Best month for a road trip in CO?

Discussion in 'The Rockies – It's all downhill from here...' started by DangerMoney, Jan 9, 2018.

  1. OrangeDreamCycler

    OrangeDreamCycler ...explorer of options.....

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    This last year and up to now have been exceptional for riding all the time, it has been somewhat BREEZY
    Ocassionally. For the most part we have not had a
    winter to speak of. I am at 8500' in the Southern Rockies and
    Daytime temps have been in the 50-60's and night
    Time have been hovering around freezing. I have been
    Riding practically everyday. ODC.
    #21
  2. _CJ

    _CJ Retrogrouch

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    As everyone else said, September, after Labor Day when all the tourists and their kids go home. It can get cold, and sometimes snow, but that stuff is usually pretty short lived. Other wise June is nice with everything greening up, and snow still capping the mountain tops (usually).

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    #22
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  3. oldmanb777

    oldmanb777 Just say NO to socialism!

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    Again, there is no way to know where you are from, so no way to know what you are accustomed too. But ANY big weekend will be grid locked all over the state. That's the best time to stay in the city, all the cityidiots try to escape the city at that time. So if you want to avoid the crowds and have a chance of vacancies, avoid the big weekends. The weather gets more unpredictable as the seasons start to change. We can have great weather for riding (like this year) right up to,,,,,,,well next week will be pretty nice at the lower elevations. Our anniversary is Sept 20th, I have had chains on my 4x4 to get out for our anniversary dinner. Not often, but happens. As said," usually" short lived, but you never know. So come prepared. Sometimes there is a fall colors ride posted up. Not sure if it will happen again or not. But if it does, that might be a good ride for you. I should mention, Fall is hunting season. Archery starts usually about the last weekend in Aug. It gets more and more crowded as the hunting season progresses. Max Hunting crowds are the rifle seasons in Oct.
    If your planning mostly pavement, that probably won't effect you much. But small town motels could fill up during rifle seasons. And camp spots could also be at a premium during that time.
    #23
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  4. swimmer

    swimmer armchair asshole

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    I rode up from Tucson a couple of years ago for a mostly unsuccessful randevu with the fall colors ride. Second half of September and it was probably as good as it can be considering the large temperature swings with elevation changes. Plus it was under 110F as I went through PHX on my way home.
    #24
  5. eakins

    eakins Butler Maps

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    Yes some Front Range locals travel around Labor Day but not in great numbers like the hordes of out of state tourists who visit their bucket lists in August.

    There is then another bump then of Front Range travelers over the closest weekend to September 21 to see the fall colors in the high country.

    Neither of these are huge numbers like the August crowds who drive in from all over.
    The highest traffic areas during these 2 mini rushes is also along the I-70 corridor towns.
    During Labor Day just plan on being north or south of this zone.
    #25
  6. eakins

    eakins Butler Maps

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    Gridlock all over the state?

    Even during busy holiday weekends I've ridden away from the roads west of Denver, away from I-70 corridor roads/towns, and away from the parks and found it far from gridlock.

    If I'm camping yes paid sites can be busy but you can easily camp for free all over the state in NF or BLM land. I've always found a spot.

    Sure hotels can fill in the areas I stated above, so avoid those.

    I've found hunting for the most part has very little impact on Moto touring because prime hunting seasons are post prime Moto touring seasons.
    #26
  7. eakins

    eakins Butler Maps

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    Yep historically 3rd week in September is peak color time but there is variation north to south in the state. Peak color in southern Colorado tends to be the 4th week or so.

    Snow is always the wild card in September so watching the weather is a must. Heck I've been snowed on in August.
    #27
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  8. oldmanb777

    oldmanb777 Just say NO to socialism!

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    Yep, wall to wall people on big weekends. Hard to get away from them. Sure you can find a spot to set up your tent, but many places will already have tents set up before the rush. Many favorite places will have a camp in every pull off during big weekends. If you can drive there, and there is a place to pull off, there probably will be a camp set in it on Labor Day weekend. National Forest camp grounds (if you use them, and some times we do) will often be full by Thursday afternoon. The "dispersed" places I have used since I was a kid will mostly be full by Thursday afternoon. I have been seeing more and more of those places being taken the week before, and staying through the big weekend. I find some of the nicest riding season is often concurrent with hunting season. I'm usually torn between riding and hunting that time of year.
    #28
  9. eakins

    eakins Butler Maps

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    You need to travel west man & away from mountains close to the front range or the 70 corridor then.

    Yep I've had some great mini tours in October too but it's really a wild card and something I advise against for those traveling great distances to get here.

    Seems most years we often see a late September dump and everyone says damn the seasons is over...then a nice October (or more) re-warmup happens to extend the season.
    #29
  10. oldmanb777

    oldmanb777 Just say NO to socialism!

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    Probably my favorite time. Often snow for our anniversary, (Sept 20) then great "Indian" summer. The crowds subside. Cold nights, crisp mornings with warm afternoons. After it gets too cold in the high country, then the plains beckon. Just extend the season.
    #30
  11. Prototype4342

    Prototype4342 Long timer

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    In this vein, is mid-july a good time to plan for doing the COBDR and lots of passes?
    #31
  12. oldmanb777

    oldmanb777 Just say NO to socialism!

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    Sure, but afternoon rain/thunderstorm is always possible. Watch for the monsoons to start. That brings more rain. Just have to plan for that. Mid July is usually prior to monsoon season. But getting close.
    #32
  13. ROAD DAMAGE

    ROAD DAMAGE Long timer

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    Same as most of the others have mentioned.
    I'm not a native of CO, but I am a 35 year resident of Northwestern CO.
    September is definitely my favorite time of the year to travel in CO ............ and in most of the rest of the US as well.
    RD
    #33
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  14. FatChance

    FatChance Road Captain

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    I always reckoned that the monsoons would reliably start around mid-July in the San Juans. :nod
    #34
  15. KHVol

    KHVol Long timer

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    There is an upside to any time and a down side to any time. July is great time for being in the San Juans..but if you also plan on a quick run to Moab while you are there ( which I strongly recommend, two vacations in one), you can count on Moab being very hot.
    #35
  16. _CJ

    _CJ Retrogrouch

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    Surface of the sun hot. Melt your face off hot. Kill you if you're unprepared hot. I did Moab once in July. It was an experience, but never again. As I recall, the only way to do anything that didn't involve air conditioning was to get started at 5:00am and be done by 10:00am, maybe stretch it to noon if you were willing to suffer. Much better off being in the high country that time of year, and save moab for later when everything else is snowed in.


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    #36
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  17. Bad Wolf

    Bad Wolf High functioning sociopath

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    Don't forget the other factors, like Sept and October are prime elk migration so take it slower on bli nd curves in the early morning and evening. Be more careful riding past elk and moose to not prompt a fight.

    Peak bear prep for hibernation time too, if camping. Make sure no food smell left on you, your gear, or in your bags.

    Otherwise, enjoy your visit and home. :hide
    #37
  18. Bad Wolf

    Bad Wolf High functioning sociopath

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    #38