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Thread: Early Planning, Colorada Q

  1. #1
    Ed Kilner #176066
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    Early Planning, Colorada Q

    From the Toronto area, there are many routes to Salt Lake City.

    I was told to look at Hwy 20, which I am currently likely to take west.

    At I-25, I could go south towards Denver. Then, I could take Hwy 34 west and take the Trail Ridge Road, which looks spectacular on the map and on Google Earth.

    Does anyone know how busy that road is in mid-July? I am wondering if it will be a horror of RV's and other fellow tourists. I could ensure I started out early in the morning, if that might help.

    Anybody out there with real experience in this area? I am assuming there would be a lot of riders out that way.
    Ed
    2015 R1200RT; 2011 R1200RT RIP; 2000 Triumph 900 (sold)
    http://triumphantsblog.blogspot.ca/

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by BMW Triumphant View Post
    At I-25, I could go south towards Denver. Then, I could take Hwy 34 west and take the Trail Ridge Road, which looks spectacular on the map and on Google Earth.

    Does anyone know how busy that road is in mid-July? I am wondering if it will be a horror of RV's and other fellow tourists. I could ensure I started out early in the morning, if that might help.
    A weekend would be a disaster. Mid week, maybe only aggravating. Look north at Highway 14 west from Ft. Collins through the Poudre River valley. One of my favorite mellow and placid routes.
    Paul Glaves - "Big Bend", Texas U.S.A
    "The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution." - Bertrand Russell
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  3. #3
    Ed Kilner #176066
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    14 looks nice

    Quote Originally Posted by PGlaves View Post
    A weekend would be a disaster. Mid week, maybe only aggravating. Look north at Highway 14 west from Ft. Collins through the Poudre River valley. One of my favorite mellow and placid routes.
    Did a quick look and it sure does look nice.

    Suggestion appreciated.
    Ed
    2015 R1200RT; 2011 R1200RT RIP; 2000 Triumph 900 (sold)
    http://triumphantsblog.blogspot.ca/

  4. #4
    Registered User k12lts's Avatar
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    34 thru the park is a great road but "early in the morning" is the key. If you get in by 7am it shouldn't be too bad.
    2010 R1200RT, 2011 Ural Patrol
    2006 KLR 650, 1981 R100, 1975 R90S

    BMW MOA 37304

  5. #5
    Adventurist nakwakto00's Avatar
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    Disaster? No, not really

    I have done both in July and I did not find the Trail Ridge Road to be a disaster with traffic. That was on July 15th, a Wednesday. We rode the road not early or late but in the middle of the day. Sure there was some traffic but it was manageable. Our goal was to enjoy the dramatic scenery and not focus on blasting through the twisties.

    The day before on July 14th we traveled Colorado 14 which was nice too. It winds its way along a beautiful river and canyon with plenty of twists and turns. However, it did not have the dramatic panoramic scenery that the Trail Ridge Road had. As a result I would put Trail Ridge Road preferentially over CO 14. If you have to choose.

    What I found the best however was riding over Independence Pass - east to west. That was awesome! Incredible views. The Million Dollar Highway was nice too. Another incredible gem was Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. We rode the north rim then came around to enter the park from the highway on the south. Great views and lots of twisties on the north rim. The park was fascinating too.

    What was a disaster? Riding through Yellowstone National Park is and was much, much worse - that was a disaster - miles and miles of intolerable stop-and-go traffic on a hot afternoon because some buffalo was beside the road. I worked there for 3 years and the only time to travel it is before July 4th, and after August 30th. Also travel YNP on a weekend - the crowds are the because everyone travels to/from the park on a weekend. Ugh.

    Also a nightmare/disaster was the traffic in Salt Lake City. Ugh. Utah drivers ignore the speed limits - driving always too fast, change lanes quickly and erratically, and speed up close to your tail and flash their lights at you to move over even though you're not in the left lane. They'll pass you on the right, or use an exit ramp to pass you. Each time swerving in front of you barely leaving you any room. If you leave any gap between you and the car in front of you for safety another driver will invade that space. My wife and I (she has her own ride) were terrified with driving in SLC. We drove the speed limit and above and didn't think we were slow - everyone else was just faster. Driving through Zion was bad too. They'll just abruptly stop in the middle of the road to get a picture of the dramatic scenery. Driving through Springdale on the west end of Zion was a nightmare too.
    -don
    #161988
    "If you don't treat yourself right, no one else will."
    '06 R1200RT, '13 F800GS, and '16 R1200GSA (wife's)

  6. #6
    Ed Kilner #176066
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    k2lts and Don,

    thanks for the info.
    Ed
    2015 R1200RT; 2011 R1200RT RIP; 2000 Triumph 900 (sold)
    http://triumphantsblog.blogspot.ca/

  7. #7
    Registered User
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    You've never ridden Trail Ridge.. so yeah, you need to. It's a one-of-a-kind. Not a "riding" road, as it's in the national park, so you need to keep your speeds "reasonable". On a first time through.. you won't want to try to make time on it anyway.
    Get off the bike, enjoy the vistas, see if you can find one of the secret-stash oxygen tanks, etc. It's about 1.5 to 2 hours from Estes over to grand Lake, assuming no major traffic jams. Big Critter viewing (elk, moose) will be available, but not like you get in early fall.... which means the critterjams should be rather slight.
    Unless you really like tourist-trap towns, don't go thru EP, just enter the park by going past the Stanley Hotel (Stephen King's inspiration for The Shining) on US 34.
    Like others have said.. early is better. Usually no entrance fee before 7am; but even in July, it'll be on the chilly side up top. When you leave the park, head out to US40/Granby, bang a right onto 40, but take the turnoff onto 125/Willow Creek Pass North towards Walden.


    You can thank me for that one later. A real gem for the first 30 miles or so. Lots of NSF camping up there.
    Ride Safe, Ride Lots

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