Colorado has paved roads to 23 summits over 10,000 feet. I thought it would be fun to string them together on a single trip. I spent considerable time figuring out how to do them with as few backtracks or duplications as possible. I would cross over some passes, but a few IÔÇÖd have to go up and down the same side, just to make it all manageable in the five days I had available.
I left early Friday morning, June 24, confident I would get all 23.
The closest one to home is Cameron Pass, 10,276 feet:
Then across Willow Creek Pass.
This one doesnÔÇÖt count, because itÔÇÖs only 9,683 feet, but itÔÇÖs a nice road and on the way to my next one ÔÇô Miner Pass, at 10,759 feet:
I continued on to Trail Ridge Road, which tops out at 12,183 feet.
ThereÔÇÖs no sign at its summit. HereÔÇÖs a rest stop, a little lower:
Trail Ridge Road is a wonderful ride, but itÔÇÖs in a park, which means thereÔÇÖs lots of traffic and most people are there to look at the scenery. Like Yellowstone, theyÔÇÖll stop in the middle of the road if any wildlife appears. Trail Ridge Road is great, but it takes time.
Next was Berthoud Pass, at 11,307 feet:
This is a busy road but fun.
And then Mt. Evans. This road is not a pass. It just goes to the top of the mountain. It cost me $3 ÔÇô money well spent. This is an incredible road and is the highest paved road in North America, reaching 14,264 feet.
I am pretty good at making U-turns in a small space, but there were some switchbacks where I used most of the available road, including the opposing lane. The tighter ones have no place to stop for a picture, but hereÔÇÖs one that did have a stopping place:
At the top, my feeling of success was mitigated by the numbers of bicyclists who had made the climb. If you get a chance, ride to the top of Mt Evans.
I skipped Loveland Pass and got a room in Dillon. They had only two rooms left because the town was full of bicyclists and their supporters. I had gone just over 400 miles in 11 hours and was exhausted. Why I thought I could cover 350-400 miles a day on some very difficult roads, I donÔÇÖt know. I realized that I would have to reconsider my quest.