Posts Tagged ‘Peak to Peak Highway’

A Ride With A Motorcycle Travel Network Guest

Monday, July 10th, 2017
Map of our route.

Our route.

It strikes me as odd realizing this but I’m pretty sure that with all the various Motorcycle Travel Network guests we have hosted, I had never before gone riding with any of them. Until this past weekend.

Carolyn called about mid-week to ask if we were able to host her for two or three days beginning either Friday or Saturday. She was in Spearfish, SD, at the time and headed our way to go on to Colorado Springs for a Women on Wheels event there. And she also asked if it would be possible for us to go for a ride with her, showing her some of our favorite places to ride. OK, it’s a plan!

She got in on Saturday later in the day and on Sunday, with Judy not joining us, we headed out, her on her 950cc Star cruiser and me on my Concours. We went out Hampden/US 285 to C-470 and north. I wavered all this time as to whether we should go up Clear Creek Canyon or something else. I figured she would enjoy Clear Creek but I wondered how busy it was. This was, after all, the Fourth of July weekend.

So we got to US 6, Clear Creek Canyon, and made the turn. We had gone about 100 yards and came to a stop and it was clear that traffic ahead of us was not even moving. We quickly did a U-turn and headed back, turned north again, and took the Golden Gate Canyon road up to the Peak to Peak Highway. I was afraid it might be busy, too, but it was fine.

Originally my plan was to go to Estes Park for lunch before heading back but thinking about the holiday I decided instead to turn east down the South St. Vrain to Lyons. While that’s a very scenic canyon, there was very little traffic. All the traffic, we could see when we reached Lyons, was going up to Estes via the North St. Vrain. And coming down it, too. Terrible, terrible traffic.

So from Lyons we headed south on US 36 to Boulder, crossed through Boulder on Broadway, and continued south and back to Golden. Then I got the idea to go up Lookout Mountain. Carolyn is sort of from Ohio, sort of from South Carolina, and the tight turns on the Lookout Mountain road were a bit challenging for her but, with the exception of the first one, she managed to stay on her side of the line.

We enjoyed the view from up at Buffalo Bill’s grave and then continued on that road over to I-70/US 40. No reason to get on I-70 with US 40 right there so we rode it down to where the road down to Morrison crosses under the interstate and took that road to Morrison. Then east to pick up C-470, US 285/Hampden, and home. Total 171 miles and a really nice ride up in the cool on a very hot day.

Biker Quote for Today

Forget glass slippers, this princess wears motorcycle boots.

First Peak-to-Peak Ride For 2016

Monday, April 18th, 2016
Motorcycle along the Peak-to-Peak highway

Along the Peak-to-Peak.

Friday was hazy so the temperature never got up to what had been forecast but it was still nice enough I decided it was time to head for the hills.

I make it a point to just stay out of the hills all winter because even when it’s nice down here on the flatlands it can be cold and icy up there. Of course, if you ride on three wheels like Dom Chang then it doesn’t matter. I don’t, so it does.

I took the V-Strom up Clear Creek Canyon and it was a great day to be out. I didn’t wear any electrics because I figured it was warm enough I wouldn’t need them. That has been a mistake at times in the past but I was confident this time. Traffic was light and I didn’t have anybody behind me. I like not having anybody behind me on roads like that. And the people in front of me were making good time, no laggards.

Reaching Black Hawk it was still warm and I had not even seen snow in the shady areas. A little past Black Hawk and that all changed. Now the shady areas on the north-facing slopes had a lot of snow and the temperature dropped about 10 degrees. My legs were getting chilly because all I had there was jeans; on top I had layers.

All the way up Clear Creek Canyon and along the Peak-to-Peak the road was completely clear–no ice, no sand. But by the time I got to where the road down through Golden Gate Canyon peels off from the Peak-to-Peak there was snow everywhere (except on the road) and even cooler temps. I was looking forward to heading down.

And then there was sand in several places on the Golden Gate Canyon road. You’re definitely going to want to take it easy if you go up that road any time soon.

But what a great day it was to be riding up in the hills, nevertheless. Did you know the roads up there have a lot of curves? I’ve been riding down on the prairie the last few months and you don’t see near as many of those down here. Wonder why?

