These rides are a great getaway that can be done in a day, usually 4-8 hours with lunch and bio breaks, and site seeing that aren’t a little further from Denver. These are great tours through canyons and mountain passes that will take you through beautiful valleys and mountain peaks. Take a day to unwind and enjoy the vast beauty of Colorado.
Twin Lakes, Independence Pass and Aspen in the Fall
Riding mountain passes is one of my favorite things to do, the only thing that can make it better is riding mountain passes in the Fall Season! Here is a great day trip that takes about 7 hours in the saddle and has plenty of eye popping colors of the season.
Hwy 82 W will take you through Twin Lakes, Over the Independence Pass, into Aspen and all the way to Glenwood Springs/Glenwood Canyon on I-70 E.
Be sure to click on the link above to check out the stunning videos from this ride and then leave me a comment and don’t forget to “follow me” so you get updates when I add a new post.
Poudre Canyon and Cameron Pass
From the Lakewood/Denver area up to Fort Collins is a short ride up I-25. In Fort Collins you will make a few jots through the city and make your way to HWY-14 which will take you up the Poudre Canyon. Mishawaka Inn is a great place to stop for food and entertainment in Poudre Canyon. Continue up HWY-14 and you will enjoy beautiful scenery, rivers and mountain views until you reach the top of Cameron Pass (10,276 feet)! Stop for a while and take in the fresh, crisp, clean air of the Rocky Mountains! Now continue down HWY-14 and you will end up in Walden, CO, another great place to stop for lunch and take a break. When you leave Walden, you’ll pick up HWY-125 all the way to Granby, CO. In Granby you’ll catch HWY-40 that will take you through Winter Park, CO and over Berthoud Pass (11,315 feet) where there are plenty of places to stop for photo ops. Continue down HWY-40 and you’ll hook up to I-70 East which will take you back down to the Lakewood/Denver area.
Here is a great Fall Season Day Ride:
This is a ride I usually do with the HOG Chapter I ride with, The Denver Chapter HOG (DCH)! They are a great bunch of fun loving, Harley loving, Motorcycle Touring Enthusiasts, like me, and we always have a great time viewing the beautiful Colorado fall colors together.
We just did this ride and I will be posting some pictures and video on the Touring Videos page. The only variation to the ride we just went on was we went down Hwy 285 S to Kenosha Pass and the last part was over Guanella Pass to 285 N back up to Golden.
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 ridden your motorcycle over a 10, 11, 12,000 ft pass before? How about a 14,000 + ft pass? 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 will feel like you’re on top of the world!
I will be adding rides for
Horse Tooth Reservoir and Carter Lake
Peak to Peak Highway
Woodland Park and Deckers
Colorado Springs and Garden of the Gods
Canyon City and Bishops Castle
Mount Evans and Pikes Peak
Rocky Mountain National Park
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!
Where is the best place to take a motorcycle road trip in the middle of summer? Texas! Texas? Why Texas? In the middle of summer?
Okay, Texas is really hot and really humid and you might think your tires are melting to the asphalt while riding, but there are plenty of things to do and places to go where you can beat the heat and enjoy what Texas has to offer!
I have family in Texas, that’s why I go there, but I have found that the state has more to offer than I thought and my family is happy to point it out. I have been to Texas many, many times and I have a great time when I’m there, so I’m going to share a little bit of my experiences, places and things I’ve done to show that Texas is a great Summer Touring Destination!
There are plenty of way’s to get to central Texas, I’ve taken a lot of them, but this time I’m planning on scoring more challenge coins, so I’m taking a new route.
Day 1 – Denver to Amarillo
If you’d like the turn by turn directions of this route just click on the above link to open the Google map route.
This route is a little out of the way so I am able to catch a couple challenge coins on the way down. I decided not to go to the first coin stop, Texhoma Harley Davidson in Sunray, TX, because when I stopped for a late snack and gas in Stratford, TX, I decided to double check the dealership location. I was concerned because I was not able to find the dealership on the GPS. I double checked and finally asked the cashier to verify, it did not have a phone number listed anymore. Well, it’s 20+ miles in the wrong direction and will add another 45 minutes to my day, I’m gonna take a pass on this one.
My next stop was at Tripp’s Harley Davidson in Amarillo, TX. This was a fairly short leg, just a couple hours, but it’s only a twist of the throttle and I’m at the hotel for the night. I did score a challenge coin and a poker chip, so it was worth the trip!
