Canyon Rides Near Denver

Early Season Rides

Scenic motorcycle rides minutes from Denver are a great way to get a relaxing ride in during spare time. There are 6 spectacular canyons that are easy to get to and fun to ride on the front range mountains of Denver. But riding in Colorado in the early Spring season can be a challenge. Spring time still brings snow, ice, sand, rock slides, mud slides and wildlife challenges to be on the alert for. Believe me, you do NOT want to hit some sand when you are in a switchback curve! Also, you never know what is around the corner, rocks/boulders, animals, ice, water, mud, etc., and it’s best to just expect there’s going to be Something there rather than it’s it’s going to be clear during this time of year. The weather in the mountains is very unpredictable and you can get caught in very cold temps and snow all the way through May and into June sometimes in the higher elevations! The foothills, passes and canyons may be passable and great rides during early season riding, but, Rider Be Aware!

Rides Near Denver

Once we are past the early season riding and weather patterns get a little more consistent, it will be sunny in the morning, start clouding up by or shortly after noon, rain a bit around 2 – 3 pm for about an hour or two, then clear up for the rest of the night! This is a typical pattern for Colorado in the summer and this is when we can make some getaways for short rides in the mountains that are near the Denver Metro Area.

Golden Gate Canyon and Clear Creek Canyon

Golden Gate and Clear Creek Canyon

This is a nice 1.5 hr ride and about 45 min. round trip from Golden, CO. This route goes up Golden Gate Canyon, through historic Black Hawk, CO and then down Clear Creek Canyon. Golden Gate Canyon has several places to hike, bike, camp, fish or just picnic. Black Hawk is a gambling town now just up the rode is historic Central City, CO which is also a gambling town now. There are a lot of old mines and historic buildings in the area and you can also ride the Central City Parkway all the way I-70 to Idaho Springs, CO. This route continues through Black Hawk down Hwy-119 which hooks onto Hwy-6, Clear Creek Canyon back down to Golden, CO. Clear Creek Canyon has been under a lot of construction to create scenic walk/bike trails along the creek, so there are several places to stop and enjoy the beauty.

Here are some links to get information about Black Hawk and Central City Colorado:
Golden, CO: https://www.visitgolden.com/
Black Hawk, CO: http://site.cityofblackhawk.org/
Central City, CO: https://www.colorado.com/cities-and-towns/central-city

 

Coal Creek Canyon Rd and Boulder Canyon Dr

 Coal Creek and Boulder Canyon

This is a great route if you have a couple hours to spare for a very scenic ride. On this route we are leaving from Golden, head up Hwy-93 to Hwy-72, Coal Creek Canyon Rd, and head West into the mountains. Once you pass through a little town called Wondervu, you’ll start a descent on steep switch back roads into a valley. Take it slow and easy so you can take in some of the breath taking views on this part of the route. Continue on Hwy-72 and the next little town is Pinecliffe, cross over the railroad track and continue up to Hwy-119. Be careful here, this stop sign is on a steep hill and you will make a sharp right turn onto Hwy-119 which will take you into Nederland, CO and by beautiful Barker Meadow Reservoir. There are several places to eat, get fuel, and check out the Dam in Nederaland. Continue down Hwy-119 pas the the reservoir and it become Boulder Canyon Dr (still Hwy-119) which takes you down into Boulder. This is a beautiful drive down through the narrows of the canyon and right along the river with beautiful views. Once you get to Boulder you’ll make a right onto Broadway / Hwy-93 that will take you through the CU Boulder campus area and past the Boulder Flat-Irons on your way back to Golden.

Here are some links to get information about Nederland and Boulder, CO:
Nederland, CO: https://nederlandco.org/
Boulder, CO: https://bouldercolorado.gov/trails-and-recreation

 

Bear Creek and Deer Creek Canyon

 Bear Creek Canyon and Deer Creek Canyon

West of Denver is the small town of Morrison, CO. and this is where the route for Bear Creek and Deer Creek Canyon ride begins. Morrison has many places to eat and is right next to the famous Red Rocks Amphitheater and Park where you can hike and drive through to see some amazing rock formations. The ride heads West on Hwy-72 / Bear Creek Rd and goes through the little towns of Idledale and Kittredge, CO before you get to Evergreen, CO. There are several park along the way that you can hike and picnic to enjoy the natural beauty of this canyon. In Evergreen is where you will pick up Hwy-73 to Conifer, CO. If you’re hungry or want to enjoy some mountain town culture, you should spend a little time in Evergreen before you head up to Conifer. In Conifer you will pick up Pleasant Park Rd, it’s the light before you get to the gas station in Conifer. You’ll make a left and go under the Hwy-285 bridge. Follow Pleasant Park Rd and it will turn into High Grande Rd, then after  a couple switchbacks, the road turns into Deer Creek Rd. Take Deer Creek Rd all the way to Deer Creek Canyon Rd where you will then make a left. Deer Creek Canyon Rd turns into S Turkey Creek Rd and will take you to Hwy-285. Take Hwy-285 to Hwy-8 and back into Morrison, CO. There are a bunch of twisties and beautiful scenery that you will absolutely enjoy on this ride.

