This year, Pete Jessen has collected several of his
favorite area rides in and around Breckenridge. Thanks also go to David Taylor
for taking Pete's routes and creating them in printable PDF format.
Thanks Pete and David!
Jack Dobkowski has created a Garmin
Mapsource File of the AMA's Must Do Rides for Colorado. Thanks Jack!
Many of the files are in
the following formats:
ZIP (large combined file)
PDF (Adobe Acrobat)
MPS (Garmin Mapsource)
GDB (Garmin Mapsource - New version 6.3 format)
EST (Microsoft Streets and Trips 2002)
Pete's Rides - All in one ZIP
AMA Must Do Colorado Rides - All in one ZIP
(descriptions from Pete Jessen):
Aspen - Glenwood (PDF,
This tour is especially good for those who came to CO
from the east...you will head over Hoosier Pass south to Fairplay in Southpark.
Visibility is typically over 60 miles. Hwy 285 twists its way down to the
Arkansas River and Buena Vista (good coffee at Bongo Billies). On north on 24
and west past Twin Lakes and a lovely forested area that may already have aspen
quaking yellow, up Independence Pass. The wide open high meadows narrow to
extremely narrow twisting road down to one of the USA's wealthiest villages, an
old mining town called Aspen.
The wealth has spilled downhill in spurts towards Basalt,
Carbondale and Glenwood Springs. Upon heading east on I-70, the spring’s pool
will be on your left as you enter Glenwood Canyon, one of the more impressive
natural canyons around, and an even more impressive interstate roadbed. At
Gypsum, the Colorado River winds northeast towards Kremmling and Grandby, and
I-70 takes you on another wealthy valley that leads another 40 miles to Vail.
There are 17 championship courses surrounded by multi million dollar homes
accessed along this stretch to Beaver Creek and the sheep pasture of 1963
called Vail. If you choose to stop for conveniences, stop at West Vail exit
171. If you want to see the heart of the village, stop at the main village, go
east to the parking garage, and walk across the covered bridge to the center
village area. You will promise yourself to come back.
You are now about 55 miles from Breck over Vail Pass to
Copper Mtn, to Frisco and return. A long ride, but much of it is Interstate.
Aspen - Leadville
Same as the Aspen - Glenwood ride above, except: At Aspen, return east over
Independence Pass, then north on 24 to Leadville then 91 to I-70 at Copper Mtn.
This takes out a ton of miles and allows one to experience a number of
different high altitude passes and mining villages. Options would be to take 24
north from Leadville to Minturn, joining I-70 west of Vail and return.
Mt Evans -
This ride takes Swan Mtn Road on the south side of Lake
Dillon past Keystone Resort (another very classy resort) up Loveland Pass with
its inviting twisties and vast vistas. Down to I-70 and east to Idaho Springs
(pop. 45000...in 1895). Then up Chicago Creek on 103 winding steadily up to
Echo Lake. At the Lake, we pay $3 per passenger and head on up to the top of
Mt. Evans. There may be elk, probably deer, Mountain Sheep, and Mountain Goat
growing a beautiful white coat for winter. At the parking lot you will see
about six motorcycle painted parking spaces! What you don't have to do to find
one of those! There are toilets, some shelter and a ten minute walk up the last
two hundred feet to the very top, with great views...or you can pass, and
return to Echo Lake...slowly, watching for animals and cages watching for
East from Echo Lake over Squaw Pass we have options...if
short on time, turn left to I-70 and west to return to Breck. If you have a bit
more time, and I'm leading, I'll show you some gorgeous homes and neighborhoods
with about a 9-mile diversion ending in Evergreen...a good place to find lunch.
South from Evergreen we wind to Conifer and 285 west over
Kenosha Pass to Fairplay, Hoosier Pass and a big cold beer.
North Rim -
A very favorite ride of most Colorado sportbikers, this
run has it all. Heading south from Breck over Hoosier to Fairplay to Hwy 285,
down to Poncha Springs and up sweet Poncha Pass. After the pass, the valley
opens up as you head for Saguache and Hwy 114. This stretch is moderately
twisty with some of the prettiest ranch land going. Hwy 50 is reached about 10
miles east of Gunnison. West, thru Gunnison plus 25 miles gets you a turn over
the dam onto Hwy 92. Along the way you follow the shoreline of Blue Mesa
Reservoir, Colorado’s largest body of water…not very impressive to most of you!