Well, Now that I’ve got my prize for the day, I got checked into my stop for the night at the Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites, Amarillo West. The pool and hot tub are open, the room was clean, the bed was comfy, the breakfast hot and a very friendly and accommodating staff! I would recommend this hotel as a great value and comfort for just over $100. Worth every penny after a long hot day of riding!
Day 2 – Amarillo to Lampasas
Day 2 takes me to Wichita Falls, TX and Dallas-Fort Worth, TX (DFW) for Harley Davidson dealership challenge coins, then on to my destination stop, Historic Lampasas, TX.
To be totally honest, I did not realize that the Red River Harley Davidson was on my route to DFW until I saw the sign as I flew by it on the highway! I caught a glimpse of the sign just in time to make the exit ramp. I’m glad I hit this dealership because they have the coolest statue!
And if that’s not cool enough, they have the only challenge coin (that they know of) that has an inscription on the edge of the coin…in Latin! This is the inscription, “si vis pacem sicut equitare”, which translates to “if you want the peace as he ride”, my interpretation, “If you want peace, then Ride”, the dealership gave me the translation as “If you want peace, prepare to ride”, which translates back to “Si vis pacem, para equitare”, either way, this is my new phrase.
So, after the well welcome surprise stop at Red River, I was off to DFW as my last stop before my final destination. Just so you know that I know, I know there are many Harley dealerships in the Dallas area, but I also knew it was gonna be git’n hot’r than armadilla road kill at high noon! So, Anyway, I decided that I did not want to get stuck in rush hour traffic in Dallas and made the choice to hit the dealership with the quickest and easiest escape.
Well, I narrowly escaped rush hour, traffic was git’n heavy and it was git’n hot! It was only about 2 1/2 hours to Lampasas, according to Google maps, but I think I shaved a little time because I heard my family was waiting to take me out to dinner, there was no time to waste!
Here is my take for the trip down to my destination:
Approximate time 15 hrs and distance 950 miles.
How to Stay Cool In Texas
I Spent a total of 12 days in Texas, it didn’t rain, NOT A DROP, the whole time I was there. It was upper 90’s to Low 100’s and HUMID! As soon as I stepped outside of air conditioning, I would start sweating profusely! It was obvious, I needed to find ways to stay outside AND stay cool!
There are many beaches in TX to take a dip in the Gulf of Mexico and cool of.
There are plenty of options for fishing in Texas, from fresh water lakes to Deep Sea Fishing! I went out on the Gulf Coast with my brother for my first time! It was a great experience and I look forward to doing it again. It was an 8 hour fishing trip, the day after a hurricane went through, and the seas were a bit rough but what an experience!
My brother is a great cook to begin with, but man, let me tell you, he served up a feast of fish from our day at sea that was to die for! The Trigger Fish and Shark were my favorite!
I had no idea there were caverns in Texas until somebody suggested going to one while I was visiting. Caverns stay cool all year long and are a great way to beat the heat in Texas. Unfortunately I did not get the chance to check out a Texas cavern, but here is sight that show many to choose from. https://www.traveltexas.com/things-to-do/outdoor-adventure/caves-caverns/
I did take another day to travel around and pick up some more challenge coins for my collection. Unfortunately, as I’ve mentioned before, not all dealerships carry dealership coins, so I had to make do, but it was a great day of riding just the same!
It was a hot day of riding once it high noon, tripple digits, but it was a great day of riding!
I stayed in the same hotel that I stayed at on the way down, the Holiday Inn Express and Suites in Amarillo. I’d recommend this hotel to anyone passing through Amarillo for a very clean, very comfortable, and very friendly night sleep! Oh, and not to mention, they have a great breakfast, pool and hot tub to help re-energize for the road ahead.
Texas Tour Recap
I go to Texas to visit to visit family living there, would I choose to go there in the middle of the summer for a ride otherwise? Probably not, but there are plenty of things to do, places to go, and ways to have fun and stay cool in the Texas summer sun. Not to mention, if you’re on tour and visiting Harley stores, there a whole bunch in Texas you can stop at! Try to find time to visit a cavern so you can tell me how cool that was. Take a day to go deep sea fishing! And if you go to an amusement / water park, don’t eat before you you ride the roller coaster!
As usual, I planned the trip, reserved hotels, and mapped the routes and stops using all the resources available on this website. And, if you need any gear or supplies for the trip, you can also use the Amazon link from this site to get everything you need.
