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Thread: Colorado Trail

  1. #1
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    Default Colorado Trail

    Yesterday, I threw up a couple of photos from the Colorado Trail into this thread and a few of you asked for some more information. As a preface, I went down there to ride as part of the annual Yeti Tribe Gathering which turned out to be an absolutely great time.

    The Colorado Trail runs 500 miles from Denver to Durango. Here's some info on the entire route. Every year there is an unsanctioned, and unsupported, race along it's length. The times that some of the guys put in are mind blowing. I'm absolutely happy to do just a section here and a section there. One day, I would like to do the hut-to-hut tour.

    I love the San Juan Mountains. The area around Telluride, Durango, Silverton and Ouray is probably my most favorite in the state. Since moving up here, I've spent quite a bit of time down there exploring the passes in a truck but never on a bike. Riding on the CT through that area was on my list and the Yeti weekend presented the perfect opportunity.

    I was excited to ride the trail but also a bit turned off by the huge number of people that would be on it. Turns out, that was totally unfounded as the herd thinned out rapidly in the first few miles.

    We were shuttled up from Purgatory to Little Molas Campground at the top of Molas Pass. Roughly 11,000'. We jumped on the CT from the campground with 30 miles and 4,000' of climbing ahead of us. As I mentioned, the herd thinned in the first 2-3 miles of the trail. It's rough, steep, narrow and exposed. Not to mention the altitude. My guess would be that at least 50% of the people on the ride and no idea what they were getting themselves into.

    The trail wound its way along the ridge, dipping above and below tree line, but always gradually climbing. There's nothing like riding above tree line. Something about high alpine just draws me in. The wild flowers were amazing and the vistas absolutely mind-blowing.







    About 2.5 hours in, we had covered somewhere around 12-15 miles. There had been quite a few hike-a-bike sections for me where a 30x40 just wasn't low enough. We took a break just below Rolling Pass (12,500') at the intersection of the CT and Engineer Mountain Trail. Most of the group was continuing on the CT up and around Rolling but there was empty single track down and to the left just screaming at us. Quick check of the map told us we could take and meet up with the Cascade Creek trail for the run out to Hwy 550 back to Purgatory. Off we went.





    It was fast and steep. We probably dropped close to 2,000' in 2-3 miles. Just as we got back under tree line, the thunderheads started building up top. Made me feel just a bit better.

    We were now on Engineer Creek Trail and flowing through the trees. So much fun.

    At the bottom, we came across one of the Yeti organizers who looked a little surprise to see us. We blasted along some single track running alongside the creek which eventually turned into a Forest Service road. Another couple of miles we were out on the highway with just a few miles to Purgatory. 5 hours total trail time.



    It was a phenomenal ride that I would do again without a second thought. High alpine riding is a drug that I definitely need more of.
     

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Colorado Trail

    Great pics. My pal Karlos is riding the trail as an ITT this week. I didn't realize how much of a factor weather plays above 10,000 feet in summer.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Colorado Trail

    Thanks for this. Beautiful photos!
     

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    Default Re: Colorado Trail

    Quote Originally Posted by Jonathan
    I didn't realize how much of a factor weather plays above 10,000 feet in summer.
    Yea, being above tree line is not a place you want to be when the lightning starts flying...

    Quote Originally Posted by Philster
    Thanks for this.
    You're welcome.
     

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    Default Re: Colorado Trail

    I need to move.
    T.o.m. K.o.h.l.

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    Default Re: Colorado Trail

    I need me some of this in a bad way! Thanks for the pics.

    I dink around the 14ers.com site and have been following Justin Simoni's self-transported thru-bike/hike of CO's ranked 14,000ft peaks. He's not updating the blog but you can check updates on his FB page if one is into this. We had a San Juan's trip planned this summer that got nixt due to med & car repair expenses, but hope to get out there in 2015 to climb Uncompahgre, Handies etc. Bikes aren't allowed in most of that wilderness area, but I'd love be on the CO trail with my bike even if it is hanging on my shoulder.

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    Default Re: Colorado Trail

    That's so cool.

    It's interesting to see the obvious treeline, then a few brave, tough trees battling the elements above that.

    Beautiful, but difficult country, especially for sea-level guys like me.

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    Default Re: Colorado Trail

    Quote Originally Posted by Nierman
    hope to get out there in 2015 to climb Uncompahgre, Handies etc.
    Handies is a beautiful climb. Hoping to do it next summer with my oldest daughter as she's just expressed an interest to start climbing. I got my first two earlier this summer with Grays and Torreys.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mabouya
    Beautiful, but difficult country, especially for sea-level guys like me.
    Used to be a sea-level guy myself. You get used to it and it's awesome when you go back down for visits. ;) The mountains are more special to me than the ocean ever was.
     

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