Here are some links for more information Morrison and Evergreen, CO. Also be sure to check out Red Rocks Amphitheater!
Morrison, CO: https://town.morrison.co.us/
Evergreen, CO: https://downtownevergreen.com/
Red Rocks Amphitheater: https://www.redrocksonline.com/

 

Be Safe, Have Fun and Ride On!

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COVID-19 and Motorcycle Riding

How to Ride and Avoid COVID-19

Is Motorcycle Riding Legal During The COVID-19 Pandemic?

The short answer is, Yes. You can ride your motorcycle in Colorado. There are still restrictions of groups no more than 10 people gathering and you must still practice social distancing. People from the same household can ride 2 up. It is still recommended that people wear face masks or bandanna’s, wear gloves when touching things, don’t touch your face, and thoroughly wash your hands. If you stop to go into a store or gas station, you’ll still need to wear your face covering. Be aware, there are still gas stations that do not have restrooms open to the public. If you live in any other state, other than Colorado, you need to be sure of any restrictions IN YOUR STATE.

I can’t stress enough, this is only my view and opinion from what I’ve seen, read, and heard from the same State, City, and County officials that you’ve heard it from. But I tell you what, if you have the virus and don’t know it, you give it to somebody else and they get sick or die and it’s traced back to you, well that’s on you! I don’t want to be the person that somebody tries to blame for a virus related death! Is the risk worth the reward? I’m extra careful about keeping my face covered around other people while I’m in public places, I wear my gloves when I get fuel, I stay at least 6 feet apart from others and I wash up and change clothes when I get home! I would recommend the same for my touring buddies! This is all about being safe and avoiding COVID-19 and not spreading the virus while riding.

I’m not sure and won’t really speak about dirt riding or back country riders on dirt bikes or ATV’s. From what I’ve seen and heard, there are still a lot of closures to public, state and national forest areas. It is best to call or check the official website of the area you want to ride. A couple weeks ago I rode through Red Rocks (paved roads) and this week, they have it closed off. So be prepared to change direction or plans during this time of uncertainty.

Also remember, just because there is less traffic on the roads and more breathing room, doesn’t mean we can be speeding and driving recklessly! This is the time of the year when people are getting out on their motorcycles and our numbers are growing but those driving cars and trucks aren’t watching for us yet. I am surprised how much speeding I hear on the roads near my home!

Motorcycle Riding To Other States?

As quoted directly from the CDC.GOV website, “The COVID-19 outbreak in United States is a rapidly evolving situation. The status of the outbreak varies by location and state and local authorities are updating their guidance frequently. The White House’s Opening Up America (Official document- https://www.whitehouse.gov/openingamerica/) plan means some parts of the country may have different guidance than other areas. Check with the state or local authorities where you are, along your route, and at your planned destination to learn about local circumstances and any restrictions that may be in place.” (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/travel-in-the-us.html)

So, what it boils down to is you can travel across state lines At Your Own Risk, but you better check the state, city and county’s you’re traveling into for any restrictions before you leave. Don’t travel if you’re sick! If you get sick while you are traveling, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible to prevent spreading the infection. Some medical facilities may be closed or overwhelmed with patients in areas that you’re traveling as well. If you are planning an over night stop, be sure to check if there are hotels/motels open in the area before you leave. Also, there are many local, state, and national parks that may be temporarily out of service. The planning and preparation for traveling long distance on a motorcycle is very important to begin with, now it’s going to be critical! Me, personally, as bad as I want to start traveling, I will not do it… yet! I don’t want to get stranded somewhere that has a major outbreak while I’m hundreds of miles from home! There are plenty of places nearby where I can get my wind therapy!

Motorcycle Riding To/From Neighboring Countries?

Well, let me put it this way, you should check before you try! From what I’ve seen, Canada and Mexico still have closed borders. All I can really find is that everyone is saying “Essential Travel Only”.