It was a great trip but I’m happy to be back in Colorado!
Questions, Comments, and Feedback are more than welcome, they are requested!
Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed taking the journey with me!
Riding the California Coastline has been on my bucket list for decades and this tour did not disappoint.
I considered several options for the ride out to California. My first thought was to ride out in one day so I would have more time for California. I live in Colorado so a one day ride, straightest path, would be about 19.5 hours and 1200 miles.
I’ve done the 1000 mile riding challenge before (a couple times), I know I could do this, but it wouldn’t be a relaxing trip, it would be a challenge.
So the next option was to take two day’s to get out there, taking the shortest route, would be about 600 mile day’s, but then I would be traveling US-50, The Loneliest Road in America all by myself, and I might get lonely.
My last option was to take a Northern route via I-80 and travel parts of the country I’ve been in before. This is the route I was going to take, until I found out that another buddy of mine was going out to California on the same dates.
The final decision was to take the shortest route and arrive in California on day three. The over-night stops were Salina, UT and Carson City, NV which put me into my California destination after a short ride on day three.
Remember, the routes, time in route, and distances vary a little with stops for gas, breaks, and sight seeing pictures.
Golden, CO to Salina, UT – Depart at 6:30AM – 7h 10m / 436mi
This is a short ride, relatively speaking, but we wanted to get an early start so we would miss traffice and make it an easy day. The worst part of the day was going over the Continental Divide so early in the morning, about 7-7:30AM, it was COLD, even in July! Fortunately I learn from past mistakes and I was prepared for cold ride and wore insulated pants, insulated chaps, cold weather socks, heated gloves, long sleeve shirt, hoodie, coat and 3/4 helmet! Our first stop for gas was in Glenwood Springs, CO and the temps are comfortable enough to shed some layers finally. We made a second stop at the Black Dragon Canyon scenic overlook, near Green River, then we went on to get fuel and lunch in Green River, UT.
After fuel and lunch we headed to Salina, UT to finish off the first day ride. We stayed at the Quality Inn & Suites Salina National Forest Area
Address: 1400 South State Street, Salina, UT 84654, United States of America. They were very accommodating and friendly. They didn’t have breakfast, hot tub or pool open due to the COVID-19 but the Denny’s next door was open for dinner. I got a breakfast to go so I could warm it in the microwave before we took off the next morning. Day 1 in the books! Great Day!
Salina, UT to Carson City, NV – 6:30AM Departure – 8h 50m / 545mi
We fueled up the night before so we were ready to leave at 6:30AM headed for Carson City, NV.
WOW, what a beautiful morning for ride! The sun is beginning to crest the mountian tops, the sky is as clear as can be, and the temps are in the comfortable low 60’s!
We are riding US-50 today, The Loneliest Road in America, and if you haven’t done it yet, it’s worth the trip! This road take us all the way to Carson City, UT via several peaks and valleys. Mountain roads to summits as high as 7000ft with a bunch of fun twisties and valleys that were, well, kinda boring but the view of surrounding mountains was very scenic.
Well, we topped off our fuel before we left Salina, UT, so now we’ve stretched our fuel out enough and fortunately found fuel in Austin, NV. We left Austin in search of lunch, which during a pandemic is somewhat of a challenge. We finally got lunch in Silver Springs, NV then finished up the ride in Carson City, NV. I stayed at Super 8 by Wyndham Carson City
Address: 2829 South Carson Street , Carson City, NV 89701, United States of America. I had to pay a $200 deposit for a $85 / night room, which I didn’t understand and have never been asked for a deposit before. The only thing I don’t like about this is that it puts a hold on that amount until it clears the CC company which can take 3 to 7 business days. The motel did not have any breakfast, pool or hot tub and the bathtub in my room did not have a tub drain stopper so I couldn’t even soak my feet. I should have stayed at the Casino Hotel where my riding partners stayed, they had a restaraunt! Day 2 was a hot and tiring day on the lonely highway and in the desert, but still a great day on the road!
Carson City, NV to Petaluma, CA – 8AM Departure – 3h 50m / 210mi
We had breakfast at The Black Bear Diner, in the Casino/Hotel where my riding buddies stayed, then we got on the road by 8AM headed for Placerville, CA.