It was especially fun, too, being on the V-Strom. That bike is light and agile and you just zip around those curves. My other bikes are both heavier and just don’t have that feel to them. If I was in a place where I could only have one bike I could have the V and be plenty happy. But I’m glad I’m not in that place.

And then I was getting back near out of the canyon and I passed a guy on a Ural sidecar rig going the other way. I can’t help but wonder, was that you, Dom?

Biker Quote for Today

Meditation doesn’t mean you have to sit still.

A Fall Color Ride on the Peak-to-Peak

Monday, September 24th, 2012
motorcycle and fall color

Always a good ride, the Peak-to-Peak is an even better ride in the fall when the aspens turn colors.

It was a beautiful day and we had heard the colors were good up on the Peak-to-Peak Highway, so of course we had to go for a ride on Sunday.

Heading up via Golden Gate Canyon we had the road almost entirely to ourselves. Too good to last, however, as we had every expectation that the crowds looking for fall color would be thick. We weren’t wrong on that count.

The funny thing was, on the way up and then headed north, Judy and I were both struck with how the colors were just not as stunning and intense as we expected. I suspect it has something to do with the lack of moisture. I think I remember something about how in dry years the aspen leaves go pretty much straight from green to brown, and that’s what a lot of them were doing.

Still, there were a few spots with good color, and we could always tell when we approached these because of all the cars and motorcycles pulled off the side of the road. And oh boy, did I mention motorcycles? It was like a rally on the Peak-to-Peak. We saw hundreds of bikes. There were probably as many bikes as there were cars.

So we cruised on up to Estes Park and had lunch. In case we needed the reminder, you really don’t want to go to Estes Park on a day when there are likely to be hordes of tourists. A gorgeous Sunday in the fall is one of those days. We ate our lunch and quickly departed.

Rather than go down the Big Thompson Canyon or some other canyon and then have to take CO 93 through Boulder, we just backtracked on the Peak-to-Peak, on the theory that a road looks completely different going the other way. And boy did it! Something about the change in the light, and possibly the different views north vs. south, but it was a lot prettier going south. It still wasn’t the kind of color we’ve seen up there before, but it was a lot closer to what we had expected.

So the word is that next weekend is going to be the peak on the Peak-to-Peak. My recommendation, if you’re only going one way on that stretch of road, go north to south. And be ready for crowds.

Recent from National Motorcycle Examiner
Head of motorcycle crash study exits, expresses concerns

Biker Quote for Today

Have maximum fun while preserving bike and body.

Not the Best Fall Ride Ever, But Not Bad

Monday, September 21st, 2009

Judy and I headed up for a fall ride on the Peak-to-Peak highway Saturday, and what a gorgeous day for a ride it was.

We were both really up for this because we haven’t gone for many rides together lately. In fact, it was becoming more and more clear to me that I hadn’t been doing any rides at all for enjoyment lately. I ride plenty, but it’s mostly for transportation. Time to have some fun.

Peak to Peak highway with fall colorsThere were only two problems: traffic and traffic.

We took off up I-25 to catch the 6th Avenue expressway west and out of town, but nearing Broadway the traffic was parked on the interstate. No problem, we’ll just jump off at Broadway and go north and catch 6th that way.

So we got to Alameda and I headed west again, hoping the highway would be clear at that point. We drew near and there was a traffic jam, so we turned north on Delaware, to 1st, to Santa Fe, with intentions of catching 8th west and onto 6th.

Guess again. There was construction on Santa Fe, narrowing traffic to one lane. We crept and crept and finally got past it, got to 8th, and got onto 6th. Only took 45 minutes. :>(

OK, so then it was great. We blew out 6th Avenue, curved around Golden onto CO 93, and then turned west on the road up Golden Gate Canyon. This is what motorcycling in Colorado is all about. Nice curves, towering rocks and cliffs, green forest . . . just sweet.

On up we climbed to where we hit the Peak-to-Peak, CO 119 at this point, and turned north.

It was definitely cooler up on the Peak-to-Peak than it was in town but we were dressed for it. The sun was shining, traffic was light, and there were a lot of motorcycles. Nice day.

We stopped in Nederland to stretch a bit and also to get some ice cream, but in the old part of town where we were we didn’t find it. No problem, Judy suggested we head down to Boulder and get ice cream there.

Boulder Canyon was a sweet ride, too, of course. This whole route is nice, and so close for an afternoon ride. We got to Boulder, headed for the Pearl Street Mall, and found that they have dedicated motorcycle parking right at Pearl Street. Couldn’t ask for better.