Canada’s official website states specifically “How COVID-19 is affecting applications to visit, work or study in Canada; If you meet the criteria for the travel exemptions, and you want to apply to come to Canada, there are changes to the application process. Learn more (and be sure to read the #1 footnote at the bottom of the page). You can travel to Canada only if you are exempt from the travel restrictions and are coming for an essential purpose”.

Wrap Up

It is not Illegal for you to ride your motorcycle in Colorado or even out of state. But you would be going against the request for “only essential travel”. Is getting wind therapy “essential”? It is for me! There are a lot of things you can do to and places to go that you can be safe, keep distance and still reduce your chances of getting the virus, but it is everywhere, so travel at your own risk. Check out my Shopping, Resources and Tools page for great get away ideas.

As I said earlier, this is only my view and opinion based on what I’ve seen, heard and read. I’ve provided many links to data for you to check and decide for yourself if you want to go for a ride or not.

At the time of this post, Colorado was entering into a “Safer at Home” phase that eased up on some parks, cities and counties but there are still restrictions for restaurants, bars and other businesses, so check for any news or changes before you head out on the road. Remember, you don’t want to be surprised and get turned around or get a fine for being somewhere you shouldn’t be.

Stay Healthy, Stay Safe, and Ride On!

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Short Shot Tours

Some Colorado Motorcycle Tours I’ve done

If you’re looking for some great Colorado Motorcycle Touring destinations, let me point you in the right direction. I’ll show you some rides that are a couple hours or a full day and some that are a couple day’s (at least) that will satisfy you needs for saddle time, wind therapy and scenery.

I’ll breakdown some of the places I’ve gone and give you route’s with times, distance’s and stops

Here is a great Fall Season Day Ride:

I-70 to Georgetown to Guanella Pass Rd (381)

Over Guanella Pass to 285 south (right)

Over Kenosha Pass to Fairplay to Hwy 9 (right) 

Over Hoosier Pass

Through Breckenridge to Squaw Mountain Road (right – around Dillon Res) to Hwy 6 (right)

Over Loveland Pass to I-70 east back to Golden

4 Pass Fall Colors
4 Pass Fall Colors

Here is a Great 3 Day Tour:

Montrose, Ouray, and Durango for theWeekend!

Day 1 – Golden to Montrose: 4 h 37 min (254 miles)

Day 2 – Montrose/Durango/Dove Creek/Montrose: 6hr 45min / 328 miles

https://goo.gl/maps/ggWPysLqeJF2

Day 3 – Montrose to Golden: 6 h 40 min (346 miles)

This is just a very small sample of the many tours I’ve taken in Colorado. I will show you routes that are close to Denver along the Rocky Mountain Front Range, I’ll show you places Up North, Down South, East and West that will just fill your senses!

Have you ever rode your motorcycle over a 10, 11, 12,000 Ft pass before? I have done many and let me tell you, there is nothing like reaching the summit of one and seeing the view to be had! Ears are popping, the air is thin, and the temperature will be chilled, but you’ll barely be able to pay attention to it because of the raw beauty that will before your eyes! It’s like being on top of the world!

I will take you on rides to the top of Mt. Evans and Pikes Peak that are over 14,000 ft above sea level, and I will take you to the beautiful valleys below so you can experience the vast beauty of Colorado like I do. Well, I’ll do the best I can to make you feel like you’ve been there, but in order to really experience and enjoy Colorado you’re going to just have to come out here and visit!

There is a lot more to come! Check back soon and check back often!

Be Safe, Have Fun and Ride On!

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Group Touring

Motorcycle Group Touring

Riding in a group is very different from riding by yourself. Though the rules of the road are the same, the procedure and etiquette are not.

Speaking From Experience

As I’ve mentioned, I’ve been riding for a long time and I have organized, planned, lead, and managed group tours with the HOG Chapter for several years. We have training manuals and conduct training for group rides on a regular basis. No matter how much you plan and prepare, you can almost always count on something going wrong. No matter if it’s a wrong turn, construction or accident detours, motorcycle breakdowns, or weather, the objective is to get the group to the destination safely. The riders that assist with the tour, like the Leader and Sweep and the helpers (Road Captains) in between, take a lot of responsibility and put a great deal of work into a group tour, so following these procedures and etiquette will make their job much easier.