We topped off fuel in Placerville, CA and we said our good-bye’s. This is where my riding buddies start their California adventure and where I continue on to Petaluma, CA where I will stay a few nights so I can visit family and tour the Northern California area.
I continued on US-50 W to I-80 W to CA-37 then on to HWY-116 into Petaluma, CA.
Now time for some R&R with cold beverages and family. I will start my tour of Northern CA in the morning with some great advise from my family.
This is the first day of touring around Northern CA and I have some good pointers from my cousin to go on.
The original plan was to head up the coast first, then after some sound advice, I decided to head to Santa Rosa first. I’m glad I changed plans because the Coastal Highway was still very chilly, even in the afternoon. By the time I got down to Bodega Bay I had made several stops to add multiple layers so I wouldn’t freeze my butt off!
So, headed the opposite direction I went through Napa, cruised by the Petrified Forest and up to Calistoga, CA, where I began my ride through beautiful Robert Louis Stevenson State Park and enjoyed some great twisties and tall Redwoods!
I stayed on CA-29 N through Lower Lake, around Clear Lake and up to Upper Lake where picked up CA-20 W to Redwood Valley. At Redwood Valley I jumped onto US-101 N to Willits, CA where I picked up CA-20 W again. By this time the temps have reached the mid to upper 90’s! I topped off fuel in Willits and then headed to Fort Bragg, CA.
This was a great ride through tall Redwoods and some real nice curves! CA-20 N goes all the way to CA-1 and you take a right to go into the town of Fort Bragg, CA. I took a side road to the coast and took some pictures and video, so be sure to look at the Touring Videos page related to this tour.
This part of the ride today was about 135 miles from Fort Bragg to Petaluma and if I rode straight through with no stops, would take around 3.5 hours. When I arrived in Fort Bragg it was only 58 degrees! This was a very welcome change from the inland temps of upper 90’s. The only problem with this was that it just kept getting colder as I headed South down the coast! I have to stop 4 times to warm up and put on additional layers for warmth. I am really glad I took my cousins’ advise about bringing warm gear and riding the coast in the afternoon as apposed to riding the other direction on the route and doing the coast first thing in the morning!
I took CA-1 all the way back to Petaluma and I was able to get a ton of beautiful video that you can check out on the Touring Video’s Page.
This was a spectacular day 1 of touring California and I would recommend this to anybody thinking about visiting!
This was a shorter days’ ride but I’m looking forward to it because Sonoma County Harley Davidson is on the itinerary! Once again, if I didn’t make any stops for pictures, lunch, or the HD dealership, the ride would be less than 4 hours and 140 miles, but since I did make stops it took me over 6 hours to complete this route. It was a great day!
I ran into road construction on my way to the Point Reyes Lighthouse so I had to settle for Drakes Beach, which was a beautiful ride and a nice stop.
There is only one way in and one way out of the Point Reyes National Seashore area, so as much as I don’t like backtracking on the same roads, I have not choice.
Once I got back to CA-1, I headed North to take in the views of Tomales Bay on my way up to Hwy-116. I made a right on Hwy-116 and followed the Russian River all the way to Guerneville. This has been a great ride through beautiful Redwood Forests with a bunch of great peaks as the Russian River along the way. I left Hwy-116 to stay on River Road and follow the Russian River.
River Road took me to US-101 S to the Sonoma County Harley Davidson where I was able to score a new challenge coin, a couple T’s and chips! I got really lucky, I got The only and The LAST coin they had!
Once again, check out the Touring Video’s page on this site to see the great video I took on the ride!
Today we head South to Santa Barbara via CA-1 with a stop in Monteray Bay! I was really looking forward to this ride, going over the Golden gate Bridge and seeing Monterey Bay, but the whole trip, I was socked in fog! I was only able to see brief views of the Pacific the whole ride down to Monterey Bay!
Finally, in Monterey Bay I was able to see some ocean view but there was still a lot of fog in the area. Municipal Beach was the first part of the beach I could actually see something.
And here are some pictures from the road to Santa Barbara, CA
Take away the fog I had for half the day, it was a beautiful ride!
It was very clean and comfortable and across the street from a shopping center with restaurants and a grocery store.
Saturday, depart Santa Barbara, CA for Las Vegas, NV. I wanted to collect some poker chips and hopefully challenge coins from Los Angeles, CA Harley dealerships, but it was already getting very hot, so I only went to 4 places. I only got poker chips, nobody in LA is carrying challenge coins anymore is what they are telling me.
