Base Camping and Day Tripping Colorado 2021

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by KYwoodsrider, Aug 19, 2021.

  1. KYwoodsrider

    KYwoodsrider Base Camping and Day Tripping

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2006
    Oddometer:
    873
    Location:
    central KY
    I left Kentucky this morning at 5:00 am in a downpour.
    Headed to Colorado for some multi day base camping and riding.
    First stop is Mueller State Park where I'm meeting my riding buddy @BackroadsOnly. We plan to ride Phantom Canyon Road, Shelf Road and hopefully Phantom Creek-Signal Butte loop before heading to Ouray.

    But first you got to get there.
    Loaded all my stuff yesterday.
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    So now I am at the half way point to Mueller SP, Clinton Lake SP in Lawrence. KS
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    It's really nice. Even got out and rode around the area a bit
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    Praise God. Life is good.
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    Heading to Mueller in the AM, as soon as I can get up and hit the road
    #1
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  2. KYwoodsrider

    KYwoodsrider Base Camping and Day Tripping

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2006
    Oddometer:
    873
    Location:
    central KY
    I made it to Mueller SP around 5:30. Got my camp set up.
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    Mueller is around 9000 ft elevation. I was huffing and puffing as I unloaded and walked up to the shower house.
    The low tonight is supposed to be 46F.
    Muller is a really nice campground with some awesome views
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    The plan tomorrow is to ride Phantom Canyon Road down to Canon City, make a few side trips then ride Shelf Road back up.
    I don't think it's difficult but very scenic. Should be a good first day.
    #2
  3. KYwoodsrider

    KYwoodsrider Base Camping and Day Tripping

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2006
    Oddometer:
    873
    Location:
    central KY
    After a cold start this morning it turned out to be a perfect day.
    We took some back roads to avoid as much highway as possible to the start of Phantom Canyon Road just outside of Victor
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    It's not difficult but it is very scenic.

    Here's my riding partner @BackroadsOnly and his 390 Beta
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    The road gets more narrow as you work your way through the canyon
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    We made it down to Canon City where it was10-15 degrees hotter. After gassing up we road 6 painful miles down hwy 50 to Skyline Drive. It's a narrow paved road that follows along the spine of a ridge top with some spectacular views.
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    20210821_130238.jpg From here we were able to pick up the tracks for Shelf Road. After about 10-15 miles if twisty pavement the road turns to dirt and enters a rugged canyon.
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    The roads winds it's way back to Victor where we started. We road through Cripple Creek just to say we did.
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    Overall a great first day. Nobody hurt and nothing broke.
    I'll have to say the 9500 ft elevation is killing me. Maybe I'll be better tomorrow
    We plan to ride some trail in an ORV area just outside of Divide, CO. Only a few miles from the campground.
    #3
  4. KYwoodsrider

    KYwoodsrider Base Camping and Day Tripping

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2006
    Oddometer:
    873
    Location:
    central KY
    Colorado day 2
    We rode over to the ORV area just north of Divide .
    It's a big area with a maze of trails. They are well marked and our plan was to ride trail 717 which sort of makes a loop around the perimeter. The 700 series trail are limited to vehicles 50" wide so no Jeeps or SxS's.
    Since a lot of the trails do not show up on our Garmin GPS we used the COTREX app which I highly recommend.
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    The trail started out with sweeping corners, continuous whoops in places and a loose gravely surface almost like sand.
    There were a few water crossings
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    Alot a nice scenery
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    The trail was pretty strenuous and the elevation was still affecting our stamina so we made frequent stops
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    After a while the trail got more rocky, narrow and steep in places
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    The trail was about 32 miles in length. After we had ridden about 25 miles we talked about heading back but decide to ride one more section.
    Shortly after that I got off into a deep rut and the left side of my bike hit the wall of the rut.
    I could tell I had some radiator damage but luckily no leaks or over heating. I made a trail side repair and we headed back after that
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    After I got back to the campground I took a closer look. The radiator was bent and the fan blade was jamed into the housing
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    I straighted it up best I could, unhooked the radiator fan since I was concerned it might blow a fuse and put it back together.
    Overall a good day. Nobody hurt and a few things broken.
    Tomorrow we move to Ouray where we plan to ride the big mountains starting Tuesday.
    #4
  5. Leystone

    Leystone Back in the saddle

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2010
    Oddometer:
    523
    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Great pics and looks like amazing riding! How's that Beta compare to the Honda?
    #5
  6. KYwoodsrider

    KYwoodsrider Base Camping and Day Tripping

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2006
    Oddometer:
    873
    Location:
    central KY
    The Beta is nice. Lighter, more power.
    The electrics and lighting are not as nice as the Honda.
    Maybe a little more difficult to work on.
    #6
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  7. KYwoodsrider

    KYwoodsrider Base Camping and Day Tripping

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2006
    Oddometer:
    873
    Location:
    central KY
    Colorado day 3
    Today was a travel day to Ouray.
    I rented a small cabin in an RV park
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    After sleeping in my truck the last 4 nights this looks nice.
    It's kind of pricey but I like it because it's a 1/2 mile walk into town along the river.
    We stayed here last year and I really enjoyed that for breakfast and dinner.