Hwy 92 offers the pilot a wonderful challenge of
continuous twisties and the pillion a nail-biting 30 minutes of fabulous
beauty. One side of the road rises with rock outcroppings and aspen; the other
drops off 1500 to...deep as hell itself. Beyond the canyon one can see the
start of the San Juans at Ouray. Continue west as far as you like. As you leave
the canyon, the road serves farming areas. I prefer to turn about and back to
Hwy 50, thru Gunnison and over Monarch Pass. Reaching Hwy 285, north to
Johnson’s Corner give the option to head north on Hwy 24 via Leadville, Copper
Mtn, Frisco and Breck loop, or turn east and continue on 285 to Fairplay, then
Hwy 9 to the hot tub.
Options include taking a shorter ride by doing Monarch
Pass out and back, and blowing off Leadville loop. One could also continue to
Carbondale then either I-70 from Glenwood, or Independence Pass if you have
Pikes Peak (PDF,
Another ride where an early start is recommended, South
on Hwy 9 over Hoosier Pass to Fairplay and east on Hwy 285. After Kenosha Pass
the winding but excellent condition 285 takes you to Pine Junction (stoplight)
and south on Hwy 126 to Pine and Deckers. After Deckers, join Hwy 67 for a
delightful run to Woodland Park. Woodland Park is a good place for gas and
convenience. A short run east on Hwy 24 (keep it slow on this stretch, though
one would like to rocket down the twisty four lane) to Cascade, follow the
signs to Pikes Peak Toll Road. You will travel about 9 miles before reaching
the toll station. If in a group, park in the lot, and have a representative go
to the tollbooth and buy all the tickets, distribute, and they will let you all
go by in a group. There may be lines, but if you got an early start, probably
not too bad.
The Pikes Peak toll road ascends the mountain on good
paved road, then turns to gravel. It is graded and watered regularly, so the
conditions change, but are always good. The only condition to watch for is
traffic on the switchbacks. Let other vehicles clear the switches before you
get there. They not only turn 180 degrees, but they also climb. Keep a 10-15
mph steady speed and the LT takes them well. The top portion of the road will
demand the constant attention of the rider, though the vistas will be
compelling. Stay on the hardpack roadbed and all will go well to the top where
conveniences are available and a stop of 30 minutes will be worth it. Yes, the
LT starts and runs well at 14,000 feet!
Retracing your tracks back to Cascade and Woodland Park,
follow 24 to Hartsel and Hwy 9 to Fairplay and a good cigar.
Options include a short run into Colorado Springs and
numerous attractions (Garden of the Gods, Air Force Academy and a dozen others)
but most are tough to include in a one-day run that includes the top of Pikes
Trail Ridge (PDF,
This "must do" ride heads north on Hwy 9 to Frisco. Here
on can take the "dam road" to Dillon (more fun), or use I-70 to Dillon. North
on Hwy 9 on the very pretty and fishable Blue River, past Green Mountain
Reservoir to Kremmling, then east along the Colorado River to Grandby on Hwy
40. Dodge the bulldozer and turn north on 34 to Grand Lake. Drag Main Street of
Grand Lake to see the village…its beautiful! Then north and enter the park. Dig
out the annual "National Parks Pass" and enjoy. There is only one area that is
not double yellow from here to Estes Park. There are several major and some
minor pull out areas, but don’t expect the RV’s to use them. This road is
special, so try to spend a bit of time at the top.
At Estes Park, if you’ve not overloaded on trinkets, pick
up Hwy 7 (NO, not 36) south and set back to enjoy another lovely big
sweeper-massive scienics road south to I-70 along the east side of the front
range. Turn right on Hwy 72 past Ward (practicing Hippies) to Nederland (richer
practicing Hippies), past the frozen dead guy, and join 119 to Black Hawk.
Black Hawk has casinos, so have a ball keeping Colorado green if you have the
time. The remaining journey is 119 south to Hwy 6, a hard right and join I-70.
The road to Breck is I-70 and Hwy 9, but Loveland Pass and Swan Mtn Road can be
thrown in if you have oxygen to spare.
This is a long ride with many things to see. I recommend
the clockwise route in that it stays low until Grand Lake, and keeps you
counter to heaviest traffic.
Have fun and be
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