I left LA and headed to Vegas via I-15 N for VERY HOT ride reaching 118 degrees by the time I stopped in Vegas!
I left Las Vegas, NV for Delta, Colorado via I-15 E to I-70 E. It was a very pleasant day of travel. I got out of Nevada before the heat of the day and it was very comfortable when I arrived at the hotel in Delta, CO.
I stayed at the Value Lodge Inn, Delta, CO and I was very happy with this room. It was very clean, the staff was very nice, and the bed was very comfortable.
This is the final day of the tour and I will be taking a route through Gunnison, over Monarch Pass, to Poncha Springs, Fairplay, and over Kenosha Pass to get home.
I stopped in Gunnison, CO for fuel then raced the thunderstorms and rain back to the Denver Area without a stop! I caught a little rain as I approached Buena Vista, CO but that was it! I got lucky for sure! That was a 3.5 hour / 190 mile stretch without a break!
This Bucket List Tour totaled over 3400 miles, 9 days, and I rode through some AMAZING country! My bike is now ready for it’s 55,000 mile service and desperate for a wash! I was lucky to have the best weather, no mechanical issues, and met some great people along the way!
I’m also grateful for my riding buddies, Terry and Bobette for letting me ride with them out to California, thanks to them, the Loneliest Highway in America wasn’t so lonely! And I’m blessed to have wonderful family (Stacy and Dan) in California that allowed me to stay with them for 3 days which saved me a lot of money and gave me some great advice for riding and seeing the sights in CA.
Bucket List Tour – California Coast…CHECK!
It was a great trip and now I’m happy to be back in Colorado!
Questions, Comments, and Feedback are more than welcome, they are requested!
Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed taking the journey with me!
Sometimes I just need to go for a ride and to get away to check out something new for a couple days so I headed Northwest to see the Dinosaur National Monument.
According to the map, it looks like this first day is about 460 miles and will take about 7.5 hrs in the saddle, and it does not include gas stops, bio breaks (restroom stops), or lunch stops. It’s gonna be a good days’ ride and I wanted to get an early start so I hit the road at 8AM. Well, even though it’s been fairly hot day’s lately, the mornings can be pretty brisk, but then if you are crossing over the Continental Divide, it will get downright COLD, even in July! So, I was prepared for a cold ride, what I didn’t see in the forecast was rain and SNOW past Georgetown, CO! Well, I didn’t have winter gloves on, long johns, or even my winter coat with me when the rain started in Georgetown, but then as I got past Georgetown, the rain turned to snow and it was like that all the way to Silverthorn, CO, then the rain finally stopped after Vail Pass! Fortunately it was not a heavy precipitation and there was no accumulation, just wet and cold!
I stopped in Rifle, CO to get fuel, warm up and have a snack break. I also put my GoPro Max on to capture some of the ride where I never been before. I could have stayed on the beaten path of HWY 64 which would have taken me right into Dinosaur, CO, but I decided to venture into new territory on County Road 7 / 57 instead. So, anyway, from Rifle I headed up CO-13 N (Government Road) where I ran into road construction (surprise) and they had the road completely torn down to DIRT for at least 10-15 miles (felt like 50 miles) and one lane closed for a portion of that! This put me behind schedule as clouds were building and looked like there was going to me more rain…thank you road construction.
I finally got through the road construction and took CO-13 N to CO-64 W, then after a short distance picked up the road I’d never been on, Co Rd 7. Fortunately it was paved the whole way because there are still a lot of County Roads that are still dirt in Colorado. It was very quiet, very little traffic, and very scenic! I do have to mention, I experienced something I’d never seen before and it was a little freaky! I was riding along and enjoying the peaceful and beautiful ride on the quiet county road, cruising at 60 mph, when all of a sudden I saw these dark objects all over the road ahead. I tried to avoid them as I didn’t know if they were rocks, frogs, turtles or something else smooshed on the road, but I couldn’t get a good look. As I got closer, I notice they were moving! Wow, what the hell was that! Well, further down the road the objects were in the road again but this time, a lot more! I was not able to get around them so I just rolled right over them! I tried to get a better look…they weren’t frogs (not hopping), they weren’t turtles (not crunching), so, what could they be? Well, that cleared up and then further down the road…EVEN MORE! They were so thick on the road it looked black, but it was moving, I THINK THEY ARE TARANTULAS! I never saw them this far North and I’d never seen this many, but I wasn’t gonna stop and get a better look because if they are Tarantulas, I want nothing to do with them! I didn’t want them on my bike, I didn’t want them on me, and I didn’t want any hitching a ride to my over-night stop (or home) with me, so I kept on keep’n on! After a couple more patches of these creatures on the road, the clouds are increasing and I’m getting some rain here and there, behind schedule because of road construction, and the road coming to life, I decided to forego the Dinosaur National Park and go straight to the hotel in Craig, CO. Well, I no sooner got checked in and the floodgates opened! It rained on and off the rest of the day!