    After I got things situated I took a short ride through town
    Ouray is in the perfect location at the base of the mountains
    Pictures don't do it justice.
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    I rode a few miles out of town on county road 361. This continues to Imogene pass.
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    Views like this are the reason everyone wants to come here.
    Tomorrow we are doing the Alpine Loop
    #7
  8. thadf

    thadf Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2018
    Oddometer:
    200
    Location:
    Missouri
    Looks awesome

    #8
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  9. KYwoodsrider

    KYwoodsrider Base Camping and Day Tripping

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2006
    Oddometer:
    873
    Location:
    central KY
    Colorado day 4
    We did the Alpine Loop today.
    This has to rank in the top 5 greatest motorcycling days of my life with #1 being the first time I took a ride on my very first motorcycle some 51 years ago.
    Also no picture can do justice to the places
    we went and the scenery we seen today.

    We started at Corkscrew pass off of hwy 550 about 10 miles south of Ouray
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    It was steep and twisty with some tight switchbacks but we made it up without issues.
    From there we hit all the most popular passes.
    Hurricane
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    Here is @BackroadsOnly blasting up to California Pass on the 390 Beta
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    We went thru Animas Forks and Cinnamon Pass which I thought was the most difficult.
    We met 2 guys riding mountain bikes basically on the same route we were doing.
    They were truly bad ass.
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    From there we headed over to Lake City.
    Up to this point traffic was very light. As we got closer to Lake City the jeep and SxS traffic increased a bit
    We met these guys from PA and west VA.
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    In Lake City we got gas and a barbecue then started on the return trip to Engineer Pass.
    It's a rocky trail and as you get closer to the Pass things get more difficult
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    Engineer Pass is pretty awesome
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    The ride back down to highway 550 is really tough. It's steep, lots of loose rock and some difficult ledges.
    We did about 85 miles today. The weather was perfect, we met some nice folks along the way and everyone was polite along the trail. A truly blessed day.
    Tomorrow we plan to ride Black Bear.
    #9
  10. SW717

    SW717 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2020
    Oddometer:
    20
    Location:
    Lancaster, PA
    Amazing photos and great story! Thanks for sharing!
    #10
  11. KYwoodsrider

    KYwoodsrider Base Camping and Day Tripping

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2006
    Oddometer:
    873
    Location:
    central KY
    Colorado day 5
    We rode Black Bear Pass to Telluride then Imogene Pass back to Ouray.
    About 45 really tough miles
    There are a lot of stories and YouTube vids out there about the "steps" going down Black Bear am I'm here to tell you it's a steep scary section.

    The trail starts out off of hwy 550 in the Red Mountain area. It's not all that difficult up to the Pass and very scenic.
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    There we a lot of Jeeps headed up there about the same time. One good thing is that the rental companies don't allow customers on Black Bear so you don't have to worry about that plus it keeps the crowd down.
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    Once you get beyond the Pass you can see the road heading down the mountain
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    It gets more narrow and difficult as it starts to decend. You can see Telluride in the distance.

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    At this point if you have a fear of heights you may want to turn back.
    There is a point where it becomes one way.
    There seemed to be some hesitation with the Jeeps in front of us. Some guys on 2 strokes came by us and started passing the Jeeps so we just fell in behind them and got around the traffic jam. I was hoping to follow their line but we couldn't stay with them.
    Here is the point when you realize what you've signed up for.
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    I went first. I rode about 1/3 of the way down trying to brake and keep my left foot down but I couldn't control my speed because of the steepness, the loose gravel surface and the distance between some of the steps
    I turned my engine off and tried to worked the bike down in first gear using the clutch but I was still having trouble controlling my speed so I finally just got of the bike and walked it down with the engine off and bike in first gear using the clutch and front brake.
    Here's the bottom of the steps
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    @BackroadsOnly did the same thing. You can see him at the top.
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    I know there's vids out there of fully loaded GS's going down and full size pick ups but I'd never ride a big bike here or try and take a jeep or truck down it.
    I'm glad I did it but I'll probably not do it again
    We waited quite a while to see some of the Jeeps come down but no one came down.

