D. Go to the top of cottonwood pass, 12000 ft
E. Go over independence pass and into aspen.
 

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jjambor said:
A. Avoid Denver completely
E. Go over independence pass and into aspen.
Ditto that....Twin Lakes is one of my favorite places in Colorado...Mt.Elbert is right there too (highest point in Colorado)

BTW, the pic of me is when I was on top of Mt. Quandary, I would recommend Hoosier pass too.
 

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Suggested Roads and Places to Include in Northern CO

So many great roads to ride and places to see and it is great that you can take the time to see them. I'm going to list some of my favorites -- you can then choose how you might want to organize them. If you have not already done so, you can go to the State of Colorado web site and request visitor information and a official state map. They will get it out to you in less than a week. The map is pretty good. http://www.colorado.com/info/svgrequest.asp

CO14: Ted's Place (north of Ft. Collins) through the Cache la Poudre Canyon, over Cameron Pass, dropping down into North Park (as you come down off the pass watch for the decorated Christmas Tree on the right -- you might also want to stop at the Moose Visitor Center), and on to Walden.

CO-125: Walden south through North Park over Willow Creek Pass (road has great sweepers and twisties, with mostly constant-radius turns) to US-40 near Granby.

Peak-to-Peak Highway: Runs north south paralleling the Continental Divide; great views of the mountains with both twisties and sweepers; From I-70 take the US-6 exit (just east of Idaho Springs) or take US-6 west out of Golden (Clear Creek Canyon) up to C-119; C-119 to C-72 to C-7 to Estes Park. Blackhawk and Central City (both old mining towns) have small stakes gambling if you are interested.

Rocky Mountain National Park: Estes Park to Grand Lake via US-34 (you should check out both entrances, US-34 and US-36; fantastic ride on Trail Ridge Road, which gets up to about 12,000 feet and is above timberline. Awesome ride. Will be cool and watch out for afternoon thunderstorms. Best to go over in the morning if it appears that thunderstorms will appear in the afternoon. On the east side of the park, Bear Lake is a beautiful spot but seems to have too many people around in the summer. Both Moraine Park and Sprague Lake on the Bear Lake road are very beautiful. Watch for the Elk in Estes Park, in the meadows, and above timberline.

Mt. Evans: C-103 from Evergreen over Squaw Pass to Echo Lake (or C-103 up from Idaho Springs to Echo Lake) to the Mt. Evans road; hang on for a great ride as you go above timberline and ride up to 14,250 feet, with the summit of Mt. Evans, 14,265 feet, a short hike. Highest paved road in the US (paved all the way).

Any of the following canyon roads to get from the foothills into the high country (they run east to west and I have listed them here from north to south):
--C-14 Poudre Canyon from Ted's Place to Cameron Pass
--US-34 Drake to Estes Park via Big Thompson Canyon
--US-36 Lyons to Estes Park via Little Thompson Canyon
--C-7 Lyons to Raymond via St. Vrain Canyon
--Left-hand Canyon Dr Altona to Ward
--C-119 Boulder to Nederland via Boulder Canyon
--C-72 Westminster to Nederland via Coal Creek Canyon
--Golden Gate Canyon Road from Golden to C-119
--US-6 Golden to C-119 via Clear Creek Canyon
--C-74 Morrison to Evergreen via Bear Creek
--US-285 (4-lane) from C-470 (south of Morrison) to Conifer (via Turkey Creek) to points west and south
--US-24 (4-lane) from Colorado Springs via Fountain Creek Canyon and Ute Pass through Cascade (turn off for the Pikes Peak Highway, which is toll), Woodland Park, Wilkerson Pass, and South Park to Antero Junction and US-285 to Buena Vista. Note on Pikes Peak Highway: Pikes Peak is 14,110 and the last 14 miles are not paved. Also, in Colorado Springs be sure and ride through the Garden of the Gods and visit Manitou Springs.

Deckers Road: From Pine Junction (on US-285 west of Denver and Conifer), south on Jefferson Country CR-126 (Pine Valley Rd) south to Pine (Elk Creek Station is good for lunch), Buffalo Creek, and Deckers (becomes C-67) to Woodland Park. This is one of my favorite local roads and has lots of twisties (watch out for the sports bikes), and of course, it is in my back yard since I live in Woodland Park (great view of Pikes Peak). If you are going to be down this way, be sure and get in touch with me and perhaps we can hook up.