I checked into the Quality Inn in Craig, CO for the night. They were very accommodating and friendly and I found out they were locals, so I asked about the road creatures, but they had never seen or heard of it before. Well, as we were talking a couple came in to check in and heard what we were talking about. The man confirmed, they were Tarantulas!!! He went on to say that they are usually more South, where it’s warmer, but up here where it’s much cooler, they will come out onto the warm road to get themselves warmed up from the cold! So, I’m like “What?!”…and he’s like “Yah!” and the wife is like “GROSS!”, and the girls behind the counter are like “EEEWWWW!!!” and I’m like “I’m glad I didn’t stop to get a better look!!”. That was an experience! I’ve got video and pictures (of the road creatures, not this conversation) that I will upload soon!
If anybody can dispute or confirm what these creatures were, if they weren’t Tarantula’s, please comment or e-mail me details. I’ve never seen them this far North, but it doesn’t mean it couldn’t be possible…right?
The hotel was very clean and comfortable, no complaints! The hot tub and pool were open so I went for a dip to relax the ole muscles and tired bones…very nice! There was a Walmart nearby so I went and picked up some food for the evening and retired to my room for some R and R!
It is a BEAUTIFUL morning! Sun is shining and not a cloud in the sky! I went down for breakfast and they had individually wrapped danishes, bagels, coffee, hard boiled egg’s, yogurt, etc., so I enjoyed breakfast as watched the news. After breakfast I packed up, checked out and hit the road!
Have you ever heard the term “It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey”? Well, that’s not to say that the destination isn’t part of the journey, but it means that it’s about the entire experience. The route you take, the things and places you see, the people you meet, and the feelings that it creates. I know, a biker talking about “feelings”, what’s next? Wind therapy on my motorcycle is about freedom, relaxation, the great outdoors, the mountains and what it does for my soul! Whether it’s a 1 day, 2 day, a week a month trip, it’s always about experience and enjoying what I have and enjoying my surrounding!
This was a great over-nighter! It didn’t go as planned, it wasn’t great weather, and it was longer that expected on day 1, but the journey and the experience of “road creatures”, talking to locals, and traveling this beautiful state made this trip one to remember and created memories for a lifetime.
So Plan a trip, take a tour, or just get out on a short ride for some “wind therapy”, but make this site the place to go for a “one stop shop” on your journey to becoming a Motorcycle Touring Enthusiast!
Three Day Tour to Pagosa Springs and Ouray Colorado
This journey will take you through the Southwest Region where I stayed the night in Pagosa Springs and then the following day rode to Durango, Silverton, and stopped in Ouray, CO for the night. The next day I took the long way home (the best way) and went into the Northwest Region through Grand Mesa. I planned, mapped, and reserved hotel using all the resources from this website!
I hit the road on Monday morning headed to Pagosa Springs, CO to enjoy a relaxing soak in the Famous Pagosa Springs Hot Springs. I took HWY-285 S over Kenosha Pass and through Fairplay all the way to the intersection of HWY-24 N to Buena Vista and HWY-285 S toward Poncha Springs. We’re headed to Pagosa Springs so we will continue S on HWY-285. As we roll South we’ll go through Poncha Springs and over Poncha Pass all the way to HWY-112. At this intersection we turn right and head West until we reach HWY-160 W. Now HWY-160 W will take us over Wolf Creek Pass to our day 1 destination, Pagosa Springs, CO.
There are several places to stay in Pagosa Springs. Where you chose to stay will depend on how much you want to spend, location to the hot springs, and amenities, right? Well, my preference is cheap and easy! Get you mind out of the gutter! Inexpensive room and close to what I want to see or do is what I’m talking about. I chose the San Juan Motel because it was walking distance to the hot springs and it was inexpensive, only $100 for the night. I did not care for the room, personally, it had hard wood floors, no closet space to hang anything, very small bathroom with a shower (no tub), did not have towel racks, and the TV had a huge scratch and did not work very well. The grounds were unkept, long grass and weeds, and old water heaters and piles of wood. The first room I got had dirty sheets so I had to switch rooms and the breakfast were package donuts and danishes with coffee in the lobby. I would find another place to stay next time I visit.
