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Old 05-18-2012, 11:29 AM   #1
WilderRider OP
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Colorado's Sangre de Cristos

I took a quick midweek trip out to explore a little bit more of the Sangre de Cristo range in central Colorado. I had been through before on pavement and wanted to take the DR650 back to hit a pass or two.

I rode out from Denver midday on Tuesday riding through Rampart Range through Cripple Creek and Phantom Canyon (forgot to take pictures at the stops, but very nice) and camped at the KOA on the Arkansas off of US50 near Cotopaxi. (mostly for lack of daylight as I was hoping to get into the National Forest for some wilderness).



Pleasant enough spot and I practically had the entire place to myself. Right near the river.

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Old 05-18-2012, 11:34 AM   #2
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The next day I had breakfast at camp and rode out to Westcliffe, Colorado to see how far up Hermit Pass I could get.

It was gorgeous and sunny. Apparently, they also have an Amish population that started settling there since 2008. I realize they do not normally like their picture being taken, but these guys rode into frame while I was taking pictures of the mountains.



They waved nicely. A great day to be in a buggy too.

I went up Hermit Pass which was a little bit more rough than I was expecting. Not too bad, but there is still a lot of deadfall, rocks and snow that made it very narrow or tougher in places.

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I made it in about 6 and 1/2 miles from the turnoff before the snow/mud/obstacles stopped me. I could have probably made it a little bit farther, but not much and I did not want to get stuck in the mud by myself.

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There were also some nice shady places to either camp or enjoy the streams.

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Old 05-18-2012, 11:43 AM   #3
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After that, I headed back down to Westcliffe for lunch at the subway where all of the high school kids must go too. After lunch, I headed 20 miles south to the turnoff for Medano Pass (which I have since come to understand is pronounced with the emphasis on the first syllable, like MEdano not MeDANo).

The east side was pretty easy. It is all pretty, but the first 6 miles are bordered by a local buffalo ranch with a million signs asking for help to avoid poachers, etc. After entering the national forest, the road became very rutted, but it was entirely dry when I was there. Some steep sections, but all very good tractions (at least when it was dry) and easy to get up to the top. The actual pass is pretty boring and in the trees, but there is a short offshoot where you can ride up to a view.





I never saw a soul, but I did see a camper at a campsite on the way up.

I was not that interested in deep sand riding, so I never went down the other side into the Great Sand Dunes National Park. I will leave that for another trip. Instead, I headed back to gas and dinner.

The next morning, I packed up and rode back on pavement to make better time. I took US 50 to 285 back to Denver. Of course, you have to take a picture of the majestic Collegiate Peaks including Mt. Princeton. (That is also a fun ride up).



Living in Colorado does not suck. At least not when you can get out and ride.
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WilderRider screwed with this post 05-19-2012 at 09:04 AM
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Old 05-18-2012, 11:56 AM   #4
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Very nice,Thanks for the pics and report.
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