    Once you get past the steps there is an awesome view of Telluride in the valley.

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    The rest of the way down is a series of switchbacks and loose rocks. You can see the tracks on my GPS screen.
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    You can see the switchbacks on the side of the mountain.
    The steps are in the upper LH corner of the picture where the waterfall starts
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    Once we were down in Telluride we picked up Tom Boy Road and went over Imogene Pass and back into Ouray.
    I didn't take many pictures here. It was hot and dusty, lot of rock ledges and steep climbs.
    Overall a really good day. Nobody hurt and nothing else broken.
    #11
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  12. TN3Sport

    TN3Sport East TN DS Rider

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2012
    Oddometer:
    239
    Location:
    Chattanooga, TN
    Great report. Just got back to TN after touring CO with a group of 4 for 2 weeks.
    I'm one of the few that crashed going up BlackBear (typically, its referred to as the easy part of BB). Lost focus for a single second, hit a baby head and down I went. No one around to take my pic so its not officially a crash... But did manage to do the "steps" and "Switchbacks" of Black Bear without any problems... other than a sphincter muscle set to 11!!!! BB not the most technical we encountered but definitely the most frightening. CO has some epic routes. Enjoy your journey.
    #12
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  13. FastDoc98

    FastDoc98 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2008
    Oddometer:
    97
    My son and I rode that area 3 years ago in July of '18. My then 19 year old son and I went down Black Bear with him on my 1190 and me on a loaded down 690. I was the one who did a 0 speed tipover and he dropped down the steps like he'd done it all his life. Most exhilarating riding we've ever done! Everything around there is so stunning; your ride report has brought back a lot of great memories for sure.
    #13
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  14. Leystone

    Leystone Back in the saddle

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2010
    Oddometer:
    523
    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Your report reinforces for me the need to get this trip at the top of my bucket list motorcycle rides. Bit of a drive out to get to Colorado from Toronto, but man that scenery is spectacular.
    #14
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  15. ZoomerP

    ZoomerP Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2020
    Oddometer:
    3,825
    Location:
    American Southwest-ish
    The whole SW corner of Colorado has all kinds of old mining roads to explore. If you come that far, drop into Utah for a week, too.
    #15
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  16. KYwoodsrider

    KYwoodsrider Base Camping and Day Tripping

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2006
    Oddometer:
    873
    Location:
    central KY
    Don't put it off to long
    I came last year for the first time on my Tenere and knew I had to get out here with a dirt bike. Even at 65 years old I knew I had to do it. I'm already planning for next year.
    #16
  17. KYwoodsrider

    KYwoodsrider Base Camping and Day Tripping

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2006
    Oddometer:
    873
    Location:
    central KY
    Colorado day 6
    We were planning to ride Ophir Pass into Telluride however the weather was very iffy with storm chances so we decide to ride Owl Creek pass up to Silver Jack Lake.
    It's mainly easy forest service roads but the scenery was amazing. I could easily spend 2-3 days exploring that area. We did get stormed on and finished in the rain.
    We headed north on CR17 - CR23
    to Ridgway. The trailhead is about 2 miles north on 550
    Looking back towards Ouray as we heading north.
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    As you leave Ridgway you can see this mountain range in the distance
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    More interesting features
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    There are also quite a few ORV trails.
    Maybe we can check them out next year
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    I can't say enough about the scenery
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    This is my last day in Ouray. Tomorrow I start heading back towards Kentucky however I'll make another stop at Lake Trinidad SP where I hope to ride one more day.
    @BackroadsOnly will continue heading west on an even bigger adventure.

    Attached Files:

    #17
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  18. Critic

    Critic More or less!

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2005
    Oddometer:
    2,324
    Location:
    West of the Illinois, heart of the state!
    Thanks for taking me on the ride(s), I had a great time! Hoping @BackroadsOnly will continue with his adventure.
    #18
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  19. KYwoodsrider

    KYwoodsrider Base Camping and Day Tripping

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2006
    Oddometer:
    873
    Location:
    central KY
    Colorado day 7
    Today was a travel day for me. I moved from Ouray to Lake Trinidad State Park
    I stayed here last year as well
    It was a long travel day
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    and I was having some 2nd thoughts about 3 more nights camping in my truck.
    But when I got here everything just kind of fell into place
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    #19
  20. Olde Phart

    Olde Phart Olde Phart

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2018
    Oddometer:
    746
    Location:
    Land of Oro y Plata
    Great vicariously riding with you ... you are a testament to "Riders don't stop riding because they get older, riders get older because they stop riding." :thumbup

    Good old fartin' to ya!
    #20
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