The Pagosa Springs Hot Springs were very nice and I enjoyed a much needed natural mineral springs soak! It cost $35 to enter, $4 towel rental, and I was able to leave and come back if desired. The only thing is that they are only allowed so many guests in the pool area at a time, so when I get back, they could have a line that I would have to wait in to get back in. I stayed for a few hours and when I left for dinner, there was a line! The hot spring pools ranged from 107 degrees (hottest) to a mild 95 degrees down by the river. I stayed in the 103-105 degree range and that suited my tired bones just fine! The pool area also had 1 large pool and two hot tubs (not sure of temps) separate from the rest. There was also a drink station for alcohol and non-alcohol beverages and a snack food area in a covered/shaded area as well.
There were several places to eat in the area, everything from fast food to brewery’s, pizza joints, Mexican food, and small diners. On my way back to the motel I stopped at a place called Kip’s Grill and had a great buffalo burger and a bear.
I departed Pagosa Springs and continue South on HWY-160 headed to Durango, CO where I’ll stop at the Durango HD to get a challenge coin. From Durango I picked up HWY-550 N headed to Silverton, CO and stop at the Worlds Highest Harley Store, Silverton HD for another challenge coin.
The route to Silverton is another spectacular ride that will take us over Coal Bank Pass (10,640 ft above sea level) and Molas Pass (10,910 ft above sea level) where there are some great scenic views!
From Silverton we’ll continue on HWY-550 N to Ouray, CO where I’m going to stop for the night. On the way to Ouray we’ll go over Red Mountain Pass and the famous Million Dollar Highway, and believe me, you don’t want to get caught in bad weather on this road, so check the forecast and know before you go. Before I went to the hotel I stopped at the Box Falls to take a look at this amazing site.
The hotel I stayed at in Ouray was the Riverside Inn and Cabins, and with the exception that they did not have breakfast, it was a great place to stay. The hot tubs were clean and private, the room was very clean with comfortable beds, there was a riverwalk that was about 2 miles round trip, there was a gas station and convenience store onsite and there was jeep rental next door. They were also nice enough to let me check in an hour early.
After breakfast at the Timberline Deli of Ouray I packed up, fueled up, and hit the road for home, via Grand Mesa that is.
I took HWY-550 N / HWY-50 W through Delta to CO HWY-92 E to CO-65 W (Grand Mesa Scenic Byway) which will take us through Cedaredge then on to Grand Mesa. There are a lot of lakes to fish in and many trails to hike or bike. The are is very wooded with wide open spaces between that are breathtaking!
Grand Mesa Scenic Byway (CO HWY-65 W) goes through the town of Mesa and then the road turns into 45 1/2 Rd which is a very curvey road with tall and steep canyon walls that will take us to I-70 E, just West of Parachute, CO. I-70 will get us back to the Denver area after we make one more stop for gas.
This was a great trip and I would highly recommend it to anybody visiting Colorado. From Denver to Pagosa Springs where I spent a few hours soaking at the famous Pagosa Springs Hot Springs, had a great buffalo burger and a beer at Kips Grill.
Day 2 I rode to Durango and got a challenge coin for my collection, then rode up Coal Bank Pass and Molas Pass on my way to Silverton for another challenge coin, then continued up Red Mountain pass to the Million Dollar Highway and stayed the night in Ouray, CO. I went to see the Box Falls, had a great pizza for dinner and the hotel was great. The only bummer was the road construction by Telluride, CO…I hate road construction!
Day 3 I headed home via Grand Mesa which was a beautiful, relaxing, beginning of great ride home to Denver!
I hope you enjoyed reading about my Colorado Tour in the Southwest and Northwest region and it inspires you to come visit Colordo and tour this beautiful state.
Here are a few videos of the Tour I did down to Alamosa. On this ride I went to the Great Sand Dunes, Independence Pass from HWY-24 to Aspen, then from Glenwood Springs back to Denver. Great Ride, Great Videos!
Ride to the Summit
– 12,095 ft above sea level, snow, cold, wind, and AWESOME