110-Miles of Colorado Dirt Roads.............10-27-2018

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by Skunk-Works, Nov 2, 2018.

  1. Skunk-Works

    Skunk-Works Adventurer

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2018
    Oddometer:
    34
    Location:
    Denver, Colorado
    Since I am new to this whole BIG-ADV-Bike thing, and need to get a better feel for the bike, and more miles under my belt, I thought "what better way than to just pick a general direction, and get on it!"................so Saturday, that's exactly what I did!

    I had an idea which way I wanted to go, and it was going to be the best day for some time to come (Weather wise). I had no other plans for the day other than a Halloween Party later that evening in Castle-Rock, so after Coffee and Breakfast, I checked the bike over, geared-up, and off I went!

    I ended up Riding a 253-Mile loop, with 110-miles of it on Dirt Roads.................
    I sometimes run a free GPS-tracker app on my work-phone. This was my route.
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    I started in Aurora at the Gas-Station a couple blocks from my house. I made my way to the 225, then the 25 heading south. I exited at Happy Canyon Rd, and rode to Sedalia where I turned onto Hwy-67. After a short twisty ride up the ridge, I turned onto the dirt of Rampart Range Road and headed south.
    I found the road to be in great shape, and quickly fell into the rhythm of its wide curves. This section of the road was easy, but an occasional patch of deeper loose dirt or tight hairpin kept my attention............The northern 3/4ths of this road is in the trees, with only a sparse few lookout points for scenic views unless you venture off on one of its many side-trails or jeep-roads.

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    Mile after mile I snaked my way through the trees. As I made my way south I would catch an occasional glimpse of Pikes-Peak, looming ever and ever larger each time it would enter my field of view..................I continued on.
    There wasn't a whole lot of traffic on the road that day. Honestly, I had expected more. There were a good number of people camping and riding dirt-bikes or atv's along the way, but there were a bunch of empty campsites that I saw also. Except for a couple folks, each time I would come up behind a truck or car heading in my same direction, they would politely wave me by. I beeped the horn and waved as I passed them.....................I felt a general sense of friendliness from others that I encountered that you just don't get when you are in the City.......It really put me in a good mood :)
    The only disappointment I felt along this section was when I reached the southern end of this road, near Woodland Park. I started seeing trash everywhere! Some alongside the road, some in piles left in empty campsites, some strung all over in what looked like occupied homeless-encampments........................What's up with that? Honestly..............This is embarrassing!
    This is exactly how public-use areas get closed for good!

    Just past the Woodland Park section, both the scenery and the road changes..
    Pikes-Peak now dominates your view, and the forest fires have eliminated most of the tree cover in this section.

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    There are more and more sections of loose larger-size gravel, and the road becomes a bit rougher as you wind your way down to the red-rocks of Garden of the Gods.
    #1
  2. Skunk-Works

    Skunk-Works Adventurer

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2018
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Denver, Colorado
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    This is where I would return to pavement............................After a couple pictures I took the short drive downhill to Hwy-24, where I turned left and rode a few miles down to 26th Street. I turned right and headed towards Gold Camp Road.
    I had researched Gold Camp Rd a few times in the past, so it had been on my radar to explore for some time.......................I knew about the section that is closed to Cars. I looked it up on the USFS website a couple days prior, just to verify that Motorcycles are allowed.........Their 2018 info says it is open to motor-vehicles 50" or less in width.
    Some posts I have read have stated that there is not much room to squeeze past the gate, or that only narrow-bikes can fit...............I figured "What the heck? I'll give it a shot!" I'll ride to the gate and check it out........................If it ends up being a "No-go" I could always bypass that section via Old Stage Rd, and add a few extra miles of pavement on my way around.
    #2
  3. grip-wolrd

    grip-wolrd Adventurer

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2018
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    Location:
    Bern, Switzerland
    Fantastic! I've done those same roads when I visited; was an absolute dream.
    #3
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  4. staudio

    staudio Time to take a ride.....