Riding in a Group

  1. Pre-Ride Meeting
    1. When conducting this meeting you will explain where you’re going, the route you’re taking and stops you’re making. Procedures to be followed such as stagger riding positions, spacing, passing procedures, hand signals, etc., will also be discussed. The person conducting the meeting will advise the group of the person in charge of the ride and who will be assisting. It is very important to be sure all attending riders are clear and comfortable with all the procedures and etiquette. If possible they should provide printed maps and directions in case the group gets separated.
  2. TCLOCK (Tires and Wheels, Control Levers, Lights and Battery, Oil Levels, Chassis, and  Kickstand)
    1. This is the Acronym for the physical safety check that should be performed on motorcycles that will be in operation during the ride. (link-http://frederickhog.org/tips/tclock.htm).
    2. If your are operating a motorcycle you should be doing this regularly and especially when going on a long tour.
    3. It is the motorcycle operators responsibility to be sure the motorcycle is up to date with scheduled service and it is in safe operating condition.
    4. If a motorcycle is not safe and will create a hazard to themselves, their passenger or to other group members, they may be asked to join another ride after the motorcycle has been repaired.
  3. Who’s Leading and Who’s Sweeping
    1. The leader of the group should be trained and experienced for this position as he/she will set the pace, be the eyes for the group, and make decisions and modifications to the ride for the safety of the whole group. He/she will also try to keep the group together and provide hand signals to be passed back to the rest of the group.
    2. The Sweep should also be trained and experienced as they are responsible for keeping a watchful eye over the group for issues such as safety, reckless behavior, and to assist if there is a breakdown.
    3. With large groups there may be Mid Group riders that are designated to assist with breakdowns, directions, and safety issues also.
  4. Tools, Med Kits, and Supplies

    1. I would recommend that Every rider who operates a motorcycle should always carry these items with them.
    2. In the chapter I ride with, we require Road Captains to carry these items as part of their responsibility for their position in case somebody is in need.
    3. Some groups ride with other cars or trucks called “chase vehicles” that carry tools and supplies for riders.
  5. Rules of the Road
    1. Just because you’re riding in a group it does not mean you can disregard the rules of the road. Stop at stop signs and red lights and obey speed limits.
    2. The Leader, the Mids, and the Sweep will try to keep the group together by slowing down, pulling over or communication with the group.
    3. Covered in the Pre-Ride Meeting, there is a procedure if you do get split from the group, which is usually communicated via radio, cell phone, text, or visible stop locations.
  6. Hand Signals
    1. These should be covered in the Pre-Ride Meeting to make riders aware of the procedures to be followed will on the ride.
    2. Here is a link to a website that has animated hand signal instructions: https://www.motorcyclelegalfoundation.com/motorcycle-hand-signals-chart/
    3. It is important to pass the signals back to the riders behind you as soon as possible.
  7. Fuel, Food, and Restroom Stops
    1. This is also covered during the Pre-Ride Meeting as part of the route you will be taking.
    2. Usually the Leader will pull through a gas station or parking lot to keep everybody moving and them all off the road for safety. Follow the Leader and don’t stop, pull into a gas pump or park until all riders are safely off the road.
    3. Unless this is a planned lunch stop, these stops are usually a quick stop, so you can get back into formation and get back on the road to keep time schedules.
  8. Riding Positions

    1. This will be covered during the Pre-Ride Meeting also and should be followed in order to keep the group safe and keep it together.
    2. There are three ways to position in a group, Side by Side, Single File, and Stagger.
    3. The safest group positioning is stagger with at least 2 seconds following the rider directly in front of you, 1 second from the rider diagonal from you.
    4. Single file positioning is usually used when riding a lot of curves (twisties), narrow roads or bridges, and when there a pedestrians or bicyclists on the side of the road.
  9. Communication
    1. Fortunately we live in a technology world and communication has become a whole lot easier.
    2. CB Radios and Cell phones are easy to use on a lot of motorcycles these days with the ability to connect with Bluetooth headsets and microphones or the old fashioned wired solutions.
    3. If none of the methods above are available, there is always hand signals.
  10. Post Ride Meeting
    1. I recommend having a meeting with everybody after the ride to
      1. Advise of dinner or other event plans.
      2. Discuss meeting times and locations for the rest of the tour.
      3. It is also a good way of getting feedback from the group as to how they felt the ride went and get any suggestions or comments they may have.

Wrap Up

Touring with a group of people that share the same interest in motorcycles and have the same passion for the brotherhood and sisterhood is only fully appreciated if you ALL get to the destination safe and alive. Group Touring is fun and exciting but if we don’t follow the group procedures and etiquette we are putting the group, the tour and the people around us at risk.

One last thing, there are other motorists on the road with us that may get aggravated with a group of motorcycles and become aggressive toward us, but you have to remember, they are bigger and heavier and they will win. They may need to get to an approaching exit, they may need to change lanes, they may want to pass us…be courteous, be patient and give them the right of way because it’s not worth the fight!

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