C-67 from Divide (west of Woodland Park) to Cripple Creek (Cripple Creek is an old mining town that now has small stakes gambling); you might want to ride on over to Victor, looping up through Goldfield and back over to C-67, then back to Cripple Creek. The Molly Kathleen Mine, located on the left as you drop down into Cripple Creek, is a great tour of an old mine -- 1,000 feet down, but quite roomy once you get down there. Well worth the price. Go through Cripple Creek and hit Teller County CR-1 north to CR-11 west (at the intersection do not take CR-112 to Guffy but go left instead); stay on CR-11 through the backcountry west of Pikes Peak to C-9 south to US-50 near Royal Gorge. If you want to see the gorge you can turn left/east on US-50 for about 1/2 mile to the turnoff to Royal Gorge (very touristy and they charge a good price, but a ride across the wood-floored suspension bridge some 1000 feet above the Arkansas River is pretty neat; can also take the incline to the bottom and the cable car across the gorge, then walk across the bridge also.

Arkansas River Gorge: US-50 from Canon City (just west of Canon City on US-50 there is a right turn on to Skyline Drive; this is a short one-way trip that goes up on top of a high, narrow, uplift that is worth the ride; drops back down into Canon City where you can get back on US-50) and Royal Gorge through the Arkansas River Canyon (Big Horn Canyon) to Salida; beautiful ride with lots of sweepers.

Independence Pass: From I-70 west of Dillon at Copper Mountain take C-91 south over Fremont Pass to Leadville (nice place for lunch); you could also be coming to Leadville via US-24 south of US-24 through Minden and over Tennessee Pass; from Leadville south on US-24 (Mt. Elbert -- highest point in Colorado -- will be to your west) to C-82 west towards Twin Lakes and an awesome ride up to the top of Independence Pass; continuing west on C-82 and dropping down into Aspen.

McClure Pass and West Elk Loop: From Aspen west on C-82 to Carbondale (or from I-70 and Glenwood Springs east on C-82 to Carbondale); south on C-133 over McClure Pass, along Paonia Reservoir, Paonia, to Hotchkiss; east on C-92 through Crawford (home of Joe Cocker -- stop at the Mad Dog Ranch store --unfortunately the café is closed) then along the North Rim of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison (road into the park becomes dirt and is not necessary); C-92 is full of twisties and sweepers and has quite a few overlooks of the canyon; be sure and stop and walk out to a couple of the overlooks.

Grand Mesa: C-65 runs from I-70 (exit is east of Grand Junction) and follows the river canyon, then climbs to the top of Grand Mesa, the highest flattop mountain in the world; awesome ride with awesome views; then drops down to Cedaredge and Delta.

Colorado National Monument: Often overlooked by many, the monument is located just south of Grand Junction. Can be entered from the east or west entrance; I recommend the east entrance in the morning and the west entrance in the evening so that the sun will be to your back. Both entrances provide dramatic climb up to the rim and then the Rim Road provides fantastic views.

Unaweep Canyon: From US-50 just east of Grand Junction at Whitewater take C-141 south through Unaweep Canyon to Gateway, then along the Delores and San Miguel River Canyons through the uranium mining country to Naturita; just south of Naturita take C-145 to Redvale and Norwood to Placerville (if you did not get to Telluride, you might stay on C-145 and take the short ride over to Telluride); from Placerville take C-62 up over Dallas Divide (stop for the beautiful view of Mt. Sneffels and the San Juan Mountains) to Ridgeway.

//since you have toured the southern part of Colorado, I did not include the Million Dollar Highway from Ouray to Silverton to Durango (US-550); nor the beautiful ride along the Rio Grande River (C-149)from South Fork to Creede to Lake City (between Creede and Lake City are Clear Creek Falls and the Slumgullion Slide/Pass; be sure and stop in Lake City; beautiful ride on up Blue Mesa Reservoir, US-50, and Gunnison.//

There are other great rides but I have included some of my favorites here. I would recommend a route, but mark these on a map and see how you might want to connect them, traveling at the pace that you desire and staying at the places you wish. For overnight, I might recommend: Estes Park, Grand Lake, Dillon/Silverthorne, Glenwood Springs, Grand Junction, Gunnison, Canon City, or Salida. Hope this info helps.
 
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