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2008
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    15 Minutes north of the Golden Gate Bridge, CA
    nice. amazing scenery.
    #4
  5. Skunk-Works

    Skunk-Works Adventurer

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2018
    Oddometer:
    34
    Location:
    Denver, Colorado
    Gold Camp Road turns into Dirt shortly after the intersection with the exit of High Drive (it's one-way), and quickly turns curvy. It follows the canyons with Mountain on one side, and Drop-off on the other.
    The road is wide in most places, and in excellent condition.
    The scenery is amazing, and it's hard to believe that a road with such a remote feel is this close to the City!
    I soon rode through the first of many old Tunnels that I would encounter on my route.

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    N. Cheyenne Canyon Rd below.....
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    After a ways and another Tunnel, you come to the infamous Parking-Lot and Locked Gate. Off to your right is the entrance to High Drive. (I will explore that another day) To the left is the paved N Cheyenne Canyon Rd that takes you back down to the City or around to Old Stage Rd if you choose to bypass the Upper Gold Camp section. At the back of the parking-lot is the Locked Gate. I rode over to inquire about the size of the "Motorcycle" opening....................To my surprise, the space between the end of the Gate and the large Boulder planted next to it was quite big! You could easily fit a large ATV or two motorcycles side-by-side through there. My Super Tenere with Hard-Cases fit easily with plenty of room to spare! Also a relief, was a posted sign just beyond the Gate that stated this section of the road was open to Hikers, Bikers, Motorcycles, and ATVs..........................I continued happily on!
    #5
  6. Skunk-Works

    Skunk-Works Adventurer

    Joined:
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    The road after the Gate is much narrower, and also contains some patches of deep pea-gravel. I rode cautiously, and also slowly due to the number of people hiking and dog-walking with their families.
    I rode very respectfully, and gave others plenty of room as I made my way along................Everyone I encountered seemed cordial to my presence, and most would give a friendly wave if I offered one.
    This struck me as contradictory to what I have read about this section of road in the past, where others have stated that hikers would complain or yell at them for riding a motorized "whatever" through there.......................I fully understand that this is a multi-use trail, and I try to follow the Mantra of "Be respectful, and in most cases you will be respected"......................It seemed to work on this day!
    A short time later I arrived at the Closed-off Tunnel.............................Looking at the trail up into the trees to my left with trepidation, it was obvious that this would be a bit above my comfort-zone!
    The trail appeared wide enough however, and I hastily made a risk-vs-reward assessment......................I decided to go for it!
    Once I started up it felt steeper than it looked, with tree-roots and larger rocks trying to block your path. I ended up stalling the bike twice on the various obstacles, and at one point slid backwards about 6-feet, but managed to both: Not dump the bike, and NOT injure myself............................A "Win-Win" that instantly eased my nervousness that I initially felt upon attempting this on such a large machine!
    I eventually chose the right line, and made it over the top. There were a few rocks and trees to avoid on the descent down the other side, and even a creek-crossing at the end. (My first one!)

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    Once back down onto the flat part of the road, I breathed a huge sigh of relief and was filled with an extremely euphoric happiness when I looked at the Tunnel and thought; "Yup, I just rode up over the top of that!"

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    An obligatory photo, and I was back underway.............................
    The road continued with the same narrower feel, and same patches of loose pea-gravel, but there was a very noticeable lack of other people on this side.............Almost like everyone was hiking from the parking-lot to the closed-tunnel, then back to the parking lot?
    The only other person I ran into on the road was a Mt-biker who appeared to be struggling with his sense of direction. I stopped to lend assistance, and once I pinpointed our existence on my iphone maps app, he was assured of our exact location on the road.

    I continued on through yet another Tunnel..........................

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    And another Tunnel........................
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    I rode past a few sparse private residences, and then finally reached the Locked-Gate on the other end of this road section.
    I barely noticed the intersection with Old Stage Road as I continued my route west.
    #6
  7. Skunk-Works

    Skunk-Works Adventurer

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    I started encountering more and more trucks and SUVs at this point, and there were a few groups of people enjoying some target-shooting at various pull-offs along the road.
    The scenery also changed a bit as I continued west toward Victor.