We got our ice cream and sat out doing some people watching. Boulder is not like so many other places. People watching here is definitely world class. Lots to see.

Then it was time to head on home and I figured to go down Broadway and take 93 back to Golden, rather than taking the Boulder Turnpike and having to deal with traffic in the center of Denver.

Guess again. We managed to time it perfectly to hit football traffic after the CU Buffs had just beaten Wyoming. All I can say is, working the clutch must really build up the muscles in my left arm. This mess made what we had run into in Denver look not nearly so bad.

Finally we got out of town and even then, 93 was choked with departing football fans. It was stop and go much of the way to Golden. We ended up back home about two hours later than that ride should have taken. A great day up in the mountains but oh man, the city just killed us.

Not to self: Stay away from Boulder on Saturday during the football season.

Recent from National Motorcycle Examiner
Pikes Peak Motomarathon rides southern Colorado

Biker Quote for Today

Helpful Hint: Traffic lights timed for 35mph are also timed for 70, 105, and 140!

Three Day Trips From Estes Park

Sunday, July 29th, 2007

I ran across this question on the Delphi motorcycle forum:

Ok, who is a good ride planner? We plan on being at the KOA in Estes Park in a couple of weeks. We have 3 day that we will be riding day trips out of there. Any recommendations? Not looking for a ton of miles, maybe 200-300 per day or less.

Thanks,

J.R.

I posted this reply:

JR–

From Estes Park you will definitely want to take the ride up over Trail Ridge Road. For a 200-mile ride you could go over Trail Ridge, then from Granby to Walden, then take Coloado 14 over Cameron Pass and down through Poudre Canyon to Fort Collins, and then south to Loveland and back up Big Thompson Canyon to Estes Park.

Beyond that you’re a bit limited. Unless you go over Trail Ridge again to go in other directions from Granby you’re faced with going back down to the plains or coming back at night over the same roads you left on.

You can go south out of Estes Park along the Peak to Peak Highway, to where you meet US 6, to Idaho Springs, up Squaw Pass, and to the top of Mount Evans. Then backtrack, more or less, or return over Trail Ridge.

Then for your third day you might consider going over Trail Ridge again, from Granby head to Kremmling and Steamboat Springs, over Rabbit Ears Pass. Then south on Colorado 131 either to Toponas and back over Gore Pass to Kremmling and backtrack. Or, continue south from Toponas to Wolcott and pick up I-70 and take it back over Vail Pass and get off at Silverthorne and take Loveland Pass to regain the interstate on the east side of the tunnel. Then back just east of Idaho Springs to get back on the Peak to Peak. But that runs close to 300 miles and a very long day. It’s tough from Estes Park because you’re really limited on where you can go from there.

Anyway, I hope that helps. You can find out a lot more about these roads on my website, www.motorcyclecolorado.com. Have fun.

I’m always happy to help. Anyone else looking for motorcycling information in Colorado, just write. I need to make note here, however, that because of the spam bastards I had to turn comments off on this blog. So to write, send your email to ken at motorcyclecolorado dot com.

Took a Ride Up Boulder Canyon and Down Coal Creek Canyon

Thursday, April 13th, 2006

I knew I didn’t have photos from Boulder Canyon yet but when I realized I didn’t have any from Coal Creek Canyon either that made it clear what I was going to do today. Headed up to Boulder on US 36 and then up Boulder Canyon on Colorado 119 to Nederland. Along the way, if you’re in the mood for a stop, you can pull over at Boulder Falls and hike up to the falls. Nearing Nederland you come upon Barker Dam, which forms the reservoir that is just downstream from the town.

A quick jaunt south on combined Colorado 119 and 72 and then they split. Highway 119 continues as the Peak-to-Peak Highway and 72 cuts back east toward Rocky Flats, down on the prairie. But first you pass through Pinecliffe and then climb steeply, with lots of tight switchbacks, to the crest at Wondervue. Over the top and then down you go through Coal Creek Canyon. Finally, bursting suddenly onto the flatlands, you see all of Denver laid out before you.

Of course I shot pictures. You can check them out on the Peak-to-Peak and Canyons page.

By the way, on the run I turned over 77,000 miles on my Honda. She just keeps on running.