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    Some old Mining equipment in Victor.......................
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    This sign says it all.........................
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    #7
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  8. Skunk-Works

    Skunk-Works Adventurer

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    Sep 20, 2018
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    Location:
    Denver, Colorado
    It's hard to say what my favorite section of this day's ride was, because each one was so different.......................As I turned south on Phantom Canyon Road, I couldn't help but think that this was it!
    The dirt was smooth and hard-packed. The road was wide, and could be ridden at any pace..................
    As I descended into the Canyon, the scenery was just absolutely spectacular! I had never driven this road before, and I loved that I was able to first experience it on this bike!
    There was only the occasional vehicle, and I frequently had the entire road all to myself...........................I enjoyed every minute of it!

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    #8
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  9. Skunk-Works

    Skunk-Works Adventurer

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    Sep 20, 2018
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    Denver, Colorado
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    #9
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  10. Skunk-Works

    Skunk-Works Adventurer

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    Sep 20, 2018
    Oddometer:
    34
    Location:
    Denver, Colorado
    There was still some Fall-Colors to be seen in the Canyon, and as the day was getting long I made my way out of the southern end.......................

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    Once I reached US-Hwy-50, I found some cool old Military Aircraft to pose with!
    The letters are backwards, but " S T " stands for "Super Tenere"!
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    The pavement took me back to Colorado Springs via Hwy-115, where I hopped on to I-25 north.
    I had just enough time to stop for gas in Monument before meeting my Wife and kids in Castle-Rock at the Party.
    The more time I spend on this bike, the more I love it! I'm already dreaming about where it will take me next.........................
    #10
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  11. Knuckle Buster

    Knuckle Buster Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2017
    Oddometer:
    208
    Location:
    Alexandria,Tennessee
    I would love to ride there once in my life! I wouldn't know how to find it from Tennessee. Sure I can follow the hwy to Colorado and find a big town or something but I dunno how yall find the places like that. In Tennessee when I find places off the beaten path theres always someone who owns it and isn't happy to see you on land he bought.
    #11
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  12. Skunk-Works

    Skunk-Works Adventurer

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2018
    Oddometer:
    34
    Location:
    Denver, Colorado
    Just come on out!
    Roads like this are everywhere around here...............There's a lot more public land out in the West, and dirt-roads through it.
    #12
  13. Jeeper0505

    Jeeper0505 Adventurer

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    Jan 28, 2011
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    Prescott, AZ
    Great trip report! Thanks for taking the time to post.
    #13
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  14. Section

    Section n00b Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2018
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    2
    Location:
    Metropolis IL Earth
    Some great pictures and looks like you had a great ride. Really like your bike too.
    #14
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  15. PhactoryFil

    PhactoryFil Adventurer

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    Nov 3, 2017
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    Denver, CO
    Great RR, I've ridden all over the foothills but I've never done Gold Camp Rd, definetly on my list now!
    #15
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  16. BeeSeaOil

    BeeSeaOil UK Import! ;-)

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2018
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    Location:
    Michigan
    Nice read, thanks!
    #16
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  17. Oldschoolrocker

    Oldschoolrocker a.k.a. EZE Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2017
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    Location:
    Tacoma Wa
    Great ride and pics!! Definate sweet area. Bikes looking great too! Cheers!
    #17
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  18. Merfman

    Merfman Trustin' my cape...

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    Sep 11, 2009
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    Colorado Springs
    #18
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  19. thechief86

    thechief86 jack of all daniels

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    Sep 5, 2015
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    Location:
    White House, TN
    Loved this report! I have always had an amazing time when I've visited this area. Can't wait to get back!
    #19
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  20. Steve06

    Steve06 Adventurer

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    Sep 17, 2010
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    Georgia
    Excellent RR and nice bike. Thanks for sharing
    #20
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